The South Bank Show: Michael Powell


This is the other great TV documentary about The Archers, the focus being on Michael Powell alone this time. The first volume of Powell’s autobiography, A Life in Movies, was published in 1986 which prompted this episode of The South Bank Show. Powell got to direct this one so there are many playful visual moments while tracing a career from a chance meeting with a Hollywood film crew in the south of France to the heights of the British film industry (and, in Black Narcissus, the painted peaks of the Himalayas). If you like Powell’s films his autobiography is essential reading. For a guide to the films of The Archers I’d recommend Arrows of Desire: The Films of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger by Ian Christie.


Previously on { feuilleton }
Powell & Pressburger: A Pretty British Affair
The Rite of Spring and The Red Shoes
Michael Powell’s Bluebeard revisited
The Tale of Giulietta

2 thoughts on “The South Bank Show: Michael Powell”

  1. I saw ‘The Boy Who Turned Yellow’ from 1972 over christmas; it was the last thing he did in collaboration with Pressburger. It’s very much of it’s time and given that it was made for The Children’s Film Foundation to be shown during Saturday Morning Pictures, budgetary constraints loom large but it has a certain charm and it’s certainly worth seeing for bit when things turn yellow which is actually quite striking.

  2. I’ve still not seen that one. Not sure I’d want to, it makes a sad end to their careers (Christopher Challis, who photographed the later Archers films, was also involved). As with Orson Welles, Powell could have been doing much more in his later years if it wasn’t for the cowardice of the marketplace.

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