As Go-Go dancing gave way earlier in the week to Ann-Margrock, thus does Ann-Margrock give way at the end of the week to Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, though the relationship between the two is perhaps a bit murkier. In fact, there is no relationship--I just got lost in my Youtubing while looking for a clip of Ann-M dancing and somehow wound up in the 'Red Shoes' department.
In any event, above is a quite well-done 1981 BBC Arena program on the formidable filmmaking duo, featuring footage of Powell wandering around Hollywood, bravely stopping traffic on Vine Street and pacing a studio lot while waxing nostalgic with Francis Coppola, who had recently bought said studio (known for years as 'General Service Studios' and briefly and disastrously as 'Zoetrope Studios') and who employed Powell as "senior-director-in-residence". Powell is a sharp and debonair 76 years of age and is living in a somewhat squalid apartment in Hollywood, where he's writing his memoirs in the mornings and hanging with Francis and friends in the afternoons. At this time in his life, Powell was more or less broke and forgotten in his own country, but still actively wanting to make films. Coppola and Scorcese rescued him from oblivion, bringing him to America and finding ways to bring him the attention and respect he long deserved. For his part, Powell is quite cheery about his circumstances--we see the awful LA of 1981 that this dapper Englishman is incongruously inhabiting--yet he is relentlessly upbeat about the glamour of old Hollywood and how it cheers him to be living right in the heart of where the 'real' movie business truly existed. Far from being a hard-nosed old director, Powell was a sweet and unapologetic cinema enthusiast his whole life and has nothing but inspiring and thoughtful words about his craft. At about 50 minutes in, we suddenly are confronted with a weirdly disorienting sight: Jerry Lewis. It turns out that we're on the set of "King Of Comedy", where Scorcese welcomed Powell as a sort of mascot/guest. Powell and Marty and Bob and Jerry. Party. The docs last line is a classic: Powell and Pressburger are asked if they feel they were never given their due as artists in their own country. Powell thinks for a moment, then answers: "When have the English ever appreciated their great men?" After an awkward pause, Pressburger gravely says: "I hope that will be cut."
Subscribe in a reader
Posted by Raymond De Felitta at 11:19 AM