153 Great Directors: Michael Powell

“I make films for myself. What I express I hope most people will understand. For the rest, well, that’s their problem.”

What Got This Director Here?
: Peeping Tom, mostly.

My Favorite Past Experience Was…: Peeping Tom of his solo work.

What Did I Watch: 49th Parallel.

Where Does He Fit: 49th Parallel is total propaganda that feels like art. Sure, it’s much more heavy handed about it than Casablanca since it involves Nazis realizing that the other ways of government aren’t so bad after all and we should learn to respect differences. Does that matter? Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger are sort of in full on Technicolor mode while very much not. It’s unsubtle and pretty and well photographed. Everything you could ask for in a Powell film, really, except also not. Basic human kindness replaces obsession, in that it is everywhere. The Edge of the World, as it turns out, is in the North.


Most Valuable Asset: Uh…workmanship? (I could give different answers if they hadn’t done the separation thing.)
Most Excited For: None left, really.
Did They Deserve a Spot?: Yes, but I wish they hadn’t done separate entries for when he shared a director credit with Pressburger.

Coming Up Next: Documentarian Frederick Wiseman.


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