The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp is among the most essential films in the works of history. It’s reputation as the greatest British film is a very popular opinion. It remains among the most popular film of directors, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. Where does The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp currently stand? The film has a 8.2 on IMDb. The best way to view the film would be on the Criterion Collection’s restoration.
The film commences in a military training camp. It has just been announced the war is to begin at midnight. A group of young gung-ho military officers decide to cheat at war and attack the enemy before midnight. This would violate all the military rules. The troops barge into General Clive Wynne-Candy’s club where he is in the middle of enjoying a steam bath. The troops encircle him and try to take him into custody. As they do so, the General shouts about the injustice these troops are delivering. The leading lieutenant proceeds to insult the General’s large belly and ridiculous moustache. He then tackles the leading lieutenant. As he attacks, he pounces. This knocks not only him, but the lieutenant into a vast swimming pool.
We proceed into a long flashback where we watch the General slowly age. We draw comparisons to the soldiers who barged into his club and the younger version of himself.
The largest theme in the film The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp is certainly the theme of time and how it passes. We observe how exactly the transformation of General Clive Wynne-Candy occurred. There are many comparisons to how people age, and how the elderly were once young and like as all. It comments on how the younger generations should truly listen to the world of the elderly as they have experienced the same things and have words of wisdom. Yet, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp also depicts the lack of honour that was lost in the generations. Even when General Wynee-Candy was younger, he may have been playful and careless, but he still lived by a code of honour. This concept of honour is lost among the young soldiers he sees in modern time. All of this is demonstrated to evoke the realistic life of General Wynee-Candy. This is a fabulous character analysis. Perhaps the deepest The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp gets is with his love life. The General is blinded by his love for a woman he met at the very beginning of the film. In his search for another woman who may perhaps act as a double for her, he stumbles into a metaphorical blindness. This theme is perhaps overdone when Deborah Kerr plays the other woman in the General’s life. This was a creative idea, but the multiple character aspect was slightly too overt for my liking.