The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp
Time Out says
Of all the things to be nostalgic about, warfare would seem the least likely candidate, but that's the unusual perspective of this one-of-a-kind 1943 landmark---maybe the most wonderfully British movie ever made. A tender satire about the changing of the guard (and, prophetically, the dimming of an empire), The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp inflates an unlikely hero: a pompous gasbag of an officer, a survivor of three armed conflicts and multiple safaris. His name is Clive Candy (the lovable Livesey) and he only knows from the manly pursuits of military honor and uprightness. A 1902 duel scars his lip, but brings him a lifelong friend (Walbrook) and a handsome mustache to boot.
Already, the creation of such parody puts Blimp in loose company with a subverter like Robert Altman's MASH. (Winston Churchill despised the script and actually tried to get production halted.) But the movie's heartbreaking second half brings it above---and beyond---something like Grand Illusion, as gentlemanly fighting and treaty-making give way to WWII's clash for "your very existence." Candy blinks and sputters at the notion; how explosive it is that he is corrected (and hugged) by a German officer fleeing a homeland he no longer recognizes. In the moment of the picture's release, fighting fair wasn't an option; the provocative notion here is that it never was, nor was it ever unnecessary. Complex, unmissable.
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