In 2001 Jack Cardiff (1914-2009) became the first director of photography in the history of the Academy Awards to win an Honorary Oscar. But the first time he clasped the famous statuette in his hand was a half-century earlier when his Technicolor camerawork was awarded for Powell and Pressburger's Black Narcissus. Beyond John Huston's The African Queen and King Vidor's War and Peace, the films of the British-Hungarian creative duo (The Red Shoes and A Matter of Life and Death too) guaranteed immortality for the renowned cameraman whose career spanned seventy years.
A series marking the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the Blitz. Celebrities explore the Blitz history of their home cities.
To mark the 75th anniversary of the start of the Blitz, John Humphrys returns to south Wales to discover more about the devastating Nazi bombing campaign and how it affected those who experienced it. He sees the reconnaissance maps the Germans used to identify key bombing targets. He takes to the air to follow the direct flight path of the Luftwaffe bombers, as they attacked Cardiff and Swansea. Back on the ground, he also meets survivors of the bombings, including Elaine Kidwell from Swansea, who describes the Blitz on the city as hell. He also visits locations where the bombs hit, including the site of Hollyman's Bakery, the setting for the single worst atrocity in Cardiff. This is a personal story for John, who was born in 1943, and who remembers playing amongst the rubble of the bombsites in Splott, near Cardiff docks.
Real estate agent Christian travels the countryside scouting for investment prospects. In a forgotten, seemingly abandoned village far off the main roads, he finds more than he is looking for. Getting entangled in an encounter with a taciturn teenage farmhand, he confronts his sexual frustrations and, in the process, gets drawn into the undergrowth of a bloodthirsty rustic community.
Simply put, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's The Red Shoes belongs in every respectable film collection. Criterion have produced yet another spectacular package that I have a feeling will end up being amongst the ten best releases of the year. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.