The Noir World of Powell and Pressburger Double Bill
Running time: 189 mins
Part of the BFI's Cinema Unbound: The Creative Worlds of Powell + Pressburger season, the Electric Picture House and Film Noir UK are proud to present a special double bill looking at the darker side of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's output.
The Spy in Black (1939)
Director: Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger Starring: Conrad Veidt, Valerie Hobson, Sebastian Shaw and Marius Goring UK / PG / 82mins
Captain Hardt (Conrad Veidt), a World War I German submarine commander, is ordered to lead a mission to attack the British Fleet at Scapa Flow. He puts ashore on the Orkney Islands to meet his contact but finds more than he bargained for in the local schoolmistress (Valerie Hobson).
Produced by Alexander Korda and based on the World War I spy thriller U Boat 29 by Joseph Store Clouston, The Spy in Black (1939) was named by the National Board of Review as one of the Top 10 films of 1939. Starring the great Conrad Veidt (The Cabinet of Dr Caligari, Casablanca), The Spy in Black showcases the early talents of one of the important collaborations in film history, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger.
Special introduction by Powell and Pressburger specialist Mark Fuller (Film Noir UK). This event is produced by Film Noir UK and is part of Cinema Unbound: The Creative Worlds of Powell + Pressburger, a UK-wide film season supported by National Lottery and BFI Film Audience Network: bfi.org.uk/powell-and-pressburger
The Small Back Room (1949)
Starring: David Farrar, Kathleen Byron, Jack Hawkins, Leslie Banks, Cyril Cusack and Sid James UK / PG / 107mins Director: Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger
After the lavish Technicolor spectacle of The Red Shoes (1948), Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger retreated into the inward, shadowy recesses of this moody, crackling character study. Based on the acclaimed novel by Nigel Balchin, The Small Back Room (1949) details the professional and personal travails of troubled, alcoholic research scientist and military bomb-disposal expert Sammy Rice (David Farrar), who, while struggling with a complex relationship with secretary girlfriend Susan (Kathleen Byron), is hired by the government to advise on a dangerous new German weapon.
Deftly mixing suspense and romance, this rare screening of The Small Back Room is an atmospheric, noirish, post-World War II gem.
Special introduction by Powell and Pressburger specialist Mark Fuller (Film Noir UK). This event is produced by Film Noir UK and is part of Cinema Unbound: The Creative Worlds of Powell + Pressburger, a UK-wide film season supported by National Lottery and BFI Film Audience Network. Special thanks to Studio Canal.