Jeffrey Richards and Anthony Aldgate / “5. What a Difference a War Makes: The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp” / British Cinema and Society / 1983

The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, 1943.

September 10, 1942, Churchill dubbed The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp a “foolish production” and “propaganda detrimental to the morale of the army,” and asked Minister of Information to propose measure to stop it “before it goes any further.” Minister points out, such measures would demand nothing less than “imposition of a compulsory censorship of opinion upon all means of expression,” and “I am certain that this would not be done without provoking infinite protest.” Churchill insisted. Rough-cut went to showing for War Office and Ministry of Information representatives. War Cabinet minute from May 10, 1943: “The Secretary of State for War said that the film had now been seen by representatives of the War Office and the Ministry of Information, who took the view that it was unlikely to attract much attention or to have any undesirable consequences on the discipline of the Army. In the circumstances, he had reached the conclusion that the right plan was to allow the film to be shown.” Movie shows that by the early 1940s, the world of the Boer War hero Clive Candy has changed. The conventions of gentlemanly sportsmanship are no longer appropriate, as Theo (Anton Walbrook) has discovered through German’s defeat in the Great War.

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