Michael Latham Powell

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Michael Powell film-maker.

Michael Latham Powell (September 30, 1905-February 19,1990) was a British film director, renowned for his partnership with Emeric Pressburger which produced a series of classic British films.

Powell was born in Bekesbourne, Kent, and educated at King's School, Canterbury and then at Dulwich College. He worked in a bank before becoming an actor and entering the film industry through working with Rex Ingram in France. He developed his skills directing 'quota quickies', sometimes making up to 7 films a year. In 1939 he met Emeric Pressburger whilst they worked together on The Spy in Blacktogether they made 19 films, many of which received critical and commercial success.

After making the psychological horror film Peeping Tom in 1960 as a solo effort, Powell was ostracised by the film world. His offence, it seemed, was to have made a horror movie that was genuinely horrific. However, his reputation was restored over the years, and by the time of his death he and Pressburger were recognised as one of the foremost film partnerships of all time.



For his films with Emeric Pressburger, see Powell and Pressburger and Powell and Pressburger films

Early work

His early film are mostly low-quality 'quota quickies':

  • 1928: Riviera Revels
  • 1930: Caste (uncredited)
  • 1931: Two Crowded Hours
  • 1932: His Lordship, C.O.D., Hotel Splendide, The Star Reporter, Rynox, The Rasp, My Friend the King
  • 1933: Born Lucky
  • 1934: Something Always Happens, Red Ensign (US title: Strike!), The Fire Raisers
  • 1935: Someday (aka Young Nowheres), The Price of a Song, The Phantom Light, The Night of the Party (US title: The Murder Party), The Love Test, Lazybones, The Girl in the Crowd
  • 1936: The Man Behind the Mask (reissued as Behind the Mask), Crown Vs. Stevens (aka Third Time Unlucky), The Brown Wallet, Her Last Affaire

Later work

From late 1930s onwards, most of Powell's films were in collaboration with Pressburger. His solo films were:

Powell also directed episodes of the TV series The Defenders, Espionage and The Nurses.

Other works


  • 1938: 200,000 feet on Foula - the story of the making of The Edge of the World
  • 1956: The Last Voyage of the Graf Spee - includes a lot of information that they couldn't fit in the film The Battle of the River Plate
  • 1975: A Waiting Game - A novel of Ireland
  • 1978: The Red Shoes
  • 1986: A Life In Movies - autobiography (Part I)
  • 1992: Million Dollar Movie - autobiography (Part II)
  • 1994: The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp


  • 1944: Directed January de Hartog's Skipper Next To God at the Theatre Royal, Windsor
  • 1944: Directed Ernest Hemingway's The Fifth Column at the Theatre Royal, Glasgow
  • 1951: Directed James Forsyth's Heloise at the Golders Green Theatre, London

External links

Template:Powell and Pressburger


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