This Is England: British Film and the People's War, 1939-1945

By Neil Rattigan | Go to book overview

5
The Strange Case of
The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp

Synopsis

A WAR EXERCISE INVOLVING AN ATTACK ON LONDON IS ORGANIZED between the regular army and the Home Guard. The year is 1943. Lt. "Spud" Wilson uses his friendship with Angela ("Johnny") Cannon, the driver of the general commanding the Home Guard, to learn where the general will be before the war is due to start,"at midnight." With a detachment of his men, Wilson captures General Wynne-Candy in a turkish bath. When Wilson insults Wynne-Candy, they get into a fight and fall into a swimming pool.

1902. Lt. Clive Candy, back in England from service in the Boer War, travels to Berlin, despite War Office advice to the contrary, to do something about anti-British propaganda. There he meets Edith Hunter, a governess whose letter drew him there in the first place, insults members of a German regiment, and fights a duel with Theo Kretschmar-Schuldorff, an officer of the same regiment, whom he then befriends while they both recover from minor wounds. When Edith becomes engaged to Theo, Candy realizes that he too is in love with her.

1918. Brigadier Candy becomes lost on the Western Front while attempting to catch a train and go on leave. He ineffectually interrogates some German prisoners. Later learning there are no trains available, he visits a convent where he finds that a fresh contingent of nurses has also just arrived. One bears an extraordinary resemblance to Edith. The next day, the Armistice is declared. Back in England, Candy tracks down the nurse, Barbara Wynne, daughter of a wealthy industrialist, and marries her. He also locates Theo in a British prisoner-of-war camp but Theo refuses to speak to him when Candy

-213-

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This Is England: British Film and the People's War, 1939-1945
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 7
  • Illustrations 9
  • Acknowledgements 13
  • Introduction 15
  • I - Fictional Feature Films 37
  • 1: National Identity and Upper-Class Images the Films 39
  • 2: Leaders Leading the Films 75
  • 3: All in It Together the Films 128
  • 4: [Strange, Wonderful, Incalculable Creatures] the Films 182
  • 5: The Strange Case of the Life and Death of Colonel Blimp 213
  • II - Documentaries 233
  • 6: Documentary's Moment 235
  • 7: Off to a Flying False Start 253
  • 8: The Docudramas 264
  • 9: A Special Case 297
  • 10: The Myth of British Wartime Cinema 310
  • Notes 320
  • Select Bibliography 333
  • Filmography 345
  • Index 348
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