Emeric Pressburger

Active - 1930 - 2007  |   Born - Jan 1, 1902   |   Died - Feb 5, 1988   |   Genres - Drama, War, Musical, Spy Film, Action

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Biography by Bruce Eder

The screenwriter half of the Powell/Pressburger team in association with Michael Powell, Hungarian-born Emeric Pressburger was a journalist before coming to films as a screenwriter in the late '20s. After working at Germany's UFA studios for several years, he fled after Hitler's rise to power and eventually came to England, where he joined London Films as a screenwriter and began his association with Michael Powell, a gifted young English filmmaker. The two worked together on The Spy in Black, and after leaving London Films, formed a filmmaking partnership -- known corporately as The Archers -- in which they shared joint screenwriter-producer-director credit. Their collaborations together included 49th Parallel, One of Our Aircraft Is Missing, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, A Canterbury Tale, I Know Where I'm Going, Stairway to Heaven (A Matter of Life and Death), Black Narcissus, The Red Shoes, The Small Back Room, and The Tales of Hoffmann, most of which were extremely successful internationally, although British critics frequently gave their films mixed reviews. The partnership split up after 1956, and Pressburger returned to writing after one attempt at directing (Twice Upon a Time) and producing (Miracle in Soho). Pressburger's novel Killing a Mouse on Sunday was later adapted into the movie Behold a Pale Horse. The perception of many of those around them was in the Powell/Pressburger partnership, Powell was the partly out-of-control genius, while Pressburger was the force that focused the team onto their most viable projects.

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