Letter: Archers on target

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Archers on target

Sir: Who can have come to write your piece on Michael Powell (Accidental Heroes of the Twentieth Century, 17 April) without knowing that the great Colonel Blimp in Powell and Pressburger's film was Roger Livesey?

Without Livesey's humane performance, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp would have been the brittle satire Powell first planned, when he meant to cast Olivier as Blimp. (Anton Walbrook's role, of course, was as Blimp's lifelong German friend.) Livesey's interpretation of Blimp, funny, moving, romantic, idealistic, out-of-date, yet becomes the finest character in the film.

Emeric Pressburger and Roger Livesey were both essential to Michael Powell, a unique and brilliant director but a man who though fascinated by good and evil often failed to tell the difference. It was Pressburger who gave human understanding to the whole wonderful run of the Archers' films. Only after the end of their partnership did Powell's obsessive solo essay Peeping Tom somewhat dismay and disperse his following.