Michael Powell (director)

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Michael Powell (30 September 1905 – 19 February 1990)

British film director.
Works: The Red Shoes, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, A Matter of Life and Death, Black Narcissus, I Know Where I'm Going!, A Canterbury Tale, and many more


  • [of his wife Frankie] "In fact, if only I had been the perfect husband, she would have been the perfect wife."
    • Million Dollar Movie
  • "I live cinema. I chose the cinema when I was very young, sixteen years old, and from then on my memories virtually coincide with the history of the cinema ... I'm not a director with a personal style, I am simply cinema. I have grown up with and through cinema; everything that I've had in the way of education has been through the cinema; insofar as I'm interested in images, in books, in music, it's all due to the cinema."
    • Midi-Minuit Fantastique, Oct. 1968
  • "I got my first assignment as a director in 1927. I was slim, arrogant, intelligent, foolish, shy, cocksure, dreamy and irritating. Today, I'm no longer slim."
    • Michael Powell, 1987


  • Jack Cardiff once asked Powell "Michael, do you make films for all types of audiences, or just for yourself?" Michael shook his head vigorously. "I make films for myself. What I express I hope most people will understand. For the rest, well, that's their problem."
  • "My master in film, Buñuel, was a far greater storyteller than I. It was just that in my films miracles occur on the screen."
  • "We decided to go ahead with David O. (Selznick) the way hedgehogs make love: verrry carefully !"
  • "For ten years we had all been told to go out and die for freedom and democracy; but now the war was over, The Red Shoes told us to go out and die for art."
  • "Actors and technicians were being demobbed every day. Very soon the only ham actor left in the combined forces would be General George Patton."
  • "The great innovators have always been fearless.... I have fallen off haystacks, out of trees, over cliffs. I have been nearly drowned, shot and hanged. I have been in countless car crashes without getting a scratch. I have been alone in an office with Louis B. Mayer."
  • "Art is merciless observation, sympathy, imagination, and a sense of detachment that is almost cruelty."
  • "Everyone has heard of Canterbury if only because they murder archbishops there."
  • "[After Peeping Tom] When they got me on my own [the critics] gleefully sawed off the limb and jumped up and down on the corpse."
  • "The truth lies in black and white."
  • "Seventy years ago there were men like D.W. Griffith and seventy years later - now - there are not many men like Martin Scorsese. But so long as there is one there will be others, and the art of the cinema will survive."
  • "I am the teller of the tale, not the creator of the story."
  • "Of course, all films are surrealist. They are because they are making something that looks like a real world but isn't."

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