The Small Back Room

The Small Back Room

Director: Emeric Pressburger, Michael Powell Cast: David Farrar, Kathleen Byron



This lean but atmospheric exercise in wartime realism from Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger (produced a mere three years after World War II ended in Europe) has been given an overdue DVD release in North America in this deluxe edition from the Criterion Collection. The Small Back Room has been transferred to disc in its original full-frame aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and the results are impressive, capturing the rich blacks of Christopher Challis's Noir influenced camerawork with commendable clarity. The audio is mastered in Dolby Digital Mono and sounds nearly as good as the film looks, making the most of the fine details of the intelligently executed audio mix. The dialogue is in English, with optional English subtitles but no multiple language options. Several bonus features have been included, most notably roughly forty-five minutes of audio-only excerpts from Michael Powell's dictated notes for his autobiography, in which he talks about the making of The Small Back Room, his working relationship with studio chief Alexander Korda, his experiences the cast, and the film's disappointing reception at the box office. Also included in this release is an on-camera interview with cinematographer Challis, a commentary track from British film historian Charles Barr, and a booklet featuring an original essay from Nick James. Criterion have previously made a number of Powell and Pressburger's best films available on DVD for American film buffs, and The Small Back Room is a welcome addition to their library, once again confirming the brilliance of the most celebrated team in British filmmaking.

Product Details

Release Date: 08/19/2008
UPC: 0715515031226
Original Release: 1949
Rating: NR
Source: Criterion
Region Code: 1
Time: 1:47:00

Special Features

New, restored high-definition digital transfer; Audio commentary featuring film scholar Charles Barr; New video interview with cinematographer Chris Challis; Excerpts from Michael Powell's audio dictations for his autobiography; Plus: a new essay by film critic Nick Jones

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
David Farrar Sammy Rice
Kathleen Byron Susan
Jack Hawkins R.B. Waling
Cyril Cusack Corporal Taylor
Michael Gough Stuart
Leslie Banks Col. Holland
Milton Rosmer Prof. Mair
Walter Fitzgerald Brine
Emrys Jones Joe
Michael Goodliffe Till
Renée Ashershon ATS Corporal
Anthony Bushell Col. Strang
Henry Caine Sgt. Major Rose
Elwyn Brook-Jones Gladwin
James Dale Brigadier
Sam Kydd Crowhurst
June Elvin Gillian
David Hutcheson Norval
Sidney James Barman
Roderick Lovell Pearson
Emeric Pressburger Actor
Bryan Forbes Dying Gunner
Fred Irving Lewis Actor
Robert Morley The Minister
James Carney Sgt. Graves
Roddy Hughes Welsh doctor
Geoffrey Keen Pinker
Michael Powell Gunnery Officer

Technical Credits
Emeric Pressburger Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Michael Powell Director,Producer,Screenwriter
George R. Busby Producer
Anthony Bushell Associate Producer
Christopher G. Challis Cinematographer
Brian Easdale Score Composer
Freddie Francis Camera Operator
Hein Heckroth Production Designer
John Hoesli Art Director,Set Decoration/Design
Sydney Streeter Asst. Director
Cyril Swern Sound/Sound Designer
Clifford Turner Editor

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The Small Back Room
1. London, Spring 1943 [8:55]
2. Sammy's Flat [6:22]
3. The Reeve's Gun [10:16]
4. A Perfect Pair [5:51]
5. The Back-Room Boys [7:29]
6. Bala, North Wales [7:46]
7. Trouble At Home [4:50]
8. Ticktock [7:47]
9. Scientifically Speaking [7:41]
10. Night Out [4:27]
11. Closing Time [6:21]
12. Staurt's Notes [8:56]
13. Another Way [14:16]
14. The Man in Charge [6:39]
15. Color Bars [:00]
1. Blackout [8:55]
2. Restricted Narration [6:22]
3. Stonehenge [10:16]
4. Cast [5:51]
5. Korda and Rank [7:29]
6. Unexpected Location [7:46]
7. Music [4:50]
8. Important Spaces [7:47]
9. Nigel Balchin [7:41]
10. Brief Analysis [4:27]
11. Citizen Kane [6:21]
12. The Bomb [8:56]
13. Suspense [14:16]
14. Full Manhood [6:39]
15. Color Bars [:00]

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The Small Back Room 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
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