The Info List - Emeric Pressburger

Emeric Pressburger
Emeric Pressburger
(5 December 1902 – 5 February 1988) was a Hungarian British screenwriter, film director, and producer. He is best known for his series of film collaborations with Michael Powell, in an award-winning collaboration partnership known as the Archers and produced a series of films, notably 49th Parallel (1941), The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943), A Matter of Life and Death (1946, also called Stairway to Heaven), Black Narcissus
Black Narcissus
(1947), The Red Shoes (1948), and The Tales of Hoffmann (1951).


1 Early years 2 Film career 3 Personal life 4 Awards, nominations and honours 5 Filmography

5.1 Early work 5.2 Middle period 5.3 Later work

6 Bibliography 7 References

7.1 Notes 7.2 Citations 7.3 Bibliography

8 External links

Early years[edit] Imre József Pressburger was born in Miskolc, in the Kingdom of Hungary, of Jewish heritage.[1] He was the only son (he had one elder half-sister from his father's previous marriage) of Kálmán Pressburger, estate manager, and his second wife, Kätherina (née Wichs). He attended a boarding-school in Temesvár, where he was a good pupil, excelling at mathematics, literature and music. He then studied mathematics and engineering at the Universities of Prague and Stuttgart before his father's death forced him to abandon his studies.[2] Film career[edit] Pressburger began a career as a journalist. After working in Hungary and Germany he turned to screenwriting in the late 1920s, working for UFA in Berlin
(having moved there in 1926). The rise of the Nazis forced him to flee to Paris, where he again worked as screenwriter, and then to London. He later said, "[the] worst things that happened to me were the political consequences of events beyond my control ... the best things were exactly the same." Pressburger entered Britain in 1935 on a stateless passport; once he decided to settle, he changed his name to Emeric in 1938. In England he found a small community of Hungarian film-makers who had fled the Nazis, including the influential Alexander Korda, owner of London Films, who employed him as a screenwriter. There he met film director Michael Powell, and they worked together on The Spy in Black
The Spy in Black
(1939). Their partnership would produce some of the finest British films of the period.[3] Personal life[edit] On 24 June 1938, Pressburger married Ági Donáth, the daughter of Andor Donáth, a general merchant, but they divorced in 1941. The union was childless. He remarried, on 29 March 1947, to Wendy Orme, and they had a daughter, Angela, and another child who died as a baby in 1948; but this marriage also ended in divorce in Reno, Nevada
Reno, Nevada
in 1953 and in Britain in 1971. His daughter Angela's two sons both became successful film-makers: Andrew Macdonald as a producer on films such as Trainspotting (1996), and Kevin Macdonald as an Oscar-winning director. Kevin has written a biography of his grandfather, and a documentary about his life, The Making of an Englishman (1995). Pressburger became a British citizen in 1946.[N 1] He was made a Fellow of BAFTA in 1981, and a Fellow of the BFI in 1983. Pressburger was a diffident and private person who, at times, particularly later on in his life, could be hypersensitive and prone to bouts of melancholia. He loved French cuisine, enjoyed music, and possessed a great sense of humour. In appearance he was short, wore glasses, and had a sagacious, bird-like facial expression. He was a keen supporter of Arsenal F.C., a passion he developed soon after arriving in Britain. From 1970 he lived in Aspall, Suffolk[4] and he died in a nursing home in nearby Saxtead
on 5 February 1988, due to the complications of old age and pneumonia.[5] He is interred in the cemetery of Our Lady of Grace Church, Aspall.[4] His is the only grave in that Church of England
Church of England
graveyard with a Star of David. Awards, nominations and honours[edit]

1943: Oscar winner for 49th Parallel as Best Writing, Original Story 1943: Oscar nominated for 49th Parallel as Best Writing, Screenplay. Shared with Rodney Ackland 1943: Oscar nominated for One of Our Aircraft Is Missing
One of Our Aircraft Is Missing
for Best Writing, Original Screenplay. Shared with Michael Powell 1948: Won Danish Bodil Award for A Matter of Life and Death as Best European Film. Shared with Michael Powell 1948: Nominated for The Red Shoes for Venice Film Festival
Venice Film Festival
Golden Lion. Shared with Michael Powell 1949: Oscar nominated for The Red Shoes as Best Picture. Shared with Michael Powell 1949: Oscar nominated for The Red Shoes as Best Writing, Motion Picture Story 1951: Cannes Film Festival nominated for The Tales of Hoffmann for Grand Prize of the Festival. Shared with Michael Powell 1951: Won Silver Bear
Silver Bear
from 1st Berlin
International Film Festival for The Tales of Hoffmann as Best Musical. Shared with Michael Powell[6] 1957: BAFTA Award
nominated for The Battle of the River Plate as Best British Screenplay. Shared with Michael Powell. 1981: Made fellow of BAFTA 1983: Made fellow of the British Film Institute
British Film Institute
(BFI) 2014: An English Heritage
English Heritage
Blue plaque
Blue plaque
to commemorate Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger
Emeric Pressburger
was unveiled on 17 February 2014 by Martin Scorsese and Thelma Schoonmaker
Thelma Schoonmaker
at Dorset House, Gloucester Place, London NW1 5AG where The Archers had their offices from 1942-47.

Filmography[edit] Early work[edit] Pressburger's early films were made mainly in Germany and France where he worked at the Ufa Studio in the Dramaturgie department (script selection, approval and editing) and as a scriptwriter in his own right. Some of the films made in Germany have French titles and vice versa. In the 1930s many European films were produced in multiple-language versions.

1930: Die Große Sehnsucht, Abschied 1931: Ronny, Das Ekel, Dann schon lieber Lebertran, Emil und die Detektive, Der kleine Seitensprung 1932: Une jeune fille et un million, ...und es leuchtet die Puszta, Sehnsucht 202, Petit écart, Lumpenkavaliere, Held wider Willen, Eine von uns, La belle aventure, Wer zahlt heute noch?, Das schöne Abenteuer, A vén gazember

In 1932–33, when the Nazis came to power, the head of Ufa decided to get rid of all Jews so Pressburger was told his contract wouldn't be renewed. He left his Berlin
apartment, "leaving the key in the door so that the Stormtroopers wouldn't have to break the door down" and went to Paris.

1933: Une femme au volant, Incognito 1934: Mon coeur t'appelle, Mein Herz ruft nach dir, Milyon avcilari 1935: Monsieur Sans-Gêne, Abdul the Damned 1936: Sous les yeux d'occident

Late in 1935, Pressburger decided that he would do better in England. (Remember that film scripts are written some time before the film is made and released, so some films that he worked on were released in France some time after he left).

1936: Port Arthur, La Vie parisienne, Parisian Life, One Rainy Afternoon 1937: The Great Barrier 1938: The Challenge 1939: The Silent Battle

Middle period[edit] In 1939, Pressburger was introduced to Michael Powell
Michael Powell
to work together on The Spy in Black. They had an instant rapport and went on to make 20 films together in less than 20 years, many of them highly regarded.

For his films with Michael Powell, see Powell and Pressburger
Powell and Pressburger
and Powell and Pressburger
Powell and Pressburger

But even while he was working with Powell, Pressburger still did some projects on his own.

1940: Spy for a Day 1941: Atlantic Ferry (aka Sons of the Sea) 1942: Rings on Her Fingers, Breach of Promise 1943: Squadron Leader X 1946: Wanted for Murder

It is worth noting that Pressburger wasn't just "Michael Powell's screenwriter" as some have categorised him. The films they made together in this period were mainly original stories by Pressburger, who also did most of the work of a producer for the team. Pressburger was also more involved in the editing process than Powell, and, as a musician, Pressburger was also involved in the choice of music for their films. Later work[edit] Powell and Pressburger
Powell and Pressburger
began to go their separate ways after the war. They remained great friends but wanted to explore different things, having done about as much as they could together.

1953: Twice Upon a Time – Pressburger's one solo attempt at directing 1957: Men Against Britannia 1957: Miracle in Soho 1965: Operation Crossbow 1966: They're a Weird Mob
They're a Weird Mob
– based on the novel by John O'Grady 1972: The Boy Who Turned Yellow

Two of Pressburger's later films were made under the pseudonym "Richard Imrie". Bibliography[edit]

Novel: Killing a Mouse on Sunday. London: Collins, 1961. – made into the film Behold a Pale Horse (1964) Novel: The Glass Pearls. London: Heinemann, 1966.

References[edit] Notes[edit]

^ Note: (for categories): He became a British citizen; you can only be English by being born there.


^ "350 years: Variety Club colour supplement." Jewish Chronicle, 15 December 2006, pp. 28–29. ^ Macdonald 1994 ^ Christie 1985 ^ a b "Pressburger Addresses." powell-pressburger.org. Retrieved: 19 August 2010. ^ "Emeric Pressburger." Find a Grave. Retrieved: 19 August 2010. ^ "1st Berlin
International Film Festival: Prize Winners." berlinale.de, 21 December 2009. Retrieved: 19 August 2010.


Christie, Ian. Arrows of Desire: The Films of Michael Powell
Michael Powell
and Emeric Pressburger. London: Waterstone, 1994, First edition 1985. ISBN 0-571-16271-1. Christie, Ian. Powell, Pressburger and Others. London: British Film Institute, 1978. ISBN 0-85170-086-1. Christie, Ian and Andrew Moor, eds. The Cinema of Michael Powell: International Perspectives on an English Filmmaker. London: BFI, 2005. ISBN 1-84457-093-2. Darakhvelidze, George. Landscapes of Dreams: The Cinema of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger
Emeric Pressburger
(Part 1) (in Russian). Vinnitsa, Ukraine: Globe Press, 2009. ISBN 966-8300-34-3. Esteve, Llorenç. Michael Powell
Michael Powell
y Emeric Pressburger
Emeric Pressburger
(in Spanish). Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Catedra, 2002. ISBN 978-84-376-1950-7. Howard, James. Michael Powell. London: BT Batsford Ltd, 1996. ISBN 0-7134-7482-3. Lazar, David, ed. Michael Powell: Interviews. Jackson, Mississippi: University Press of Mississippi, 2003. ISBN 1-57806-498-8. Macdonald, Kevin. Emeric Pressburger: The Life and Death of a Screenwriter. London: Faber & Faber, 1994. ISBN 0-571-16853-1 Moor, Andrew. Powell and Pressburger: A Cinema of Magic Spaces. London: I.B. Tauris, 2005. ISBN 1-85043-947-8. Powell, Michael. A Life in Movies (Autobiography). London: Heinemann, 1986. ISBN 0-434-59945-X, later edition, 1993. ISBN 0-571-20431-7 (pbk). Powell, Michael. Million Dollar Movie (The second volume of his autobiography). London: Heinemann, 1992. ISBN 0-434-59947-6, later edition, 2000. ISBN 0-7493-0463-4 (pbk). Thiéry, Natacha. Photogénie du désir: Michael Powell
Michael Powell
et Emeric Pressburger 1945–1950 (in French). Rennes, France: Presse Universitaires de Rennes, 2009. ISBN 2-7535-0964-6.

External links[edit]

Emeric Pressburger
Emeric Pressburger
at the Powell & Pressburger Pages Emeric Pressburger
Emeric Pressburger
on IMDb Emeric Pressburger
Emeric Pressburger
at the British Film Institute's Screenonline Emeric Pressburger
Emeric Pressburger
biography on BritMovie.co.uk

v t e

Powell and Pressburger

Michael Powell Emeric Pressburger

The Spy in Black Contraband 49th Parallel One of Our Aircraft is Missing The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp The Volunteer A Canterbury Tale I Know Where I'm Going! A Matter of Life and Death Black Narcissus The Red Shoes The Small Back Room The Elusive Pimpernel Gone to Earth The Tales of Hoffmann Oh... Rosalinda!! The Battle of the River Plate Ill Met by Moonlight They're a Weird Mob The Boy Who Turned Yellow

Powell only

Two Crowded Hours My Friend the King The Rasp Rynox The Star Reporter Hotel Splendide C.O.D. His Lordship Born Lucky The Fire Raisers Red Ensign Something Always Happens The Girl in the Crowd Lazybones The Love Test The Night of the Party The Phantom Light The Price of a Song Someday Her Last Affaire The Brown Wallet Crown v. Stevens The Man Behind the Mask The Edge of the World Smith The Lion Has Wings The Thief of Bagdad An Airman's Letter to His Mother The Sorcerer's Apprentice Luna de Miel Peeping Tom The Queen's Guards Herzog Blaubarts Burg Age of Consent

v t e

Academy Award
Academy Award
for Best Story

Ben Hecht
Ben Hecht
(1927/28) None given (1928/29) None given (1929/30) John Monk Saunders (1930/31) Frances Marion
Frances Marion
(1931/32) Robert Lord (1932/33) Arthur Caesar (1934) Ben Hecht, Charles MacArthur (1935) Pierre Collings, Sheridan Gibney (1936) Robert Carson, William Wellman (1937) Eleanore Griffin, Dore Schary (1938) Lewis R. Foster (1939) Benjamin Glazer, John Toldy (1940) Harry Segall (1941) Emeric Pressburger
Emeric Pressburger
(1942) William Saroyan
William Saroyan
(1943) Leo McCarey (1944) Charles G. Booth (1945) Clemence Dane
Clemence Dane
(1946) Valentine Davies (1947) Richard Schweizer, David Wechsler (1948) Edna Anhalt, Edward Anhalt (1950) James Bernard, Paul Dehn (1951) Frank Cavett, Fredric M. Frank, Theodore St. John (1952) Dalton Trumbo (1953) Philip Yordan
Philip Yordan
(1954) Daniel Fuchs (1955) Dalton Trumbo (1956)

v t e

BAFTA Fellowship recipients


Alfred Hitchcock
Alfred Hitchcock
(1971) Freddie Young (1972) Grace Wyndham Goldie (1973) David Lean
David Lean
(1974) Jacques Cousteau
Jacques Cousteau
(1975) Charlie Chaplin
Charlie Chaplin
(1976) Laurence Olivier
Laurence Olivier
(1976) Denis Forman (1977) Fred Zinnemann
Fred Zinnemann
(1978) Lew Grade
Lew Grade
(1979) Huw Wheldon
Huw Wheldon
(1979) David Attenborough
David Attenborough
(1980) John Huston
John Huston
(1980) Abel Gance
Abel Gance
(1981) Michael Powell
Michael Powell
& Emeric Pressburger
Emeric Pressburger
(1981) Andrzej Wajda
Andrzej Wajda
(1982) Richard Attenborough
Richard Attenborough
(1983) Hugh Greene (1984) Sam Spiegel
Sam Spiegel
(1984) Jeremy Isaacs (1985) Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg
(1986) Federico Fellini
Federico Fellini
(1987) Ingmar Bergman
Ingmar Bergman
(1988) Alec Guinness
Alec Guinness
(1989) Paul Fox (1990) Louis Malle
Louis Malle
(1991) John Gielgud
John Gielgud
(1992) David Plowright (1992) Sydney Samuelson (1993) Colin Young (1993) Michael Grade
Michael Grade
(1994) Billy Wilder
Billy Wilder
(1995) Jeanne Moreau
Jeanne Moreau
(1996) Ronald Neame
Ronald Neame
(1996) John Schlesinger
John Schlesinger
(1996) Maggie Smith
Maggie Smith
(1996) Woody Allen
Woody Allen
(1997) Steven Bochco
Steven Bochco
(1997) Julie Christie
Julie Christie
(1997) Oswald Morris (1997) Harold Pinter
Harold Pinter
(1997) David Rose (1997) Sean Connery
Sean Connery
(1998) Bill Cotton
Bill Cotton
(1998) Eric Morecambe
Eric Morecambe
& Ernie Wise
Ernie Wise
(1999) Elizabeth Taylor
Elizabeth Taylor
(1999) Michael Caine
Michael Caine
(2000) Stanley Kubrick
Stanley Kubrick
(2000) Peter Bazalgette
Peter Bazalgette


Albert Finney
Albert Finney
(2001) John Thaw
John Thaw
(2001) Judi Dench
Judi Dench
(2001) Warren Beatty
Warren Beatty
(2002) Merchant Ivory Productions (2002) Andrew Davies (2002) John Mills
John Mills
(2002) Saul Zaentz
Saul Zaentz
(2003) David Jason (2003) John Boorman
John Boorman
(2004) Roger Graef (2004) John Barry (2005) David Frost
David Frost
(2005) David Puttnam
David Puttnam
(2006) Ken Loach
Ken Loach
(2006) Anne V. Coates (2007) Richard Curtis
Richard Curtis
(2007) Will Wright (2007) Anthony Hopkins
Anthony Hopkins
(2008) Bruce Forsyth
Bruce Forsyth
(2008) Dawn French
Dawn French
& Jennifer Saunders
Jennifer Saunders
(2009) Terry Gilliam
Terry Gilliam
(2009) Nolan Bushnell
Nolan Bushnell
(2009) Vanessa Redgrave
Vanessa Redgrave
(2010) Shigeru Miyamoto
Shigeru Miyamoto
(2010) Melvyn Bragg
Melvyn Bragg
(2010) Christopher Lee
Christopher Lee
(2011) Peter Molyneux
Peter Molyneux
(2011) Trevor McDonald (2011) Martin Scorsese
Martin Scorsese
(2012) Rolf Harris
Rolf Harris
(2012) Alan Parker
Alan Parker
(2013) Gabe Newell
Gabe Newell
(2013) Michael Palin
Michael Palin
(2013) Helen Mirren
Helen Mirren
(2014) Rockstar Games
Rockstar Games
(2014) Julie Walters
Julie Walters
(2014) Mike Leigh
Mike Leigh
(2015) David Braben (2015) Jon Snow (2015) Sidney Poitier
Sidney Poitier
(2016) John Carmack
John Carmack
(2016) Ray Galton & Alan Simpson (2016) Mel Brooks
Mel Brooks
(2017) Joanna Lumley
Joanna Lumley
(2017) Ridley Scott
Ridley Scott

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 74066903 LCCN: n85113382 ISNI: 0000 0001 2281 9007 GND: 118741861 SELIBR: 279424 SUDOC: 066886082 BNF: cb14412543r (data) BIBSYS: 90809830 BNE: XX1060345 SN