103 minutes| Australia| 1969| Colour| 35mm

This film screened 28th December 2010.

After the anti-climax of two late-’50s war films, the Powell-Pressburger partnership went into amicable abeyance. Powell’s solo British career was brought to an end by the critical and commercial failure both of Peeping Tom (a visionary classic, shown here in a separate semi-centenary tribute (see page 11)), and of its more conventional successor, The Queen’s Guards. Instead, he helped to launch the new Australian cinema with They’re a Weird Mob, a comedy about an Italian immigrant. Pressburger, at a late stage, acted as pseudonymous script doctor, but had no hand in its successor, Age of Consent, which brings together major figures of British cinema past and future: James Mason as an artist, and Helen Mirren as his nude-swimming model. Making the most of its coastal locations in Queensland, the film has enough skill and energy to show how premature was Powell’s forced retirement; his plan to go on to film The Tempest, with Mason as Prospero, was sadly never fulfilled.

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