The Small Back Room | 1949 | David Farrar, Kathleen Byron

The Small Back Room | 1949 | David Farrar, Kathleen Byron

Powell and Pressburger’s movies were characterized by masterful collaborators, and this adaptation by Nigel Balchin of his 1943 novel about an embittered scientist was no exception. Less extravagant than some of its predecessors – and shot in black and white – it baffled even intelligent reviewers on its release by the daring of its technique – the fractured dialogue and overlapping background noises and the heightened dream were all criticized. The inventive duo were intent on creating a naturalistic – not realistic – sense of the scientist fighting his own demons and an unexploded bomb, both in the action and his psychology. A movie ahead of its time.

David Farrar as Sammy Rice
Kathleen Byron as Susan
Jack Hawkins as R.B. Waring
Leslie Banks as Col. A. K. Holland
Michael Gough as Capt. Dick Stuart
Cyril Cusack as Cpl. Taylor
Milton Rosmer as Prof. Mair
Walter Fitzgerald as Brine
Emrys Jones as Joe
Michael Goodliffe as Till
Renée Asherson as A.T.S. corporal
Anthony Bushell as Col. Strang
Henry Caine as Sgt. Maj. Rose
James Dale as Brigadier

Production Design: Hein Heckroth
Art Direction: John Hoesli
Director Of Photography: Christopher Challis
Costume Design: Josephine Boss
Writers and Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Assistant Director: Sydney Streeter
Editor: Clifford Turner
Casting: Madeleine Godar
Publicist: Jean Osborne
Original Music Composer: Brian Easdale
Novel: Nigel Balchin

UK | 106 minutes | 1949



The Viewer's Guide to Film intends to be a comprehensive guide to the very best of cinema from the earliest silent era, through to the golden age of Hollywood and on to today's biggest blockbusters.

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