From the first frames, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp is preposterously gorgeous to look at. That and the witty fizz of the dialogue alone would make this a classic piece of entertainment, but its subtlety in other areas is what makes it essential viewing. I sat down with this film knowing absolutely nothing about it other than the cast and crew, and it only slowly dawned on me what Powell and Pressburger were doing with their central character, and how rarely I get to see such a thing at the movies.
"I still haven't changed," says Clive Wynne-Candy at the end, in a statement that is both true and untrue. His principles and his character are the same at the end credits that they were at the opening credits. But he is not the same man in his senescence as he was in his youth. The wonder of The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp is how it dramatizes a paradox that we all are aware of yet rarely articulate: We never stop being ourselves, but age and experience mold us into different people anyway.