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Pressburger, Emeric (1902-1988)

Director, Writer, Producer

Main image of Pressburger, Emeric (1902-1988)

Emeric (Imre) Pressburger was born in Miskolc, Hungary, on December 5 1902. He worked as a journalist, translator and short story writer in Weimar Republic Berlin, before turning screenwriter for directors Robert Siodmak (Abschied (Germany, 1930)) and Max Ophuls (Dann schon lieber Lebertran (Germany, 1930)).

He left Germany for England in 1935, and settled into a film industry especially congenial to Hungarian émigrés, scripting Alexander Korda's attempt to co-opt the German genre of mountain movie, The Challenge (d. Milton Rosmer, 1938). Korda assigned Pressburger to rewrites on The Spy in Black (1939), directed by Michael Powell. The two hit it off; Pressburger became Powell's favoured screenwriter, and got his first producer credit on "... One of our Aircraft Is Missing" (1942).

Thirteen major films made between 1943 and 1955 bear the credit "Produced, written and directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger", and though Powell continually expressed his debt to Pressburger's creative input, no suggestion has ever been made that Pressburger co-directed these films. Without Powell, he directed only the undistinguished Twice Upon a Time (1953). He died in Suffolk on February 5 1988.

Kim Newman, Reference Guide to British and Irish Film Directors

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Selected credits

Thumbnail image of 'I Know Where I'm Going!' (1945)'I Know Where I'm Going!' (1945)

Metaphysical love story, beautifully filmed in the Scottish Hebrides

Thumbnail image of ...One of Our Aircraft is Missing (1942)...One of Our Aircraft is Missing (1942)

Documentary-style WWII drama about an air crew stranded in Holland

Thumbnail image of 49th Parallel (1941)49th Parallel (1941)

Wartime drama: a Nazi U-boat crew is stranded in Canada

Thumbnail image of Battle of the River Plate, The (1956)Battle of the River Plate, The (1956)

Last of the Powell/Pressburger partnership - a WWII naval drama

Thumbnail image of Black Narcissus (1947)Black Narcissus (1947)

Remarkably passionate melodrama set in a Himalayan convent

Thumbnail image of Boy Who Turned Yellow, The (1972)Boy Who Turned Yellow, The (1972)

Whimsical children's film that marked Powell and Pressburger's swan song

Thumbnail image of Canterbury Tale, A (1944)Canterbury Tale, A (1944)

Weird and fascinating tale of modern-day pilgrims in WWII

Thumbnail image of Contraband (1940)Contraband (1940)

Atmospheric wartime Powell and Pressburger spy thriller

Thumbnail image of Elusive Pimpernel, The (1950)Elusive Pimpernel, The (1950)

David Niven stars in an entertaining tale of revolutionary France

Thumbnail image of Gone to Earth (1950)Gone to Earth (1950)

Rural melodrama of a young woman pursued by predatory men.

Thumbnail image of Ill Met By Moonlight (1957)Ill Met By Moonlight (1957)

Dirk Bogarde-starring drama based on a true story of WWII Crete

Thumbnail image of Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, The (1943)Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, The (1943)

Ambitious wartime saga which infuriated Churchill

Thumbnail image of Matter of Life and Death, A (1946)Matter of Life and Death, A (1946)

Romance fantasy bridging the gap between two worlds

Thumbnail image of Miracle in Soho (1957)Miracle in Soho (1957)

Slight but poetic story about unexpected love in postwar Soho

Thumbnail image of Oh... Rosalinda!! (1955)Oh... Rosalinda!! (1955)

Powell & Pressburger musical comedy based on 'Die Fledermaus'

Thumbnail image of Red Shoes, The (1948)Red Shoes, The (1948)

Powell and Pressburger's beautiful and delirious ballet film

Thumbnail image of Silver Fleet, The (1943)Silver Fleet, The (1943)

WWII propaganda film set among the Dutch resistance

Thumbnail image of Small Back Room, The (1949)Small Back Room, The (1949)

Tense drama about an alcoholic bomb disposal expert

Thumbnail image of Spy in Black, The (1939)Spy in Black, The (1939)

The first Powell and Pressburger film: a striking WWI story

Thumbnail image of Tales of Hoffmann, The (1951)Tales of Hoffmann, The (1951)

Visually ravishing Powell & Pressburger film of the Offenbach opera

Related collections

Thumbnail image of Classic Powell and PressburgerClassic Powell and Pressburger

The golden years of the Archers partnership

Thumbnail image of Late Powell and PressburgerLate Powell and Pressburger

The last years of the Archers - and beyond

Thumbnail image of Magyars in MayfairMagyars in Mayfair

Hungary's contribution to British film and television

Related people and organisations

Thumbnail image of Powell, Michael (1905-1990)Powell, Michael (1905-1990)

Director, Writer, Producer

Thumbnail image of Walbrook, Anton (1896-1967)Walbrook, Anton (1896-1967)