The Small Back Room

The Small Back Room

Directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger • 1949 • United Kingdom
Starring David Farrar, Kathleen Byron, Jack Hawkins

After the lavish Technicolor spectacle of THE RED SHOES, British filmmakers Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger retreated into the inward, shadowy recesses of this moody, crackling character study. Based on the acclaimed novel by Nigel Balchin, THE SMALL BACK ROOM details the professional and personal travails of troubled, alcoholic research scientist and military bomb-disposal expert Sammy Rice (David Farrar), who, while struggling with a complex relationship with secretary girlfriend Susan (Kathleen Byron), is hired by the government to advise on a dangerous new German weapon. Deftly mixing suspense and romance, THE SMALL BACK ROOM is an atmospheric, post–World War II gem.

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The Small Back Room
  • The Small Back Room

    Directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger • 1949 • United Kingdom
    Starring David Farrar, Kathleen Byron, Jack Hawkins

    After the lavish Technicolor spectacle of THE RED SHOES, British filmmakers Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger retreated into the inward, shadowy recesses of this mood...

Extras

  • THE SMALL BACK ROOM Commentary

    Recorded exclusively for the Criterion Collection in 2008, this commentary features film scholar and author Charles Barr (“All Our Yesterdays: 90 Years of British Cinema”).

  • Chris Challis on THE SMALL BACK ROOM

    THE SMALL BACK ROOM’s cinematographer, Chris Challis, worked on several Powell and Pressburger films, including THE RED SHOES (1948, as camera operator), THE ELUSIVE PIMPERNEL (1950), and THE TALES OF HOFFMAN (1951). In this video interview, recorded exlclusively for the Criterion Collection in E...

  • Michael Powell on THE SMALL BACK ROOM

    The following audio excerpts are taken from Michael Powell's original dictation recordings for the second volume of his autobiography, “Million Dollar Movie,” published in 1992. Here he reminisces about making THE SMALL BACK ROOM.