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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.