“The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp” is both an extensive history of Britain and the incurable love of English society and yet is a satire of that same society. This is shown perfectly through its main character Clive Candy (Roger Livesey), a caricature of many leaders of the British army, who has bottomless pride for his country and his own ego, takes every opportunity to boast about his accomplishment, whether he’s out hunting or discussing what he did turning the first World War, never stopping to listen to anyone but himself, and yet is one of the most lovable, hilarious characters from any non-comedy I’ve ever seen. This is a man fully engrossed in his own flaws that they become shining examples of his personality, making him a pillar of pride and love for England.
Beyond this, I would describe “The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp” as if “Doctor Zhivago” wanted to be funny. Much like “Zhivago” is a deconstruction of what it means to be Russian, “Colonel Blimp” proudly waves its patriotism and chivalry, even if it often comes back to bite some characters in the butt. Both films take a long look at a country’s history, told mostly through one man, and all while showcasing some glorious cinematography that highlights the uniqueness of each countries landscape. But it is between the undeniable love for England and its hopeful look towards the future, even without knowing the outcome of World War II, that makes “The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp” a fascinating experience that recognizes its own country’s flaws while lovingly embracing them, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Final Grade: B+