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Powell and Pressburger’s ‘The Small Back Room’ to get a restoration release

STUDIOCANAL has announced that they will release the 4K restoration of Powell and Pressburger’s The Small Back Room for the first time on Blu-ray, plus DVD and Digital on 3 June.  Marking the film’s 75th anniversary, the new restoration will premiere at the BFI Southbank on 28 May. 

The film stars David Farrar (Black Narcissus, Frieda) and Kathleen Byron (Black Narcissus, Saving Private Ryan) in dazzling performances.  Marking the film’s 75th anniversary this year, the new restoration by The Film Foundation and BFI National Archive in association with STUDIOCANAL.

From the legendary filmmaking duo Powell and Pressburger, the 1949 release is the story of the troubled love affair between a tormented back-room scientist and a secretary, told against a background of ministerial intrigue and Empire building.

Sammy Rice (David Farrar) was the army’s finest bomb disposal officer until he was injured in the war. Now part of a specialist ‘back room’ team, he dismantles the boobytrapped devices being dropped by Nazi bombers. He falls in love with Susan (Kathleen Byron), a colleague, and the two begin a secret affair. However, embittered by life, he feels inferior: inferior as a lover, inferior as a man unable to wear uniform, inferior in his work. Although a brilliant scientist, he allows himself to be exploited by his power-hungry boss and haunted by his past, he drowns his sorrows in whiskey. Sammy’s life is descending into disarray when the news comes; a bomb has exploded with catastrophic consequences, and another has been found. Faced with the biggest challenge of his career, Sammy must face his demons and take his life in his hands to solve the mystery of the bomb’s lethal mechanism.

A look at the box art is above. Special features are as follows:

Special Features:

  • New Restoring The Small Back Room
  • New A Tortured Hero: Kevin MacDonald on The Small Back Room
  • New Defusing the Archers: Professor Ian Christie on The Small Back Room
  • Audio commentary featuring film scholar Charles Barr
  • Interview with cinematographer Christopher Challis
  • The Making of An Englishman documentary directed by Kevin MacDonald


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