Emeric Pressburger

Imre József Pressburger was born into a Jewish family in Austria-Hungary in 1902. He studied engineering at Prague and Stuttgart universities before moving to Weimar-era Berlin in 1926. There he fell on hard times and lived on the streets for a period before publishing his first short story in 1928. Two years later he started writing scripts for UFA, the dominant German studio of the time. With the rise of the Nazis in 1933, Pressburger lost his job in the purge or Jewish employees and fled to Paris. His mother and many other relatives subsequently died in the Holocaust. In 1935 he relocated to London, anglicising his name to Emeric and meeting the director Michael Powell. Starting in 1942 they shared credit for writing, producing and directing fourteen films under the banner of their production company, The Archers. Their classic films include The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, A Matter of Life and Death, Black Narcissus and The Red Shoes. In the early 1960’s he wrote two novels, Killing a Mouse on Sunday and The Glass Pearls. After a long period in the critical wilderness, Pressburger was made a fellow of Bafta in 1981 and of the BFI in 1983. Pressburger married twice and was survived by a daughter, Angela. He died in Suffolk in 1988.

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