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Emeric Pressburger

Imre József Pressburger was born into a middle-class Jewish family in Miskolc, Hungary, in 1902. He studied in Prague and Stuttgart before the sudden death of his father forced him to get a job to support himself and his mother. He moved to Weimar-era Berlin in 1926, where he worked as a journalist then as a scriptwriter at the prestigious UFA. With the rise of the Nazi Party in 1933, Pressburger lost his job in the purge of Jewish employees and fled to Paris. His mother – and many relatives – died in Auschwitz; he never forgave himself for not being able to take her when he fled.

In 1935 he relocated to London with its booming film industry and met Michael Powell. From 1942 they shared credit for writing, producing and directing 14 films released by their joint production company, The Archers, including The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, A Matter of Life and Death, Black Narcissus and The Red Shoes. Pressburger was made a Fellow of BAFTA in 1981 and the BFI in 1983, and also wrote two novels: Killing a Mouse on Sunday (1961) and The Glass Pearls (1966). Originally on a stateless passport, he changed his name to Emeric in 1938 and became a British citizen in 1946. He married twice and had a daughter, and died in Suffolk in 1988.