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316 Ratings

The Small Back Room

United Kingdom, 1949
Film noir


The Small Back Room details the travails of a troubled research scientist and military bomb-disposal expert Sammy Rice, who, while struggling with a complex relationship with secretary girlfriend Susan, is hired by the government to advise on a dangerous new German weapon.

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The Small Back Room Directed by Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger

Critics reviews

Powell and Pressburger create a loud, clattering world around them, one that could sympathetically drive a man to drink. The sound mix brings in loud, clanging background noises, churned out by one of the employees in Sammy’s research shop. This reaches a feverish trip during a meeting with the Army, in which they ask for Sammy to read the statistical summary of the test results.
February 21, 2018
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It’s not only sharp, not only shadowy, but sneakily contains moments of their impish comedy. (When the camera moves through an international military headquarters, we catch snatches of dialogue in different languages. The line “Fill out all fifteen forms and resubmit in triplicate” is chosen to represent Britain.) It is one of the best scripts the duo ever had, with three threads coiling tightly around each other.
November 03, 2017
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