Photo of Michael Powell Michael Powell

Born Sept. 30, 1905, in Kent, England, director Michael Powell got his start working for noted silent-film director Rex Ingram. Honing his directing chops by churning out a raft of "quota quickies" -- short films made to fulfill quota/tariff agreements between Britain and America between the wars -- Powell quickly became one of England's most prominent filmmakers.

In 1939, Powell met screenwriter and producer Emeric Pressburger while working on The Spy in Black, and together, the two went on to make 19 films, the best of which -- such as Oscar nominees The Red Shoes and 49th Parallel -- are considered classics of British cinema.

Powell's career came to an abrupt end, however, in the early 1960s when his psychological thriller Peeping Tom met with an excoriating response from audiences and critics. He died Feb. 9, 1990.

Michael Powell in Black Narcissus

Black Narcissus

1947 NR

Secular matters consume five missionary nuns who head to the Himalayas to establish an Anglican school. In the meantime, the quintet's leader (Deborah Kerr) must grapple with the envy of one nun (Kathleen Byron), the bitterness of a man (David Farrar) and the cruelty of the elements. The film received Academy Awards for Best Art Direction and Best Cinematography, in part for its Technicolor innovations.

  • Michael Powell in The Red Shoes The Red Shoes
  • Michael Powell in A Matter of Life and Death A Matter of Life and Death
  • Michael Powell in A Canterbury Tale A Canterbury Tale
  • Michael Powell in The Battle of the River Plate The Battle of the River Plate
  • Michael Powell in The Thief of Bagdad The Thief of Bagdad
  • Michael Powell in 49th Parallel 49th Parallel
  • Michael Powell in Age of Consent Age of Consent
  • Michael Powell in Peeping Tom Peeping Tom
  • Michael Powell in The Golden Gong The Golden Gong
  • Michael Powell in I Know Where I'm Going! I Know Where I'm Going!
  • Michael Powell in The Small Back Room The Small Back Room
  • Michael Powell in Phantom Light/Red Ensign/Upturned Glass Phantom Light/Red Ensign/Upturned Glass