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Obituaries : Emeric Pressburger; Writer and Producer of 'Red Shoes'

February 07, 1988|Associated Press

LONDON — Writer and movie producer Emeric Pressburger, who with Michael Powell created "The Red Shoes" and other critically acclaimed British films of the 1940s and 1950s, has died at age 85, his family said.

Pressburger was born in Hungary and lived at the village of Aspall near Stowmarket in eastern England. He died Friday at a nursing home; Powell said he died of bronchial pneumonia.

The Pressburger-Powell partnership produced 16 films, some of British movie-making's most exuberant, ambitious and original works.

"The Red Shoes" of 1948 about a ballet student who became a great star but killed herself when torn between love and her ballet career marked the peak of the partnership.

Pressburger received a university education first at Prague in Czechoslovakia and then at Stuttgart in Germany. He then worked as a journalist in Hungary and Germany and became a contract writer for Ufa, the leading German movie company of the day.

After the Nazis came to power in Germany, Pressburger moved to France and in 1935 to Britain, where he met the celebrated Hungarian-born movie producer Alexander Korda. Pressburger joined Korda's company, London Films, and was introduced to Powell.

The first movie of the Pressburger-Powell partnership was "Spy in Black" in 1938, devised for the German actor Conrad Veidt.

The "49th Parallel" of 1940 won an Academy Award in the United States, where it was shown under the title "The Original Story of the Invaders."

Pressburger is survived by a daughter.

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