Pressburger was born in Miskolc, Hungary, on December 5 1902. He was
educated at the Universities of Prague and Stuttgart and he worked
as a journalist, an author and a scriptwriter in Berlin and Paris.
Eventually working for screenwriter for directors Robert Siodmak and
then fled Europe after after Hitler's rise to power (he was a Jew)
and eventually came to England, where he joined London Films as a
screenwriter. But life was difficult in a country where the native
language was not your own -so he taught himself to understand not
only the finer nuances of the language but also of the British people.
He worked briefly for Alexander Korda (1938) and then he rewrote ‘The
Spy in Black’ (1939), directed by Michael Powell. They then
left London films and frmed a formed a filmmaking partnership, known
corporately as ‘The Archers’, in which they shared joint
screenwriter-producer-director credit . Pressburger got his first
producer credit on ‘One of our Aircraft Is Missing’ (1942).
Their collaborations together included 49th Parallel, The Life and
Death of Colonel Blimp, A Canterbury Tale, I Know Where I'm Going,
Stairway to Heaven (A Matter of Life and Death), Black Narcissus,
The Red Shoes, The Small Back Room, and The Tales of Hoffmann. Amongst
this slection they were nominated fro 5 Amrcian Oscars (winning just
one) anda further BAFTA nomination for ‘The battle of the River
Plate’ (1956). Their
work was generally more acclaimed internationally than in Britain
(where very often they got mixed reviews).
partnership split up after 1956, and Pressburger returned to writing
after one attempt at directing (Twice Upon a Time) and producing (Miracle
in Soho). Pressburger's novel ‘Killing a Mouse on Sunday’
was later adapted into the movie ‘Behold a Pale Horse’.
The perception of many of those around them was in the Powell/Pressburger
partnership, Powell was the partly out-of-control genius, while Pressburger
was the force that focused the team onto their most viable projects
Pressburger often showed a deep understanding of the British that
is only granted to those "outside, looking in". He always
prided himself on being "more English than the English".
After all, some of use were just BORN English, but he CHOSE to become
English. He spent his last days at Shoemakers Cottage, Aspall, Stowmarket,
Suffolk in the English countryside that he loved so well. He died
in Suffolk on February 5 1988.