The Small Back Room

The Small Back Room

DVD - 2008
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Details the professional and personal travails of a troubled, alcoholic research scientist and military bomb-disposal expert who, while struggling through a relationship with his girlfriend, is hired by the government to advise on a German weapon.
Publisher: [United States?] : The Criterion Collection, c2008.
Edition: Special edition
ISBN: 9781604650563
Branch Call Number: DVD MOVIE WAR SMALL BA
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (107 min.) : sound, black and white ; 4 3/4 in.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Jan 28, 2015

This is a 1949 British film directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, based on the novel of the same name by Nigel Balchin.
It is a story about Sammy Rice, an alcoholic bomb-disposal research scientist, and Susan, his secretary girlfriend.
Their complex relationship breaks up but reconciles after a drunk-and-destructive incident and a success of defusing a booby trap.
It looks into the inward, shadowy recesses of this moody, crackling character.

Jul 25, 2014

This was a terrific movie. The lead character was completely well fleshed out and engaging despite his difficult personality. When the big bomb disposal scene occurs toward the end, I was absolutely riveted to the screen, not just because it was very well done (especially the way the focus shifted between the man doing the tricky work and the team waiting a few hundred yards away listening to his description), but also because I actually cared whether or not the guy would be successful, and how this brush with death might change him.

aaa5756 Jun 19, 2014

Very well done movie. A pleasure to watch. I would recommend this movie for all to see. No fast forwarding on this one. No falling asleep on this DVD!!!!!

Jun 08, 2014

Not really knowing what to expect from The Small Back Room, I'm glad to say that I found myself pleasantly surprised by this 1949, British production. It was one of the best character studies that I've seen (from that era) in quite a long time.

Set in 1943 (in war-torn London), this beautifully restored, b&w drama held my undivided attention from start to finish.

Featuring a good cast (headlined by David Farrar) and impressive camera-work (there's lots of great close-ups), The Small Back Room's story concerns the professional and personal conflicts of Sam Rice, a troubled research scientist and bomb-disposal expert with a "tin leg" and a weakness for whiskey.

This solid, intense (and somewhat depressing) story even contains a scene filmed at Stonehenge. As well, there's a rather strange & surreal sequence involving clocks and a distorted bottle of whiskey that gets thrown into the mix which may be puzzling to some viewers.

All-in-all - This WW2 drama was well-worth a view.

Nov 14, 2013

I guess I am in the minority, for this 1952, B/W British film doesn't do much for me. I find it slow, and simply could not engage. Guess I just don't have sympathy for alcoholics.

Mar 02, 2013

Lots to like about this. Watched it twice.

emprunteur581 Nov 19, 2011

Great film. A capable scientist but very fragile human being slowly killing himself with alcohol and his devoted co-worker/girlfriend who tries to save him in sort of a "Lost Weekend" type relationship.
I saw it on the strength of it being a Michael Powell film. I was not disappointed.

Jan 19, 2011

I really enjoyed this film. Tackled some tough issues, way ahead of it's time. Much better than "The Hurt Locker".

May 12, 2010

What a great movie - suspenseful, beautifully filmed and acted. Also a satire of the politics of war.


Add a Quote

Jrichson Jan 08, 2015

You mustn't keep a dog and bark yourself.

aaa5756 Jun 19, 2014

“One person can make a difference and every person should try.” –John F Kennedy


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at LPL

To Top