Michael Powell was undoubtedly influenced by PG directly or indirectly.
Here's what I mean.
Powell was familiar with-and loved- Edinburgh, and a delightful essay
on the interrelatedness of the city can be found in his book:"Edge
of the World: the Making of a Film, or 200,000 Feet on Foula".
His Edinburgh actor friends Finlay Currie and Grant Sutherland will
have helped him there. Powell's films are culturally aware with a Geddessian
appreciation of the wholeness of creation and of true values: Colonel
Blimp, I know where I'm Going, A Canterbury Tale, Matter of Life+Death,
Black Narcissus are all excellent examples of this, and I'd particularly
point to the Culpeper character with his Culpeper Institute and Lantern
Slides (in ACT) and Dr Reeves with his Camera Obscura (in AMOLAD) both
spouting Geddesian lines. Both these characters have book-strewn studies
where telling titles can be seen.
The first popularly written book about Geddes - Boardman's Patrick Geddes
Maker of the Future, came out in 1944.
With advice of the Scottish Office (its new building on Calton Hill
had been caressed by Cavalcanti's camera in 1939, its officials had
helped to smooth the way for IKWIG and it later promoted the making
of John Eldridge's lyrical Waverley Steps in 1948) a young Edinburgh
art student Ray Townsend joined Powell's team to work on AMOLAD and
later films -Ray devised the AMOLAD "eyes closing" shots.
When British films ran out of steam after The Red Shoes, Ray returned
to Edinburgh as an art teacher beside the Edinburgh Crystal works at
Norton Park, and made the charming Singing Street about childrens games
in 1951, other films later. Like Michael Powell in films, Geddes' powerful
influence in Edinburgh began to lose ground in the early fifties. I
could cite Alexander Mackendrick, Bill Forsyth and above all Bill Douglas
as having cultural connection with PG's special perception of scale
and identity: chaos and order, local and international.
In The Edge of the World and IKWIG Powell used the Glasgow Orpheus Choir,
and Finlay Currie the former Edinburgh music teacher takes up his old
role in a minor way in both films.
In making IKWIG, Powell was drawing on the childhood experience of Mull
families like that of Colin Gubbins, wartime head of SOE and the subject
of my current Penicuik exhibition.
Gubbins chief cryptographer-poet Leo Marks later wrote both Peeping
Tom and Sebastian for Powell.
Gubbins had grown up in his grandparents Mull household with Geddes
influence in the Library -combining Celtic Twilight with Edinburgjh
Philanthropy -his McVean grandfather had helped map Japan's coasts and
his grandmother (who spent her early marriage in Japan) was a member
of the Cowan dynasty which financed Edinburgh Infirmary and old town
good works. Conan Doyle's mentor the Edinburgh hospital consultant Joe
Bell -the original of Sherlock Holmes- was another holistic Scot who
was part of this second-and very Practical- Enlightenment. PG tied in
to this medical world on many levels. I wrote about this a while ago:
Other fascinating links between cinema and the world of Geddes are Alastair
Sim (elocution teacher on Castlehill, his young ward George Cole got
a small part in Powell's Gone to Earth) and above all the film Performance's
artist-director Donald Cammell (amazingly born in the Outlook Tower
itself: how symbolic is that!) . I have previously written about Finlay
Currie and Muriel Spark http://www.makers.org.uk/penicuik/murielspark#ralston
. From Annie S. Swan to "Surfaceman", from Edinburgh to Elsie
Inglis, Rebecca West and Serbia, from Cox's Gelatine to University astronomy
and phrenology, from Tom Johnson to Naomi Mitchison, from Lyon Playfair
to Bovril -the cultural threads are always important!