- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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a matter of life and death
- kevin sellers
A film whose cinematic virtuosity cannot quite make up for a dull story, prosaic characters, and an overly talky script. Plus, it's a ripoff of the much better American film, "Here Comes Mr. Jordan." (Am I really the first TCM reviewer to see this? Or didn't any of the others even care about this bit of English legerdemain, that is most ironic in a film purporting to bring about better British/American relations?) Let's give it a B minus.
A Matter of Life & Death
- Dashiell B.
Originally ment to be propaganda to promote British & American relations, this turned into one of cinema's best fantasy's. Niven is a WWII pilot ment to die and after falling in love with Hunter's radio operator, must appeal "upstairs" to live longer. Art direction & Cardiff's photography capture earth in sumptuous technicolor and "upstairs" in striking B/W. A truly original film from Powell & Pressburger. I give it a 4.5/5.
original, but not great
I thought I was going to love this movie, but the second half sags. (When it got to the part of making the jury all Americans, I started to yell, "oh come on! how corny!") This is an interesting and capricious film, but uneven. If you are a fan of this, I highly recommend Between Two Worlds (1944) -- another "after death fantasy", but quite a bit better, I think.
Want to watch it again!!
I started watching it last night, January 12, 2012 and didn't get to finish because I was soooo tired after a long day at work. So, I missed the ending which I bet was truly as awesome as the rest of the movie seemed to be. It was charming and the special effects of the time in this movie made in the 1940s is very impressive. I want to know when it is going to be on TCM again over a weekend....like this long one starting today. Hint hint!!I will search high and low to find it and since I am a Netflix subscriber I can now order the DVD to be shipped to my house and I will watch it over and over. I am only 44 but I LOVE OLD MOVIES and this did not disappoint. I especially loved the old French angel who visits the main character.God Bless! Kathleen
Amazing Little Gem
I recorded this on a lark, as I usually don't watch old films. I can't believe I never even heard of this film before. The special effects are amazing for 1946, and I can imagine audiences then were very impressed. Very imaginative story that kept me guessing from beginning to end. If you like history or sci fi, take the time to watch this gem.
A Matter of Life and Death
This is a stunning movie, with wonderful visuals and special effects that would be good, even by today's standard. It seamlessly goes back and forth between the pilot's real life on earth and his unearthly one, The dialogue is crisp and often very funny and poignant. I find it incredible that this movie didn't win any awards, and if I am reading TCM correctly, it wasn't even nominated, not even for special effects, or story, or anything. What an oversight!
A Matter of Life and Death
- MaryAnne T.
I agree with one of the previously written reviews here. It is hard to get this movie out of your head. I originally saw this movie many years ago when I was a child. (I also remember the title being, "Stairway to Heaven".)Many times over the years I have thought about this movie as I always have found it a fascinating story. I was so happy today when I overheard some of the dialogue from another room where my husband was watching it. I immediately sat down to watch it and it still captured my full attention. Thanks much for making it possible to see again.
I've only seen the American cut
called Stairway to heaven and loved it. Loof forward to seeing the uncut version.
What a delicious film! I can't believe I've had TCM tuned in virtually 24 hours/day since it launched and I'm just now discovering this treat. I only wish I'd known to record it so I could give it the viewing it deserves. In an incredibly imaginative tale interweaving fantasy and reality, David Niven is as tender as newly sprouted asparagus and his flamboyant French guide in Heaven is a royal hoot. I can't wait to see this again--but, please not at 3am!! This is clearly worthy of some primetime attention, Bob.
What A Surprise
- Rob Mills
I was unaware of this movie until TCM ran it. It is truly stunning, the visuals are awesome even for today.
one of those films that is so thought provoking that you cant get it out of your mind, which is pretty good for a movie made over 60 years ago.
- Patrice Harper
A visually stunning, engaging movie. Michael Powell's masterful touch, incredible creativity and intelligent direction are evident throughout. That plus the excellent performances, especially David Niven's, elevate this story of love and sacrifice into a memorable movie.
A Matter of Life and Death
- Tara Rose
This movie was amazing and suprisingly ahead of its time. The contrast between black & white versus technicolor is creative and genius. The love affair between an "Englishman " and an "American girl from good stock" facinated me. This movie kept my attention from start to finish. The frenchman added a certain flair to this classic love story with a twist.