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A Matter of Life and Death (U)

David Niven and Kim Hunter in A Matter of Life and Death

Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s exquisite wartime romance is at once a heartfelt story and one of the most creative and technically innovative films of its – or any – era.

After Squadron leader Peter Carter (David Niven) is shot down in his plane without a parachute, he speaks what he believes to be his last words to American radio operator June (Kim Hunter). Miraculously surviving his epic fall, Peter and June find each other and begin to enjoy an unexpected love.

Yet, it seems someone in the afterlife has made a mistake: Peter’s time was up, and a messenger is sent to stop him living on borrowed time. To remain with June, Peter must argue in a celestial court for his right to live.

Touches of comedy and melodrama keep a light thread running through this philosophical quandary, with stunning cinematography from Jack Cardiff and memorable performances from Niven, Hunter and support from Roger Livesey and Marius Goring.

Perhaps the most touching details is that while heaven is shown in black-and-white, the lives on earth are in full and glorious Technicolour.


Tagged with: Cinema New releases

UK/US 1946 Dirs Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger 100 min

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