HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Gemini Man
End of the Century
If Beale Street Could Talk
Raining in the Mountain
Day Shall Come, The
Scandal
Buzzard
Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown
Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, A
Sons of Denmark
Light of My Life
Umbrellas of Cherbourg, The
Jerky Boys, The
Chambre en Ville, Une
Joker
Relaxer
Mustang, The
Baie des Anges, La
Ready or Not
Seven Days in May
Bliss
Hollywood Shuffle
Uncut Gems
Wilt
Daniel Isn't Real
Presidio, The
Curvature
Puzzle
Farewell, The
Challenge of the Tiger
Ad Astra
Winslow Boy, The
Pain and Glory
Judgment at Nuremberg
Rambo: Last Blood
Sansho the Bailiff
Iron Fury
Ride in the Whirlwind
Deathstalker II
Cloak and Dagger
   
 
Newest Articles
Demy-Wave: The Essential Jacques Demy on Blu-ray
The Makings of a Winner: Play It Cool! on Blu-ray
Sony Channel's Before They Were Famous: A Galaxy of Stars
Start Worrying and Hate the Bomb: Fail-Safe on Blu-ray
Completely Different: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 2 on Blu-ray
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
   
 
  Matter of Life and Death, A Heaven Is A Place On EarthBuy this film here.
Year: 1946
Director: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: David Niven, Kim Hunter, Roger Livesey, Marius Goring, Raymond Massey, Robert Coote, Abraham Sofaer, Joan Maude, Kathleen Byron, Richard Attenborough, Bonar Colleano, Robert Atkins, Bob Roberts, Edwin Max, Betty Potter, Robert Beatty, Lois Maxwell
Genre: War, Romance, Fantasy
Rating:  10 (from 1 vote)
Review: This is the Universe... big, isn't it? And this is planet Earth, which seems peaceful spinning in space until you look closer and see the war raging in Europe, and the effects of a bombing raid on Germany. It is May 1945 and one of those British bombers is in a bad way as it crosses the English Channel in flames. The crew have bailed out, all except Bob Trubshawe (Robert Coote), who has been killed, and Squadron Leader Peter Carter (David Niven), who is still in the plane because his parachute has been irrepairably damaged. He contacts the Air Force base in what he believes will be his last message, and on the other end of the transmission is June (Kim Hunter), an American. As Peter asks her to record his final words, he speaks poetry to her and she falls in love with his voice, just as he falls in love with her. Then he must break off and jump from the bomber, knowing he will die... but what if he doesn't?

A Matter of Life and Death was originally conceived as a way of improving relations between Great Britain and the United States of America after the Second World War, but once producers, directors and scriptwriters Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger had finished with it, it was something far more profound than a simple public information message. The film merges fantasy and reality with a love story based in the final days of the conflict, a conflict that had claimed millions of lives across the globe and that is evidently what was on the filmmakers' minds - the enormity of that loss of life. It must have touched just about everyone in Britain and America, never mind the other countries, and here was a reassurance that the war dead had gone to a better place, that they really were safe.

Trubshawe is waiting loyally in the reception at the top of a huge moving staircase that leads to heaven, expecting Peter to arrive at any minute, but he fails to appear. A confused Trubshawe then starts asking uncomfortable questions of the staff who tell him there has never been a mistake, not for a thousand years at any rate, and if there was the alarm bell would ring - which it duly does. Yes, Peter is washed up alive on the beach, and once he realises he is alive and not dead, he can't believe his luck, especially when he meets June riding her bicycle back from the Air Force base and their relationship is secured. But the afterlife won't let Peter get away so easily, and send Conductor 71 (Marius Goring sublime as French nobleman) down to ask him to give up life and romance and accompany him back "upstairs".

Peter's meetings with the Frenchman lead June to think there is something seriously wrong with his head, and she goes to her friend the village doctor, Frank Reeves (Roger Livesey, never better) to see what can be done. He elects to humour Peter and go along with his stories of lodging an appeal to prevent him going to heaven now he has found happiness on Earth, and it's one of the ingenious aspects of the film that both the reality of a brain injury and the fantasy of the afterlife could be equally true, with hints of both either way such as the chess book disappearing from the realm of the living when Conductor 71 borrows it. Peter must now attend his own trial, but who can he find to be his "lawyer" when heaven has appointed the first American killed in the War of Independence as the prosecution? That's where the hands across the Atlantic business comes in, making the point about the individual not being responsible for the darker deeds of their country (was Germany in their minds?). But mostly this is a love story, with Niven and Hunter achingly romantic in their desire not to be parted by death; and that's what this film is about under the irresistable charm, the dread of losing a loved one forever. Music by Allan Gray.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 3699 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Butch Elliot
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton
   

 

Last Updated: