All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1167. An easy way of seeing how…
A Matter of Life and Death
Neither Heaven nor Earth could keep them apart!
When a young airman miraculously survives bailing out of his aeroplane without a parachute, he falls in love with an American radio operator. But the officials in the other world realise their mistake, and despatch an angel to collect him.
The December Challenge: Film #100
What is life without love?
This is a question at the heart of Powell and Pressburger’s classic, A Matter of Life and Death: a movie I adore unreservedly and the only fitting choice for my 100th film of the December Challenge.
It seems to me that your first introduction to the work of The Archers often ends up becoming a lifelong favourite. Their films, particularly those made between ‘43-’48, are magical and transformative experiences that open your eyes to a whole new world of cinema you never even knew existed. Therefore, it’s hardly surprising that your first taste is always going to be the sweetest and most enduring. Whilst A Matter of Life and Death…
I had seen this back in the day when I was a young pup under the title of "Stairway To Heaven" and loved it! David Niven and Kim Hunter were wonderful together as the star crossed lovers!
A marvelously charming and whimsical tale that was a real treat to watch!
My one and only gripe was the totally unnecessary and quite frankly unwanted heavy handed spiel about this American versus British garbage! Barring that little misstep it's still a winner in my book!
Film was recommended by Viktor Prentovski via my Movie Request Hotline List! Thank You Viktor for recommending it, it was a real blast from the past!
I LOVED this!
With a wonderful opening that's eerily reminiscent of Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life from the same year, but far superior in both execution and elocution, and a central conceit that may have been influenced by Alexander Hall’s Here Comes Mr. Jordan, but turned on its head, A Matter of Life and Death is simply charming.
There’s something about that particular time where it’s ok for true love to blossom in the space of minutes over the wireless. We believe it. Completely. When by chance, and I’m so glad that chance always works for the better in these types of films, our soon to be lovers meet, against all odds on heaven and earth, you know this…
Film #21 of Project 40
”A weak mind isn't strong enough to hurt itself. Stupidity has saved many a man from going mad.”
The eternal power of true love. That seems to be a very clichéd statement, something that has been repeated so many times in cinema, soap operas and teenage romance novels that has lost its meaning and power. But long before all these heartless romantic fiesta that surrounds us these days two visionary, incredible and modernistic artists created something which even by today’s standards and after all the technological and structural advancements of cinema looks avant-garde, profound and technically breathtaking. A Matter of Life and Death is a movie full of fine thematic, anatomical and technical details meaning…
PTAbro's World Tour Stop 2: United Kingdom
If I had to make a list of all-time great openings for films, A Matter of Life and Death would certainly be in the top 20. It's a bit of genius to start a film with the emotional and visual power of a scene that by all rights would be the climax of a lesser film. Niven immediately blew me away with the achingly cool banter he traded with June, and his demeanor cements him instantly as the centerpiece of the film, even more so than the lush sets and plot's concept. Using that level of emotional intensity within the first ten minutes asks a lot of the rest of your film to…
If I had been smart, I would have prepared myself for this review by finding an online thesaurus and finding all the synonyms for 'wonderful' that I could possibly could.
I didn't do that, though, because I was too busy watching this film. It was a completely different experience watching this today compared to when I first saw it as a 19 year old. Back then my film tastes were not particularly defined (in fact, they're still not) and I was just watching anything that was on and that I fancied the look of. I didn't know anything about A Matter Of Life And Death when it came on Channel 4…
''After all, what is time? A mere tyranny.''
Ahhhh The Archers, how bloody brilliant were they?
I first discovered their work a few of years back when I heard that Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan owed much of its existence to Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's The Red Shoes, which I hurriedly consumed and was instantly smitten with. I soon sought out Black Narcissus, which didn't have quite the same enchanting effect on me (but almost), but goddamn was it an eye-popping marvel (and a film I am eager to revisit soon), and it was also around this time that I discovered that Powell's solo effort Peeping Tom was a film I had seen and enjoyed many years ago. So I…
Staircase to Heaven
Another Powell and Pressburger film presented by Thelma Schoonmaker, who sat on the row in front of me while the film played, added a very bizarre layer of context to the filmmakers behind the film. A Matter of Life and Death is a wonderful film, from the quirky interpretation of the after life, to it's sly British wit, it's wonderful ambiguity and an ultimate sweet centre that simply resonates with anyone who sees it. It's movie magic in it's most conceivable form and I utterly adored it.
Later Thelma Schoonmaker talked about her relationship to Michael Powell, how it influenced her and her friends and simply talked great passion about the work of the pairing. She gave historical context to the films, why they were made, what they were there to achieve. And ultimately, you could see why the films were so timeless and adored.
A damn shame. I'm no champion of Powell and Pressburger, but their films—at the very least—have always been charmingly British, masterfully crafted and enjoyable, if slight and unmemorable. This is one of their lesser outings, for sure: underplotted, overly whimsical and lacking the technical polish of something like The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp or The Red Shoes. It lays on its theme of Love Is Worth Living For far too thick, with characters that serve no purpose other than to make Big Statements about love and how it is worth living for. Plus, there's almost no conflict the entire time, largely because of how no one ever seems to be in any real sense of danger, and this…
Heavenly comedies were practically a sub-genre in this era, but Powell and Pressburger (not surprisingly) elevate the concept with beautiful color, some striking imagery, and their usual humanist touch. Here, they create a kinder, gentler universe for the audience to live in in the wake of World War II.
There were a few flaws that jumped out at me: the Archers' British patriotism is more heavy-handed than ever. Worse, very little is done to sell the central relationship after the initial radio conversation, which seems to be especially problematic considering how much of the plot hangs on it. That said, it's easy to ignore these problems in a film this great.
I probably shouldn't have even skimmed the reviews here on Letterboxd before I started writing this. If I hadn't, maybe I would have been more favorably disposed.
But if it's true, as Adam Cook says below, that the central question of this film is, What is life without love?, then I'm going to have to admit I kind of hated it. Far too cheesy for me, and far too Tory. Unless you read against the grain, in which case it's a gloriously ironic lampoon. In any case, I was entertained by the imaginative production design and the pretty shots, but I wasn't moved.
On second viewing, I was impressed by this movie's swift pacing. Few movies of this time period clip along at such a brisk pace, or boast as many delightful, surreal touches.
This was my first outing with Powell and Pressburger, and it was truly an enriching experience. Right from the opening scene, which is possibly my favorite of all time, I was enraptured. It's difficult to explain what exactly this film is. Is it a grand statement of life and death, or is it just a simple love story in a fantastical disguise. Even days after seeing it, I'm not entirely sure, but I'm still thinking about it.
I think that the message is that love and life are intrinsically linked. Without love, life is meaningless and death becomes a release. When love enters your life, everything takes on new meaning and death becomes a curse.
The imagery is outstanding, some of the best from this era. I look forward to seeing the rest of their work. This film may not be perfect, but it's close enough that there's something for everyone to enjoy.
This is the third film I've seen by Powell and Pressburger and while it didn't bowl me over like the other two ("Red Shoes" and "Life and Death of Colonel Blimp") it's still a finely-crafted, handsomely mounted, technically assured and emotionally stirring supernatural meditation on love, life and death. It's highly imaginative and never less than captivating. Kim Hunter and David Niven are fine, though their love story never quite moved me as I suspect it was meant to. It's a testament to the talent of Powell, Pressburger and all their collaborators that the film still makes such a strong impact despite this fact. Roger Livesey out-acts everyone else as a doctor who takes an interest in David Niven after…
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most recent update - Friday, November 22, 2014
The letterboxd crew has unveiled a new feature that allows users to…
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