a matter of life and deathWe are continuing on with the theme of watching another film off of the 1001 Movies To See Before You Die book with a film that looked interesting just by the name of the film. The film is listed on IMDB as Stairway To Heaven, but the original title of the film is A Matter Of Life And Death. Peter Carter (David Niven) is a British war time pilot during World War 2 who is faced with a unwanted decision to make one faithful and foggy night. His plane is going to go down and he has no parachute, so he has to make a choice of whether to go down with the plane or jump essentially to his death. Well as he jumps out of the plane, the most miraculous thing happens, he survives the fall as Peter cheats death. He also falls in love with a girl from Boston named June (Kim Hunter) and when a conductor comes back to collect Peter to bring him back to heaven, Peter gets a chance to appeal it as he has to prove that he in fact did fall in love with June. The film also stars Robert Coote (Othello) as Bob, Marius Goring (The Barefoot Contessa) as Conductor 71, Roger Livesey (The League Of Gentlemen) as Doctor Reeves, Abraham Sofaer (Quo Vadis) as The Judge, Raymond Massey (East Of Eden) as Abraham Farlan, and the film was directed by Michael Powell (The Red Shoes) and Emeric Pressburger (Black Narcissus).

amoladThis is definitely an excellent film to watch for so many reasons besides the fact that the acting in the film is amazing. One of my favorite elements of the film is the fact that when they are in heaven, it’s in black and white and when it’s on Earth it’s in technicolor as mentioned by Conductor 71 when he comes to Earth to find Peter. I think it’s a cool effect that they use that may also be symbolic in a way. Let’s just say that when you are dead, you are void of color because you are dead after all, but when you are on earth you are so alive and full of color. There’s also a theory as to whether the other world is real or just imagined by Peter, but they suggest that it is just by the couple of scenes that take place in the other world without Peter in them (proving it is real). The cinematography is pretty great in the film and we see some pretty interesting shot choices and special effects that they try out like the eye ball camera effect complete with eye lids you can see. The costumes are just phenomenal especially in the scenes when we are in heaven and the set designs are top notch as well. It’s easy to understand why this film is on the 1001 Movies To See Before You Die list and I am glad that I checked it out. I am going to give the film an A for a final grade.


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