A Matter of Life and Death

5 out of 5 stars
A still form the film A Matter of Life and Death of a pilot in the cockpit of a burning fighter plane

Time Out says

5 out of 5 stars
You’d never guess, until perhaps the final, magnificent ‘trial’ scene, that Powell and Pressburger’s post-war film grew out of the Ministry of Information’s desire for a film celebrating British-American relations. RAF pilot Peter Carter (David Niven, below) falls in love with Boston-born radio operator June (Kim Carter) at an unfortunate moment: just as he’s plunging to the ground in a burning plane. It’s after he hits the ground that the conceit kicks in: colour disappears and we’re in a black-and-white heaven, where clerks are waiting for Peter  –  only he got lost in typically English fog and has met up with June and fallen in love. What to do? Especially when a village doctor is prepared to fight Peter’s case at the highest levels of justice. When the camera pulls back from the celestial court towards the end to reveal an audience of thousands –  most of them combatants – Powell and Pressburger apply the weight of six years of war to this loopy love story.

By: Dave Calhoun



Release details

Release date:
Friday September 26 2008
104 mins

Cast and crew

Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
David Niven
Kim Hunter
Roger Livesey
Raymond Massey
Marius Goring
Robert Coote
Abraham Sofaer
Kathleen Byron
Richard Attenborough
Bonar Colleano
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