A matter of life and death
RELEASED OUT NOW! 1946 | U | Blu-ray Directors Michael Powell, emeric Pressburger Cast david Niven, Kim Hunter, Marius Goring, roger livesey
Powell and Pressburger never delivered the obvious. A Matter Of Life And Death was originally meant to be a propaganda piece, a salve for Anglo-American relations strained by WW2. It ended up as something far stranger, richer and more enduring, a sumptuous fantasia just on the edge of unclassifiable.
David Niven is pluck and charm incarnate as airman Peter Carter, caught in the crack between Earth and the afterlife due to a celestial accounting error. Carter’s romance with Kim Hunter’s peppy June is endearing, but it’s the visuals that wow: a stark monochrome Heaven, indebted to German Expressionist cinema; an English garden whose blooms are so vivid a character openly talks about Technicolor; an astonishing dissolve that takes us from the universe to the fires of aerial combat over the Channel.
It’s a propaganda piece, alright, for the dreaming power of cinema.
Extras Just a short 1998 doc, “The Colour Merchant”, about cinematographer Jack Cardiff, and text biographies. Nick Setchfield
For the scene of Carter on the misty beach, cinematographer Jack Cardiff fogged the camera lens with his breath.
It took 27 times to get the selfie right.