A Matter of Life and Death

A Matter of Life and Death

Director: Emeric Pressburger, Michael Powell Cast: David Niven, Kim Hunter

Blu-ray (Special Edition / Restored / Full Frame)

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Overview

Also known as Stairway to Heaven, A Matter of Life and Death is the remarkable British fantasy film that became the surprise hit of 1946. David Niven stars as Peter Carter, a World War II RAF pilot who is forced to bail out of his crippled plane without a parachute. He wakes up to find he has landed on Earth utterly unharmed...which wasn't supposed to happen according to the rules of heaven. A celestial court argues over whether to claim Carter's life or let him survive to wed his American sweetheart (Kim Hunter). During an operation, in which Carter hovers between life and death, he dreams that his spirit is on trial, with God (Abraham Sofaer) as judge and Carter's recently deceased best friend (Roger Livesey) as defense counsel. The film tries to have it both ways by suggesting that the heavenly scenes are all a product of Carter's imagination, but the audience knows better. Among the curious but effective artistic choices in A Matter of Life and Death was the decision to film the earthbound scenes in Technicolor and the heaven sequences in black-and-white. The film was a product of the adventuresome team known as "The Archers": Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger.

Product Details

Release Date: 07/24/2018
UPC: 0715515218511
Original Release: 1946
Rating: PG
Source: Criterion
Region Code: A
Presentation: [Full Frame]
Time: 1:44:00
Sales rank: 4,994

Special Features

New 4k digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack ; Interview from 2008 with filmmaker Martin Scorsese; Audio Commentary from 2009 featuring film scholar Ian Christie; New interview with Editor Thelma Schoonmaker, Director Michael Powell's widow; New short documentary on the film's special effects featuring film historian Craig Barron and Visual Effects artist Harrison Ellenshaw; The Clour Merchant, a 1998 short film featuring Cinematographer Jcak Cardiff; The South Bank Show: "Michael Powell," a 1986 television program featuring Powell; Restoration demonstration ; Plus: An essay by critic Stephanie Zacharek

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
David Niven Peter Carter
Kim Hunter June
Marius Goring Conductor 71
Roger Livesey Dr. Frank Reeves
Raymond Massey Abraham Farlan
Richard Attenborough English Pilot
Robert Atkins The Vicar
Kathleen Byron Angel
Bonar Colleano American Pilot
Joan Maude Chief Recorder
Edwin Max Dr. McEwen
Robert Coote Bob Trubshawe
Betty Potter Mrs. Tucker
Bob Roberts Dr. Gaertler
Abraham Sofaer Judge
Robert Arden GI
Wally Patch ARP Warden
Tom Duggan American Policeman

Technical Credits
Emeric Pressburger Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Michael Powell Director,Producer,Screenwriter
George Blackler Makeup
George Blackwell Special Effects
George R. Busby Producer
Jack Cardiff Cinematographer
Christopher G. Challis Camera Operator
W. Percy Day Special Effects
Allan Gray Score Composer
Henry Harris Special Effects
Hein Heckroth Costumes/Costume Designer
Alfred Junge Production Designer
Arthur Lawson Art Director
Reginald Mills Editor
Phil Moore Songwriter
C.C. Stevens Sound/Sound Designer
Geoffrey Unsworth Camera Operator
Douglas Woolsey Special Effects

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