πŸŽ₯ A Matter of Life and Death – 1946

The Story …

On 2 May 1945, Squadron Leader Peter Carter, an RAF pilot, is flying a badly damaged and burning Lancaster bomber over the English Channel, after a mission over Germany.

Carter is expecting to die, after ordering his crew to bail out, without revealing to them that his own parachute has been destroyed. The only radio operator receiving him is June, at a USAAF base on the coast of England.

For a few minutes Carter converses with June, before jumping from the Lancaster without a parachute …

Peter should have died at that point, but Conductor 71, the guide sent to escort him to the Other World, misses him in the thick fog over the English Channel. The airman wakes up on a beach near June’s base.

At first, he assumes he is in the afterlife but, when a de Havilland Mosquito flies low overhead, discovers to his bewilderment that he is still alive.

Peter meets June cycling back to her quarters after her night shift, and they fall in love. Conductor 71 (a French aristocrat guillotined in the Revolution) stops time to explain the situation, urging Peter to accept his death and accompany him to the Other World, but Peter demands an appeal.

While Conductor 71 consults his superiors, Peter continues to live. Conductor 71 returns and informs him that he has been granted his appeal and has three days to prepare his case. He can choose a defence counsel from among all the people who have ever died, but he has difficulty picking one.

Peter’s visions are diagnosed by June’s fascinated friend Doctor Reeves as a symptom of a brain injury-chronic adhesive arachnoiditis from a slight concussion two years earlier – and he is scheduled for surgery. Reeves is killed in a motorcycle accident while trying to find the ambulance that is to take Peter to the hospital. Reeves’ death allows him to act as Peter’s counsel.

Reeves argues that, through no fault of his own, his client was given additional time on Earth and that, during that time, he has fallen in love and now has an earthly commitment that should take precedence over the afterlife’s claim on him. The matter comes to a head-in parallel with Peter’s brain surgery – before a celestial court; the camera zooms out from an amphitheatre to reveal that it is as large as a spiral galaxy.

The prosecutor is American Abraham Farlan, who hates the British for making him the first casualty of the American Revolutionary War. Reeves challenges the composition of the jury, which is made up of representatives who are prejudiced against the British. In fairness, the jury is replaced by a multicultural mixture of modern Americans whose origins are as varied as those they replace.

Reeves and Farlan both make comparisons with the other’s nationality to support their positions. In the end, Reeves has June take the stand (Conductor 71 makes her fall asleep in the real world so she can testify) and prove that she genuinely loves Peter by telling her that the only way to save his life is to take his place, whereupon she steps onto the stairway to the Other World without hesitation and is carried away, leaving Peter behind.

The stairway comes to an abrupt halt and June rushes back to Peter’s open arms. As Reeves triumphantly explains, “… nothing is stronger than the law in the universe, but on Earth, nothing is stronger than love.”

The jury rules in Peter’s favour. The Judge shows Reeves and Farlan the new lifespan granted to the defendant; Reeves calls it “very generous”, and Farlan jokingly complains, then agrees to it.

The two then engage in supportive banter with one another, and against the stern Chief Recorder, who protests against the breach of law. In the operating room, the surgeon declares the operation a success.

Credits :

  • Directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger
  • Written by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger
  • Produced by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger
  • Narrated by John Longden
  • Cinematography Jack Cardiff
  • Edited by Reginald Mills
  • Music by Allan Gray
  • Production Companies : The Archers and J. Arthur Rank
  • Distributed by Eagle-Lion Films (UK)
  • Release Dates : 1 November 1946

Cast :

  • Ray Milland as Tony Wendice
  • Grace Kelly as Margot Mary Wendice
  • Robert Cummings as Mark Halliday
  • John Williams as Chief Inspector Hubbard
  • Anthony Dawson as Charles Alexander Swann/Captain Lesgate
  • Leo Britt as storyteller at the party
  • Patrick Allen as Detective Pearson
  • Robin Hughes as Police Sergeant
  • Martin Milner as policeman outside Wendice flat (uncredited)
  • George Leigh as Detective Williams
  • George Alderson as First Detective

Film Information Source :

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Matter_of_Life_and_Death_(film)

Copyright Protected :

ALL RIGHTS TO THIS MOVIE REMAIN WITH THE OWNERS

GENRE : #WAR-MOVIES

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