A Book of Verses Underneath the Bough « PREV | NEXT »: Collected Stories

April 11, 2010

Heads-up about A Matter of Life and Death

Not really.  Calm down. That's the title of an absolutely great movie (it also goes under the name Stairway to Heaven) that Michael Powell made in 1946 with Emeric Pressburger.  It was a complete financial failure at the time, and for a while was very hard to see; I first caught up with it in about 1992 at a second-run movie house in Berkeley, and since then I've watched it on the big screen every chance I get.  This movie has everything:  theatricality, ironic humor, courtroom drama, spectacular sets and camera work, David Niven in his best role ever, and a wonderful life-after-death sequence that is unlike anything I've ever seen in any other movie.  I don't know if A Matter of Life and Death is rentable, but it's always better to see it in a real theater, and if you are anywhere near New York, you have a couple of chances to catch it at MOMA's Titus Theaters in the coming week -- Saturday the 17th at 4:00 and Sunday the 18th at 5:45. If you are already a fan of The Red Shoes and Peeping Tom, you will be amazed that this movie, too, falls within Michael Powell's wide-ranging talent; and if you are not already a Powell fan, this movie will make you one.
April 11, 2010 9:03 AM | | Comments (1)


"Stairway to Heaven" was one of the movies my parents dragged me to when I was a kid because a kiddie ticket was cheaper than a babysitter. Just a little too big to fall comfortably asleep in a theater chair, I tried to watch--or not to watch--the likes of "The Razor's Edge," "Caught," and "Stairway"--while the edge of the arm cut into my ribs. That frozen ping-pong game still shows up in bad dreams. Maybe I should finally rent it, and that'll be the cure.

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