Movies From the Hat V #3 – Tony’s Pick – Stairway to Heaven (1946) aka A Matter of Life and Death


This is my 2952nd Review

Thanks to Anthony of The Mad Movie Man for this recommendation.

Here are his thoughts on the film.

*This is actually a rare case where the American title of a film is very different from the rest of the world, but since I go according to IMDB, I have chosen to use the American Title here (sorry Anthony) 🙂

“This is a court of justice, not of law. ” – Frank Reeves

Number of Times Seen – 1 (15 Mar 2017)

Brief Synopsis – A British bomber pilot is mistakenly not taken to Heaven when he jumps out of his plane and after falling in love with an American woman must prove to the Heavenly court that he should be left alive.

My Take on it – I had never heard of this film before Anthony suggested it and was amazed at how much I enjoyed it.

The concept is such a great one and it works extremely well because of the philosophical questions it raises over and over again about life, death, love and everything in between.

The special effects are quite interesting based on the technology of the 1940’s and I liked the choice to contrast the two worlds by using color and Black & White to accentuate that.

They are able to very proficiently state the case for both sides of this argument and they do a wonderful job putting it all togthere for us.

The cast is superb and is led by David Niven, Kim Hunter, Marius Goring, Roger Livesay and Raymond Massey.

Each of the main characters are developed quite well and we can sympathize with their opinions quite easily.

The court case is done amazingly and they really give us a feeling that we are watching something happening on another worldly plain of existence.

Both sides are argued quite well and it’s anyone’s guess which is the right way to go depending on your own perspective.

Loved the way that things are done ion a way that the whole story can be perceived in an ambiguous way that make us wonder over and over what is real, what is miraculous and what is just a dream.

They are expertly able to mix drama, romance and comedy all together here making for quite an enjoyable and satisfying story for us to devour.

Bottom Line – Great concept that works so well even with the primitive special effects of the 40’s. The premise is amazingly done and it all comes together nearly perfectly.  I especially loved the way that the differentiate the different planes of existence by use of color and black and white. The cast led by Niven, Hunter, Livesey and Massey is great and each character is developed well enough for us to understand what they stand for.  It tries to tell a great story about life, love and everything in between and it largely succeeds in what it means to do.  The court case is shot amazingly which both sides giving excellent arguments. This film expertly mixes comedy, romance and drama to give us such a satisfying story. Highly Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – After this film was released, there were oppositions against how heaven was interpreted in this film. One of the oppositions against the interpretation of heaven in this film is that there is not a single German, Italian, and Japanese can be seen in the film. So several people consider this film as an allied propaganda. (From IMDB)

Rating – Oscar Worthy

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One thought on “Movies From the Hat V #3 – Tony’s Pick – Stairway to Heaven (1946) aka A Matter of Life and Death

  1. Pingback: MovieRob Monthly Roundup – March 2017 |

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