A Matter of Life and Death.

I was tootling through my posts and to my horror I hadn’t written a blog post on this fantastic film from 1946. So here goes!

The basic premise of the story is about a pilot, Peter, who jumps following damage to his plane. He talks to June, a young American RAF radio operator. He doesn’t go to heaven. He survives, and has to make an appeal of survival to those in Heaven; having fallen in love with June.

I love this film. Full stop. It lacks the banality that other films in this genre usually possess. It breaks every cliché of heaven that people have come to expect, such as the moving stairs and the records office containing details of everyone, living and dead. This same idea has been used many times, such as in Rod Serling’s 1950s TV series, The Twilight Zone.  It is a whole different pane of existence, with the vast array of people from history existing together. I am not going to get into a religious discussion about heaven. That’s just what I think.

When Peter has to plead his case, he uses his love for June as a reason, and upon being asked if he can prove it, he says ’50 years will do.’ which was a very sweet moment in a wonderful film. However, June proves her love for Peter by agreeing to go to Heaven in his place. Ultimately, Dr Reeves, who was called as a witness in Peter’s case, says ‘Nothing is stronger than law in the universe, but on earth, nothing is stronger than love’. The film has a slushy ending where everything is happy again.

I originally watched this film in my college film class. I think if I’d watched it myself I may’ve found it somewhat distracting if it was on TCM because the breaks during the film are long and drawn out. Now, enough of my grumbling, in all I think it was a lovely film which is made all the more charming with its CGI-less effects and big heart.



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