At the beginning of this World War II-era film by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, David Niven’s pilot Carter is plummeting to impending death, his plane having sustained damage during a bombing mission over Germany. Carter has allowed all of his crew to bail out in the knowledge that the last remaining parachute is unusable, and as he starts to descend over the English Channel his last conversation is with American June (Kim Hunter), a radio operator based on the south coast of England. This is the opening sequence of the film, after its otherworldly links are established, and it’s a fine beginning, even if Niven’s clipped accent and Hunter’s delivery sounds old-fashioned today. The rest of the film is a mix between romance and fantasy, and I’ll have a review up tomorrow, but I liked this scene so much I thought I’d post it first. (Incidentally, A Matter Of Life And Death was released as Stairway To Heaven in the US, but has since become better known under its original name.)

2 Responses to “Classic Scene: A Matter Of Life And Death”

  1. Three Rows Back

    What a wonderful movie and a moving opening scene. I’ve always been partial to the closing moments when our hero’s life is hanging in the balance. Literally!

    • Stu

      It is excellent, isn’t it? I’ve always liked Niven, probably since first watching The Guns Of Navarone years and years ago.


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