After miraculously surviving a jump from his burning plane, RAF pilot Peter Carter (David Niven) encounters the American radio operator (Kim Hunter) to whom he’s just delivered his dying wishes and, face-to-face on a tranquil English beach, the pair fall in love. When a messenger from the afterlife arrives to correct the clerical error that spared his life, Peter must mount a fierce defense for his right to stay on earth—painted by production designer Alfred Junge and cinematographer Jack Cardiff as a rich Technicolor Eden—climbing a wide staircase to stand trial in a starkly beautiful, black-and-white modernist heaven. Peppered by humorous jabs intended to smooth tensions between the wartime allies Britain and America, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s richly humanistic A Matter of Life and Death
traverses time and space to make a case for the transcendent value of love.
- Audio commentary from 2009 featuring film scholar Ian Christie
- New interview with editor Thelma Schonmaker Powell, director Michael Powell’s widow
- New interview with film historian Craig Barron on the film’s visual effects and production design
- Interview from 2009 with filmmaker Martin Scorsese
- The Colour Merchant, a 1998 short film by Craig McCall featuring cinematographer Jack Cardiff
- An essay by critic Stephanie Zacharek