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A Matter of Life and Death (aka Stairway to Heaven) (4K restoration) movie review: paradise on Earth

MaryAnn’s quick take… One of the most beloved British films ever is now even more lush, more gorgeous, more humanist in a glorious new restored edition. I’m “biast” (pro): loved the movie before it was restored

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

A Matter of Life and Death, from the legendary writing and directing team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, is one of the most beloved British films ever made. And it’s easy to see why: It’s a deliciously preposterous romance between two gorgeous people whom you cannot help but root for as their love is threatened. It’s a profoundly humanist fantasy about our place in the universe and the importance of living a full life. And it’s a dazzling visual spectacle that is deeply viscerally satisfying even as it deals with big ideas and big emotions.
See full article at FlickFilosopher »

Revisiting A Matter Of Life And Death

Rachel Meaden Dec 8, 2017

It’s 71 years old and considered one of the best British films ever made. Rachel takes a look at the wonderful A Matter Of Life And Death.

This article contains spoilers for A Matter Of Life And Death

It never made sense to me that they changed the title of A Matter Of Life And Death for American cinemas (it was thought that Us audiences wouldn’t go and see a film with the word ‘death’ in the title); Stairway To Heaven feels wrong for a couple of reasons. Not to be pedantic but technically it’s an escalator, also it’s never explicitly referred to as 'Heaven' in the movie. But mainly, it's far too imposing a title. Part of the film does explore the afterlife (and it doesn't get much more imposing than that...), but what's so brilliant about A Matter Of Life And Death
See full article at Den of Geek »

The Barefoot Contessa

The Barefoot Contessa


Twilight Time

1954 / Color / 1:78 widescreen / 130 min. / Street Date December 13, 2016 / Available from the Twilight Time Movies Store 29.95

Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Ava Gardner, Edmond O’Brien, Marius Goring, Rossano Brazzi, Valentina Cortese, Elizabeth Sellars, Warren Stevens, Enzo Staiola, Mari Aldon, Bessie Love.

Cinematography: Jack Cardiff

Original Music: Mario Nascimbene

Written, Produced and Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz

As a teenager, many of my first and strongest movie impressions came not from the movies, but from certain critics. I memorized Robin Wood’s analysis before getting a look at Hitchcock’s Psycho. Raymond Durgnat introduced me to Georges Franju and Luis Buñuel, and I first learned to appreciate a number of great movies including The Barefoot Contessa from Richard Corliss, a terrific critic who championed writers over director-auteurs.

The Barefoot Contessa is a classically structured story, in that it could work as a novel; it’s told from several points of view.
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

The Angry Hills

Robert Mitchum all but snoozes through this promising war-espionage thriller that pits lazy Gestapo agents against clueless partisans in occupied Greece. It's got great locations and a good cast, but director Robert Aldrich seems off his feed -- there's not a lot of excitement to be had. The Angry Hills DVD-r The Warner Archive Collection 1959 / B&W / 2:35 enhanced widescreen / 106 min. / Street Date February 16, 2016 / available through the WBshop / 21.99 Starring Robert Mitchum, Stanley Baker, Elisabeth Mueller, Gia Scala, Theodore Bikel, Sebastian Cabot, Donald Wolfit, Marius Goring, Jocelyn Lane, Kieron Moore, George Pastell, Marita Constantinou, Alec Mango. Cinematography Stephen Dade Film Editor Peter Tanner Production Design Ken Adam Original Music Richard Rodney Bennett Written by A.I. Bezzerides from the novel by Leon Uris Produced by Raymond Stross Directed by Robert Aldrich

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

Director Robert Aldrich had come through with successes for Burt Lancaster's production company (Apache, Vera Cruz
See full article at Trailers from Hell »


"This land is mine, God made this land for me." Those are just song lyrics, while Otto Preminger's politically daring 70mm mega-production is a lot more subtle in its presentation of the 'Palestinian problem' that led to the formation of the State of Israel. It's a bit ponderous, but Dalton Trumbo's screenplay avoids the pitfalls -- 56 years later, the story is still relevant. Exodus Blu-ray Twilight Time Limited Edition 1960 / Color / 2:35 widescreen / 208 min. / Ship Date March 15, 2016 / available through Twilight Time Movies / 29.95 Starring Paul Newman, Eva Marie Saint, Ralph Richardson, Peter Lawford, Lee J. Cobb, Sal Mineo, John Derek, David Opatoshu, Jill Haworth, Hugh Griffith, Gregory Ratoff, Felix Aylmer, Marius Goring, Alexandra Stewart, Martin Benson, Paul Stevens, George Maharis, John Crawford, Victor Maddern, Paul Stassino, John Van Eyssen Cinematography Sam Leavitt Art Direction Richard Day Film Editor Louis R. Loeffler Original Music Ernest Gold Written by Dalton Trumbo from
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Beggars of Light: The Nitrate Picture Show 2015

  • MUBI
"The music seemed extraordinarily fresh and genuine still. It might grow old-fashioned, he told himself, but never old, surely, while there was any youth left in men. It was an expression of youth–that, and no more; with sweetness and foolishness, the lingering accent, the heavy stresses–the delicacy, too–belonging to that time."—"The Professor's House," Willa CatherHis last words, in a hospital four months later, are said to have been 'Mind your own business!' addressed to an enquirer after the state of his bowels. Friends got to the studio just before the wreckers' ball. Pictures, a profusion, piles of them, littered the floor: of 'a world that will never be seen except in pictures'"—"The Pound Era," Hugh Kenner***Heart Of FIREOften when I go to a movie, usually one made before 1960, I think about the opening scene of The Red Shoes, of Marius Goring and his
See full article at MUBI »

3D in the 21st Century. True Starts and Second Truths: "Katy Perry: Part of Me" (3D)

  • MUBI
"Dance, dance, feel it all around you Dance, dance, dance, Never thought love had a rainbow on it See the girl dance See the girl dance."- Neil Young, "Dance, Dance, Dance"***When I watched Katy Perry’s recent Super Bowl performance I got very excited. There was a lot of shrieking. So much so that my roommate, who had been diligently watching screeners of important art films one floor below, came up to see what was happening. A friend who was over to watch the game, who I often go to repertory movies with, later told another friend he had never seen me so excited. The third friend watching it with us, she’s a writer, was also excited. In her excitement she sent all of her twitter friends a picture. In my own excitement I sent yet a fourth friend a text message. ******My text message may have been sent off haphazardly,
See full article at MUBI »

Criterion Collection: The River | Blu-ray Review

Criterion repackages Jean Renoir’s 1951 classic The River for Blu-ray, one of the master filmmaker’s several titles in the collection (fans may recall that Renoir’s Grand Illusion was the very first Criterion title). A title significant in many respects, being the first Technicolor film in India and Renoir’s first color feature, it’s simplistic beauty has gone on to influence future generations of filmmakers, including its prominently vocal champion Martin Scorsese. It also served as a launching pad for Satyajit Ray, who worked as an assistant on the film, and who would go on to create his own stunning debut four years later with the first chapter of his Apu trilogy, Pather Panchali (1955).

We experience the childhood of Harriet (Patricia Walters) in retrospect, her off-screen adult voice recounting one particular stretch of time while growing up in India with her mother (Nora Swinburne) and father (Esmond Knight
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Which is the greatest British film in history? No one seems to be in agreement

Best British movies of all time? (Image: a young Michael Caine in 'Get Carter') Ten years ago, Get Carter, starring Michael Caine as a dangerous-looking London gangster (see photo above), was selected as the United Kingdom's very best movie of all time according to 25 British film critics polled by Total Film magazine. To say that Mike Hodges' 1971 thriller was a surprising choice would be an understatement. I mean, not a David Lean epic or an early Alfred Hitchcock thriller? What a difference ten years make. On Total Film's 2014 list, published last May, Get Carter was no. 44 among the magazine's Top 50 best British movies of all time. How could that be? Well, first of all, people would be very naive if they took such lists seriously, whether we're talking Total Film, the British Film Institute, or, to keep things British, Sight & Sound magazine. Second, whereas Total Film's 2004 list was the result of a 25-critic consensus,
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Schell as Director: Three Academy Award Nominations for His Films

Maximilian Schell movie director (photo: Maximilian Schell and Maria Schell) (See previous post: “Maximilian Schell Dies: Best Actor Oscar Winner for ‘Judgment at Nuremberg.’”) Maximilian Schell’s first film as a director was the 1970 (dubbed) German-language release First Love / Erste Liebe, adapted from Igor Turgenev’s novella, and starring Englishman John Moulder-Brown, Frenchwoman Dominique Sanda, and Schell in this tale about a doomed love affair in Czarist Russia. Italian Valentina Cortese and British Marius Goring provided support. Directed by a former Best Actor Oscar winner, First Love, a movie that could just as easily have been dubbed into Swedish or Swahili (or English), ended up nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award. Three years later, nominated in that same category was Schell’s second feature film as a director, The Pedestrian / Der Fußgänger, in which a car accident forces a German businessman to delve deep into his past.
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Remembering Trevor Howard

Feature Aliya Whiteley 26 Sep 2013 - 07:13

An acting great British of the post-war era, Trevor Howard's the subject of a new movie box set. Aliya looks at its five classic films...

It's difficult to describe Trevor Howard. I could start by saying he was a great leading man of British post-war cinema, but that leaves out his supporting turns in films like The Third Man, and his character performances, such as Captain Bligh in Mutiny On The Bounty (1962), or Sir Henry At Rawlinson End (1980). He could be called an upper-class gentleman, but in Sons And Lovers (1960) he played a Nottinghamshire miner perfectly.

I could talk about how he wasn't traditionally handsome, but the look in his eyes when he falls passionately for Celia Johnson (Brief Encounter) contains a male beauty that continues to define cinematic love today. Or maybe I could mention how perfectly he inhabited the role of
See full article at Den of Geek »

10 gripping British thrillers of the 1940s

Feature Aliya Whiteley 20 Jun 2013 - 10:11

The films of post-war Britain are fascinating; Aliya picks 10 of the best British thrillers from the 1940s

The 1940s was a heck of a decade for the British. We started it at war with Nazi Germany, with the threat of Ira collaboration with the enemy looming large. By the end of it we had seen Independence achieved by India, lived through strikes and rationing, and held the fourteenth Olympic Games in London at a time of great austerity. The welfare state was under formation, and in the space of ten years we had become a very different country.

The British film industry reflected those changes, particularly in the thrillers that were made. The lines between good and evil, safety and danger, were the stuff of entertainment that tapped into the concerns of the public. It was a period of vivid, ambitious, and surprising films.
See full article at Den of Geek »

A Matter of Life and Death,’ WWII romance, popular psychology, and patriotism

‘A Matter of Life and Death (Stairway To Heaven)’

Written & Directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger

Starring David Niven, Kim Hunter, and Roger Livesey

UK, 104 min – 1946.

“A weak mind isn’t strong enough to hurt itself. Stupidity has saved many a man from going mad.”

When A Matter of Life and Death begins, there is seemingly no hope for Raf pilot, Peter Carter (David Niven). His plane has been shot at, while returning from a bombing run in May 1945. His crew safely bails out, but he remains. Peter gets on the radio and speaks to American operator, June (Kim Hunter) revealing that these are his last moments. He talks to her of love and loss and of his readiness to die and then jumps out of his burning plane, sans parachute. This is supposed to be his time of death, but unfortunately Peter’s heavenly Conductor 71 (Marius Goring) misses him in the English fog.
See full article at SoundOnSight »

“Forty 1940s Films: ‘The Red Shoes’

“40 films from the ‘40s” is a movie challenge to watch and write about one film from that era weekly. Why the ‘40s? That decade is fascinating, because of the juxtapositions between films released during WWII and those released after. Half the decade was spent scrambling to keep nations afloat during war and the second half was spent trying to pick up the pieces and move forward.


The Red Shoes

Written & Directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger

Starring Moira Shearer, Anton Walbrook, and Marius Goring

UK, 133 min. – 1984

Based on Hans Christian Anderson’s fairytale, The Red Shoes follows the story of young, aspiring ballet dancer, Victoria Page (Shearer). Vicky dreams of dancing for Boris Lermantov’s (Walbrook) company. She finally gets the chance to do so, in Lermnatov’s newest ballet, “The Red Shoes”, composed by the young, musical genius, Julian Craster (Marius Goring). Vicky lives for dancing and Lermantov
See full article at SoundOnSight »

5 April DVD Titles You Should Know About, Including 'Chinatown,' 'A Trip To The Moon' & 'Girl On A Motorcycle'

While the future of home entertainment may be rapidly moving towards a digital streaming-led future, we can't be the only movie nerds who still love owning a physical copy of something. Sure, BluRay and DVD might be scratchable, easily lost and adorned by terrible box art, but there's something about the feeling of finding an undiscovered gem in the depths of a store, or getting a rarity in the post, that doesn't quite compare to clicking and watching something on Netflix.

As such, starting with this column, every month we're going to pick out five BluRays or DVDs new to the market that no self-respecting cinephile's shelves could do without. Some are shiny new versions of stone-cold classics, some are obscurities, some might even be brand new releases (although less often: those are covered pretty well elsewhere). Read on for more.

"Chinatown" (1974)

Why You Should Care: Simply put, it's one
See full article at The Playlist »

365 Days, 100 Films #63 - The Red Shoes (1948)

The Red Shoes, 1948.

Directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger.

Starring Anton Walbrook, Marius Goring and Moira Shearer.


A love triangle forms between three members of a ballet company. Their production of an old fairy-tale, The Red Shoes, frames their torment.

I’ve seen the actual red shoes Moira Shearer wore in the film. They were on loan to the BFI sometime last year from Martin Scorsese. They looked a little battered and frayed, as though they were sad. I thought this before I’d even seen the film from where they came. Now they’re even more imbued with tragedy.

The Red Shoes is based on Han Christian Anderson’s fairy-tale of the same name. Anderson’s story was about a young girl who became obsessed with a pair of red shoes. She’d go everywhere in them, ignoring church and her ill mother. After attending a party,
See full article at Flickeringmyth »

New Release: Ill Met By Moonlight DVD

Hen’s Tooth Video will release the 1957 British war drama-adventure Ill Met By Moonlight (also known as Night Ambush) on DVD on Aug. 16 for the list price of $19.95, marking the film’s DVD premiere in the U.S.

British officers David Oxley (l.) and Dirk Bogarde are Ill Met By Midnight.

Written, produced and directed by the legendary filmmaking team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, the World War II movie follows two British officers (Despair‘s Dirk Bogarde, David Oxley) who are assigned to kidnap a German General (Marius Goring) from the Nazi occupied island of Crete and deliver him to Allied forces in Cairo. Aided by local patriots, the abduction itself goes smoothly, but the Brits’ subsequent action-filled escape across the rocky Cretan landscape proves to be more problematic.

Based on W. Stanley Moss’s autobiographical account of the operation, Ill Met By Moonlight was the last collaboration between Powell and Pressburger,
See full article at Disc Dish »

Five Films That Blur The Line Between Fantasy And Reality

Many unsuspecting cinema-goers who clearly hadn’t read the reviews got quite a shock when they went into Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan expecting a nice movie about ballet. Black Swan is a fully-fledged (pun intended) horror movie full of fantastical elements – or is it? Horror it certainly is – fantasy, it may not be, as it is entirely possible that every uncanny event in the film exists only in the protagonist’s disturbed mind. Black Swan is far from the first film to play with the line between fantasy and reality, and it won’t be the last. What follows is a subjective list of some of my favourite reality-bending fantastical films.*

A Matter of Life and Death (dir. Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, 1946, known as Stairway to Heaven in the Us)

A Matter of Life and Death uses exactly the same method as Black Swan to bend reality, but to the exact opposite effect.
See full article at SoundOnSight »

Where Everyone Has Gone Before #18: 'A Matter of Life and Death'

Filed under: Columns, Cinematical

Welcome to Where Everyone Has Gone Before, the column in which I continue my film education before your very eyes by seeking out and watching all of the movies I should have seen by now. I will first judge the movie before I've watched it, based entirely on its reputation (and my potentially misguided thoughts). Then I will give the movie a fair chance and actually watch it. You will laugh at me, you may condemn me, but you will never say I didn't try!

The Film: 'A Matter of Life and Death' (1946), Dir. Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger

Starring: David Niven, Kim Hunter, Roger Livesey, Marius Goring and Abraham Sofaer.

Why I Haven't Seen It Until Now: Every film buff worth his salt has at least heard of Powell and Pressburger, the brilliant duo behind such films as 'The Red Shoes,' 'Black Narcissus
See full article at Cinematical »

Where Everyone Has Gone Before #18: 'A Matter of Life and Death'

Filed under: Columns, Cinematical

Welcome to Where Everyone Has Gone Before, the column in which I continue my film education before your very eyes by seeking out and watching all of the movies I should have seen by now. I will first judge the movie before I've watched it, based entirely on its reputation (and my potentially misguided thoughts). Then I will give the movie a fair chance and actually watch it. You will laugh at me, you may condemn me, but you will never say I didn't try!

The Film: 'A Matter of Life and Death' (1946), Dir. Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger

Starring: David Niven, Kim Hunter, Roger Livesey, Marius Goring and Abraham Sofaer.

Why I Haven't Seen It Until Now: Every film buff worth his salt has at least heard of Powell and Pressburger, the brilliant duo behind such films as 'The Red Shoes,' 'Black Narcissus
See full article at Moviefone »
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