It's easy to criticize this entry in 1950s' very brief and now forgotten "reincarnation" cycle. Most of the scenes simply consist of two or three people sitting around in standard studio-interior sets laying out the plot in straightforward expository dialog. These scenes progress with unimaginative efficiency from one plot-point to the next. The acting and the technical aspects of the production are never more than B-movie competent, and the flat ending is no more than John McIntyre delivering the kind of tie-up-the-loose-ends sort of speech which screenwriters are supposed to avoid.
And yet ... something about "I've Lived Before" merits a certain grudging admiration. Perhaps it's that unvarnished, minimalist quality which both limits and distinguishes it. In any case, those with a taste for the slightly off-beat may find this worth a look.
The opening two sequences, one set in 1918 France and one set in upstate New York in 1931 are unnecessary and get the movie off on the wrong foot, and there are the usual quirks which are now dated and provoke unwanted laughter such as the co-pilot smoking in the cockpit, the boyfriend sleeping on his fiancee's couch while she chastely retires to the bedroom, and Federal Airways optimistically billing itself as "The World's Safest Airline."
On the other hand, this provides a good showcase for Jock Mahoney, one of those beautiful men who doesn't seem to realize how beautiful he really is. It's both puzzling and unfortunate that he never became a star. Sadly, by the time he played the lead in two Tarzan movies, he was a bit past his prime as was the whole Tarzan genre. In this movie, he has only two fleeting bare-chest scenes contained inside a brief montage of medical examinations.
Fans of movies from the '30s and '40s will be pleased to see Ann Harding in a good supporting role, and the stewardess on the airplane is played by April Kent who later appeared as the female midget in "The Incredible Shrinking Man."
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