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****SPOILERS**** Have we lived before? Is reincarnation a fact that can be proved scientifically as well as believed philosophically? This mystery of life after death, or death before life, has baffled the most renowned minds and thinkers since the dawn of recorded history; from the Orient to ancient Egypt and Greece and to the great philosophers of Europe from the middle ages to modern times.
John Bolan, Jock Mahoney, is a commercial pilot who had a fascination with flying since he was a little boy back in Schenectady New York. At the age of 12 in 1931 young Johnny got into the cockpit of a bi-plane and few and landed it like a seasoned pilot. It was the first time that Johnny ever was on a plane much less fly it.
One afternoon when he was about to fly his plane to New York John sees an elderly woman passenger and all of a sudden his mind fills up with memories of a past life that he led. John sees himself as a Let. Peter Stevens a WWI US Army pilot who was shot down over Villars France on April 29, 1918. It's that tragic memory almost causes John to crash his plane with him and all on board now in 1956.
Hospitalized John's thoughts of a life before has him leave and go investigate if there really was a Let. Peter Stevens who was killed in an air battle over France in 1918. Seeing his good friend and lawyer Robert Allen,Simon Scott, about the matter Robert checked out the information that John gave him and comes back with a hit; there was a Let. Peter Stevens and he was shot down over France in April 1918.
John now finds out who that passenger who brought back those memories of WWI and finds out that her name is Jane Stone, Ann Harding, and goes to Philadelphia where she lives. He's determined find out from her if she knew Let. Peter Stevens and, to John's surprise,is informed by Jane that not only did she know Peter Stevens but was engaged to marry him! This revelation by John being Peter, in another life, leaves Jane almost in shock and asks John to please leave.
John who never believed in, or even thought about, reincarnation now is firmly convinced that he lived before and lived the life of Peter Stevens. Nothing that the doctors or psychiatrists at the hospital say can convince John otherwise other then the unproven fact that, like the movie says, "He lived before". The only thing that can positively prove that he was Peter Stevens in another life is for the reluctant Jane Stone, who's persuaded by John's fiancée Lois Gordon (Leigh Snowden), to come to New York. John needs Jane to confirm events between her and Peter that only she knows about. With that John as well as Jane can put the case of Peter Stevens to rest one way or another and see if the theory of reincarnation is in fact a fact or not a fact.
Intelligent film about a mysterious subject, reincarnation, and trying to be not too obviously for or against it. Even though the end of "I've Lived Before" does make a strong case for rebirth it does it in an honest and un-sensational way. Whenever I think about the fact or myth of reincarnation I'm always reminded of the quote by the celebrated 18th century French author and philosopher Voltaire who said of the theory of reincarnation: "It is not more surprising to be born twice then once".
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