The Masters  
The Powell & Pressburger Pages

Dedicated to the work of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger and all the other people, both actors and technicians who helped them make those wonderful films.

A lot of the documents have been sent to me or have come from other web sites. The name of the web site is given where known. If I have unintentionally included an image or document that is copyrighted or that I shouldn't have done then please email me and I'll remove it.

I make no money from this site, it's purely for the love of the films.

[Any comments are by me (Steve Crook) and other members of the email list]

  Steve's Logo

IMDb Comments index for Matter of Life and Death, A (1946)

Boston, MA

Date: 31 October 2001
Summary: Remarkable, unusual, superb, and strangely ignored

This is a strange but beautiful film that takes brave chances to deliver an uplifting spiritual message. A British flier, doomed to die in the crash of his bomber, is somehow missed by the Angel of Death as he falls with no parachute. From this point on, the film operates on two distinct planes of existence: the real world, where the flier is gravely ill with a brain injury, and the spiritual world, where he must sue for his life. David Niven and Kim Hunter are superb, as is Raymond Massey, in a wonderful cameo role. I am at a loss to explain why this film isn't more talked about or more widely available, since it breaks so much new ground in terms of technique and story line.

Thom (jonathandoe_se7en)

Date: 20 October 2001
Summary: Beautiful

A Matter of Life and Death, what can you really say that would properly do justice to the genius and beauty of this film. Powell and Pressburger's visual imagination knows no bounds, every frame is filled with fantastically bold compositions. The switches between the bold colours of "the real world" to the stark black and white of heaven is ingenious, showing us visually just how much more vibrant life is. The final court scene is also fantastic, as the judge and jury descend the stairway to heaven to hold court over Peter (David Niven)'s operation.

All of the performances are spot on (Roger Livesey being a standout), and the romantic energy of the film is beautiful, never has there been a more romantic film than this (if there has I haven't seen it). A Matter of Life and Death is all about the power of love and just how important life is. And Jack Cardiff's cinematography is reason enough to watch the film alone, the way he lights Kim Hunter's face makes her all the more beautiful, what a genius, he can make a simple things such as a game of table tennis look exciting. And the sound design is also impeccable; the way the sound mutes at vital points was a decision way ahead of its time

This is a true classic that can restore anyone's faith in cinema, under appreciated on its initial release and by today's audiences, but one of my all time favourites, which is why I give this film a 10/10, in a word - Beautiful.

Northern Virginia, USA

Date: 10 August 2001
Summary: True Classic! One of the most underrated, undernoticed films of all time!

I remember the first time I saw this movie -- I was in the office working over the weekend & the TV was on for background noise. But I gradually found myself more & more engaged in this movie I'd never seen or heard of, until I was completely absorbed. A Matter of Life & Death (the British title -- Stairway to Heaven in the US) is delightful, compelling, whimsical, & moving, all in one superbly-written, well-acted, perfectly-directed package. It's a classic that really does rank right up there with Casablanca, It's a Wonderful Life, Gone With the Wind, Citizen Kane, & Chariots of Fire. WHY has it never received the same public notice & video-store prominence? Fortunately, SOME knowledgeable critics HAVE put it on their "Top 100 of all time" lists. There IS hope -- 1940's Fantasia wasn't a hit 'til the '60s, & the Wizard of Oz was a dud at the box office, but made a hit by TV. Buy it -- rent it -- watch it -- demand it! You WON'T be disappointed!

Vancouver, BC, Canada

Date: 3 May 2001
Summary: Excellent!

I saw this movie years ago on late night television. Back then it went by the title of "Stairway to Heaven". Even as a young boy, I remember being deeply moved by the story and astounded by the visual effects of the court trial (those who have seen it know what I'm talking about). Such imagination! A perfect blend of romance, drama, humour and fantasy, this movie is right up there with the greatest classics ever made: Citizen Kane, Casablanca, Gone with the Wind. This movie is rated extremely high by IMDB voters and rightly so - over 51% voters rated it 10 out of 10; over 84% rated it 8 or higher out of 10. I was surprised it was not listed in the top 250 films until I realized so few have seen/rated this movie, compared to those on the list. What a pity. I hope this movie gets released on DVD for Region 1 (North America), so that 1), I can purchase it, and 2), others discover this hidden treasure.

Santa Monica, CA

Date: 22 April 2001
Summary: A wonderful, imaginative story about the cosmic relationship between fantasy and reality

A wonderful film by Powell and Pressburger, whose work I now want to explore more. The film is about what we perceive as real and what is real, and how the two can be so difficult to distinguish from one another. Beautifully shot and acted, although David Niven doesn't seem to be 27 years old, as his character claims to be. Fun to see a very young Richard Attenborough. This film made me think, while I was watching it, and afterwards.

Seamus Sweeney
Dublin, Ireland

Date: 7 February 2001
Summary: poetry 24 times a second

As a team, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger knew that nothing exceeds like excess. When the British Ministry of Information commissioned a film to help promote Anglo-American relations as the Second World War came to an end, they could never have expected this opulent fantasy of love beyond all limits. An impossibly cool David Niven plays a fighter pilot about to bail out without a parachute, declaiming love poetry to American radio operator Kim Hunter. But Niven cheats death and stymies the well-ordered engineering of souls after death, provoking a trial in heaven as Niven seeks to stay with his love.

Powell and Pressburger were one of cinema's most unique and visionary teams, and this film can be seen as a meditation on cinema as well as love (the afterlife scenes are in black and white; one character remarks "one is starved for Technicolor up here", and Powell and Pressburger regular Roger Livesey plays a village doctor who acts as omnipotent narrator to the village scenes he sees through his camera obscura) But most of all, "A Matter of Life and Death " is one of the great hand-holdingly romantic movies of all time.

valerie rink (
sulphur, la. usa

Date: 1 February 2001
Summary: fantastic what ever it is called

When I first saw this movie its title was A Stairway to Heaven. It took me years to find it. I didn't know the title had changed. To show how much I enjoyed this movie I have over 500 tapes in my tv room and only 2 black and white films. This is one and the other is the original Canterville ghost. It is a great movie to watch with the whole family which is hard to come by these days.

New York

Date: 9 January 2001
Summary: why is it unavailable?

Surely one of the best British films ever made, if not one of the best films ever made anywhere. Script, cinematography, direction and acting in a class on their own. This film works on so many levels. So why is it completely unavailable on tape, DVD. Never shown on TV? Why is it hidden away when it is regularly shown at the National Film Theatre in London to packed houses?

Brian Cullen (leccyflyer)
Cheshire, England

Date: 23 November 2000
Summary: Quite simply the best film ever made

To me A Matter of Life and Death is just that- simply the best film ever made.

From beginning to end it oozes class. It is stimulating, thought provoking, a mirror to the post war world and the relations between peoples.

The cinematography is simply stunning and the effect of mixing monochrome and Technicolour to accent the different worlds works seamlessly. The characters and plot development are near perfect and the attention to detail promotes a thoroughly believable fantasy.

No matter how many times I watch the film - and I have watched it a lot - it never fails to touch me. It makes me smile, it makes me laugh, it makes me think, it makes me cry. It is as fresh today as it was in 1946.

If I were allowed just one film to keep and watch again A Matter of Life and Death would be that film.

Steve M

Date: 3 September 2000
Summary: Fantastic Fantasy

Filmed just after the war, this story was made in order to highlight Anglo-American relations after the war. It ended up receiving the honour of being the first Royal Premiere after WWII.

Remarkably the film tangles together the Royal Air Force, Sigmund Freud Psychology, the Founding fathers of America and various others up the long stairs (special effects in its infancy) and beyond the heavenly gates without losing any of its integrity.

Although sounding absurd, this clever script leads and dances the viewer between heaven and earth with the skill of a mountain goat and a presents a charming ease rarely matched in cinema since.

Be prepared to have your heart warmed by this sweet, innocent and charming love story. Roger Livesey acts like a man possessed to steal the show!!!!

British Cinema should cry when it remembers how good it used to be in those early post war years.

oh madeline
New London, New Hampshire

Date: 15 August 2000
Summary: My Favorite Movie of All Time

Powell/Pressburger was a remarkable directorial duo -- and five of their films are among my top 10, but my all-time favorite movie is A Matter of Life And Death -- known in the US as Stairway to Heaven. This is the most romantic, wittiest, most clever, and altogether the most enjoyable movie I have ever seen. David Niven is at his most drop-dead dashing, and Roger Livesey is the doctor and friend all of us would love to have. This movie makes me laugh, cry, and most of all swoon. I just love it.

Matt Walsh (
Half Moon Bay, CA

Date: 22 July 2000
Summary: Wonderful!

Reintroduced to theatres a few years ago, this gem largely undiscovered by the many people was not only thoroughly entertaining, visually captivating (esp the stairway scene) but most uniquely was an extremely early example of surrealistic brain-teasing storytelling.

Later films like Blade Runner, Total Recall, the 6th Sense and 12 Monkeys would reintroduce this concept of an indeterminate ending; that is, underneath the obvious ending lies a distinctly possible alternative (often stemming from a mentally-impaired main character). Doing so transports the story from a short experience on the screen to something alive for in the minds of viewers who continue to find new clues and form new interpretations.

The most fascinating thing to me is how many of these clues exist as artifacts from the synergy of the actors and crew, not as cut-and-dry deliberate insertions.

I have to admit that the WWII unity propaganda near the end goes a bit too far from the story. On the other hand, movies to me are like time machines, and these echoes from the great war in and of themselves captivated me.

isidore-lucien ducasse (
montevideo, uruguay

Date: 20 June 2000
Summary: Intoxicating - one of the five greatest films ever made.

In an almost stereotypically English way, this heartstopping extravaganza - this sweeping melange of wild fantastic romance, colour, dementia, terror, satire, folly, geometry, comedy and hallucination - is more acclaimed for what it is not (and it is not a 'typical' English film, it is not full of stiff-upper-lippery and crippled restraint, it is not a documentary-like war film) than for what it most joyously is, one of the strangest, most troubling, yet life-affirming things in the whole world ever. If I incline to hyperbole - and how can one speak of the Archers without hyperbole? -than I make no apologies: A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH is one of my desert island films, and I could hug it until it chokes.

In a film where every scene is a hymn to excess, Romanticism, daring, yet imbued with irony and a very English eccentricity, where bursting composition, overripe colour, playful music (now swelling and romantic, now mockingly cheerful, now chilling and foreboding) and drunken editing cohere to create not formal perfection, but rapturous rupture - and this IS a film that posits love as either a demented hallucination or a bond stronger than heaven itself - how can one choose a favourite?

Is it the opening credits, with its splashes of blue paint, always with a light tugging at the top, until the black clouds over our writers'-producers'-directors' names? Is it the incredible opening narration, with the reassuringly BBC voiceover which can explain even the universe, before we're hurled into war, that bloody mockery of celestial harmony, and begetter of the subsequent narrative's ambiguity - is what follows the febrile imaginings of a shell-shocked airman, or can we truly believe in chilly heaven, dapper French conductors, stairways, roses, tears?

Is it that narrative's opening sequence, beginning where most films would end, with unutterably brave, slightly silly, tear-choking English fatalism, a scene bursting with death and love, the twin motors of a film about a romance engendered without either lover ever setting eyes on one another: this vies with Scottie and Judy's kiss in VERTIGO as the greatest, most nerve-wracking, sweat-inducing, pulse-quickening, dread-creeping scene in all cinema?

Is it that awesome vision of heaven, a geometric conception of insane order, a dream-like METROPOLIS which I find quite appealing - it's not enough to suggest that monochrome heaven competes with Technicolour Earth - the crazed logic of heaven becomes increasingly apparent, culminating in the extraordinary courtroom sequence which has all the pedantic logic of an insane asylum, while Earth, full of good sense - and who would give up love for death? - has a crucial monochrome sequence, where Frank meets his friend MacEwan organising Peter's operation, the two realms meeting to prepare the arena for combat. The heaven sequences are often considered satirical of Labour bureaucracy, and the grey, mechanistic sameness seems to mirror Tory fears, but the hopeful smile on Attenborough's face, never having seen such happiness, is not to be discounted, and the chilling Flanders-like assembly-line of wings signalling a reality has nothing to do with socialism (British style, anyway), while we must remember tha Powell was once a banker.

What about Peter awakening from his death, the transformation of dull, isolated, war-pulverised England into a plausible heaven, with its naked pipe-playing boy-shepherds and oneiric dogs - Powell's sense of the magic of nature has never been more in evidence than here, as a mere beach feels like another world, and the wind rustles the reeds, charged with more than air. Or my own favourite scene, when the splendid Conductor interrupts Peter and June's idyll: its brazen infusion of romance, suspended time, fantasy and realism, its threat of sundered happiness, is almost too much, an Archers' signature scene? Or the simply dazzling pingpong sequence, a sleeping Peter barred from the game of Frank and June, passive masculinity being talked about by others, his fate in their non-militaristic hands.

I could go on. Or I could just go back and watch it again. I'd love to be able to disengage myself, and watch it 'intellectually' - talk about the link between godlike viewpoints, seeing (constantly distorted throughout) and the cinema (Frank's disturbing camera obscura, where the doctor-god-director observes his minions, making diagnoses, mirrored in the light looking down on Peter as he is being operated on, closing his eyes; or relate the film's surprisingly cutting satire, about how war truly affected its agents, how the perfect Englishman is a mentally fragile timebomb waiting to explode, how nationality is discussed in the Courtromm sequence with astonishing, critical directness (literally a lot of air spouted by dead men) - this celebration of Englishness is also its keenest critique; I could talk about how the film carefully modulates between the possibilities of madness, Expressionism or 'plausibility'. But I can't. This is one for the heart, when you close your eyes, and see what's inside.

Los Angeles, CA

Date: 28 May 2000
Summary: An Audacious and Moving Film

From the opening moments of "A Matter of Life and Death" when the narrator says, "This is the Universe!! Big, isn't it?" The audience knows they are going to go on a journey in film like no other.

What continues to amaze me, is that after over 55 years, there STILL has never been a film as fearless and audacious as this one. So many risks are taken by Powell and Pressburger; it's a wonder that the film holds together as brilliantly as it does.

If you have never seen a P&P film, this is a good place to start. In "A Matter of Life and Death" they go way out on a limb with subject matter & characterization, dancing dangerously close to "going over the top." But while P&P succeeded in examining the meaning of life, love and our place in the universe as human beings; they still managed to make this film irreverently funny!

Alan Devine
Sheffield, England

Date: 19 May 2000
Summary: Clever

This is a clever film. The special effects are impressive considering the year in which the film was produced and the acting is very competent. With the exception of the operating theater scene the "freeze frames" are first class.

The first fifteen minutes or so could be a short play in its own right, and this gets the film off to an excellent start by setting the scene. The storyline is strong and very well thought out and, at the end of it all, the viewer must question .....did he imagine it all, or did it really happen?

Canberra, Australia

Date: 30 January 2000
Summary: Stunning archery

The opening flourishes left me purring with delight at their inventiveness - the altered version of the Archers' logo, the introductory disclaimer, the way the camera pans over the cosmos. It's strange to think that `It's a Wonderful Life' came out in the same year. No great coincidence: the 1940s was awash with heaven-and-earth films; but the glowing cotton wool nebulas and cutesy angels of the competition look tattered, something best passed over in silence, when placed next to Alfred Junge's vision.

It continues to look great all the way through, as more and more striking ideas are sprung upon us. I'm not a great fan of mixing colour with black and white in general. One of the two visual schemes almost always looks ugly when placed next to the other. Not so here. Powell dissolves colour into monochrome and monochrome into colour as if it's the most natural thing in the world, a mere change of palettes. Both the colour photography and the black and white could stand on their own.

As for the story ... this may be Pressburger's best script, or at least it would have been had the conclusion been a more logical outcome of preceding events. Other than that it's tight, yet with more going on than I can possibly allude to here. Was the heavenly stuff real or imaginary? (Or both? Perhaps Carter dreamt up a fantasy that was, as it so happened, true.) Everyone says we're meant to neither ask nor answer this question, but I don't see why. I'm sure we ARE meant to ask the question. The film even gives us clues as to what the answer is - indeed, the problem is that there are too many clues and they seem at first to be pointing in different directions. The fact that other things ought to occupy our attention as well doesn't mean that this shouldn't occupy us as well. There is, as I've said before, a lot going on.

Consider the scene in which Abraham Farlan (Heaven's prosecuting lawyer) plays a radio broadcast of a cricket match, and contemptuously says, `The voice of England, 1945.' Dr. Reeves (the defence) acknowledges the exhibit with a great deal of embarrassment, and then produces one of his own: a blues song from America, which Farlan listens to as though he's got a lemon in his mouth. Reeves looks smug.

Snobbery? Well, I don't see why it's snobbish to condemn blues music - and that's not what Powell and Pressburger are doing, anyway. As the song is being played, we get a shot of the American soldiers listening to it: several of them nod their heads to the rhythm, perfectly at home. THEY don't find it incomprehensible. There's something valuable about the song and neither Reeves nor Farlan knows what it is. Reeves probably realises as much. All English audiences (and all Australian, Indian, etc. audiences as well) know without being told that there is something of value in the cricket broadcast, too; and that while Reeves understands THAT, he is unable to explain it to Farlan - hence the blues broadcast, which shows that people can understand each other without sharing an understanding of everything else. It's a clever scene.

One last thing. I found David Niven a bit cold, without the charisma he would acquire later in his career; but even so, I don't think a film has grabbed my heart quite so quickly after the action began, as this one did.

camille-7 (

Date: 23 January 2000
Summary: A picture I've always remembered because of it's uniqueness!

I saw this movie as a child in the 50's and it fascinated me so much that I have never forgotten it though I never saw it again until last night when I watched it again on video. It brought back all of my earlier feelings about it. When I first watched it my family only had a black and white TV so I missed the color sequences which on seeing now give the film such an added beauty. The stop motion sequences, the marvelous stairway and the trial scene with an aerial view of it give the film so much uniqueness and wonderment. I thought the whole cast was perfect but as a child Roger Livesey's Dr Reeves was my favorite character and that hasn't changed. I loved his voice. Many of the English films of the 40's done by the Rank organization had such beautiful cinematography and this was no exception. Was that little boy in the beginning on the beach playing his flute like Pan, naked? An interesting touch though very discreetly shown. I'd recommend this film to anyone who loves the old films of the past. Truly a delight for the eyes and mind.

Holly (
New York, NY

Date: 27 November 1999
Summary: Magnificent Fantasy where every line of dialogue and every camera angle counts

What more could you ask? David Niven is at his most dashing. Marius Goring, Roger Livesey, and Robert Coote are perfect in their supporting roles. The wit in every exchange and ironic undertones, insights into the human condition, and most of all the romanticism ---all in all, one of my top 10 favorite movies.

Leslie H Spaiser (
Concord, CA

Date: 24 September 1999
Summary: Compelling psychodrama. Dual track plot is both interesting and well conceived.

This movie, long a favorite of mine, should not be missed if you like Bergmanesque type cinema. The use of dual mode cinematography (Color & B&W) is ideally suited to the plot. The entire concept and execution of the "stairway" is brilliant as well. A gripping psychodrama from start to finish.


Date: 27 August 1999
Summary: Unique, distinctively English movie

Every time I see this film, I have the same initial reluctance to yield to a fantasy that's so stubbornly English (my favourite moment in this respect would be Trubshawe's message from behind the grave: "What ho!"), but then you remember that that's largely the point - to assert the timelessness of a distinctive (and as presented here, quite coherent) quality of Englishness - however quaint and eccentric. Even in 46, Powell had the foresight to use a cricket broadcast as the prosecution's evidence of British failings. But then Livesey shoots back with a US blues radio station, meant to demonstrate the failings of America (with a song the lyrics of which both sides smugly concede to not understanding). There's a more than faint snobbery there, and I think it's that the blues is too "messy" to be accommodated within the film's orderliness - it's no surprise that Powell's view of heaven (and perhaps of people) would be as methodical as the army. It's a grand vision though - the trial space is a vast semi-classical arena; and there are countless beautiful shots, culminating in the trial participants descending into the operating room on the huge celestial staircase. The opening sequence, with Niven going down in his plane on one end of the radio and Hunter in the control booth on the other, is a beautifully poised exchange of a bond forged amid a crisis; yet even there, Niven's debonair stoicism is almost too much even for a melodrama/fantasy: the lasting ambiguity about Powell is how much he knows this; how much he pushes his clipped view of Englishness to the hilt, in pursuit of the idiosyncratic surrealism he conjures so brilliantly.

San Carlos CA

Date: 3 July 1999
Summary: Remembered 50 years later

I saw what may have been the American version of this film, and am very pleased to own a cassette of it, which I watch often. The American version (if that is what it was) did not have the prologue that defined the film as "one version of which existed only in the mind of a young airman" [not quite a quote]. It also had a short scene of the angel(?) rowing about in a fog looking for the airman he expected to find. What made the film so interesting was that it was neutral as to "the truth" about the story. Either version could be taken as the truth. As a native of Massachusetts, I liked the opinion of Boston (biased as mine) expressed by the old revolutionary (Raymond Massey). As an American, I was amused by the technique of picking the "second jury", in which every juror was replaced by an American of similar background. (Surely the person who used this was very aware of America's attempt to point out this aspect of the country -- particularly at the time of WW II.)

Tom May (
Sunderland, UK

Date: 24 June 1999
Summary: One of the best directed films ever

A pretty great film, this features a fairly straightforward but surreally interpreted plot. Each actor makes their mark, although it has to be said Marius Goring's flamboyant, larger-than-life and mysteriously enigmatic Conductor steals the show. The viewer is skilfully drawn into the wonderfully-paced film, and you're kept guessing at characters' motivations (The Doctor character and The Conductor). It's a mix of genres, with fantasy, morality fable and romance being the foremost guises of the film. There's a non-too-subtle plea for USA/Britain unity along the way. This is a film that looks visually stunning today, so I wonder what sort of reception it got back in 1946. The only bad points, which will knock it down from 10 to a 9, are the phasing out of Marius Goring's character, and a bland, sentimental ending. Otherwise, it's really beautifully filmed, and a neatly enthralling story well rendered by the cast.

Stephanie Pressman
Cupertino, California, USA

Date: 5 May 1999
Summary: A movie that has haunted me since I saw it in the late 40s.

This movie is one of the few that made such an impression on me that it has haunted me ever since. The atmosphere is quiet and intense, and the effects, although very crude by today's standards, have held up very well.

Loretta (
Fort Worth, TX, USA

Date: 20 August 1998
Summary: A young WWII airman misses his heavenly call, and challenges the laws of the universe to remain on earth.

I LOVE this movie. Director Michael Powell once stated that this was his favorite movie, and it is mine as well. Powell and Pressburger created a seemingly simple, superbly crafted story - the power of love against "the powers that be". However, its deception lies in the complexity of its "is it real or is it imaginary" premise. Basically, one could argue that it is simply a depiction of the effects of war on a young, poetically inclined airman during WWII. Or is it? The question is never answered one way or the other. Actually, it is never even asked. This continuous understatement is part of the film's appeal.

The innovative photography and cinematography even includes some nice touches portraying the interests of the filmmakers. For instance, Pressburger always wanted to do a cinematic version of Richard Strauss' opera, Der Rosenkavalier, about a young 18th century Viennese aristocrat. This is evident in the brief interlude in which Conductor 71, dressed in all his finery, holds the rose (which appears silver in heaven). The music even has a dreamy quality.

All of the acting is first rate - David Niven is at his most charming, and he has excellent support from veteran Roger Livesey and relative newcomer Kim Hunter. But, in my opinion, the film's charm comes from Marius Goring as Conductor 71. He by far has the most interesting role, filling each of his scenes with his innocent lightheartedness, brightening the film. It's a pity that some of Conductor 71's scenes were left on the cutting room floor. It is also a pity that Goring's comedic talents are rarely seen again on film, except in the wonderful videos of The Scarlet Pimpernel television series from the 1950s. This is by far and away the most memorable role of his film career. He is a perfect foil for relaxed style of Niven, and his virtual overstatement contrasts so nicely with the seriousness of the rest of the characters. Ironically, also in the mid -1940s, Niven also starred against another heavenly "messenger", played by Cary Grant, in The Bishop's Wife. Their acting styles were so similar that I found the result boring, unenergetic, and disappointing. As a note, according to Powell, Goring desperately wanted the role of Peter Carter, initially refusing Conductor 71. It's a good thing he gave in and gave us such a delightful portrayal.

The movie, "commissioned" to smooth over the strained relations between Britain and the U.S., overdrives its point towards the end. But it is disarming in its gentle reminders of the horrors of war - the numerous casualties, both military and civilian, the need to "go on" when faced with death. There is a conspicuous lack of WWII "enemies" in heaven, but the civilians shown are of indeterminate origin. Powell and Pressburger could have been more explicit in their depiction but it wasn't necessary. The movie may not have served its diplomatic purpose as was hoped for, but its originality continues to inspire moviemakers and viewers alike on both sides of the Atlantic.

Steve Crook (
London, England

Date: 6 August 1998
Summary: How can you summarise perfection?

Just after the end of WWII Powell & Pressburger were asked to come up with something to try to heal the rift developing between the UK & the USA. At the time there was a lot of "Overpaid, over sexed and over here" type of comments. Somehow they came up with this masterpiece.

My favourite movie of ALL time. It's got everything. Romance, poetry, emotion, religion, drama and very quirky.

I can never explain exactly why, but it hits all the right buttons and although I've seen it hundreds of times (yes, really) I'm still guaranteed to be in tears at many points throughout.

Was it the magnificent acting, the wonderful sets, the inspired script? Who knows. But *DO* watch it and you'll see what I mean.

Back to index