A Matter of Life and Death A Matter of Life and Death

A Matter of Life and Death

Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger

A Matter of Life and Death (Criterion Blu-Ray)

24 Jul 2018


1 Disc

SRP: $39.95

Criterion Store price:$31.96

  • United Kingdom
  • 1946
  • 104 minutes
  • Color
  • 1.37:1
  • English
  • Spine #939

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.


Peter CarterDavid Niven
Dr. ReevesRoger Livesey
Abraham FarlanRaymond Massey
JuneKim Hunter
Conductor 71Marius Goring
The judgeAbraham Sofaer
BobRobert Coote
Chief recorderJoan Maude
An angelKathleen Byron
An American pilotBonor Colleano
An English pilotRichard Attenborough
The vicarRobert Atkins
Dr. GaertlerBob Roberts
Dr. McEwenEdwin Max
Mrs. TuckerBetty Potter


DirectorMichael Powell and Emeric Pressburger
Written and produced byMichael Powell and Emeric Pressburger
Production designed byAlfred Junge
Assistant producerGeorge Busby
Photographed byJack Cardiff
Music composed byAllan Gray
Conducted byWalter Goehr
EditorReginald Mills
CostumesHein Heckroth

Disc Features

  • New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Introduction from 2009 with filmmaker Martin Scorsese
  • Audio commentary from 2009 featuring film scholar Ian Christie
  • New interview with editor Thelma Schoonmaker, director Michael Powell’s widow
  • New interview with film historian Craig Barron on the film’s visual effects and production design
  • The Colour Merchant, a 1998 short film by Craig McCall featuring cinematographer Jack Cardiff
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Stephanie Zacharek

Other Editions

A Matter of Life and Death (Criterion DVD)

24 Jul 2018


2 Discs

SRP: $29.95

Criterion Store price:$23.96


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