A Matter of Life and Death 1946
David Niven (charming as ever) is Peter, a World War II fighter-pilot forced to abandon his burning aircraft sans parachute. Before bailing he recites poetry over the radio to June (Kim Hunter), a pretty American girl positioned in the R.A.F. control tower. Washed ashore, Peter awakes the next morning. Thinking he’s in Heaven, he soon realises his mistake and encounters a girl cycling home; it’s June, and naturally it’s love at first sight. Only there’s been a mix-up. Peter’s time was up, he was meant to have been taken to Heaven but he got lost in the fog. A “Conductor” (a deceased French aristocrat, played with devilish glee by Marius Goring) is sent down to fetch him but Peter refuses to go; after all, he argues, his heart and soul now belong to June. A battle commences between this world and the next which can only be decided in one place: the divine court. Will love conquer? And is it really happening or is it all just in Peter’s mind?

BD50, 2xDVD9 | 1080p AVC, NTSC | 01:44:27 | 44.5 Gb + 12.7 Gb
Language: English
Subtitles: English

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Cast: David Niven, Kim Hunter, Robert Coote, Kathleen Byron
Country: UK
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Romance, War


Audio Commentary - this audio commentary was recorded by film historian Ian Christie in 2009 and also appeared on the North American DVD release of A Matter of Life and Death. There is an abundance of information that addresses the film's production history, its composition and visual style, the legacy of The Archers, etc.

Introduction by Martin Scorsese - in this video piece, Martin Scorsese introduces A Matter of Life and Death and discusses the unique artistic style of its creators. The piece was filmed in 2008. In English, not subtitled. (10 min, 1080p).

Thelma Schoonmaker - in this new video interview, Thelma Schoonmaker, widow of director Michael Powell, discusses the history of A Matter of Life and Death and the socio-political environment at the time, as well as some of the film's special qualities. The interview was conducted exclusively for Criterion in March, 2018. In English, not subtitled. (33 min, 1080p).

The Colour Merchant - presented here is a short documentary about the life and legacy of the great cinematographer Jack Cardiff which was created by Craig McCall while he was working on Cameraman: The Life & Work of Jack Cardiff in 2010. The documentary features clips from an excellent archival interview with Cardiff in which he discusses his work on A Matter of Life and Death. In English, not subtitled. (11 min, 1080p).

Special Effects - in this new video program. special effects supervisor and film historian Craig Baron and visual effects artist Harrison Ellenshaw discuss the visual style of A Matter of Life and Death and the use of some very specific special effects, as well as the contribution of production designer Alfred Junge. In English, not subtitled. (32 min, 1080p).

The South Bank Show: "Michael Powell" (1986) - this archival documentary was directed by David Hinton and hosted by Melvyn Bragg. It features archival interviews in which director Michael Powell discusses his passion for cinema and the evolution of his work over the years. In English, not subtitled. (55 min, 1080p).

Restoration Demonstration - this visual demonstration highlights some of the many dramatic improvements that were made during the recent 4K restoration of A Matter of Life and Death. (5 min, 1080p).