Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

A Matter Of Life And Death

I adore Orson Welles but I'm cool about Citizen Kane. It's the same with Hitchcock and Vertigo. And Bergman and Persona. I can see why these particular films are considered their maker's masterpieces and I can admire them- but I don't love them.

I think it's got something to do with the amount of conscious effort that seems to have gone into them. I prefer films that strain less hard. Lady from Shaghai, for instance, Strangers on a Train, Winter Light.

And then there's A Matter of Life and Death. Michael Powell is the greatest British director and it follows that I'm keen to love what is generally considered to be his greatest film- and I do, but with reservations. It's a huge film, multi-layered and with lots of great moments, but again I get that feeling that Powell was trying a little to hard to make a masterpiece.  

And it's a flawed work.  The scenes in heaven are a little too whimsical, the sets a little too cardboardy. As for the perfomances,  Niven and Livesey are fine, but Marius Goring is really annoying and Kim Hunter- with that sulky, spoiled-kid face of hers- is so dull it's impossible to believe in her as the love of anybody's life. 

I watched it again last night. I tried to put my self in a place where I would simply submit to it and let the magic do its work, but I couldn't get there.
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