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  1. #201
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lostamerican View Post
    Always been my favorite film since childhood. Always thought it was called Stairway to Heaven, got a little put out when I discovered my beloved film was actually called something else (have since got over it). Its hard not to agree with everyone's perspective on this film, all the above posts, because the film seems to leave every person with something different to carry away from it, and nobody's wrong. Maybe that's what makes it so special. I'm a professional set designer now I think in part because I sat in the dark as a little child and watched a beautiful vision of what heaven looks like from this film and its great production designer. That and Marius Goring totally freaking me out and that creepy piano music that still makes my hair stand on end.
    You could do a lot worse as a set designer if you follow the lead set by Alfred Junge & Hein Heckroth (The Red Shoes and other later P&P films). Hein also did the costumes for AMOLAD

    Steve

  2. #202
    Senior Member Country: UK Moor Larkin's Avatar
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    I wondered if the whole notion of the dead folks, philosophising, was in any way directly linked to the notions of Michael Redgrave talking to old dead people in Thunder Rock, or is it just one of those situations where an obviously very *global* theme in story-telling pops up in two British movies that just happen to have been made at a similar time, and in similar circumstances of war.

    I did try searching "Thunder" on this thread and came up with no Hits, and I couldn't see much sign of any such comparison being made via Google either. I must admit the comparison popped up in my head more when I read about the original Play of Thunder Rock (which was American) rather than as a result of watching the actual Boulting Bros movie.


  3. #203
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moor Larkin View Post
    I wondered if the whole notion of the dead folks, philosophising, was in any way directly linked to the notions of Michael Redgrave talking to old dead people in Thunder Rock, or is it just one of those situations where an obviously very *global* theme in story-telling pops up in two British movies that just happen to have been made at a similar time, and in similar circumstances of war.

    I did try searching "Thunder" on this thread and came up with no Hits, and I couldn't see much sign of any such comparison being made via Google either. I must admit the comparison popped up in my head more when I read about the original Play of Thunder Rock (which was American) rather than as a result of watching the actual Boulting Bros movie.

    It was a very popular notion at the time with so many people having just died in WWII and the survivors exploring survivor guilt. Many of the plays and films in the 1940s had the theme of people dying by accident and being given another chance or having to justify their life - see Here Comes Mr Jordan (1941) [confusingly based on the play "Heaven Can Wait"] and Heaven Can Wait (1943) [which wasn't based on the play of the same name] and even It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

    But the twist that Pressburger came up with for A Matter of Life and Death (1946) was that Peter Carter (David Niven) was prepared to die and perfectly willing to die at the appointed time. It was just that during the delay to his death he met and fell in love with June (Kim Hunter) and so, when Conductor 71 (Marius Goring) came to collect him, he objected because of the new responsibilities he had developed due to a mistake in "the other place"

    Steve

  4. #204
    Senior Member Country: England John Llewellyn Moxey's Avatar
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    I was working as Second Assistant Director, and won 2 tickets to the opening of the film!! Ken Hodges, focus puller, and I dressed in Black Tie stepped out of the taxi in all our glory to be met by a group of the press. We were greeted with,"Oh they are nobody!" In spite of this warm welcome we were lucky to watch a wonderful film.

  5. #205
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Llewellyn Moxey View Post
    I was working as Second Assistant Director, and won 2 tickets to the opening of the film!! Ken Hodges, focus puller, and I dressed in Black Tie stepped out of the taxi in all our glory to be met by a group of the press. We were greeted with,"Oh they are nobody!" In spite of this warm welcome we were lucky to watch a wonderful film.
    They put on a better show for that one, the first Royal Command Film, than they do nowadays. You got Mr & Mrs King and the two princesses attending. I got a similar "Nobody special" reaction from the press at the Royal Premier of Scorsese's "Hugo" last year and we only got Charles & Camilla attending. But it was still a fun evening

    Steve

  6. #206
    Senior Member Country: UK CaptainWaggett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Llewellyn Moxey View Post
    I was working as Second Assistant Director, and won 2 tickets to the opening of the film!! Ken Hodges, focus puller, and I dressed in Black Tie stepped out of the taxi in all our glory to be met by a group of the press. We were greeted with,"Oh they are nobody!" In spite of this warm welcome we were lucky to watch a wonderful film.
    What fun! Was there a big fuss about it being the first Royal Command Performance?

  7. #207
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainWaggett View Post
    What fun! Was there a big fuss about it being the first Royal Command Performance?
    There was a big fuss outside with so many people in Leicester Square that the Royal family had to struggle to get through. That's shown in the newsreels.

    The lady guests all dressed up in their posh frocks and furs (it was November) and it was the first chance for most of them to dress up since the war.

    Inside they put on quite a show (AIUI, I have a programme from the event) with various film stars doing a turn live on stage. Then there were various receptions & parties with a big party back at Micky Powell's house

    Steve

  8. #208
    Senior Member Country: UK CaptainWaggett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Crook View Post
    There was a big fuss outside with so many people in Leicester Square that the Royal family had to struggle to get through. That's shown in the newsreels.

    The lady guests all dressed up in their posh frocks and furs (it was November) and it was the first chance for most of them to dress up since the war.

    Inside they put on quite a show (AIUI, I have a programme from the event) with various film stars doing a turn live on stage. Then there were various receptions & parties with a big party back at Micky Powell's house

    Steve
    Yes, Steve, I've seen the same newsreels as you However I was interested to hear from someone who was actually there

  9. #209
    Senior Member Country: UK Mr Sloane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainWaggett View Post
    Yes, Steve, I've seen the same newsreels as you However I was interested to hear from someone who was actually there
    What is she a member

  10. #210
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainWaggett View Post
    Yes, Steve, I've seen the same newsreels as you However I was interested to hear from someone who was actually there
    So am I

    Steve

  11. #211
    Senior Member Country: UK SilverTyne's Avatar
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    Probably my favourite of favourite films, this one. [It's just come to me that several of my desert island films have life and death as a theme, shall ponder that later!] I agree with those who've opined that this type of movie was a sort of reassurance, for want of a better word, during a time of great loss of life.

    If I was pushed, really pushed, to pick fault though, I'm not sure that Kim Hunter was absolutely right for the part of June, lovely as she was. Having said that, I'm struggling to think whom I would have chosen in her place. Hmmm.

  12. #212
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilverTyne View Post
    Probably my favourite of favourite films, this one. [It's just come to me that several of my desert island films have life and death as a theme, shall ponder that later!] I agree with those who've opined that this type of movie was a sort of reassurance, for want of a better word, during a time of great loss of life.

    If I was pushed, really pushed, to pick fault though, I'm not sure that Kim Hunter was absolutely right for the part of June, lovely as she was. Having said that, I'm struggling to think whom I would have chosen in her place. Hmmm.
    As many people will tell you, this is also my favourite film. Watching it with me in public is a positive embarrassment. I'm always in floods of tears at the end and at various points through it. Not because it's sad, far from it, it's joyous - and it's either shed a few tears or shout out with joy, which wouldn't go down too well in a crowded cinema.

    I know what you mean about June, but I don't think it's Kim's fault. It's the role, not the way she plays it. I don't think anyone else could have done it any better. For much of the film June just gazes adoringly at Peter, utters a few inanities like never having thought about life after death, then she starts nursing Peter (in between gazing adoringly at him). She only really shows any fire when she's talking to Abraham Farlan at the foot of the staircase.

    I always thought it was odd that she was such a weak character. Emeric Pressburger was usually very good at writing feisty women. From Valerie Hobson in The Spy in Black & Contraband, via Deborah Kerr in Colonel Blimp, Sheila Sim in A Canterbury Tale, Pamela Brown & Wendy Hiller in I Know Where I'm Going!, Deborah again & Kathleen Byron in Black Narcissus and Moira Shearer in The Red Shoes. His scripts are full of strong, independent women

    Steve

  13. #213
    Senior Member Country: UK SilverTyne's Avatar
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    Yes - I think you've put your finger on it there, and it would explain why I struggled to think of anyone who could have handled the role any better.

    I'm with you on feisty females generally in Archers movies too. I loved Wendy Hiller's portrayal. One might argue that Kathleen Byron was the feisty female in the movie in question I suppose.

  14. #214
    Senior Member Country: England John Llewellyn Moxey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainWaggett View Post
    What fun! Was there a big fuss about it being the first Royal Command Performance?
    Yes there was----a great fuss. A night to remember.
    Last edited by Nick Dando; 30-05-12 at 07:22 AM.

  15. #215
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Llewellyn Moxey View Post
    Yes there was----a great fuss. A night to remember.
    What do you remember of it John? (it was quite a few weeks ago)
    I've heard that various stars of stage and screen put on a little show on the stage - but I don't know any details. Do you remember any?

    Did you manage to blag your way into any of the parties before or afterwards?

    Steve

  16. #216
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    Hi,
    This is a film I remember seeing at The Marlborough Cinema; in Holloway Road; when I was a little boy; in the 1940's. It always stuck in my mind. As an adult, I understand it better. To me, as far as film craft is concerned, it is a work of art.

    Alan French

  17. #217
    Senior Member Country: England John Llewellyn Moxey's Avatar
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    I do remember the crowds, and a wonderful happy atmosphere. I did not get into any of the parties. Saw the film, the Royal Family, and went home happy to have been a tiny part of it!

  18. #218
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Llewellyn Moxey View Post
    I do remember the crowds, and a wonderful happy atmosphere. I did not get into any of the parties. Saw the film, the Royal Family, and went home happy to have been a tiny part of it!
    Thanks, happy memories

    Steve

  19. #219
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    I was in my early teens, even then a big filmgoer. I did not read much about films, just went to the cinema alot. I had never heard of P&P. I used to watch a portable tv in my bedroom. AMOLAD was screened one Sunday morning and I watched it in bed. What can I say - I was completely bowled over by the film. A true work of art and it made me realise the creativity that went into some films, starting firstly with the writer. What a wonderful imagination person must have to dream up such a story. Will we ever see their like again?

  20. #220
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dieselpower View Post
    I was in my early teens, even then a big filmgoer. I did not read much about films, just went to the cinema alot. I had never heard of P&P. I used to watch a portable tv in my bedroom. AMOLAD was screened one Sunday morning and I watched it in bed. What can I say - I was completely bowled over by the film. A true work of art and it made me realise the creativity that went into some films, starting firstly with the writer. What a wonderful imagination person must have to dream up such a story. Will we ever see their like again?
    That's how it hit me, and still does after watching it countless times. That's another measure of a great film. That you can watch it over and over and still see new things in it or have it trigger new thoughts.

    I always liked a lot of British films from this period and it was only gradually that I realised that all of the ones I liked the best, the ones that gave me the most to think about, the ones that had the most complex & complete storylines and the most fully rounded characters, all started with that arrow in the target and all had that curious but marvellous credit:
    "Written, Produced and Directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger"

    So then I started to hunt out more of their films and find out more about those people that made them.

    The connection wasn't obvious because they covered such a wide range of subjects, genre and styles. The only common factor being quality in depth.

    Steve

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