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A Matter of Life and Death
(AKA Stairway to Heaven)

Screening on Film
Directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger.
With David Niven, Kim Hunter, Roger Livesey.
UK, 1946, 35mm, color and b&w, 104 min.

D is for Divine Intervention

Beginning with an advisory title warning viewers that "any resemblance to any other worlds, known or unknown, is purely coincidental," this Powell-Pressburger fantasy is that rarest of cinematic achievements—a sophisticated romance with an extraordinary visual design. The story concerns an RAF squadron leader (Niven) who establishes radio contact with an American WAC (Hunter) shortly before abandoning his burning plane over the English Channel. By rights he should have perished, but in this otherworldly tale he receives a reprieve from a heavenly tribunal and begins to pursue the woman whose voice had guided him home.

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Cinema A–Z: Treasures from the Harvard Film Archive

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Treasures from the Harvard Film Archive: Directors O–T

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