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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2005 5:10 pm 
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I'm afraid we do not hold the DVD rights to A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH.

best,
JM

I wonder why - this is owned by Granada/Carlton/Rank so is much like the CC's other releases of P&P films, and this is the only one of their 'classics' to miss out on a CC release...

I wonder if there is some kind of disagreement or lack of resolution over North American rights... This on the Amazon page - indefinitely delayed from '(studio name not provided)'...


Last edited by ellipsis7 on Thu Sep 08, 2005 5:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2005 5:14 pm 
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Aren't the US rights controlled by Sony (Columbia Tristar)?


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2005 5:17 pm 
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That would make sense then... Can we have confirmation?

And if so, would someone with sense in Sony Classics license the DVD releases of this, 2046 and THE PASSENGER to the CC!


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2005 5:49 pm 

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You can find stuff like this out by checking the given film's "Company Credits" listing at the IMDB.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2005 7:34 pm 
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Sony/Columbia have said they were going to release this as far back as 2003.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2005 11:46 pm 
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At the time of the original delay, the cause was to allow Martin Scorsese to record an audio commentary. I wouldn't mind waiting a little while, if it means there will be considerable effort given to this release. It is a great film that is due to be rediscovered in the US.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2005 4:11 am 
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Thanks, guys. That answers my questions...

A few years back I introduced a screening of this with a talk with Jack Cardiff... Interesting stuff..


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 10, 2005 1:07 am 
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The Carlton R2 DVD is quite good if don't want to wait. The film will also air on TCM Sunday 09/18/2005 05:00 PM PST


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2005 4:49 pm 

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I caught the TCM showing last night. It was indeed a Sony owned print. Osbourn referred to the showing as being the first time A Matter of Life and Death had screened on TCM. Hopefully the DVD isn't too far away.

This was my first viewing of this film and I was absolutely blown away. Tremendously emotional first 10 minutes.

Did anyone watch the Black Narcisus showing last night? Did it have the same "blue problem" that the CC DVD has?


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2005 11:14 pm 
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BWilson wrote:
I caught the TCM showing last night. . .

This was my first viewing of this film and I was absolutely blown away. Tremendously emotional first 10 minutes.

Coincidentally, I also watched this again last night (on DVD), and while the entire film was very slightly disappointing (the last time I saw it, probably 15 years ago, I was completely charmed), those first ten minutes are a strong contender for one of the greatest openings ever, right from that cosmic / comic prologue ("This is the universe. Big, isn't it?") to Peter's presumed suicide. Powell and Pressburger were experts at kickstarting their films in unusual and compelling ways (just think of Colonel Blimp or Peeping Tom), but I think only the headlong montage of I Know Where I'm Going outdoes A Matter of Life and Death in this respect.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2005 5:40 am 
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Part of the probem with this movie is the war, of course. Everything took on heightened significance then and the movie pulses with that., It also reduces its overall formal beauty I feel , but I still find the three central players absolutely wonderful, and Powell gives us (only a ) couple of privileged moments, like the first of the camera obscura shots (later repeated by Bertolucci in Prima della Rivoluzione.)


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2005 6:12 am 
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Read THE CINEMA OF MICHAEL POWELL - International Perspectives on an English Filmmaker just published by the bfi... Really excellent, intelligent and insightful essays (including on AMOLAD)...

Sections include:

Beginnings and Endings
Reassessing the Films
Collaborators
Gender Matters

AMOLAD is a wonderful film and has especial edge for me as my uncle died piloting a RAF Halifax bomber on an 800 aircraft mission over Frankfurt in 1943... AMOLAD deals with the grief of loss after WWII, the survival guilt of those who were left, and confrontation with the new world order, particularly between America and Britain, and the latters dominions/colonies for which it was the beginning of the end of empire...

Full contents of book:

Quote:
The Cinema of Michael Powell: Contents
Edited by Ian Christie and Andrew Moor

Introduction Ian Christie and Andrew Moor Beginnings and Endings 1. At the Edge of Our World 2. The First Four Minutes Charles Barr 3. From the Other Side of Time Lesley Stern 4. A Life in Pictures Reassessing the Films 5. "History is now and England": A Canterbury Tale in its Contexts Ian Christie 6. On Knowing and Not Knowing , Going and Not Going, Loving and Not Loving: I Know Where I'm Going! and Falling in Love Again Tom Gunnning 7. Life and Death in A Matter of Life and Death Philip Horne 8. The Invisible and the Intruder Figure : Perfume in Black Narcissus Jean-Louis Leutrat 9. The Light that Fails: A Commentary on Peeping Tom Laura Mulvey 10. They're a Weird Mob: Powell in the Antipodes Graeme Harper Collaborators 11. Another Life in Movies: Pressburger with Powell Ian Christie 12. Hein Heckroth and The Archers Nanette Aldred Gender Matters 13. Bending the Arrow: The Queer Appeal of The Archers 14. That Obscure Subject of Desire: Powell's Women, 1945-1950 Natacha Thiery 15. Officers and Gentlemen: Masculinity in Powell and Pressburger's War Films Robert Shail Powell Filmography


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2005 3:06 pm 

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flixyflox wrote:
Part of the probem with this movie is the war, of course. Everything took on heightened significance then and the movie pulses with that., It also reduces its overall formal beauty I feel , but I still find the three central players absolutely wonderful, and Powell gives us (only a ) couple of privileged moments, like the first of the camera obscura shots (later repeated by Bertolucci in Prima della Rivoluzione.)

I'm sorry, but I don't understand a word. What's the problem with the movie? The movie has less formal beauty because it is about a war?


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2005 9:25 pm 
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I didn't understand that either. I feel this is one of the finest films ever made, and it still holds up brilliantly. I do think that 49th Parallel's propaganda is a little heavy handed, but I don't think AMOLAD has any such issue.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2005 10:28 pm 
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Alright. I should have begun with the fact that I just don't care for the movie nearly as much as several others, although I do LIKE it. It's one of those movies that I thought of much more highly on first vieiwng and then increasingly found , formally at least, far too contrived.

Compared to real Powell masterpieces like I Know Where I'm Going or Blimp, this title wears a sort of self-knowingness and the technical "audacity" (monochrome/color, etc) on its sleeve (viz the opening commentary) to ensure the audience knows we are all "in on" the smartness of the movie. Thus all its niceties are extremely literal to me. Blimp in comparison sails along with a brilliantly rich and detailed screenplay which not only encompasses a great time and emotional span, leading right up to the war, but also allows so much feeling and meaning to be expressed through its actors, particularly the superb perfs of Livesey and Walbrook (this surely one of the most moving relationships in all of movies) and the absolutely brilliant trick of using Kerr for the three roles.

I still like AMOLAD but it's a second tier Powell for me, like Tales of Hoffmann or even Ill Met by Moonlight. To me it feels very much like a movie rooted very specifically in (understandably) the turbulent mood of post-war Britain. Clearly the movie is brilliantly successful in this in both evoking the post war malaise and drawing such a strong emotional response from its audience. (And I realize I am obviously a minority opinion.)


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2005 11:23 pm 
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Well, flixy, that chimes quite nicely with my own response to the film after this latest viewing. I'm still very fond of it, and there are sequences which are simply dazzling (such as the camera obscura sequence - just the kind of gratuitous, unexpected delight I associate with Powell / Pressburger), but for me it's second-tier P&P. I think one of the things I miss about it is the emotional complexity one finds in Blimp, I Know Where I'm Going or A Canterbury Tale. In this film the love affair is instant and absolute: more Hollywood than Archers.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2005 3:38 am 
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I think the love affair reflected the kind of instant intense relationships formed during the war, life was transient and uncertain, and people made the most of the moment because they did not know what the future held... Shared experience of the trauma also made common cause... AMOLAD tries to reflect a psychological state - it states this in the opening caption -

THIS IS A STORY OF
TWO WORLDS
THE ONE WE KNOW
AND ANOTHER
WHICH EXISTS ONLY
IN THE MIND
OF A YOUNG AIRMAN
WHOSE LIFE AND IMAGINATION
HAVE BEEN
VIOLENTLY SHAPED BY WAR

Remarkable! Yet the imagined b&w heaven of poet and pilot Peter Carter is paralleled by a real medical crisis. Said Powell in 1970: "It is most fascinating to me because of all this fantasy miracle actually taking place in a medical case, inside somebody's damaged head, so there was a good sound medical reason for every fantasy image that appeared on screen. This appeals to me for I like to have my fantasy based on something real because life is far more fantastic than fantasy and although most people won't understand it I just can't go with pure fantasy".


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2005 11:50 am 
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I'm not sure if this relates exactly to what others are saying, but the only thing about this film that doesn't work for me is the climactic "heavenly court" sequence. Up until that point, it is first-tier P&P as far as I'm concerned, but it's at this point that the external pressures that P&P must have felt to create a film that explores/celebrates/promotes Anglo-American friendship begins to interfere with the central theme, which is the mystical power of love. In the last 20 minutes or so, the film just seems to go off on a tangent that I didn't expect and that just didn't fit.

But then again, maybe my own training in American cultural history prejudices me against Raymond Massey's character. Historically speaking, he would have considered himself British to the core, so the central premise that his character is built upon strikes me as false. I guess what I'm saying is that, unlike P&P's other films from this era, AMOLAD doesn't allow me to maintain my willing suspension of disbelief.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2005 9:00 pm 

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tryavna wrote:
But then again, maybe my own training in American cultural history prejudices me against Raymond Massey's character.

Didn't Raymond Massy play the French angel? You must mean David Niven.

Edit: No my mistake. You are refering to the American Revolutionary patriot who heads the prosecution. Why would he be "British to the core"?


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2005 12:56 pm 
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BWilson wrote:
tryavna wrote:
But then again, maybe my own training in American cultural history prejudices me against Raymond Massey's character.
Didn't Raymond Massy play the French angel? You must mean David Niven.

Edit: No my mistake. You are refering to the American Revolutionary patriot who heads the prosecution. Why would he be "British to the core"?

Because, if I remember correctly, he's supposed to be the first colonist to be killed in the American Revolution, isn't he? That'd be at Lexington in 1775 -- well before the Declaration of Independence. In fact, it wasn't until January of 1776 (thanks to Thomas Paine's "Common Sense" and New Hampshire becoming the first colony to adopt a state constitution) that a widespread movement for the colonies to break all political ties with Britain began. Up until June of 1776, most of the revolution's leaders, including those in the 2nd Continental Congress, hoped that the colonies could maintain official ties to Britain. They were basically fighting for home rule and probably would have preferred a sort of commonwealth status -- like Australia later achieved.

So for Massey's character to be so virulently anti-British is actually anachronistic. His own sense of identity would have been as a British colonist fighting for home rule, not necessarily as an American patriot, which is how he's portrayed in the film.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2005 4:54 pm 

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As the movies often do, P&P are taking a rather light approach to recorded history and going with history as it is popularly percieved. The general popular perception is that the first American colonist killed fighting the English would be really patriotic. It is screenplay shorthand, an efficient way of sketching a character rapidly.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2005 11:31 am 
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BWilson wrote:
As the movies often do, P&P are taking a rather light approach to recorded history and going with history as it is popularly percieved. The general popular perception is that the first American colonist killed fighting the English would be really patriotic. It is screenplay shorthand, an efficient way of sketching a character rapidly.

True, and I can usually get past a freewheeling approach to history.

But my real complaint -- as I said in my original post -- is that the Anglo-American friendship theme seems shoehorned into the story. It doesn't fit with all the mystical-power-of-love stuff that comes before it. The loose approach to history may clinch it for me, but I'd say my main problem with AMOLAD is its structure: the last act simply doesn't work for me. Which is disappointing, because I love the first 2/3 of the film.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2005 12:04 pm 

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Yet I applaud their ambition. The Archers consistently blow me away with how many ideas they can fit into a film. They fearlessly include so many things. A subject many filmmakers would make an entire film about becomes a subplot or a throw away detail in an Archers film.


Last edited by BWilson on Thu Dec 29, 2005 3:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2005 9:49 pm 

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I just read through this post and am surprised by the cool reception many who posted had to this film. I just revisited it for the first time in a couple years, and its just as I remember it: perfect. The relationship does not detract at all, for me, and in my opinion this is perhaps Powell and Pressberger's most magical film.

It just leaves me craving more. Talk has cooled regarding Criterion's release of Canterbury tale and 49th Parallel--when are we going to get these? And will Criterion ever get around to this one???


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2005 3:05 pm 

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Supposedly, Sony/Columbia will be releasing this on DVD, but it's taking them forever.


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