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Posted October 1, 2010
Lines between real and unreal are never clear
Michael Powell was an amazing artist - both with and without the presence of Emeric Pressburger. That partnership worked in mysterious ways that neither man attempted to explain. Their achievements in cinema are the stuff of legend and include a number of powerful films that critics and directors list among their favorites ... Black Narcissus, I Know Where I'm Going!, A Canterbury Tale, The Red Shoes. I'll stop there. A Matter of Life and Death (1946), part one of this double feature package from Sony Pictures, is one of Powell and Pressburger's finest efforts. It's an amazing story that has many possible interpretations. If you love the cinema, this is a necessary film to see. The look and sound of this DVD presentation - for the first time available in Region 1 - is extraordinary, given the fact that the film's age. There's a solid commentary by Ian Christie, a true authority on the works of Michael Powell, and an introduction by Martin Scorsese. A Matter of Life and Death, released in the U.S. as Stairway to Heaven, stars David Niven, Kim Hunter, and Roger Livesey.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Age of Consent (1969), Powell's last major work, and a work that does not include the presence of Pressburger, stars James Mason (who also co-produced) as an artist struggling with his art, and Helen Mirren as his muse. Mirren gives an astonishing performance. The film is, perhaps, Powell's own view of his role as artist - an area he has explored before: The Red Shoes and Peeping Tom. While certainly not on the level of A Matter of Life and Death, Age of Consent is an enjoyable work, absolutely in step with its time. Extras here include a dry though informative commentary by Kent Jones, an introduction by Scorsese, and several fine mini-features: Making of Age of Consent; Helen Mirren: A Conversation; and Down Under with Ron and Valerie Taylor.
Simply put - A Matter of Life and Death makes this DVD package an absolute must own.
Posted July 15, 2010
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