A Matter Of Life And Death (Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger, 1946)
Speaking of old movies that are still funny (see slightly above), I found David Niven in the opening to be a gas. I could see Graham Chapman or maybe John Cleese doing a version of this, the deadpan guy who, facing danger, will not take it seriously or as gravely as he should. Marcus Goring continues the comedy, with lines like his referencing his “surgery” aka getting the guillotine, all in a charmingly fey, slightly manic manner.
I knew the basic premise, its supernatural, spiritual nature, but I wasn’t expecting all the surreal touches, like the opening trip through the universe, or the transition by way of a cell or blood vessel (or something red and bodily.) The camera when he’s getting wheeled into surgery is straight out of Frankenheimer’s “Seconds.” The time pauses are nicely done, though I thought my disc skipped and jumped at the paused ping pong game.
I’m glad to have finally seen an Archers I liked, after feeling cold to lukewarm about “The Red Shoes” and “Black Narcissus.”
Also, this was the first time I’d ever seen Raymond Massey, and it took until two days later why I thought I’d seen him before. Turns out it was because he looks like “Late Night With Conan O’Brien” announcer Joel Godard.