A Matter of Life and Death


Release Date 0000-00-00
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A Matter of Life and Death

A Matter of Life and Death is a romantic fantasy film created by the British writing-directing-producing team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, and set in England during the Second World War. It stars David Niven, Roger Livesey, Raymond Massey, Kim Hunter and Marius Goring. The film was originally released in the United States under the title Stairway to Heaven, which derived from the film's most prominent special effect: a broad escalator linking Earth to the afterlife. The decision to film the scenes of the Other World in black and white added to the complications. They were filmed in Three-Strip Technicolor, but the colour was not fully developed, giving a pearly hue to the black and white shots, a process cited in the screen credits as "Colour and Dye-Monochrome Processed in Technicolor". This reversed the effect in The Wizard of Oz. Photographic dissolves between "Technicolor Dye-Monochrome" and Three-Strip Technicolor are used several times during the film. In 2004, a poll by the magazine Total Film of 25 film critics named A Matter of Life and Death the second greatest British film ever made, behind Get Carter.

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Actors & Characters

David Niven David Niven
Roger Livesey Roger Livesey
Kim Hunter Kim Hunter
Raymond Massey Raymond Massey
Marius Goring Marius Goring
Richard Attenborough Richard Attenborough
Lois Maxwell Lois Maxwell
Robert Coote Robert Coote
Kathleen Byron Kathleen Byron
Joan Maude Joan Maude


Jack Cardiff Cinematography
Emeric Pressburger Director
Michael Powell Director
Reginald Mills Editor
Allan Gray Music
Emeric Pressburger Producer
Michael Powell Producer
Emeric Pressburger Writer
Michael Powell Writer