Choice: Film

A Matter of Life and Death, Electric Cinema, Birmingham (0121- 643 7277)
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A Matter of Life and Death, Electric Cinema, Birmingham (0121- 643 7277)

The awe-inspiring production design and art direction of Powell and Pressburger's 1946 romantic fantasy will take your breath away. The American title is Stairway to Heaven which, aside from the confusing allusion to the Led Zeppelin track which has nothing to do with it, refers to the extraordinary visual image of a vast eponymous flight of stairs peopled by the famous dead in the sequences set in heaven. David Niven is an RAF pilot, the victim of a heavenly bungle. Heaven is aghast to discover that he is still alive when they've got him down as deceased. Beautifully shot by the great Jack Cardiff, the film switches between the earthly love story in ravishing technicolour and a black-and-white heaven which simply glows. An exquisite vein of satire runs through the script, personified by a wildly dandyish Marius Goring as Heavenly Conductor 71. You'll see why Martin Scorsese loves it. David Benedict

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