I am also smug about the Michael Billington review of A Matter of Life and Deathhere. I saw it on Wednesday with grahamsleight and coalescent and A.N. Other whose LJ name I don't know and I spotted a point of which Billington seems blithely unaware. In the film, Peter Carter is caught between life and death - the angel who was supposed to collect him when he jumped from his plane without a parachute missed him in the fog. He falls in love and has something to lose when the PTB try to collect him. He appeals and is put on trial with a tough set of prosecutors doing the whole Rules are Rules thing. In the stage version, they add the voices of bomber victims - if him, why not us who never killed anyone?- and his father who died in WW1 takes the 'duty is dying for one's country, not getting out of it because of LOVE' line. And at the end of the film Carter lives; and at the end of the play, Carter dies. I turned to Graham and the others and said - if they have just changed it, I am meh! about the decision. What would be cool is if they vary it from night to night. We went downstairs to the shop and tried to buy the script - not available. So I simply asked the woman on the bookshop desk and she confirmed my guess - sometimes they toss a coin and sometimes they take an audience vote and according to that he either lives or dies. Billington clearly never bothered to find this out.
Otherwise I pretty much agree with what he said - it is a lot of fun with a lot of inventive use of music and mime - the tennis match is a good piece of trickery. Not all of the singing is as good as it might be, and it probably over-runs - as Billington points out, it is longer than the film which is not short. Probably worth seeing, if you have £10 going spare during the Traveller season.
You should certainly see the film, and indeed all of the other Powell and Pressburget films - Red Shoes, Black Narcissus and Life and Death of Colonel Blimp in particular.