What better way to bring in the new year than with The Films Of Michael Powell, a glorious two-disc DVD of films by the great Michael Powell? Powell, with Emeric Pressburger, were responsible for such memorable films as Black Narcissus, The Red Shoes and Tales Of Hoffman and directed one of my personal favorites, A Matter Of Life And Death (1946), which was released in America as Stairway To Heaven, and appears on the first disc. It’s about a World War II pilot (David Niven) who cheats death during a plane crash and falls in love with a young woman (Kim Hunter) causing a trial in heaven on his behalf. The heavenly scenes are in black and white and the earthbound scenes are stunning color. #8220;One is starved for Technicolor up there” an angel-like emissary says about heaven. It’s a delightful, romantic fantasy film. The other disc is Age Of Consent, Michael Powell’s last film made in 1969, starring James Mason as a famous painter who travels “down under” to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef for inspiration and meets a lovely free-spirited girl (played by a very young, frequently nude Helen Mirren). It’s a curious film, beautifully shot, and Mirren is just stunning in it. Martin Scorsese, a big Powell fan, introduces both films.
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