This 1946 film should appeal to all generations and almost everyone. One of my all time favourite oldies, for some reason, especially bearing in mind the brilliant special effects and sets for the time, my most vivid memory of it is a table tennis game.
David Niven is Squadron Leader Peter Carter, World War 2 pilot and sole survivor in a severely damaged and doomed Lancaster bomber returning across the English Channel from a mission in a dense fog. He's bought it too, along with his crew-mates, as he has to bail out of his plane without a brolly (a parachute to you chaps across the pond).
The Conductor, whose job it is to take the dead Carter to heaven, misses him because of the weather. Prior to bailing out Carter was speaking to American radio operator June (the beautiful Kim Hunter) who works in Operations in GB and the two have fallen in love. He's got her address and unexpectedly finds himself washed up on the shore a few hundred yards from her house (what a coincidence). As if that weren't enough, when he comes around she just happens to be cycling by on her way home from work!
The Conductor doesn't give up easily and, despite his mistake, tries to get Carter to go with him to Heaven. Carter of course doesn't want to go and wins the right to an appeal. Things go on from there, alternating between Heaven (black and white) and Earth (colour).
Other stars include Raymond Massey and Roger Livesey, the latter playing a helpful Doctor friend of June, who agrees to defend Carter in his appeal (though he doesn't believe what Carter has told him and arranges for an emergency brain operation).
Sets and special effects are phenomenal for the time and the colour is wonderful, though a tad muted and sepia-tinged, looking almost hand-tinted, unusual for the time as colour film then was usually deep, rich and bold.
Picture quality is generally pretty good and free from damage, though there are a few sparklies in the black and white sequences, whilst the monaural sound is a bit crackly in the quiet passages.
A magic and beautiful film indeed which, because of when it's set, will never date.