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JULY 28-AUGUST 3

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Two British national traumas are repeatedly explored in the films Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger made in the mid-1940s: battling the Germans and having to get along with the Americans. This sumptuous, if hopelessly quaint, fantasy concentrates on the latter. Absurdly dashing R.A.F. pilot Peter (David Niven) falls in love with American radio operator June (Kim Hunter) as his damaged plane is hurtling to earth, only to find—thanks to a celestial mix-up—that he hasn’t died. Peter claims the right to pursue life and love with June, and must defend himself in a heavenly court proceeding that is actually more concerned with questions of the British and American character than with his fate. This is silly and sappy, but interesting both cinematically and sociologically. At the Biograph, 2819 M St. NW. (202) 333-2696. (Mark Jenkins)