This is a toughie.....Not! I love this genre and could picks a ton of films in one year alone. Wandering through the Shelves picked a good one and one that can be used every year and never choose the same film twice. I tried to do a theme within a theme so here we go...
1. HERE COMES MR. JORDAN-1941
I love this original film that stars Robert Montgomery as a sports guy, who plays the trombone, who gets into an accident but wasn't supposed to die. The dumbnut angel took his soul too soon and now it is up to the head angel, played by a fav of mine, Claude Rains, to try to make things right. He decides to place Robert's soul into the body of a very wealthy man who was murdered. He is placed into that body but must deal with his nasty wife and her lover, who offed him. He contacts his old coach and falls in love with a gal not happy with his business practices. It's funny, sad and poignant. Warren Beatty made a really good remake called "Heaven Can Wait". I would skip the Chris Rock remake.
2. BETWEEN TWO WORLDS-1944
I remember this film as "Outward Bound" which was the original title of the film made in 1930 with Leslie Howard( I still need to see that version). Paul Henreid plays a man who thinks he is holding back his wife during the war, in Britain. While she is out, he puts the gas on to commit suicide. His wife is at the terminal to get a permit to board the ship, she is trying to find a way out. There we meet a bunch of people who all are waiting to get into a cab to bring them to the boat. The wife leaves, we see the people get into the cab and promptly get hit by a bomb. The wife returns and is so upset that her husband wants to take this route since she wants to be with him. They decide to be together. Suddenly we see the couple on the boat wondering how they got there. The people from that cab are there too and the young couple realize they are dead. They are the only ones who know except for the one steward played by Edmund Gwenn. I love this movie and finally got it on DVD last year. You have the array of people you get to know...a married couple, the man is nice but his wife..ick! The angry young man with a chip, the size of Trump's ego, on his shoulder. A woman who believes men are jerks, a kindly old lady and so on. I really think it's a unique movie even if you know the typical characters. I can watch it over and over.
3. STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN-1946
This is truly known as " A Matter of Life and Death" but, when I first saw it, it was titled Stairway... This stars David Niven as the pilot of a doomed war plane who makes sure his men get out ok but he has no parachute so he knows he is doomed. He ends up talking to a radio operator, played by Kim Hunter, happy knowing he spoke to her before he dies. Here lies the rub, he ends up washed ashore with not even a scratch! Yup, a dumb angel forgot to take his soul but they only realize after David meets the girl on the other end of the phone and they fall in love. Now David must fight for his right to live to he can love the woman he met. Another great movie with some neat effects like that Stairway. It's a film by Powell and Pressburger who are known for their beautiful looking films and unique story telling. I think it's a gem.
Which fantasy films are your favourites?