I’ve Lived Before – 1956

This is a very good, interesting, and thought provoking film. I didn’t know much about it in fact had never heard of it, until I came across a review in a 1956 Picturegoer magazine.

It is a little known film with Jock Mahoney, plays a commercial pilot John Bolan, who had a fascination with flying since he was a little boy back in New York. At the age of 12 in 1931 young Johnny got into the cockpit of a bi-plane and flew and landed it like a seasoned pilot. It was the first time that Johnny was ever on a plane let alone less flying it.

A number of years later when, as the pilot of an airliner, he was about to fly his plane to New York, he walks along the aisle of the plane, turns round, and looks at the passengers and his eyes immediately fall on an older woman passenger and he is clearly unsettled by her.

His mind then fills with memories of a past life that he had led. John sees himself as a Peter Stevens a WWI US Army pilot who was shot down over France on April 29, 1918.

It’s that tragic memory that almost causes John to crash his plane with him and all on board. However thanks to the co-pilot they land safely.

John is the only one on the plane who is injured. In hospital, after the incident his thoughts of a life before leads him to leave and go investigate if there really was a Peter Stevens who was killed in an air battle over France in 1918.

Seeing his good friend and lawyer Robert Allen ( Simon Scott ) about the matter Robert checked out the information that John gave him and sure enough there was a Lt. Peter Stevens and he was shot down over France in April 1918.

John now finds out who that passenger who brought back those memories of WWI and finds out that her name is Jane Stone played by Ann Harding, and he goes to Philadelphia where she lives to find her. He is determined to find out from her if she knew Peter Stevens and, to John’s surprise, Jane says that not only did she know Peter Stevens but was engaged to marry him!

Then the revelation by John being Peter, in another life, leaves Jane in shock and she asks him to please leave.

John who never believed in, or even thought about, reincarnation now is firmly convinced that he lived before and lived the life of Peter Stevens. Nothing that the doctors or psychiatrists at the hospital say can convince him otherwise.

The only thing that can positively prove that he was Peter Stevens in another life is for the reluctant Jane Stone, who is persuaded by John’s fiancée Lois Gordon (Leigh Snowden), to come to New York. John needs Jane to confirm events between her and Peter that only she could possibly verify as being fact.

With that both John and Jane can put the case of Peter Stevens to rest one way or another.

It is an intelligent film about a mysterious subject – reincarnation.

At the film’s climax we have the scene where John and his fiancee are seated with Jane Stone and the Doctor – John McIntire – and Jane asks John some question such as – who was Peter’s best friend and he does not know the answer and then another question and again he does not know the answer.

The Doctor then asks Jane if she can ask him much more persoanl questions – and she asks him a question that only Peter could have answered – Where did he propose to her. John answers and describes the place and the scene in detail. She asks him what the song they had sung together which he knows correctly. Finally she produces an item from her handbag and asks the Doctor to hold it – she then says that no-one else has seen this since Peter died – John describes the item in detail – a broach – and also gives the inscription on the brooch word perfectly.

Jane then leaves calmly and we are left to ponder – an uncanny moment and yet it is strangely satisfying.

One good reason to see this film is to see the gorgeous Leigh Snowden. Pictured ABOVE. She made very few film and retired from acting before she was 30, after she married accordianist Dick Contino and dedicated herself to raising a family

ABOVE – Ann Harding commands your attention as much at age 53 as she did at age 28. She is truly timeless.

ABOVE – An advertisement for the film

ABOVE – Jock Mahoney pilots the airliner on the flight that nearly ends in disaster because of his pre-occupation with what he has found out

ABOVE and BELOW – In conversation with Leigh Snowden whilst in Hospital

This is a story that I do think could – and should – be re-made. The Second World War could be the original Wartime setting and the rest of the film some years later, in relatively modern times.

I must admit in this film though, Jock Mahoney is given a much more demanding part than we have seen him in before – and he is up to the job. Leigh Snowden as his girl friend is both attractive and sincere. Ann Harding, a very experienced actress is excellent as is the Doctor John McIntire – both of these having quite big and important roles.

posted by Movieman in Uncategorized and have No Comments

Place your comment

Please fill your data and comment below.
Your comment