Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, August 30, 2018


Jock Mahoney
I'VE LIVED BEFORE (1956). Director: Richard Bartlett.

Airline pilot John Bolen (Jock Mahoney of Three Blondes in His Life) basically has a meltdown as his plane is coming in for a landing, and imagines that he is a WW1 flier being pursued by enemy aircraft in France. John's co-pilot, Russell (Jerry Paris), saves the day by knocking him out, but when he wakes up he's convinced he's a man named Peter Stevens, who died in 1918. Once he's himself again, John decides to find out if he truly has any connection to this man who died before he was born by finding a woman who was on the plane, whom he recognized from somewhere, and whom he feels may be responsible in some way for his nearly deadly flashback. I've Lived Before is an interesting if minor-league look at the possibility of reincarnation, although telepathy is also mentioned as a possibility by Dr. Bryant (John McIntire). Mahoney gives an okay performance, and while he was never exactly a Jimmy Stewart, doesn't work up much a sweat delineating the mental torment that John must be undergoing. No one ever suggests a complete set of medical and psychological tests for John, nor is it mentioned that -- reincarnation or no -- he will likely be grounded forever. Leigh Snowden [The Creature Walks Among Us] makes a pleasant impression as John's fiancee, Lois, and has an especially good scene when she talks earnestly to Jane Stone (Ann Harding), a woman who was once engaged to Peter Stevens. Harding [The Animal Kingdom] is a little breathless and slightly affected in the role, but she is also very effective and classes up the picture. The script was co-written by actor William Talman of Perry Mason fame. he and director Bartlett, a former actor himself, worked on several movies starring Mahoney.

Verdict: Won't convince most people either way but it's absorbing enough. **1/2. 


angelman66 said...

Was not aware that this theme was being explored way back in the 1950s--sounds like it is right up my alley, so I will seek it out.

William said...

This was made in response to the better-known "Search for Bridey Murhphy," which also dealt with reincarnation. Thee Jock Maqhoney flick is, naturally, on youtube. (Thank goodness for youtube.)

Chris, thanks for all your comments and kind words. Looking forward to the Gender Bending blogathon!