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 Posted:   Nov 25, 2013 - 11:55 AM   
 By:   Grecchus   (Member)

The 'team' has it's thumbprints all over the finished jigsaw puzzle. I think that Lean et al can only be blamed for suffusing his photoplays with a slightly errant, adult fairy-tale outer dermis, giving rise to the feeling of exaggeration that comes over in just about all his epics.

That stamp of uniqueness seems like it's being called into question. Perhaps Ryan's Daughter is a better yardstick, because the film was largely derided on intitial release. It has it's advocates who appreciate it as a worthy work of art. But it comes directly from the pen or Robert Bolt, and so is a purer conception from the annals of it's creators. How does it go down against the moved goalposts of Zhivago?

Edit: I understand that Bolt was reworking Madame Bovary and remoulding it as Ryan's Daughter. But what the heck, a love story is a love story and you can transplant and modify ad infinitum! What ultimately matters is, how believable and absorbing the finished product ends up as a thing unto itself.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 25, 2013 - 12:02 PM   
 By:   John B. Archibald   (Member)

The Russians finally did make their own film version. Found it on Amazon, though, to be honest, I have yet to watch it. All the information on the case is in Russian, but I suspect it's long, as it takes up 4 DVD's. (They also did a film version of Bulgakov's THE MASTER AND MARGARITA, which I also have, and which I also have yet to watch...)

I was thinking yesterday about scenes Lean cut from his version. I used to have the published screenplay, by Robert Bolt, but ended up giving it, and a very nice one-sheet poster of the film, to a downstairs friend, whose name was Lara, before I moved to Kaua'i. (There were a lot of people who named their daughters Lara after seeing the film.)

The screenplay had an additional scene in Zhivago's childhood, taking place in the country, wherein he's with his adopted parents, out on the lawn, watching a stalled train in the distance. It appears the train has stopped because a man has committed suicide by jumping off it. The man is Zhivago's father, who killed himself in a drunken fit, and is accompanied by his lawyer, sometime friend, Komarovsky. The scene is mentioned in the movie, but not shown. The published screenplay has a shot of peasants standing in a field, watching the stalled train.

There's another, extended, sequence in the film, which has been edited out in the final cut. After Zhivago deserts the partisans, he rides his horse into a snowstorm, which cuts to him trudging in the snow, sans horse. There is a long-ish sequence in the screenplay of him encountering an abandoned train in the snowy wilderness, where many of the passengers have frozen inside, with a glimpse of children, presumably cannibals, in the distance, as well as a sequence where his horse collapses. Perhaps all this was too graphic, and long, and Lean may have wanted to get Zhivago back to Lara faster.

I'd still like to see these scenes, though; wonder if they're stored somewhere.

 
 Posted:   Nov 25, 2013 - 12:14 PM   
 By:   Ron Hardcastle   (Member)

Grecchus and John B: Glad you got this back on Regie's original topic, "Doctor Zhivago"!

 
 Posted:   Nov 25, 2013 - 12:34 PM   
 By:   PhiladelphiaSon   (Member)

I love so many of Lean's earlier works. For some reason, by the late 50s, he decided he no longer needed an editor, and his film became ponderous. Unwatchable, to me.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 25, 2013 - 12:38 PM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

I started a thread on "the other side" of the board about Film Adaptation. (I didn't want it to turn into a list, though.) I was hoping to flesh out what makes an adaptation a good one and whether or not it is 'faithful' to the original; if so, how. In fact, is that possible when you transform a work into another medium and add music??

John, those comments about the additional plot material which didn't make it into Zhivago..... too much plot information confuses audiences (I think of Kubrick's "Barry Lyndon"!!) and Lean obviously wanted to focus on the romance. Personally, I thought the depressing military and political scenes were a little overlong and they did give more than a taste of how vile the new order would become in the USSR. Lean wanted to show the impact of all that in a very personal way and with a small group of people. It ended up being more potent because of that. They were brutes, those Communists!!

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 25, 2013 - 1:09 PM   
 By:   Ado   (Member)

Very interesting views, particularly Rory's. Have wondered why I've never had any great desire to have this movie on Blu-ray or even DVD. It's one of those beautiful films with fine acting, gorgeous cinematography, and a sweeping score that make the parts better than the whole. So we buy the soundtrack, which I did on LP and then CD, and even if we do buy the movie on some form of home video, we rarely watch it. But I'm sure we're going to hear from people who adore "Doctor Zhivago" as a movie!


I am kinda with Ron on this, these are very beautiful pictures with lovely scores, alas they are tremendously boring as stories on the screen.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 25, 2013 - 1:20 PM   
 By:   franz_conrad   (Member)

Excellent point!! The Russians would have made an entirely different film but would mainstream audiences have gone for it? What about Lean's "Lawrence" - that didn't really give us the flavour of Arab nations; I always felt they were portrayed as brutes. Again, look at audiences for mass entertainment. Within that context I thought Lean was a fine film-maker and, frankly, I cannot think of a single cinema adaptation (as opposed to television) where I got a real sense of a great book EXCEPT "To Kill a Mockingbird"!!

Hmmm... books that worked onscreen. No Country for Old Men? (Very literal book however, arguably easier to adapt.) Unbearable Lightness of Being is quite different to the book, but is most definitely a working creature of its own. Dancer Upstairs is a personal favourite. Both Solaris films.

Agreed a little bit about Lawrence and the Arabs. The fact that all and sundry are played by Englishmen probably doesn't help either in the long run, but I think LAWRENCE is helped overall by the fact that it tempers its romanticism with our inability to truly know the man at the heart of the film. In the end, he does things we can't explain, and there's an unavoidable enigma to him. Too many biopics pretend omniscience.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 25, 2013 - 1:22 PM   
 By:   franz_conrad   (Member)

Excellent point!! The Russians would have made an entirely different film but would mainstream audiences have gone for it? What about Lean's "Lawrence" - that didn't really give us the flavour of Arab nations; I always felt they were portrayed as brutes. Again, look at audiences for mass entertainment. Within that context I thought Lean was a fine film-maker and, frankly, I cannot think of a single cinema adaptation (as opposed to television) where I got a real sense of a great book EXCEPT "To Kill a Mockingbird"!!

Hmmm... books that worked onscreen. No Country for Old Men? (Very literal book however, arguably easier to adapt.) Unbearable Lightness of Being is quite different to the book, but is most definitely a working creature of its own. Dancer Upstairs is a personal favourite. Both Solaris films.

Agreed a little bit about Lawrence and the Arabs. The fact that all and sundry are played by Englishmen probably doesn't help either in the long run, but I think LAWRENCE is helped overall by the fact that it tempers its romanticism with our inability to truly know the man at the heart of the film. In the end, he does things we can't explain, and there's an unavoidable enigma to him. Too many biopics pretend omniscience.

 
 Posted:   Nov 25, 2013 - 1:36 PM   
 By:   Grecchus   (Member)

Well, the arabs in QBVII are quaint and somewhat ignorant. Kelno has to win over their confidence via a slow stewing pot! Brutes they are not, but they lag behind the times.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 25, 2013 - 2:54 PM   
 By:   John B. Archibald   (Member)

Was playing the expanded Rhino release of ZHIVAGO all day yesterday, as I drove around San Diego County, making hospice visits.

I'd forgotten how that film and the book before it, had captured my imagination. I emulated the look of Pasha, even though I was more or less a spoiled prep school student at the time. Later, in the fall of my freshman year at Boston U., in 1968, I found an old Navy bridge coat at an army&navy surplus store, and wore that, along with knee-high brown leather boots, and a student cap, all in an effort to look like a Russian revolutionary. (Of politics I knew but little; it was the image that mattered.) I actually ended up creating a reputation; met a lot of people who'd seen me striding around campus, and was referred to as "the guy in the long coat." (Not many people wore that length in those days.) Went to a lot of demonstrations. (There were a lot of them in Boston in the late 60's/early 70's.)

I had forgotten how much I used to play that lp soundtrack, until I memorized the cues. Could probably recite it to this day.

I loved Lean's A PASSAGE TO INDIA, and which Lean could have had the opportunity to make a film of Conrad's NOSTROMO, which he was preparing when he died.

Never thought much of RYAN'S DAUGHTER, though it certainly had spectacularly visual moments. But I thought the story was really too flimsy to carry the epic casing Lean used to surround it. It consequently felt bloated, particularly as a roadshow, and the characters seemed more like stereotypes: the idealist teacher, the dissatisfied wife, the hidden traitor local. Only John Mills' character seemed genuinely realized to me; not surprised he won the Oscar for it, he certainly deserved it.

And, though I continue to enjoy certain of Jarre's scores, I felt his music worked against the material. I found the jaunty main theme for A PASSAGE TO INDIA totally inappropriate for the subject; still can't believe it won the Oscar. Go figure.

LAWRENCE has that mystical use of what sounds like a zither, to convey the space of the desert, and of Lawrence's personality. But then Jarre used the same sound to accompany lone vistas in ZHIVAGO, except that, this time, they were about snow, not sand. Kind of generic, if you ask me.

And, I think he used the same sound in RYAN'S DAUGHTER, although, by now, it was about lonely seascapes. That first, kind of self-indulgent shot, with the sun rising over a lonely beach in Ireland, as I recall. Frankly, the whole of RYAN'S DAUGHTER was self-indulgent; might have made a pretty good 90-minute little film, but it's so encased in all those atmospherics, with magnificent sequences, like the unloading of cargo 'midst stormy surf, but they detract from what there is of the story.

Ah well. Lean was still a master. And I'm glad he was able to make films the way he wanted.

But I wish he'd have used a different composer. Can you imagine what North, or Bernstein, or, say, Herrmann, would have done with Lean's images? The mind reels.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 25, 2013 - 3:12 PM   
 By:   Doug Raynes   (Member)



I am kinda with Ron on this, these are very beautiful pictures with lovely scores, alas they are tremendously boring as stories on the screen.


I think that's a very minority opinion. People seem to have forgotten, or do not know, how hugely popular the film was. I saw it 3 times in 70mm and never came across anyone at that time who didn't enjoy it, even though some of the sniffy critics were lukewarm. Then again, for me David Lean could do no wrong. I've loved all of his films, although his epics needed to be seen on the big screen to be fully appreciated and which I'm pleased to say I was able to do from BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI onwards. RYAN'S DAUGHTER, in particular, looked fabulous in 70mm.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 25, 2013 - 10:48 PM   
 By:   Stephen Pickard   (Member)

I love so many of Lean's earlier works. For some reason, by the late 50s, he decided he no longer needed an editor, and his film became ponderous. Unwatchable, to me.

David Lean physically edited all his own films. Union rules didn't permit Lean to take credit as editor, when he became a director, until "A Passage to India".
Due to time constraints, Lean shared editing duties on "Lawrence" with Anne Coates. Despite that, he always gave it his final stamp of approval.
All the editors credited on his pictures, such as Norman Savage were his assistants, but eventually became full editors themselves.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 25, 2013 - 11:00 PM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

I love so many of Lean's earlier works. For some reason, by the late 50s, he decided he no longer needed an editor, and his film became ponderous. Unwatchable, to me.

David Lean physically edited all his own films. Union rules didn't permit Lean to take credit as editor, when he became a director, until "A Passage to India".
Due to time constraints, Lean shared editing duties on "Lawrence" with Anne Coates. Despite that, he always gave it his final stamp of approval.
All the editors credited on his pictures, such as Norman Savage were his assistants, but eventually became full editors themselves.


Lean was a magnificent film director. End of story.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 25, 2013 - 11:27 PM   
 By:   itstownerman   (Member)

I love so many of Lean's earlier works. For some reason, by the late 50s, he decided he no longer needed an editor, and his film became ponderous. Unwatchable, to me.

David Lean physically edited all his own films. Union rules didn't permit Lean to take credit as editor, when he became a director, until "A Passage to India".
Due to time constraints, Lean shared editing duties on "Lawrence" with Anne Coates. Despite that, he always gave it his final stamp of approval.
All the editors credited on his pictures, such as Norman Savage were his assistants, but eventually became full editors themselves.



Most Directors...IE Spielberg, Lean, Ford, Hitchcock, are Accomplished Film Editors. ...are there 24-7 Editing their films with the Film Editor...To my knowledge..Anne V. Coates was asked by Spielberg and Scorsese...to edit and place back all footage, that was taken away after Arabia's first release. Anne V. Coates....edited Lawrence of Arabia, for the 1989 Re Release.

Lean...pushed his Actors, Editors, Cinematographers, And even Jarre..and Lean had their heated moments. Lean also pushed Jarre in composing better for his films...and told Jarre..if you do what I say...they (the Academy) will honor your score to Dr. Zhivago. And They did.


I remember Omar Shariff going to Lean on the set of Dr. and crying to Lean...that he was not having much speaking parts...Lean calmly told Shariff...We are seeing the film through your eyes!

The part of Dr. Zhivago was given to Peter O'Toole, but he declined...saying he didn't want to spend another two years on a David Lean Film.





 
 
 Posted:   Nov 26, 2013 - 12:56 AM   
 By:   adilson   (Member)

Was playing the expanded Rhino release of ZHIVAGO all day yesterday, as I drove around San Diego County, making hospice visits.

I'd forgotten how that film and the book before it, had captured my imagination. I emulated the look of Pasha, even though I was more or less a spoiled prep school student at the time. Later, in the fall of my freshman year at Boston U., in 1968, I found an old Navy bridge coat at an army&navy surplus store, and wore that, along with knee-high brown leather boots, and a student cap, all in an effort to look like a Russian revolutionary. (Of politics I knew but little; it was the image that mattered.) I actually ended up creating a reputation; met a lot of people who'd seen me striding around campus, and was referred to as "the guy in the long coat." (Not many people wore that length in those days.) Went to a lot of demonstrations. (There were a lot of them in Boston in the late 60's/early 70's.)

I had forgotten how much I used to play that lp soundtrack, until I memorized the cues. Could probably recite it to this day.

I loved Lean's A PASSAGE TO INDIA, and which Lean could have had the opportunity to make a film of Conrad's NOSTROMO, which he was preparing when he died.

Never thought much of RYAN'S DAUGHTER, though it certainly had spectacularly visual moments. But I thought the story was really too flimsy to carry the epic casing Lean used to surround it. It consequently felt bloated, particularly as a roadshow, and the characters seemed more like stereotypes: the idealist teacher, the dissatisfied wife, the hidden traitor local. Only John Mills' character seemed genuinely realized to me; not surprised he won the Oscar for it, he certainly deserved it.

And, though I continue to enjoy certain of Jarre's scores, I felt his music worked against the material. I found the jaunty main theme for A PASSAGE TO INDIA totally inappropriate for the subject; still can't believe it won the Oscar. Go figure.

LAWRENCE has that mystical use of what sounds like a zither, to convey the space of the desert, and of Lawrence's personality. But then Jarre used the same sound to accompany lone vistas in ZHIVAGO, except that, this time, they were about snow, not sand. Kind of generic, if you ask me.

And, I think he used the same sound in RYAN'S DAUGHTER, although, by now, it was about lonely seascapes. That first, kind of self-indulgent shot, with the sun rising over a lonely beach in Ireland, as I recall. Frankly, the whole of RYAN'S DAUGHTER was self-indulgent; might have made a pretty good 90-minute little film, but it's so encased in all those atmospherics, with magnificent sequences, like the unloading of cargo 'midst stormy surf, but they detract from what there is of the story.

Ah well. Lean was still a master. And I'm glad he was able to make films the way he wanted.

But I wish he'd have used a different composer. Can you imagine what North, or Bernstein, or, say, Herrmann, would have done with Lean's images? The mind reels.



I think Maurice Jarre gave a great contribuition for Lean's films, I love A PASSAGE TO INDIA score, the sequence of statues is incredible.
Also, I think is very difficult imagine what another composer could do but I don't think that any other composer could do something better for LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, it's a masterpiece, John Williams has said that it is probably the best score ever made.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 26, 2013 - 11:24 AM   
 By:   Stephen Pickard   (Member)

I love so many of Lean's earlier works. For some reason, by the late 50s, he decided he no longer needed an editor, and his film became ponderous. Unwatchable, to me.

David Lean physically edited all his own films. Union rules didn't permit Lean to take credit as editor, when he became a director, until "A Passage to India".
Due to time constraints, Lean shared editing duties on "Lawrence" with Anne Coates. Despite that, he always gave it his final stamp of approval.
All the editors credited on his pictures, such as Norman Savage were his assistants, but eventually became full editors themselves.



Most Directors...IE Spielberg, Lean, Ford, Hitchcock, are Accomplished Film Editors. ...are there 24-7 Editing their films with the Film Editor...To my knowledge..Anne V. Coates was asked by Spielberg and Scorsese...to edit and place back all footage, that was taken away after Arabia's first release. Anne V. Coates....edited Lawrence of Arabia, for the 1989 Re Release.


The difference between Lean and other directors is that he always handled the film himself and all the labor that an editor would normally do.
Stanley Kubrick, like most directors, sat with his editor and dictated the in and out points, on the film, and the editor did all the labor of cutting and splicing the film. I know this as I witnessed it working on "The Shining" and I think this is the procedure with most directors.
I am aware of Anne Coates involvement in the Lawrence restoration. If I remember correctly, when Lean finally became available, the film was fine cut by Robert Harris with Lean supervising.
To re-phrase what I said earlier, Lean used qualified editors, but became assistants while working for him and I don't doubt Lean allowed them to voice their opinions and do some rough assembly.
I don't believe Lean wanted anything cut on "Lawrence", back in '62, until he completed shooting.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 26, 2013 - 11:25 AM   
 By:   Stephen Pickard   (Member)

Duplicate post.

 
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