Watching all the movies on the Warner Bros. 50-movie box set that I bought for cheap. This week the random number generator looks great in a turtleneck sweater as it selects Dr. Zhivago.
Here’s what happens: In old-timey Russia, Dr. Zhivago is married to one woman, but loves another. Then the Workers’ Revolution happens, and everyone’s lives get really complicated.
Why it’s famous: There’s no kind of epic like a Russian epic. Master filmmaker David Lean gives an otherwise intimate story a sense of massive scope with huge production value and elaborate crowd scenes.
Get your film degree: Steven Spielberg has spoken of his admiration of David Lean in several interviews, and he allegedly watches a Lean film just before starting production on one of his own films. In Dr. Zhivago, I noticed a lot what influenced Spielberg’s ‘80s classics in the way the sets are lit and the way the actors are placed in the frame.
Movie geekishness: Lean allegedly fought long and hard to cast Omar Sharif against type as a dashingly handsome Russian. That’s all good, and Sharif is good in the role. What I don’t understand is all this talk on the Blu-ray commentary about how Sharif “taped” his eyes to look more Russian. Taped? What?
Thoughts upon this viewing: With most of these older movies, I find I’m responding to them more on an intellectual level, such as how they were made and their place in history, rather than becoming immersed in the story. That was the case with Dr. Zhivago, where it was technically impressive but the plot left me (heh) cold. Will that change upon future viewings? Who can tell?
Next week: How much is that baby in the window?
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