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Doctor Zhivago December 26, 2006

Posted by Shujath in English, Movies, Reviews.

Grand and Spectacular are the words to describe David Lean’s movies. His two most famous films Lawrence of Arabia and this one are more than enough to quantify his talent. I never saw a desert landscape captured so beautifully as it was done in Lawrence of Arabia…in this case it is the snow clad wilderness. His style of filmmaking reminds me a lot of the late Mukul S. Anand.

Doctor Zhivago (based on the famous book of the same name) in essence is the classic tale of a man torn between two women due to unforseen circumstances….in this case the backdrop is the Russian revolution. This is a theme which has proved to be quite popular in Telugu and Hindi movies; though in most of the cases it is handled in a lighter vein.

But more than the plot itself it is simply the visuals which captivated me. Editor Norman Savage seems to have been mesmerised by this and almost forgot his job. The resulting runtime is a staggering three and a half hours. Especially the second half of the movie is too sluggish but somehow I did not mind much; there was something seductive about the whole thing which made me want more of it. One of the best sequences of this enterprise is the extended train journey through the beautiful snowy landscape. A couple of scenes in the Salman Khan starrer Lucky find their inspiration here. Also, notable and conspicuous is the brilliant “Lara’s theme” composed by Maurice Jarre who also provided award winning scores for Lean’s other movies.

Omar Sharif underplays the subdued character of Zhivago quite well. Julie Christie is extremely enticing. There is a good supporting cast comprising of Alec Guinness and Rod Steiger. Freddie Young and Nicholas Roeg deserve special mention for their excellent cinematography.

Watching Doctor Zhivago truly gives you the feeling of watching an epic love story….even if the plot doesn’t interest you the magnificient visuals are compelling enough for a viewing.


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