David Lean

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ellipsis7
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#26 Post by ellipsis7 » Wed Sep 17, 2008 6:48 am

Yes, he didn't come across as a nice or particularly empathic person, in fact he appeared outstandingly arrogant... In his latter years Melvyn Bragg spent hours on fawning boring interviews with Lean for the South Bank Show, which were treated like a Royal audience by the Great Man... Yawn!... I got the same negative impression of the man from Brownlow's biog - still the book is so thick, once read it has practical use as a doorstop or suchlike!...

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Antoine Doinel
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#27 Post by Antoine Doinel » Wed Sep 17, 2008 8:58 am

Terrence Rafferty offers an overview of Lean's career.

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thirtyframesasecond
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#28 Post by thirtyframesasecond » Wed Sep 17, 2008 5:46 pm

ellipsis7 wrote:Been catching earlier Leans sporadically on Film Four (they're also out in new restored editions on R2 DVD) and I prefer altogether my discovery of THIS HAPPY BREED and THE PASSIONATE FRIENDS (& revisiting BRIEF ENCOUNTER) etc., which seem to ring far truer and really resonate with their time....

It may be that the advent of the British 'kitchen sink' working class dramas at the start of the 1960s, marginalising the dramas and romances of the suburban middle classes that were Lean's metier, pushed him towards the larger canvas pieces, arguable to their and his detriment...
Like yourself, I've been watching the early Lean films on Film Four. For all the aesthetic and technical wonder of the films from BOTRK onwards, I much prefer the 40s films. Great Expectations is in my opinion Lean's finest, and one of the finest indeed to ever come from these shores. I remember being totally indifferent to Brief Encounter before re-watching it recently, and realising that it was just absolutely wonderful.

Anonymous

#29 Post by Anonymous » Wed Oct 01, 2008 12:28 am

domino harvey wrote:I was also unimpressed with the film. It wasn't even that it was boring, because boredom at least would have been a response generated by the film. I wasn't anything, the movie just was.
Um....are you talking about Lawrence Of Arabia? (My favourite film?)

Edit: Wow! LoA doesn't get a lot of love at CF.org then? TOUGH CROWD HERE, hahaha.....just WOW!

Perhaps I missed the LoA Love thread?

Anyway.....there's not a day that goes by when I don't think about this epic work of art. It completely floored me the first time I saw it, and I've seen it about 25x now. Even on my crappy little tv, I enjoy it. (I think it is a myth that it MUST be appreciated only on the big screen.)

It does have a lot of mystery. Why does the enigmatic Lawrence want to be someone else? What is driving him to do all these things? "Who are you?" shouts Lean mid film, and Lawrence cannot answer. There will be much head scratching while viewing this film, surely. Isn't it wonderful though, when we don't have all the answers?

Lawrence eventually becomes very successful, then smug, then his downfall plays out.....and oh how it plays out! Many say the second half really drags. Well, the downfall is quite detailed and there's no tidy economic sad endings in sight. It's a very long ride from the Turkish General to "going home, Sir".

This is a fascinating, spectacular, yet somewhat inpenetrable, character study.

No spoonfeeding here, or in any Lean vehicle. You stay on your toes, look things up, or to hell with you. How refreshing to be treated this way by a "mainstream" director. Look up the locations and the dates. I did. This even led me towards a 1927 copy of the book itself, that T.E. Lawrence wrote. Here is a film that led me to the book, hahaha....

O'Toole is beyond perfect in this film. (As well as Jack Hawkins.)

I'm babbling: We are all entitled to our opinions, and I greatly enjoy reading diverging opinions at CF.org.

But LoA is an absolutely stunning achievement, and it may deserve reconsideration by some. Please.
Last edited by Anonymous on Wed Oct 01, 2008 12:50 am, edited 2 times in total.

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domino harvey
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#30 Post by domino harvey » Wed Oct 01, 2008 12:40 am

Well, had I known it was your favorite film, I would surely have worded my comment exactly the same

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Orphic Lycidas
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#31 Post by Orphic Lycidas » Wed Oct 01, 2008 6:30 pm

Skuj wrote:It does have a lot of mystery. Why does the enigmatic Lawrence want to be someone else? What is driving him to do all these things? "Who are you?" shouts Lean mid film, and Lawrence cannot answer. There will be much head scratching while viewing this film, surely. Isn't it wonderful though, when we don't have all the answers?

Lawrence eventually becomes very successful, then smug, then his downfall plays out.....and oh how it plays out! Many say the second half really drags. Well, the downfall is quite detailed and there's no tidy economic sad endings in sight. It's a very long ride from the Turkish General to "going home, Sir".

This is a fascinating, spectacular, yet somewhat inpenetrable, character study.
My experience of the film is very different on exactly the point you bring up. The film has often been described as a character study but I don't see a character as much as I see a type. Screenwriter Michael Wilson, who's original drafts were rejected by Lean, had this to say: "My version of Lawrence's character was more social and political than that of Robert Bolt, who preferred the psychoanalytical side-the sadistic, masochistic, homosexual aspects of his character. I believe that at the end of the film one confuses the two conceptions and it is not clear for most viewers. Many people have told me: "Lawrence is crazy." But Lawrence was not crazy. He was a very complex and interesting man. [His story] is the tragedy of a man who tried to serve two masters. On one hand, he wanted to become an Arab but could not. On the other, he was ashamed to remain English. This is what is tragic for Lawrence, and not the rape by the Turk." If you replace the term "psychoanalytic" with 'character type' I think Wilson well summarizes what I think is wrong with the film. Rather than creating Lawrence's psychology out of his journey and its contradictions, Lean decided to take a ready made character type (that of an "English nut" to use Lean's term) and place him on a journey that does not shape him; he simply plays out his assigned role. Like Daniel Plainview in "There Will Be Blood," he is simply a ready-made cartoon masquerading as a character. I think the questions that you raise cannot be answered not because the character is complex but because there is not much there. What you see is what you get.

Another serious problem I have with the film is the ending which re-writes history in order to prop-up the myth of the white man's burden. My understanding is that after its capture Damascus remained the center of Arab nationalism and democracy (the constitution elected by the congress was a democratic one) untill the French defeated the Arab defenses a few years later.

And that said, at 3 hrs 45 mins, I just find the film extraordinarily boring. -- Does anyone know if the print being shown is 70mm or a 35mm print?

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Antoine Doinel
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#32 Post by Antoine Doinel » Thu Oct 30, 2008 8:26 am


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John Cope
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Re: David Lean

#33 Post by John Cope » Mon Nov 17, 2008 8:55 pm

A superb piece from Robert Horton.

Stefan Andersson
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Re: David Lean

#34 Post by Stefan Andersson » Thu Feb 12, 2009 8:42 am

Anybody want to discuss Lean´s unmade NOSTROMO project? I have quite a bit of info already, but would like to know more about casting ideas for the film. Dennis Quaid, Julian Sands, Isabella Rossellini, Paul Scofield, Marlon Brando, Klaus Maria Brandauer, Anthony Quinn, Irene Papas and Christopher Lambert were announced for the film in Variety, a few months before Lean´s death in 1991. I´ve also found info on the Internet saying that Amira Casar (Breillat´s ANATOMY OF HELL) was up for a part. Lean set his sights early on casting Georges Corraface (MAHABHARATA) as Nostromo, but then he seemed to leave the production.
Now, which actor would have been cast in which part?

I´ve seen the scripts written by Christopher Hampton and Robert Bolt for NOSTROMO. Has anybody seen the alleged later script by Lean and Maggie Unsworth?

All this should maybe go in the unfinished films thread.

Stefan Andersson
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Re: David Lean

#36 Post by Stefan Andersson » Fri Apr 10, 2009 2:46 pm

My NOSTROMO casting guesses: Dennis Quaid (replacing Corraface) as Nostromo, Christopher Lambert (replacing Rickman) as Decoud, Julian Sands and Isabella Rossellini as the Goulds, Paul Scofield as Monygham, Marlon Brando as Montero, Klaus Maria Brandauer as Avellanos, Irene Papas as Teresa, Anthony Quinn as her husband, Amira Casar as one of their daughters.

You can easily Google the interview with Quaid about Lean offering him the lead in NOSTROMO. Googling for Lean and Nostromo will easily lead you to online UK newspaper stories about the project, storyboards, Lean´s talks with Alec Guinness and Peter O´Toole for Monygham and more.

Ronald Paquet, who lives in Canada, sold me the Bolt and Hampton screenplays. He maintains a Lean archive, at least he did it in the late 1990s when I bought the screenplays. The Hampton screenplay I bought is, I´m fairly certain, a bit differerent from the published Hampton screenplay (not read all of it yet), apparently intended for Hugh Hudson, who was chosen by Lean as a standby director on the project.

Off topic: go to the http://www.imdb.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; message boards for LAWRENCE and DR ZHIVAGO. You´ll find threads with direct quotes from deleted or never filmed scenes for the two films. Very interesting!

I´ll try to find Ronald Paquet´s address. Don´t have it handy right now.

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John Cope
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Re: David Lean

#37 Post by John Cope » Wed May 12, 2010 5:12 pm


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manicsounds
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Re: David Lean

#38 Post by manicsounds » Mon Mar 12, 2012 1:26 am


Stefan Andersson
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Re: David Lean

#39 Post by Stefan Andersson » Wed Dec 09, 2015 8:51 am

Lost and Found: the Story of Cook´s Anchor:

Part 1
http://www.nzonscreen.com/title/lost-an ... nchor-1979" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Part 2
http://www.nzonscreen.com/title/lost-an ... nchor-1979" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Stefan Andersson
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Re: David Lean

#40 Post by Stefan Andersson » Wed Dec 09, 2015 5:29 pm

Ian Christie has written a volume about Dr. Zhivago for the BFI Film Classics line; reviewed, Sight & Sound, Jan. 2016 issue

Melanie Williams: David Lean (Manchester University Press); reviewed, Sight & Sound, Dec 2015 issue. Seems like an interesting analysis of some of Lean´s recurring themes: the Romantic outlook on life, the interest in female protagonists


http://www.theguardian.com/film/2015/no ... nniversary" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

http://www.theguardian.com/film/2015/no ... or-zhivago" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

http://www.parkcircus.com/latest/1160_b ... ss_reviews" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; - Collection of links


Some older stuff -- for the record, I think it belongs in the thread:


http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-enter ... 46161.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Includes some storyboards for Nostromo

http://www.nytimes.com/1989/10/17/movie ... onrad.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Sample pages:
https://books.google.com.au/books?id=PR ... &q&f=false" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Screenwriting Poetics and the Screen Idea by Ian W. Macdonald; includes a chapter on Nostromo

http://cinetropolis.net/trouble-in-para ... ns-bounty/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

http://www.focusfeatures.com/article/jo ... david_lean" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

http://guru.bafta.org/christopher-hampt ... rs-lecture" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v30/n13/michael-wood/at-the-movies" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

http://cleojournal.com/2015/11/24/grace ... encounter/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/ ... dc9238b50/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

https://londonist.com/2015/11/david-lean-s-london" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/ ... inema.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-enter ... 54957.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Stefan Andersson
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Re: David Lean

#41 Post by Stefan Andersson » Wed Dec 30, 2015 5:34 pm

Q & A video – Tom Courtenay and Rita Tushingham on Dr. Zhivago. London, 2015:

http://explore.bfi.o...k/56680560cc476" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;


An interview with director Bernard Rose about Nicolas Roeg, with brief mentions of Roeg´s work on Doctor Zhivago (Rose says Freddie Young shot less than half of the film) and Lawrence of Arabia.

http://www.bfi.org.u...se-nicolas-roeg" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;


Rachel Weisz, briefly, on Brief Encounter:
http://explore.bfi.org.uk/56718e061c4f4" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Stefan Andersson
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Re: David Lean

#42 Post by Stefan Andersson » Sat Sep 22, 2018 10:54 am

A good scholarly article on various screenplays for the David Lean Nostromo project:
https://www.thefreelibrary.com/Anticipa ... 0203134718

The notion that Scorsese might direct Nostromo is mentioned in the article, but nothing seems to have come of this intriguing idea.


A 2003 article containing quite detailed info about specific scenes restored to Lawrence of Arabia:
http://www.urbancinefile.com.au/home/vi ... s=features

Another good source of info about the Lawrence restored scenes:
https://www.movie-censorship.com/report.php?ID=776

Stefan Andersson
Joined: Thu Nov 15, 2007 1:02 am

Re: David Lean

#43 Post by Stefan Andersson » Fri Nov 02, 2018 4:32 pm

Visual essay on Ali´s entrance in Lawrence of Arabia:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=49qNHfYq6XE

Good analysis of the map room scene:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pk0RXNkhHm8

dda1996a
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 6:14 am

Re: David Lean

#44 Post by dda1996a » Sat Nov 03, 2018 4:44 am

Thanks! Really enjoyed them

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