Thursday, March 24, 2011

David Lean: Brief Encounter, Doctor Zhivago

Apologies for the delays, and I'll need to catch up with just some very simple Quick Picks for what should have been posted on Thursday.

The delays were caused by some good news: I've been invited to be a juror for the Wisconsin's Own competition at the Wisconsin Film Festival.  So I've been watching a lot of films and preparing to go to Madison next week.  This will also affect the schedule for next week, so I'll post a schedule update soon (I hope to at least automatically post some Quick Picks while I'm at the Festival).

While David Lean might not be the most adventurous pick for Quick Picks, you should really catch up with these films if you haven't seen them, or if you haven't seen them in a while.  For a good survey of Lean's career, check out the Senses of Cinema website.

Brief Encounter (David Lean, UK, 1945, 86 minutes)
Netflix: In this film based on a Noel Coward play, director David Lean explores the thrill and pain of an illicit romance in 1945 Britain. From a chance meeting on a train platform, a middle-aged doctor (Trevor Howard) and a suburban housewife (Celia Johnson) enter into a quiet yet passionate love affair, knowing there's no possibility for a lasting relationship. The two meet every Thursday at a small café at the station to play out their doomed romance. Netflix link.

Great Expectations (David Lean, UK, 1946, 118 minutes)
Netflix: The distinguished David Lean directed this adaptation of Dickens's novel about an uncultured boy thrust into high society by a mysterious benefactor. As a young boy, Pip (Anthony Wager) pines for the unattainable Estella (Jean Simmons), at the behest of Miss Havisham (Martita Hunt). Grown up Pip (John Mills) gets life lessons from roommate Herbert Pocket (Alec Guinness), but even Herbert can't prepare Pip for heartache. Netflix link.

Oliver Twist (David Lean, UK, 1948, 115 minutes)
Netflix: When wide-eyed orphan Oliver Twist (John Howard Davies) has the colossal nerve to ask for more gruel at his workhouse, his cheekiness gets him shipped off to an apprenticeship with a mortician. Soon Oliver bolts for London, where he falls in with a den of pickpockets and thieves led by the callous, despicable, conniving Fagin (Alec Guinness). A cavalcade of complications follows; David Lean directs. Netflix link.

Doctor Zhivago (David Lean, UK, 1965, 192 minutes)
Netflix: A young physician (Omar Sharif) and his beautiful mistress (Julie Christie) get swept up in the danger and drama of the Bolshevik Revolution in this Oscar-winning epic based on the classic novel by Nobel Prize-winning author Boris Pasternak. The film earned five Academy Awards in all, including statues for Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Score and Best Screenplay. Alec Guinness and Rod Steiger co-star. Netflix link.

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