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Screen Legend Omar Sharif Dies Aged 83


Omar Sharif David Lean Julie Christie Ed Begley

Omar Sharif, the Egyptian-born actor who rose to global fame following his role in Lawrence of Arabia, has died in Cairo at the age of 83. 

Omar Sharif at Chain of Hope's 2014 Gala BallOmar Sharif conquered the movie world in the 1960s 

David Lean's 1962 epic was Sharif's first English-language film. His role as Sherif Ali won him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor (he lost out to Ed Begley for Sweet Bird of Youth).

Continue reading: Screen Legend Omar Sharif Dies Aged 83

Great Expectations (1946) Review


Very Good
The definitive adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic is this one from David Lean, featuring John Mills as the adult version of Pip, an orphan who inherits wealth and status from an unnamed benefactor, and woos the woman of his youthful dreams along the way. The film can be stilted in that 1940s way, most notably during a boxing exhibition in which one fighter has time to apologizing before taking a knockout punch, but Lean does wonders with setting and transforms Dickens' dialogue into something worthy of watching.

Oliver Twist (1948) Review


Very Good
The canonical movie version of Dickens's Oliver Twist, this is as straight-up and authentic as it gets. Oliver asks for "more," ends up adopted, joins a street gang, and pretty much comes full circle, without surprise and with apt attention to period detail. The movie, however, remains mired in controversy due to Alec Guinness's Fagin, which drew such rabid charges of anti-Semitism (check out his nose) that it was banned in Israel. Definitely the version to see before you subject yourself, say, to Polanski's bloated 2005 version.

Doctor Zhivago Review


Essential
For some people, David Lean's name is synonymous with over-direction, but in Doctor Zhivago, as in Lawrence of Arabia, Lean had a theme and canvas to match his epic style. Boris Pasternak's novel was one of the best novels of the 20th century, and probably the best anti-communist novel ever written. The book is not a political novel so much as a romance -- but the doomed romance of Zhivago and Lara is a damning comment on an ideology and regime that robbed its people of their private lives and passions.

In Lean's hands, the book is transformed into a sprawling epic and a lot of the subtlety is removed -- but despite all the lurid images and overdramatic camera work, the result is not as overwrought as one might have expected. After all, Russia is a big place, and communism is a big subject. Fortunately, the screenwriters of yesterday were not as heavy-handed as today's, and often the dialogue is nearly as rich as the costumes and settings.

Continue reading: Doctor Zhivago Review

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Doctor Zhivago Movie Review

Doctor Zhivago Movie Review

For some people, David Lean's name is synonymous with over-direction, but in Doctor Zhivago, as...

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