Thursday, May 14, 2009

Doctor Zhivago (1965) (2nd time)

Life of a Russian doctor/poet who, although married, falls for a political activist's wife and experiences hardships during the Bolshevik Revolution. [imdb]

Nominated for 10 Oscars:

Best Picture:
Best Director: David Lean
Best Supporting Actor: Tom Courtenay
Best Adapted Screenplay (WINNER)
Best Cinematography, Color (WINNER)
Best Original Score (WINNER)
Best Art Direction, Color (WINNER)
Best Costume Design, Color (WINNER)
Best Sound
Best Editing

An epic film in David Lean style; just not as good as Lawrence of Arabia or other of his movies. Because it was such a hit, it was also the favorite (I guess) for Best Picture. It lost to Sound of Music.
I've had multiple problems with this film even at a 2nd viewing. I just cannot get over Julie Christie being cast as Lara, the object of desire. She IS gorgeous, but I couldn't buy the youth or the decency that the character required. And her acting is not that good to start with. Another casting mystake: Alec Guinness playing Omar Sharif's half brother. What?! And a few other casting failures. But not all actors are bad: Rod Steiger and Tom Courtenay (deservedly Oscar nominated) are both GREAT! and I also liked Geraldine Chaplin's delicate touch of innocence as Zhivago's wife.
The technical part is brilliant and all the Oscars won are rightfully deserved! The Art Direction and Cinematography are spectacular, capturing gorgeous landscape, a ton of set decorations and doing daring shots of the battle scenes. Which reminds me: there's a violent confrontation between the Reds and the Whites that left me like: wow. How did David Lean make those horses fall and film it to look so believable?
As much as the technical and historical parts seem dead on, I was still feeling like there's something I don't like about this movie and I can't put my finger on it: oh, yeah, the fact that I'm not buying a minute of this so called love story. Omar Sharif and Julie Christie don't match and their characters' love intentions don't justify. It just doesn't work. :(
My rating for the film: 7.5/10. A true epic, but the love story and Julie's casting as Lara brings it down. But I could never hate it or dislike it. Oh year: and Omar Sharif did deserve and Oscar nomination (it was a shock back then that he wasn't nominated despire winning the Golden Globe for Best Actor Drama).
Other BEST PICTURE nominees from 1965 mentioned here:

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