Doctor Zhivago

I spent too much time trying to put together Ethan Hawke’s Black Album using my computer.  After some struggles, I got it done.  I saw in my mailbox a tax refund, which was enough to cover my rent for August, so I felt pretty good.  I watched the Blu-ray edition of David Lean’s “Doctor Zhivago.”  I was struck by the beauty of the movie, with some of the greatest photography I’ve ever seen.  Julie Christie was very beautiful, and I’ll always remember the scene where she shoots Rod Steiger.  The train trip was memorable, too.  I kept thinking that Warren Beatty must have taken this movie as inspiration for a lot of things he did in “Reds.”  David Lean was in his peak form with this picture. I think of “Lawrence of Arabia” was his movie for men, and “Doctor Zhivago” as his movie for women.  We’ve got principal characters who are married to the wrong people.  I questioned whether a doctor can be much of a poet.  You have to concentrate on one thing or another if you want to be good at what you are doing.  Some of the shots of shooting reminded me of “The Bridge on the River Kwai.”  I guess it wa something about being held against your will and made to do certain tasks.  I was impressed with the clarity and rich color of this Blu-ray disc.  Freddie Young and David Lean really showed their mastery of film with their work.  I don’t think the Omar Sharif was the greatest actor, but I’ll remember him for Zhivago rather than “Funny Girl.”  When he was trudging along in the snow, I could almost feel his suffering myself.  I thought his frozen mustache might snap off his face like in a Charlie Chaplin film.  I feel a bit sad watching this movie, knowing that he died not too long ago.  Geraldine Chaplin looked so young, reminding me of how long ago 1965 was.  It seemed that Ralph Richardson never looked young in my lifetime.  Alec Guinness was back.  Was it a requirement that he appear in every David Lean film?  I recognized Klaus Kinski.  I wonder how he felt about working with David Lean.  There was one scene in which Zhivago kicks Steiger, and he’s left out in the cold, stumbling and ranting.  It nearly made me laugh, reminding me of one of Frank Gorshin’s impersonations.  Julie Christie and snow also make me think of “McCabe and Mrs. Miller.”  Julie Christie’s career from “Darling” through “Heaven Can Wait” was remarkable, and she could have been in other great movies during those years but for the likes of “Demon Seed.”  The sight of Zhivago and Lara inside that icy house towards the end brought to my mind Woody Allen and Diane Keaton in “Love and Death.”  There was a great moment when Zhivago broke a window to catch a last look at Lara leaving on a sleigh.  What kind of an effort went into making this film?  It looks like everything was done so carefully and thoughtfully.  It was so hard to believe that Lara could be so oblivious walking down the street at the end.  I did get a little tired of the musical theme after the intermission.  I thought of Julie Christie’s cameo appearance in “Nashville,” where the characters in the scene recognize her.  The Guinness character said that no one loves poetry like a Russian.  I have a memory of this movie being shown over the course of two nights on network television when I was a kid.  I felt nostalgic watching it again, with all those old movie stars of years past.  Julie Christie is the only one who is still alive.  The last time I saw her in a movie was “Away From Her,” which was released in April 2007.  The past ten years have passed too quickly.  Some of the people who died on July 14 include Billy the Kid (1881), Adlai Stevenson (1965), Meredith MacRae (2000), and Mark Oliphant (2000).  Today is a birthday for Jane Lynch (57).  According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for July 14, Alfred Hitchcock’s “Torn Curtain,” starring Paul Newman and Julie Andrews, was released in 1966.  In 1977, Elvis Costello and the Attractions played their first live show at The Garden in Penzance, England.  In 1979, Donna Summer’s “Bad Girls” was the Number One single.  In 1996, “Nine Months,” starring Hugh Grant and Julianne Moore, was released.

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