It''s #8 on the inflation adjusted chart. It would have made nearly a billion dollars domestically, in today''s money.\
I''m just surprised so many Americans would go to see something so... literary.
Because it was a big, sweeping, romantic, tragic, beautiful, treacly, over-the-top old-fashioned Hollywood epic. The soundtrack is iconic. "Laura''s theme" is one of Hollywood''s most recognized songs. It mattered not that the acting was anodyne or the storyline dragged or whatever. \
If you have to ask why it was a big hit (in 1965), then you are not very bright.
In addition to what R1 said, it was a different time. There was lots of advertising tie-ins--clothes, appliances, carpeting. Films like that were events, not just films. Back then, in larger markets, you had to actually buy reserved tickets for the film at the larger cinemas. You dressed up for the evening showing. There was an intermission, just like live theatre.
Ekaterina of Yuriatin
and, frankly, American''s were more literate. The novel was a publishing phenom when it was released in Europe and America, and had a built in audience. David Lean was riding high after LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (another BIG hit, that you actually had to have a brain to watch and enjoy....), and Omar Sharif and Julie Christie were major stars. Oh yes, and Americans had not been dumbed down by 2action" flicks which appealed to the lowest common denominator....
[quote]and, frankly, American''s were more literate.\
Oh, the irony. The terrible, terrible irony.
[quote]David Lean was riding high after LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (another BIG hit, that you actually had to have a brain to watch and enjoy....)\
Which comes in at #70 on that list?\
I''ll admit I''m surprised. I remember it being "a major motion picture" but #8 is a shock. According to that, Zhivago only made about 15% less than Sound of Music, and that thing was a genuine monster--it played for months when it hit a theater. And Mary Poppins earned 1/3rd less? That was another genuine sensation, and even at kiddie prices I would have guessed it was a bigger earner than Zhivago.
It is a beautiful film based on a great novel. Julie Christie was ethereal as Lara.
There was an enormous amount of publicity about Geraldine Chaplin at the time of the movie''s release. I think she may have been on the cover of Look or Life.
I just watched a couple of clips on Youtube. Julie Christie--she''s just incredible-looking. She does practically nothing, but you can clearly see her emotions on her face.
"and, frankly, American''s were more literate"\
Not really. Dr. Zhivago is pretty much your standard sappy romance movie, and that is how it was marketed. Most of the people going to see it were fraus and fangurls who swooned over the romance, like they did with Titanic. Lawrence of Arabia is a much better example of a truly literate movie that was a big hit (and it didn''t have the obligatory heterosexual romance plot either - rare for a blockbuster)
I remember my parents and their friends talking about Zhivago when it first came out, and I remember they weren''t impressed. One friend who was a Doctor said that the heart attack at the end was the most realistic heart attack he had ever seen in a movie.
I went to see it when it first hit the theaters with three other people, none of whom had read the book. They all thought it was lovely; I thought it was nothing but indigestible tripe.\
I watched it again several years ago and it was still tripe. Age had not improved it or turned it into menudo.\
If I had not been enthralled by the book, I might have enjoyed the movie, but Lean''s creation is a lovely romance with no depth. The cinematography is astonishing and the actors are all very pretty. Love the costumes. I actually laughed out loud at the heavy-handed over-dramatic reveal that showed us Pasha was the horrible villain, roaring train flying through the night and all.\
Diabetics should be warned to check their insulin levels before watching.
But R11 thinks Michael Bay''s Armageddon was a masterpiece of film making.
Matter of fact, I hated Armageddon, but at least it wasn''t a pretentious piece of cow plop.
That list is complete bullshit. Where is Jeff Stryker''s "Power Tool?" Homophobic bastards.
And what about the unforgettable lines?\
"Better get outta them wet underwear."\
"Take it all. Take it all, white boy." *\
* Not in "Power Tool," but from another Jeffy movie where he stars an Indian who captures and fucks a U.S. Cavalry officer. Oh, those thrillin'' days of yesteryear!
I bet most of the people who saw it were women like "Betty Draper." Bored housewives looking for similar romance in their own lives.
Omar Sharif was incredibly hot in that movie. I had lots of "Fuck me, Russian" dreams after watching that one.
Sharif was horribly miscast. He doesn''t look Russian, Tatar, Caucasian or any Russian minority. His accent was terrible as well. The costumes and interiors of a huge stew of different styles and periods. The hairstyles and make-up scream 1960''s not 1917. Compare this with Knight Without Armour starring Marlene, now that film looked like Russia in 1917.
Omar is wearing a wig as Zhivago. His real hair was never that straight and lanky. Curly hair was just not "in" as is also evidenced by the straightened bouffant beehives of Julie and Geraldine.\
Lara''s Theme cannot be denied as a powerhouse marketing tool for the film. Movies these days rarely have that hit song tie-in that everyone hears and recognizes.
This played yesterday on AMC. According to Mr. Osborne, Peter O''Toole was Lean''s first choice for Zhivago. He declined the role because he couldn''t face another long shoot like that for Lawrence of Arabia. Lean then went with Sharif.
Even as a 10-year old kid, I loved it. I saw it with my parents and to this day, I still think it is the moving, romantic and epic movies ever.
The movie greatly simplified the novel. In the novel, Zhivago was married multiple times. Twice, I think, after meeting Lara. That would not have suited the movie love story pemise.
It ain''t no Gone with the Wind.
What''s more surprising than the content is the length. It''s over three hours long. Apparently attention spans were longer then. Can you imagine a movie of that length being a smash hit these days?
Another thing to remember is that the 1960s was the height of the Cold War; the Berlin Wall, the Cuban Missle Crisis, the sabre-rattling of Nikita Kruschev were recent news.\
Doctor Zhivago was one of many films with Russian backgrounds or characters that were big hits at the time: Dr. Strangelove, The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, The Russians Are Coming The Russians Are Coming, etc. In fact, the 1966 list of most successful films that year, Zhivago was #1 and The Russians Are Coming was #2.\
That Doctor Zhivago became a monster hit was because it was a romance (female audience, check) set against the backdrop of war (male audience, check), featured an illustrious cast, an acclaimed director and a title that most of the world was familiar with, even if they hadn''t read the book. That it was also a pretty good film (great, imho) with a memorable score that became its own commercial success (I''m pretty sure it hit #1 on the Billboard chart). Essentially, Doctor Zhivago was the Titanic of its day.
R21, Same experience here. I went to Russia in ''86 because of the movie. St. Petersburg and Moscow were captivating. ( Iknow the film wasnt made in Russia).
It was a big hit because if the times. Going to the movies was an event. In those dats, parents used to actually hire babysitters when they went to the movies, and left the kids at home. They dressed up, they reserved seats.
Julie Christie and Omar Sharif had matinee idol status. Cinematography was important. Movies showing a grand sweep of scenes, which could stand alone as dioramas, were popular. Russia was closed off from the West and had an exotic air about it. The dichotomy between the Russia if the rich and the Russia of the poor was interesting, and the Russian civil war was seen as being disasterous to a once-great country. A doomed romance was a good metaphor for the loss of Russia. It was, as they say, epic.
That said, Geraldine Chaplin was a nonentity as an actress. She filled the screen with emptiness. But that is also why people went to see the film. They wanted to see how miscast some of the actors were. Sharif was definitely miscast, but he wasn't an actor who was going to get many parts playing an Egyptian. He was handsome and people wanted to look at him.
[quote]What''s more surprising than the content is the length. It''s over three hours long. Apparently attention spans were longer then. Can you imagine a movie of that length being a smash hit these days?\
Honey, before VHS ruined everything, there such things as double features where you saw two movies for the price of one. When a wee child in the 70''s, I even went to a Woody Allen triple feature, "Bananas", "Take The Money And Run" and "What''s Up Tiger Lily" and a James Bond triple feature. Granted my father had to come in the theater after the third movie to get us because we all fell asleep but we were in the theater for six hours.
Weren''t those Lord of the Rings cartoons 4 hours each?
What R29 said. I got a bit bored with "Lawrence of Arabia" when I was eight. All that sand. I liked the house filled with snow in "Doctor Zhivago," but the rest of it didn''t make much sense. (WHY did my parents let me go?) But I was used to sitting through double features or (the best) watching the feature two times in a row. \
I suppose a parent would be locked up for that now. Oh, and I rode my bike to the theater, which was at least 4 miles from home, without adult supervision. After the movie, I always spent an hour or so roaming around downtown before heading home.
R11 sounds smarter than you, R12. There''s nothing in that post that makes "I bet he likes Michael Bay" a reasonable insult.
It''s the same old classic time-worn story: Gentlemen prefer blondes, but marry brunettes.
Reserved seat engagments were big in the 50''s and 60''s. Films like DR. ZHIVAGO, THE SOUND OF MUSIC, WEST SIDE STORY, LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, EXODUS and CLEOPATRA would play exclusive two a show day engagements in one theater, usually downtown. The films were either shot in 70MM or, as in the case of CAMELOT, were blown up from 35MM for 70MM projection. The sound was multi channel stereo. There would be an overture, an entr'' acte and exit music. You could buy souvenir programs. You were shown to your seat by an usher. It was like attending live theater events. ZHIVAGO and SOUND OF MUSIC played for over one year in these hard ticket engagements before expanding to neighborhood theatres for general release engagements at popular prices.\
In the case of ZHIVAGO,"Lara''s Theme" was recorded by many artists. Words were added for a vocal version. This plus a best selling soundtrack album and all the other tie ins would add to the appeal and longevity of a film.
The Reserved Seat 70MM troll
There was a massive PR blitz around the time Zhivago came out. \
Before and after the movie came out there were tons of interviews with and stories on Sharif, Christi, and Chaplin. Then there were also the stories on how the cast was acquired, how and where the cinamatographers were able to film the beautiful exteriors. \
Fashion magazines did layouts with both Christi and Chaplin. Fashion shows featured clothes influenced by the Russian costumes in the movie.\
Everytime you turned on the radio the theme from Dr Zhivago permiated the airwaves. \
Once the movie received so many nominations, the whole thing started all over again for a second round.\
The PR people did a good job of representing it as an event rather than merely a movie.
[quote] Apparently attention spans were longer then. \
They had these things called "Intermission." Just like at the theater.\
When my cousin was a kid, he took his paper boy tips and went to see "Ben Hur." My aunt looked out the window to see him walking home. She said, "What are you doing home so soon? The movie can''t be over already."\
He thought when the curtain closed and the lights came up, the movie had ended, but it was only intermission. That was the last time he spent his money on a "grownup movie."
Funny Girl, How the West Was Won and Thoroughly Modern Millie were other films that were shown in those exclusive reserved seat engagements. They would play in theaters for two or three years and then years would pass before they ever appeared on TV. \
This was the old days before the VCR and DVD and computers.
Here are the various movie posters used through out it''s release and re-releases.
[quote]What''s more surprising than the content is the length. It''s over three hours long. \
Tell me about it. I just watched "War and Peace" this evening. After two hours, I had to take a break.
I got tired of hearing "Lara''s Theme" it was played so much. There are music boxes still being made with "Lara''s Theme." I really hate it. \
Trivia - the sheet music for Lara''s Theme was bought by Maurice Jarre for a few cents by the song''s composer. Maurice Jarre was no Henri Mancini.
I did love the part when they were in that abandoned mansion in the snow. That was pretty cool.
It used to be really exciting the first time a movie appeared on TV. NBC had "Saturday Night at the Movies" and that was where theatrical movies made their tv debuts. I remember the hysteria of my cousins when "Baby, the Rain Must Fall" debuted on television. They were obsessed with Steve McQueen because of his motorcycles. I was about 5 years old and got all excited because they were excited, and when the movie came on I was like, "This is it? Are you kidding me?"\
They also reran movies that had been on "Saturday Night at the Movies" already, but were considered "classics" and hadn''t gone into ''general TV'' circulation, like "The Searchers." I remember seeing that and thinking that John Wayne rode a horse like he had a stick up his ass.\
Movies like "The Russians Are Coming" and "The Birds" were more my speed.
I miss the fancy theaters that screened these movies. In Houston there was the Windsor and the Gaylynn. Chandeliers in the lobby, wiiiiiiide screens and big, plush seats - those are long gone.
You said it R4. Remember this was when Congress passed major Civil Rights legislation and LBJ created the welfare system that has existed ever since in one form or another. And The Smothers Brothers was on TV (within a year or so). And so was Firing Line. People were actually thinking complete thoughts.
[quote] The PR people did a good job of representing it as an event rather than merely a movie.\
True. The fashionistas tried to make those round Russian fur hats a fad for the ladies, but it didn''t take off.\
I didn''t like Julie Christie with blonde hair. She just didn''t look right. I''ve always thought she looked part Indian. I know she had an Indian half sister. Her father may have been Anglo-Indian passing for pure British, like William Pratt (Boris Karloff) and Anna Leonowens (Anna from "The King and I"). At any rate, Julie looks better as a brunette, it suits her coloring.
That music swept me a way as a kid, then when I saw the movie the way it began with the funeral music and the coffin, wow, amazing! Still they couldn''t get that right either. Then look how they butchered Nicholas and Alexandra. Directors and writers always feel like they can improve upon history.\
When my grandmother died she had Lara''s Theme played as they put the cover on her coffin and took her away to the grave. Now that was creepy for me!
Doctor Zhivago was kind of like The English Patient back in the 90''s.
I wish 70MM would make a comeback. Of course now with digital projection and sound--- it''s as good as the older films that were projected in 70MM. Back in the heyday, you really could tell a difference with 70MM-- the screens were super wide and curved and the images were pristine. So yes, I guess HD and digital projection is as good. What made those roadshows so special is that it was an event like going to see a Broadway show.\
Tickets were ordered by mail and the theatres had different prices for locations. Orchestra and loge seating was more expensive than balcony. Soveneir programs were for sale. Or, you could get a small playbill size type flyer for free.
R18, so what? To this day, Hollywood doesn''t give a shit when they miscast.
When I was twelve (1975), my father took me to a matinee showing of "Dr. Zhivago." Movie theatres often showed big epics again for matinees (I saw "GWTW" in a matinee). Just remember the beauty of Julie Christie and the sweeping romance that was the entire film. It''s one film I always enjoy re-watching. Now, I''m in lust for Pasha/Strelnikov!!!
Bonnie Prince Charlie
I just remember it was the most boring movie I ever saw. Oh wait...Gone with the Wind was the most boring followed by this piece of crap.
Julie Christie''s 60s look was copied worldwide by teen girls: White blonde straightened & teased bouffant hair, pale pink cheeks and lips contrasted with black eyeliner and lashes.\
She really was the reluctant star who, after Zhivago, could have done any number of big budget blockbuster films but only appeared in a dozen or so mostly smaller art films in the decades that followed the 60s. Very refreshing IMHO.
She was fabulous in Far from the Madding Crowd, R52.
I said "mostly" r53.
"I was about 5 years old and got all excited because they were excited, and when the movie came on I was like, "This is it? Are you kidding me?"\
Do you really think that at the age of 5 you were competent to judge adult movies?
[quote] Do you really think that at the age of 5 you were competent to judge adult movies?\
Isn''t every 5-year old fag?
I met Julie once in LA many, many years ago at an airport. She and I spoke for 10-15 minutes - no one recognized her except me all the time we were talking.\
Suddenly there was a huge ruckus and we say Chill Wills wanking done the gangway with ten or twenty people around him asking for autographs and yelling out his name...\
Julie said something like, "really I am the lucky one, you have no idea".
[quote]we say Chill Wills wanking done the gangway\
"say Chill Wills"? "wanking down the gangway"?\
How many vodka stingers have you had, R57?
R52 got it right. All the girls wanted to look like Julie Christie. They all wore those bouffant hairstyles she had in Zhivago. I remember big black velvet bows were in..like Ms. Christie wore in the early reels of the movie when she was the younger Lara.\
I know... MARY!
R53- I agree. Loved her in Far from the Madding Crowd, one of my favorite late 60''s epics. I know it didn''t repeat the success of Zhivago but it was quite good. Stirring musical score too.
Alan Bates and Terence Stamp were Julie''s male equivalents in the 60s.
And Bates and Stamp were in FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD with Julie and Peter Finch.
I have a soft spot in my heart for this film.
Ekaterina of Yuriatin
Irony -- that people who look like Julie Christie and Omar Sharif could produce someone who looked like Rita Tushingham.
I loved it as a kid and I love it now.\
Big, gorgeously filmed, huge story set against the backdeop of the Russian revolution... imagine living through something like that.\
Julie Christie was sublime- great beauty, wonderful actress full of intelligence and gravitas- no small traits in a movie star package. She has always been one of my favorites.
I was always moved by the final comment on Lara:\
"One day she left and never came back. She must have died in one of the labor camps up north, a number on a list that somebody later misplaced. That happened a lot in those days."\
The final scene of Julie Christie waving as she walks away is very, very moving.
Life magazine had a big article on the movie before it came out. I remember how they talked about the sets and the huge model of the Kremlin domes that was used at the end of the street. people were very excited about the opening of the movie. It went on and on for month after month in the first run-theaters. People loved this movies.
I never could sit through that film. It bores me to death.
"What''s more surprising than the content is the length. It''s over three hours long. Apparently attention spans were longer then. Can you imagine a movie of that length being a smash hit these days?"\
As a matter of fact, I can, R24. Remember a little thing called "Titanic"? It clocks in at 194 mins.
I never knew "Lara's Theme" was from Dr Zhiago. I thought it was called "Somewhere My Love," and I thought it was Italian gondola music. I was very young when the film came out and didn't know anything about it except that it was a "bad movie" because my Catholic mother followed the recommendations of the Legion of Decency. Apparently it was "bad" because there was adultery in the film. I'll bet it was given a C (condemned) rating.
Catholics used to have to take a pledge every year not to go see "bad" movies.
"I condemn all indecent and immoral motion pictures, and those which glorify crime or criminals. I promise to do all that I can to strengthen public opinion against the production of indecent and immoral films, and to unite with all who protest against them. I acknowledge my obligation to form a right conscience about pictures that are dangerous to my moral life. I pledge myself to remain away from them. I promise, further, to stay away altogether from places of amusement which show them as a matter of policy."
There was one movie theater in town, The Plaza, which showed "racy" films, like "Never on a Sunday." In our church, they took a pledge not to got to the Plaza movie theater.
Speaking of "Never on a Sunday," all those early 60s films had theme music designed to get an Oscar nom. "Zorba the Greek," "Georgy Girl," A Taste of Honey," "Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines," "Goldfinger," "Moon River," "The Shadow of Your Smile."
When I first got Sirius radio, they had a channel devoted to music that was nominated for an Oscar. Great channel.
I remember my parents discussing this "film" at one of their fondue parties.
Yes, it is rather amazing that this was a big hit in the U.S. But, then again, Americans were less shallow back then.\
Today, if a movie doesn''t have fart jokes or bathroom humor, or if someone isn''t falling down or racing some loud machine all over the landscape or being decapitated or throwing up green bile, no one is very interested, for the most part.
You mean no one in Hollywood is very interested in MAKING a movie that isn''t base and disgusting. There are millions of people who would like to see intelligent, well-made movies. They are not the demographic that promises the fastest and biggest bucks so no one caters to their wishes.
**rolling my eyes at r72''s prissy pearlclutching meltdown**
What R72 said is hardly prissy and certainly not a "meltdown". He spoke the truth. But, then again, so did R73.
It was a highly successful novel made into an epic film in an era when epic films and big musicals were the top money makers. \
In certain respects it was the Gone With The Wind of the 60s, but without the camp, and many would argue (myself included) not nearly as good a film. In 1965, there were many people alive who remembered the Russian Revolution and or the Stalin era, less than 50 years earlier (imagine a movie today about the 60s), and a great many more alive who understood its significance.\
Was it a more "literary" age in terms of popular tastes? In some ways. In others certainly not.
R70 "Somewhere My Love" was the title of the vocal version that came out after the movie and was a big hit for many recording artists. "Lara''s Theme" was the official title for the original instrumental version.
r71, my mother has said that she and my dad went to see Doctor Zhivago when it was originally released and says she froze through the whole movie because of all the snow!
My sense is that it made quite a bit of money overseas, particularly in Europe.
Schlocky, sentimental, built on coincidences that are beyond ridiculous. But the music was nice and everyone looked pretty.
Does every music box in ever tacky gift shop on the planet still play Laura''s Theme like they did in the 1960''s and 70''s?
The rainbow over the hydroelectric plant at the end (signifying that all the brutalities of the Russian Revolution were somehow worth it?) is beyond shlock.
R82 = Glenn Beck.
"Lara''s Theme" is R83''s cel ringtone.
"American''s were more literate."\
The apostrophe that proves r3''s point.
"Even as a 10-year old kid, I loved it."\
Now as an adult I find the filmmaking overblown and the Kamarovsky/Lara story to make no sense in the later parts of the film. There are many lovely moments. There is some grand old style panache. The framing of the story works very well and Guinness and Tushingham bring it to life in a touching way. Christie gives a beautiful performance especially in the early parts of the film. Chaplin''s elegance and restraint are endearing. At best it could have been epic filmmaking without a narrative that really lends itself to dramatic coherence. As it is, there is a lot of shlock.
With all it''s problems (and there are many), it''s a hell of a lot better than Titanic, Braveheart, Dances with Wolves, Gladiator - highly successful period epics that were huge hits in more recent years.\
Christie, a legend now, was not a big star in 1965. 1956 made her a big star. Many on this thread forget that. \
Having said that, having a leading lady of extraordinary beauty who was a great actress and, more importantly, had the stuff of being a true, vivid outright movie star (not often seen even in those days), certainly helped the movie''s box office.\
Ridiculous to call Chaplin a non-entity as an actress. She has very little to do in the movie except look elegant and passive (which she does memorably) and she''s perfectly fine in it. More importantly, she''s had a long and very distinguished career since then, as ingenue, leading lady, and character actress, especially in Spanish cinema.
whoops, meant 1965, not 1956.
and don''t forget that Chaplin simply disappears in the middle of the film and is never seen again.
In the book, the leader of the Red Rebels who essentially kidnap Zhivago was a cocaine addict. I guess Hollywood couldn''t deal with that.
I can''t agree that is better than Titanic from an accuracy standpoint. It doesn''t look like Russia in 1917 except in very superficial ways. It could have been much better in that regard if it wanted to be. The film was shown at Spaso House, the US Embassy in Moscow, in a special showing. The Russian audience laughed at all of the horrible mistakes.
"Doctor Zhivago" is David Lean at his second best (after "Lawrence of Arabia") -- lush, poetic, with a wonderful sense of imagery. The story was always a bit creaky, since it meant to tell an intricate personal tragedy against an epic historical background, in the grand old Russian style. But Lean brought it all off nearly perfectly. I don''t think that Hollywood had much to do with the movie''s merits and demerits; the fault, if any, lies with Lean.\
Want to see what Hollywood does with this kind of thing, take a look at "War and Peace" from King Vidor, 1956. Pure schmaltz.
I can''t agree - I can give you a huge list of errors in the movie. Lean didn''t care about accuracy, or Russia or anything else. Sure there are pretty images but they are bizarre beyond belief to anyone who knows Russia and its landscape, customs and history.\
The biggest mistake was filming it where they did. It''s like filming a New York movie in Karachi. No birches (those pine trees drive me nuts), mountains where there were none.\
The country villa looks like a church nothing like a real Russian country house. The clothes are all over the place from 1880 until 1920. The people act like Americans not like Russians. They don''t talk to each other like Russians, they aren''t physical like Russians were.\
The houses and interiors have nothing to do with Russia, there are no double-paned windows, the furniture is all wrong.\
The "Hello Dolly" restaurant scene - well, what can one say... Lean should have known better.
I''ve heard Russians always laugh out loud at the train station scene in the beginning Chaplin returns to Russia. She is greeted by her family (after a long absence) with formal British constraint.\
Real Russians would be going wild with welcoming hugs and kisses.
Dr Zhivago -- both the book and the movie -- were banned in Russia. Ergo, the film was not made for Russians. It was made for a Western movie audience. It didn''t have to be Russified for accuracy. Lean could not film in Russia. There were time and money constraints. People didn''t care if Tsarist Cyrillic or Soviet Cyrillic was used.\
No doubt there weren''t many Russian doctors who looked like Egyptians, nor Russian women who wore beehive hairdos and white lipstick.\
You may find this hard to believe, but lower class Romans didn''t speak with Cockney accents, either. The sets in "I, Claudius" did not recreate the Colosseum. In real life, it is doubtful King Herod spoke like Tom Hanks in the "Sabra Shopping Network" sketch on SNL, though the actor who played the adult Herod sure sounded like he could have sold Claudius electronics on 6th Avenue. Unusual, since he child actor playimg Herod had a proper British accent.\
Liberties are taken in film and television. Newsreels were for historical accuracy.
I loathed the movie, which seemed a confused, bloated mess. Trying for romance? Historical commentary? Pretty pretty? Anti-war stance? Nihilism versus hope? \
Who cares? It was like schlock for people who can''t take good art but can feel good about watching something Russian. And I swear the only scene people ever talk about is the "ice castle" one.
The novel is wonderful, and I will never, never forgive Nabokov for calling it "a penny dreadful romance." I have always maintained that for intelligence and compassion, Pasternak's saga about the Russian Revolution and its consequences trumps "Lolita" by a mile. In fact, "Lolita" is the beginning of the post-mode craze that believes style is substance and therefore literature.
The film? It is like comparing apples with oranges. David Lean wanted to make a Hollywood romantic epic, and he succeeded. Is the novel better? Is Paris a city? Who cares? The point was to entertain, and Lean did what he wanted to do. Why is it that you would never get a "Doctor Zhivago" today?
Simple. Television. The medium for literary adaptations has been television. With the mini-series, you can do all the things Lean did in the 60's. If he was alive today, he would be directing for "Masterpiece Theater." Btw, the PBS version of "Doctor Zhivago" is much better--more faithful--and more "Russian" in its approach.
Yet, the film lingers on as a wonderful memory. I can't reject it anymore than I can "The Wizard of Oz." It's part of my youth, and has a special place for me.
The BBC version is boring, but more accurate. However, it was not filmed in Russia - I believe it was Hungary or the Czech Republic and it shows in that regard.\
Also, I would say it went too far in the dirt and grit direction.
r97 and r98, are you talking about the mini-series with Kiera Knightley as Lara? I quite like that version; yes, it lacks the scope and sweep of Lean''s film and Knightley isn''t a match for Christie, but Hans Matthiesen (Yuri), Alexandra Maria Lara (Tonya) and Sam Neill (Komarovsky) are all terrific.
It''s not a bad version, it''s just not very exciting. For some reason producers feel that any Eastern European country can be a reasonable substitute as Russia. If so, they should avoid views of Catholic churches in the background.\
It is such a joy to see a film about Russia filmed there. Panfilov''s Nicholas and Alexandra was filmed in the actual cities and many of the actual locations with copies of the actual clothes. It''s amazing.
I''ve always really wanted to like this movie, but I could never sit through it.
r100, is this the movie you''re talking about? When I type in "Nicholas and Alexandra," IMDb only brings up the 1971 film.
In Russia it was called "Romanov, Ventsenosnaya Cemya" The director is Gleb Panfilov.\
I got mine on Amazon. The scene of the Grand Duchesses in Tobolsk playing piano, singing and dancing with Aleksey is beautiful.
Julie Christie was the great star of the 60s, effortlessly assuming Marilyn''s throne.
An excellent new translation of "Dr.%0D\
Zhivago," was published recently if possible forget the film and read the book.
Translation by whom?
I miss roadshow reserved seat 70MM engagements!!
I haven''t seen it a while but the daughter, Christie and Sherif''s characters produced, was as an ugly mug. I was shocked at how homely the actress was they picked to play the daughter.
I''d give anything to see pristine 70MM prints of WEST SIDE STORY, EXODUS, OKLAHOMA! and many more of those roadshows.
My neighbor took me and her son to see this movie on a local re-release. I was about ten, and when the movie was over I asked her how someone could have a baby if they weren''t married.%0D\
She smiled at me and said I should ask my mother!
Ah, remember when the facts of life were so mysterious?
My mother''s friend Madge from her canasta club went to see it, and announced to all the girls how disappointed she was that Omar Sharif did not SING "Somewhere My Love." %0D\
Upstairs in my bedroom, I had to stifle my gales of laughter, and I was only 14! %0D\
That said, I remember that my sister and I got tickets to see it for Christmas that year. The TICKETS were big 8x10 sheets of paper with scenes from the movie on it. When we got to the theater, we bought these big program booklets chock full of photos. A year or two later it was the same thing with the 70mm re release of GWTW.
[quote]I was shocked at how homely the actress was they picked to play the daughter.%0D\
That was Rita Tushingham. She was an it girl at the time. Not a sexy "it".
R111 here--I forgot to add that I asked my mother if I could take balalaika lessions instead of piano lessons, and she looked at me like I was nuts.
Sharif is an appalling actor, but his eyes are the most beautiful jewels of cinema history.
This might sound weird but I sat through it twice in a theater when I was seventeen just to see Tom Courtenay. I loved him. He so pinged for me and I found out later I was right. He was also in The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner and The Dresser. Wonder what ever happened to him.
Omar has them big "come to me" eyes.%0D\
I suwannee, he can see right into my soul.
[quote]This might sound weird but I sat through it twice in a theater when I was seventeen just to see Tom Courtenay%0D\
I was nine when I saw it, and weirdly attracted to Tom Courtenay. He is still my "type." %0D\
The only other thing I liked about the movie at age nine was the house full of snow. (Why was I allowed to go see it?)
Perfect makeup on the tundra.\
-Polly Mellen (who likes soap operas on the steppes)
Wonder what ever happened to him? He''s Sir Tom now.
I agree with the earlier poster who noted that cold war rivalry between the U.S. and U.S.S.R. fueled the interest. It might be hard for some to imagine now that Russia was considered a superpower equal to the U.S in the ''60s, and all the more sinister for its secretive nature.\
The author Boris Pasternak was awarded the Nobel prize for the novel in 1958, but was prevented by his closed society from accepting it.
I was stunned to silence when I heard Julie Christie''s voice for the first time. She is classically beautiful of course, but the voice just sends me into rapture. Just so resonant and sultry.
I wasn''t literary. It was the Titanic of its day. Straight women got so hot over the blond getting rapped by that Dr guy and then "saved" by Zhivago. It was beautifully done though.
r121, it was Komarovsky who raped Lara - he wasn''t a doctor. And Lara wasn''t "saved" by Yuri; it was actually Pasha/Strelnikov who saved her after she shot Komorovsky. Lara didn''t actually meet Yuri until years later during the First World War.
Yes, I''ve seen the movie MANY times
Nobody was more surprised than the skeptical conservatives who ran the studio. They had originally proposed ''Doctor Chicago'' changing the location to the American midwest so as not to alienate anticommunist audiences.
Egad, r124. Is that true? What conflict would they use as the backdrop, the Civil War?
Good God, there are psychotropic drugs out there that completely wipe out any sense of whimsy.
Basically, it was just that old story of a man who married a brunette but preferred a blonde.
I remember those roadshows. We saw ZHIVAGO at the Ambassador Theatre in St. Louis, a beautiful theatre, now long gone. I bought one of those programs too. Also saw MY FAIR LADY and CLEOPATRA at the Ambassador.%0D\
The 70MM GONE WITH THE WIND was a bit of a disappointment wasn''t it? That film did not need to be blown up for 70MM-- did not work with that original screen size ratio. I saw that at the Rivoli in New York City and most of Clark Gable''s forehead was cut out of the screen when he was standing over Scarlett.%0D\
Your post at R113 makes me smile!
Thanks R129-130. It was a glorious theatre. The lobby was spectacular too. The Loew''s State which was also downtown was another cinema palace beauty. Here in KC we have the Midland which has been renovated but is now used as a live concert venue.
In the good old days before Cable and VCR''s movies had lives. A picture would be re-released into hundreds of theaters as if it were a brand new movie and would be hits all over again. Non event movies would return as the bottom half of a double feature. Yes kids, you could see two two movies for the price of one and actually be in a movie theater for five or six hours. No ADD in those days like today where you''re in and out in ninety minutes and twelve dollars poorer.
And believe it or not, they didn''t show 15 minutes of Coke commercials before the coming attractions began.
Reserved seat engagments were the movie with an intermission. No commercials..no ads no coming attractions. With an intermission. Ushers showed you to your seats. Programs for sale. Showcased at one theatre in each city, usually downtown. Really an event. These engagements would run in large cities for 9 months to a year or as in the case of SOUND OF MUSIC and BEN-HUR, up to 2 years before going in general release at neighborhood theatres.. at popular prices.%0D\
And yes, the classics would get re-released every few years. For example WEST SIDE STORY, originally released in 1961 got a reissue in 1968 with the ad tag line "Unlike other classics.. WEST SIDE STORY grows younger."%0D\
THE SOUND OF MUSIC got a re-release in 1973.%0D\
I first saw GONE WITH THE WIND in 1961-- in 1967 it was re-released in blow up 70MM which really did not work.
"In NEW screen splendor" the reserved seat re-release troll
Sharp, pristine 70MM films were the ultimate.
R132- I remember when Warners reissued both THE MUSIC MAN and GYPSY on the same bill. That must have been around 1964 or 65.
Was Julie wearing a wig?
All the girls wore their hair like Julie. Ratted up and with a black velvet bow.
Geraldine Chaplin''s garish pink furs are the stuff of nightmares.
I''d go one further, R139-%0D\
Geraldine Chaplin''s line readings in Zhivago were the stuff of nightmares.%0D\
However, she did redeem herself years later in Altman''s NASHVILLE.
[quote]Trivia - the sheet music for Lara''s Theme was bought by Maurice Jarre for a few cents by the song''s composer. Maurice Jarre was no Henri Mancini.\
Speaking of Mancini and iconic music ...
The explanation that Americans were more literate is not a testament to the quality of the movie, it''s a testament to the interest in the novel, a serious one and a bestseller, which made the movie not only prestige but also a blockbuster.
It may not be a great movie, but it is certainly a much better one than Titanic, also a huge hit based on sweeping spectacle and iconic romance
I can''t imagine that ABC/Disney could be too happy about the Playboy layout.
Sorry! WRONG thread!!
[quote] He so pinged for me and I found out later I was right. %0D\
I think, I''m almost sure, Tom Courtney, is straight.%0D\
No one''s mentioned the wonderful, Billy Liar, which he starred in before this. Which was also the film that made Christie a star.%0D\
Also, Christie, in Darling.%0D\
England was so ''on'' in the 60s.
Tom Courtney is one of the great actors of our time. My favorite of his performances is as Mr. Dorrit in the 2008 television version. He is also superb in The Dresser.
when you think about it, it has more pop appeal than Love Story (based on a very popular novel, like Love Story, but, unlike Love Story, on a good, let alone truly great, one) and, believe it or not, more action (in a GWTW kind of way) than Titanic (massacres, huge battles, World War I presented on a large scale, big screen transSiberian train travel). \
All three were essentially romances, with very popular stars, and while none are great films, Zhivago is at least a fair one while Titanic and Love Story suck.\
If Titanic and Love Story could be a huge hits, why not Zhivago?
I never understand why things succeed or fail, but DZ is one, long, pretty bore. Its two central characters are ciphers. \
Love Steiger, though. He brings a welcome acerbity to an otherwise syrupy proceeding.\
But why the audiences on its original release embraced it so? No clue.
I landed in Moscow on a charted Pan American flight on Christmas Day 1967. The plane landed in a snowstorm and was surrounded by armed soldiers. The plane"s captain turned on Laura''s Theme on the speakers-%0D\
Rod Steiger terrified me as a child...to me there was never anyone more beautiful than Lara.%0D\
My thoughts: I saw the movie in high school (1966) and found it frightfully boring with uninspired acting. Rod Steiger was the best actor in this movie in my opinion...quite believable and most alive (as the "bad boy"). Tom Courtney was also quite "alive" as a revolutionary..and very convincing as an unsophisticated ingenue.
But Sharif and Christie were most disappointing in the lead roles. I was mad when I read years later that the part of Lara had been offered to Jane Fonda and she turned it down. Jane would have brought the passion and courage that Pasternak actually described in this character...not to mention the "haughty beauty" that inspired three men to fall head over heels in fascination/lust/love with her...in that order.
Lara was meant to be more like Keira Knightly in the PBS version of "Zhivago" (although they overplayed the sexuality of the character)...resulting in what someone described as a "nympho-slut".
Jane Fonda had the regal presence, beauty, passion of conviction and love of life that the character should have portrayed. Lean was out to lunch when he directed Sharif and Christie...he missed the boat. Enough said.
And come to think of it: blondes were a big deal in the 60s but not today. Brunettes have become the "lust" objects of men these days. And may have always been (think Raquel Welch, Sophia Loren, Natalie Wood...). so there!
Blondes have a "washed out" look, which is probably why more brunettes have won beauty contests. The absolute most stunning look, universally accepted, is blue eyes and dark hair (in both men and women).
Julie christie turned down the role of lara until she finally relented. Even then she was the reluctant star. And always ambivalent about hollywood. When rex harrison called out her name as best actress for "darling", she said she was embarassed more than excited like when the teacher calls you in front of class. Hence all the tears, quick run to the stage, and her 10 second acceptance speech.
To answer the OP question: People are dumber now.
One of my favourite directors. I even like 'Ryan's Daughter'.
"It is a beautiful film based on a great novel."
Except that the movie is NOTHING like the novel.
"And believe it or not, they didn't show 15 minutes of Coke commercials before the coming attractions began."
Christ, ain't that the truth. And I avoid going to a Loew's theater so I can avoid the endless pre-show FIRST LOOK teaser of dreadfully inane television shows. Why can't people sit in fucking SILENCE?
Nicholas and Alexandra is such a disappointing movie. The actor playing the Tsar (something Jayston?) is terrible---the scene where he breaks down before Alexandra is just plain godawful embarrassing.
"Pasternak's saga about the Russian Revolution and its consequences trumps "Lolita" by a mile. In fact, "Lolita" is the beginning of the post-mode craze that believes style is substance and therefore literature."
Oh, dear. Well, I, for one, think that Lolita may just well be the greatest novel ever written.
"I never knew "Lara's Theme" was from Dr Zhiago. I thought it was called "Somewhere My Love," and I thought it was Italian gondola music. I was very young when the film came out and didn't know anything about it except that it was a "bad movie" because my Catholic mother followed the recommendations of the Legion of Decency. Apparently it was "bad" because there was adultery in the film. I'll bet it was given a C (condemned) rating.
Catholics used to have to take a pledge every year not to go see "bad" movies."
OMG, r70, my entire childhood just flashed before my eyes. I remember reading the Advocate (a Catholic paper, NOT the gay rag) every week and being only interested in their movie ratings.
I fell asleep during it - one of the biggest bores I ever saw
[quote]And believe it or not, they didn't show 15 minutes of Coke commercials before the coming attractions began.
Or ghastly previews of movies starring Nicolas Cage.
"Speaking of Mancini and iconic music ..."
The Marlboro Theme was from THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN by Elmer Bernstein.
[quote]Julie christie turned down the role of lara until she finally relented.
This is just very funny.
Julie Christie said No until she changed her mind.
Not especially compelling as an anecdote, is it?
Omar Sharif with cum in his mustache.
I agree, R161.
I saw the movie in high school (after being dragged there by a friend who said that I 'never did anything'.) That movie made me wish I continued to not do anything. Thought it wallowed in monotony.
Tom Courtney, Geraldine Chaplin, and Rod Steiger seemed very well placed in that film. Julie Christie and Omar were there (just there) and showed no real acting ability.
Jane Fonda was offered the role as Lara and would have made a damn good one. She would have saved the movie was horrific boredom with her passion and verve. Of course...she is a very independent and strong woman and would never want to play a "pretty creature who can only submit to the men in her life."
I literally fell asleep during it and started snoring. I was with relatives who had to shake me awake. It was the most boring movie imaginable;
1) extremely successful novel
2) epic romance
3) David Lean directing
4) word of mouth, people liked it at the time because it was both serious stuff and divertingly opulent.
I loved it as a kid; now I don't know what the hell I was so enamored of; the story of Lara, Kamarovsky and Pasha is pure soap opera, and fails even at that. Sharif played the role with dignity but Zhivago is a dull hero. Chaplin is lovely and endearing but has little to do. Steiger is utterly hammy, Christie and Courtenay are very good in the early parts of the film but there is only so much they can do when the narrative falls apart. The most memorable acting in the film is by Klaus Kinski and he's on screen for about 30 seconds. Jarre's score is pure schlock.
Having said all of that, it's a far better movie than later epics like Titanic, Gladiator and Braveheart.
[quote]I might have enjoyed the movie, but Lean's creation is a lovely romance with no depth. The cinematography is astonishing and the actors are all very pretty. Love the costumes.
The whole film or David Lean's direction went over your head.
The reason I love DZ is because it's filled with an epic feeling of gloom that you just can't escape death. The best scene in the film is at the beginning, the funeral with the kid (Omar's kid in real life) and the scenes directly after. Very dark and foreboding. It sets the tone for the rest of the film. Everyone goes through their lives like they can't escape fate. Lean's direction is brilliant. Calling the film treacly definitely shows some of you just didn't get it. This is NOT a happy film.
I remember seeing it as a kid (I guess I was around 12?) and realizing for the first time what an impact a movie could have. Those scenes in the Russian winter, with all of the snow (which I'd never seen, having never been outside of California) actually made me feel cold. And I do remember crying at the ending.
The reason there aren't more movies like this today is that the kind of people who'd go see them don't want to put up with screaming babies, cell phones, texting, etc.
Julie Christie, blonde and wearing a black, rabbit fur hat.
What's not to love?
And to think that it was shot in Canada and Spain.
BTW get the youtube clip of Geraldine Chaplin as the What's My Line Mystery Guest when she was in NYC promoting the film.
It's unbelievable when this daughter of Charlie Chaplin (and granddaughter of Eugene O'Neill) tells the panel that this was her first-ever visit to NYC!
In R38's link to the movie poster and in R122's link to the trailer, they both state that it won 6 Oscars, but it actually won 5 -- Art Direction, Cinematography, Costume Design, Adapted Screenplay, and Original Score.
Well, I did see The Master recently in 70mm.
I saw it on TV for the first time just a few weeks ago. I was a kid in the 70s and teenager in the 80s and just had never seen it. Wish I could still say I hadn't. It dragged terribly and was boring in so many parts. I kept thinking to myself, "Where was the editor?" I marveled that this film is considered classic. There are so many other movies I'd rather watch.
Thanks to other posters for describing these long epics being cinematic events in the 60s. That does help explain it a bit. I do remember in the 70s the local theater, which was just gorgeous, would show classics as matinees. I remember seeing Gone with the Wind at the theater.
Omar Sharif's mustache; and Lara's Theme.
It would never sell today because Russia's rich in that era seem more humane and less arrogant, stupid, and violent than America's rich today. But you see in the 1960s America's rich would never behave that way.
I know Lean's next film RYAN'S DAUGHTER was trashed, but I prefer that film over ZHIVAGO.
"and, frankly, American's were more literate"
And they were better at punctuation, too.
Way to be on top of things r181. R4 already caught that error. TWO YEARS AGO.
I like Doctor Zhivago a lot, flaws aside. But my favorite Julie Christie film has to be DARLING...she was amazing in that. I know, I know, it hasn't aged well, but what a great glimpse into swinging 60s London it was!
Ooh, to think that it should clearly still wound so terribly a full two years later when reminded about it again!