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A Picture Chap

Beyond the Epic: The Life and Films of David Lean by Gene D. Phillips

Reviewed by David Thomson
The New Republic Online

"David Lean! The name presides over some famous epics, big pictures made in that era when size impressed audiences and film-makers alike. There have been trailers where Lean's hawk's gaze confronts the snowy steppes of Russia or the undulating dunes of the desert, the voice-over intoning, 'The jungle!' 'Arabia!' 'Russia!' 'India!' The infinite seventy-millimeter images seem to wait for instructions coming from that artillery officer's survey. But the rapt voice of movie hype was sometimes a prelude to platitudes. Lean could look as romantic as some of the great British explorers — and and alas, like some of them, he hardly knew what he was doing in the great open spaces. Except, of course, bringing grand pictures home — his trophies...." Read the entire New Republic Online review.

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