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David Lean: A Biography

4.28 of 5 stars 4.28  ·  rating details  ·  60 ratings  ·  8 reviews
The life and its biographer provide a landmark work on the cinema. Emerging from a childhood of nearly Dickensian darkness, David Lean found his great success as a director of the appropriately titled Great Expectations.

There followed his legendary black-and-white films of the 1940s and his four-film movie collaboration with Noel Coward. Lean's 1955 film Summertime took hi
Hardcover, 800 pages
Published August 15th 1996 by St. Martin's Press (first published 1996)
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I chose this book mainly because I am an admirer of Kevin Brownlow rather than of David Lean - the former is one of the key historians of early Hollywood but this is not really his era and it seems a strange commission to me. I am not a huge fan of Lean's bloated epics (Lawrence excepted) but I do like his tighter, earlier B/W films, such as Great Expectations and In Which we Serve, and the incomparable stiff-upper-lip classic Brief Encounter. Lean made his name as an ace 'cutter' [film editor] ...more
I only read from Brief Encounter onwards as I watched his earlier movies for the first time and then skipped most of the Kwai/Lawrence stuff since Zhivago is my favorite, the Ryan's Daughter critical scouring is the most interesting and the lost decade/Bounty stuff was un-put-downable and propelled me to the end. The starlit silver in Nostromo woulda been amaaaaaaazing!
"One of the essentials in the movies is for the audience to feel that they are in the hands of a good story teller; they are being led, and what leads them is the intention of the scene. If it has the intention, you ill nearly always win though. It somehow carries you on like a wave which breaks on the share and carries you up that beach. All great things have an intention behind them. We didn't have a real intention on Madeleine....I was looking at in in the wrong way. I had no particular feeli ...more
Keith B.
Jan 18, 2008 Keith B. rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: nicole contreras
One of the best biography books i've ever read. it is very deeply researched, great details of one of the most exciting directors in cinema. It's a very thick book, but what i found so surprising was how well paced it was, it flows well.
I learned about integrity, and how precise and assured one has to be in being a leader in a movie. He directed movies like Lawrence of Arabia, Dr. Zhivago, Summertime, and many more. He was known for his epic filmmaking. David Lean is not the best example in how
Probably the best film biography I've ever read. It paints the picture of man who was both enormously generous and incredibly petty, and a man who despite having all the talent in the world was crippled by insecurity. And the final few pages are amongst the most moving I've read in any book.
A good biography with great insights about personalities involed in the movie business. I give it only three stars because I had access only to the French translation from my library and the translation was rather poor, ditractingly so.
If you're interested in the life and films of David Lean - this is the definitive biography
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Kevin Brownlow, is a filmmaker, film historian, television documentary-maker, author, and Academy Award recipient. Brownlow is best known for his work documenting the history of the silent era. Brownlow became interested in silent film at the age of eleven. This interest grew into a career spent documenting and restoring film. He has rescued many silent films and their history. His initiative in i ...more
More about Kevin Brownlow...
The Parade's Gone By... Mary Pickford Rediscovered Hollywood: The Pioneers Behind the Mask of Innocence: Films of Social Conscience in the Silent Era Mae Murray: The Girl with the Bee-Stung Lips

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