Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Some Day My loooooove....

Dr ZhivagoWe'll meet again someday.....

Or something. It's Lara's Theme. Possibly.

Look, I get needled for dancing provocatively around the house singing

"I've got a sexy back.... YEAH!

take it to the fridge..."

That's what he says right?

Anyway, for the last week or so I've been putting on my best faux tenor & bursting forth with "Some day my loooove...." etc.

Because we watched, for the first time ever, Dr Zhivago.

And I don't know if you've seen it, but it was the David Lean version with Omar Sharif, Julie Christie, Tom Courtenay, Alec Guiness & Geraldine Chaplin, amongst others. Oh, and a young Klaus Kinski has a small role as a mad-as-a-snake intellectual. No surprises there.

Sharif is the good doctor/poet Yuri Zhivago (Zhivago is, apparently, the Russian word for "life"). Guinness is Zhivago's brother, a Bolshevik general, he provides the framing device for the film, telling the story of Zhivago & Lara to Rita Tushingham, who he believes is his niece - ie, their child.

Set against the end of World War 1, and the Russian Revolution & civil war, Zhivago is the story of a doomed love between two people married to others, and the vicissitudes suffered by them due to circumstance & war. There is much more, much, much more.

Unfortunately, the version we saw was almost devoid of colour. Not the restored print touted in the picture above.

But that aside, there were some moments of rare beauty, such as when Zhivago scares a pack of wolves who are congregated outside the frozen house (above) he & Lara are sheltering in, in an unbelievably beautiful frozen wasteland. Maybe it's the dog lover in me. I wondered where they were going to eat. Or who.

I wasn't overly impressed with the film in the end. Christie is pretty hot to look at, but about as cold in presence as the Russian Winter. Sharif is OK. Wherever they filmed it stands in very attractively for sundry parts of Russia.

Interestingly, Tom Courtenay's character in the movie (Lara's husband) is based loosely on Leon Trotsky, which I'm told wasn't the case in the book. But there's the armoured train racing all around bolstering the Red Army. And once his character is gone, Lara & Zhivago lose a degree of protection, it seems that his possibly subversive poems have not gone unnoticed by the party, and it is only because she is Strelnikov's wife, even though for much of the movie she believes him dead, that they're allowed their freedom.

Although I have a slight logic problem with that - Lara & Zhivago are "protected" because she's married to a Bolshevik general, so why aren't they just as protected because his brother is ALSO a Bolshevik general? A lot f Bolshevik generals in this movie.

And the music! Look, half way through I was thinking "They're over using this overblown music.". Every time we see Christie, Lara's theme swells into your consciousness... and then every time she & Zhivago have been parted by some event, the theme gets cranked up to 11 so that you know just how tragic & heartrending this is.

And bloody hell, they get parted a lot.

But despite that, and despite my ambivalence to the movie as a whole... that theme has stuck with me all this week. No wonder it sold millions of records at the time.

Note: mercifully no-one sings the lyrics at all before, during, or after.

So. There're my scattershot thoughts on Dr Zhivago, really stick with Lean's Lawrence of Arabia for the real oil.

Meanwhile, in deference to the day & date, today's random link is to David Haywood's musings, last year, on Halloween.

Me? I'm going home early to re-affix the Beware of the Dog sign to our gate, the one with the picture of the rabid looking, drooling rottweiler. That usually ensures a quiet Halloween.

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