Beyond the Epic: The Life and Films of David Lean

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University Press of Kentucky, 2006 M11 24 - 592 pages
Two-time Academy Award winner Sir David Lean (1908Ð1991) was one of the most prominent directors of the twentieth century, responsible for the classics The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), Lawrence of Arabia (1962), and Doctor Zhivago (1965). British-born Lean asserted himself in Hollywood as a major filmmaker with his epic storytelling and panoramic visions of history, but he started out as a talented film editor and director in Great Britain. As a result, he brought an art-house mentality to blockbuster films. Combining elements of biography and film criticism, Beyond the Epic: The Life and Films of David Lean uses screenplays and production histories to assess LeanÕs body of work. Author Gene D. Phillips interviews actors who worked with Lean and directors who knew him, and their comments reveal new details about the directorÕs life and career. Phillips also explores LeanÕs lesser-studied films, such as The Passionate Friends (1949), HobsonÕs Choice (1954), and Summertime (1955). The result is an in-depth examination of the director in cultural, historical, and cinematic contexts. LeanÕs approach to filmmaking was far different than that of many of his contemporaries. He chose his films carefully and, as a result, directed only sixteen films in a period of more than forty years. Those films, however, have become some of the landmarks of motion-picture history. Lean is best known for his epics, but Phillips also focuses on LeanÕs successful adaptations of famous works of literature, including retellings of plays such as Brief Encounter (1945) and novels such as Great Expectations (1946), Oliver Twist (1948), and A Passage to India (1984). From expansive studies of war and strife to some of literatureÕs greatest high comedies and domestic dramas, Lean imbued all of his films with his unique creative vision. Few directors can match LeanÕs ability to combine narrative sweep and psychological detail, and Phillips goes beyond LeanÕs epics to reveal this unifying characteristic in the directorÕs body of work. Beyond the Epic is a vital assessment of a great directorÕs artistic process and his place in the film industry.

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User Review  - knahs - LibraryThing

This book is entitled The Life and Films of David Lean - however I would say 99% of the book is about the films and there is very little about Lean's life. The author did a good job of research and ... Read full review

Beyond the epic: the life & films of David Lean

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Most movie buffs think of late British director David Lean as an epic filmmaker-his r�sum� includesLawrence of Arabia -but he also made intimate dramas (Brief Encounter ... Read full review


A World on Film
1 From Silents to Sound
2 A Touch of Class
3 Hope and Glory
4 Enchantment
5 Long Days Journey
6 Childs Play
7 The Beautiful and the Damned
12 Pillar of Fire
13 In Search of a Hero
14 Knight Without Armor
15 The Lower Depths
16 Darkness at Noon

8 The Wild Blue Yonder
9 The Stag at Eve
10 Love in the Afternoon
11 The Undefeated
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Page 4 - Full of crumbled pyramids. It'll never come back. It'll just keep on crumbling until finally the wind blows the last studio prop across the sands.

About the author (2006)

Gene D. Phillips is a professor of film history and modern literature at Loyola University. He is the author of numerous books, including Creatures of Darkness: Raymond Chandler, Detective Fiction, and Film Noir and Godfather: The Intimate Francis Ford Coppola.

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