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Here is the story of Sir David Lean, one of the greatest moviemakers of all time, director of such epics as Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago, The Bridge on the River Kwai, and A Passage to India. Stephen M. Silverman spent the better part of a year meeting with Lean to secure firsthand information for this book. An intensely private man, Lean opened up to Silverman and shared with him the story of his life - from his Quaker upbringing, through his decade as Britain's star film editor, to his work as a director, earning him through his intelligent, literate films a reputation for perfection.
Lean's movies, which collected an unprecedented twenty-seven Academy Awards, are noted for their stunning pictorial content as well as their strong narrative flow, and many of Lean's colleagues have shared their personal recollections with the author, who has added a new afterword to the book. The memories and anecdotes from such film notables as Alec Guinness, Katharine Hepburn, Julie Christie, Maurice Jarre, John Mills, Omar Sharif, Judy Davis, and Sarah Miles serve to further enliven this already vivid biographical and critical study.
Katharine Hepburn starred in Summertime, Lean's first film to be shot entirely on location. Her Introduction discusses Sir David as both an incomparable director and a great friend.
Rolling Stone: "Stephen M. Silverman has guided the famously reclusive Lean into lively, witty, and informative recollections of his life and work on such hits as The Bridge on the River Kwai, Doctor Zhivago, Brief Encounter, and A Passage to India, as well as Lawrence [of Arabia]. Here's that rare book on movies that can really be called indispensable."
Los Angeles Times: "Perhaps most surprising to his friends, [Lean] allowed himself to be interviewed at length by critic Stephen Silverman. David Lean is interesting not least for the candor with which Lean admitted that the reviews of Ryan's Daughter devastated him and almost paralyzed him creatively."
The Boston Globe: "Bright, chatty, cant-free . . . Without lapsing into critspeak, Silverman adroitly lays out the evidence for what's shaping up as an emergent reassessment of Lean's output and provides flavorful eyewitness testimony, pro and con."
Chicago Tribune: "It's fitting that the most exquisitely crafted book on film should deal with one of the motion pictures' supreme craftsmen, David Lean . . . . Lean himself contributes many insights and anecdotes, and there are fascinating behind-the-camera tales of both his meticulous technique and his messy battles with producers and stars."
Financial Times: "This portrait of the film director as old lion is well-researched and highly readable. We goggle at the account of Lean's Quaker upbringing and his parents' horror of the cinema. (They wanted him to become an accountant.) We follow Lean's early creative romances with Noël Coward (four films) and Charles Dickens (two). And we listen to Lean and Katharine Hepburn . . . quarreling via Silverman over who was responsible for her ill-fated jump into the Venice canal in Summertime."
Variety: "As lavish as Lean's best films, Stephen M. Silverman's David Lean is an important addition to the collective library of film books."
Silverman ( The Fox That Got Away ) here breezily traces the career of the director of such classic films as The Bridge on the River Kwai and Lawrence of Arabia. Starting out as a studio gofer in the late 1920s, Lean ``apprenticed in every department,'' ultimately making a name for himself as a film editor. His 1942 directorial debut was In Which We Serve , starring and co-directed by Noel Coward. Some 168 mainly black-and-white photographs illustrate an entertaining film-by-film text of behind-the-scenes goings on; difficulties encountered at remote locations and by intractable weather; the actors Lean worked with and the friendships he developed during the making of his 16 movies. Although the design and production values of this volume are nowhere near Lean's perfectionist standards, which Hepburn applauds in her fond introduction, this remains an enjoyable, undemanding look at a major figure in film.