A Duo of Doctor Zhivago Trailers…
Lean on Russia and a Film Partly Filmed Anywhere But!
Doctor Zhivago – Original Theatrical Trailer, Warner Bros
On entering the David Lean blogathon I was unsure as to which of his many movies to review (as is my norm). I finally plonked on Doctor Zhivago (1965). This after remembering Darlin’ Husband said part of this movie, was filmed over here in Finland. With a location near the Russian border. On research I found this was true (as Darlin’ Husband is prone to wind me up, and he hasn’t for a while).
Finland is reported to be seen in many of the railway scenes, the march of the refugees and much of the winter backdrop in the film. All these illustrated in the bottom trailer. Although made more recently. I personally feel this trailer is not as charming and informative as the original one above. The film also more remarkably filmed in Canada and Spain with marble used as snow in the latter. These were locations used as the Doctor Zhivago book was banned in Russia at time of filming.
It wasn’t just Doctor Zhivago where Finland stood in as “Russia” as many movies were filmed here at this time and later. Both the Million Dollar Brain (1967) and Gorky Park (1983) were also filmed in Finnish towns. This as the buildings here are quite similar to Russian architecture and due to the then Cold War restrictions. One of the first films made after the Cold War being The Russia House (1990) and in TV, interestingly Dallas (1978-91). The former reviewed HERE but the latter another story for another day.
Doctor Zhivago is one of those lavish, hours long epics David Lean is so famous for. With this film over 3 hours and 20 mins long. And it also has the claim to fame as my gran’s favourite film with her no 1 crush, the always charismatic Omar Sharif in the leading titular role. With his good looks and lovely accent, he’s the equivalent of that young Helmut Berger in Dorian Gray (1970) for me (but hearing Berger’s voice, in Dynasty (1981-89) as he was sadly dubbed). Or Outlander (2014-)’s Sam Heughan for many of you. So in the first truly random review trailer, I’m looking back at both these film’s previews…and first briefly the film plot.
Doctor Zhivago tells the tale of KGB Lieutenant General Yevgraf Andreyevich Zhivago (Alec Guinness) looking for his half-brother Doctor Yuri Andreyevich Zhivago and Lara’s daughter. Meeting a young woman, Tanya Komarova (Rita Tushingham) who he believes may be her, he tells her parent’s life stories. The film telling of pre-World War I Russia to the end of the Russian Civil War.
Over this time Yuri (Omar Sharif) – an aspiring poet – trains and becomes a doctor. Lara has a tempestuous affair with Victor Ippolitovich Komarovsky (Rod Steiger), but marries Pasha (Tom Courtney), an idealistic reformer who becomes a more intense socialist. Yuri marries Tonya (Geraldine Chaplin) the daughter of a family friend. Over the years Yuri and Lara (Julie Christie), cross paths many times, and in time they fall in love and start an affair. But its more complicated..
The 1965 trailer is like many trailers made in the 1960s with groovy font, and one of those trailer voices (I miss so much) masterfully mansplaining the film. And the music the more than memorable Lara’s theme and tells you about the book. This a stark contrast to the newer arty farty version which should have these attributes, but doesn’t for some inexplicable reason. The newer tbh kinda lost my interest too quickly after Alec Guinness says he’s looking for someone.. but not saying who so could be anyone really. The older trailer however captures the ambience easily showing the time, the history and the romance. This opposed to the more bland newer one which doesn’t seem to encompass anything but a kinda of confusing mess of these three factors with a more sterile font and a few random quotes.
The original was kind of endearing as it outlined the many, many of the characters and the actor playing this role. Most of these characters weren’t even seen or mentioned in the newer one. This information given in the original in the manner of one of those war based 80 mini series. Such as those based on the local bońkbusters such as Lace (1984) eg Joan Collins is x, a gutsy determined woman who bla bla. This original trailer in the way I’d like to see trailers made now…And I’d love to see a version of this kinda trailer, if you looking to be inspired Mr Ryan Reynolds…
So, if you wanting a 5 times Oscar Winning film, with an epic history lesson and added romance.. and see a wee bit of Finland. This is just what the Doctor ordered…
Doctor Zhivago (New Trailer 2015) – In cinemas 27 Nov | BFI release, BFI
This is the second of two trailer reviews added to Maddy Loves Her Classic Films David Lean Blogathon. Other reviews with this cast include Geraldine Chaplin in Chaplin. Omar Sharif stars in my post on Top Secret. Julie Christie in Heaven Can Wait. Alec Guinness stars in my post on The Ladykillers and Bridge on the River Kwai. Rod Steiger stars in my Mars Attacks and Columbo reviews.