Dr Zhivago

Year: 1965
Director: David Lean
Cast: Omar Shariff, Julie Christie, Alec Guinness, Geraldine Chaplin, Rod Steiger
Not as good as Lean's other coup de grace, Lawrence of Arabia, it has neither the awesome epic scope or sweeping sense of finality as his other movies, just the same exhausting running time.

It follows the story of young surgeon Zhivago (Sharif) who grows up in the aristocracy of Czarist Russia before the revolution. After serving on the front of the First World War when he meets young nurse Kara (Christie) for the second time - after having come across her and her unwanted lover Victor (Steiger) earlier on, he joins his family back in Moscow with the revolution in full swing.

He takes his wife, father in law and son and flees across the country as their house is taken over by communist housing recipients and learns that the woman with whom he nearly fell in love lives nearby, this time consummating their relationship.

It's while on his way to visit her and her daughter one day that he's taken prisoner by red guard and forced into medical service in the fight against the former Czarist forces.

When he returns home, his family has fled, and so he rejoins his lover and has one last chance at asylum. He promises to board the train that will take them East, but instead returns to Moscow to try and find his wife and son.

Never doing so, he joins his brother (Guinness), more or less the narrator of the story as it's bookended by his interviewing the girl who may be Zhivago's long lost daughter and lives out his days working back at the hospital, presumably haunted by the love he gave up twice.

Lean is a great director, no question about it - but in Lawrence of Arabia, he had material that suited his talents better.

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