Zhivago ending- WARNING CONTAINS SPOILER

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Brian W, Dec 10, 2001.

  1. Brian W

    Brian W Stunt Coordinator

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    DON'T READ UNLESS YOU'VE SEEN THE MOVIE!!!

    Regarding the end of Dr. Zhivago, when Uri sees who he thinks is Lara, is it Julie Christie or a double? Did Lean intend this to be Lara or an unanswered question that leaves the audience wondering. We mostly see her walking from the back. As the woman keeps walking we briefly see her face, though not in close-up. It almost looks like Christie yet- maybe not. One thing that throws me is that the woman’s hair is parted in the middle, and the next scene at the funeral Christie has her more typical side part.

    Before when I’ve seen the movie on video, laserdisc, the woman’s face was never as clear as it is with this new transfer. I think I assumed before it was Christie and was supposed to be Lara, but now it is so clear that it almost looks like it isn’t her. I’m thinking Lean liked the ambiguity here.

    Can anyone settle this for me?
     
  2. Steve Tannehill

    Steve Tannehill Ambassador

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    It's Lara.

    - Steve
     
  3. bill lopez

    bill lopez Second Unit

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    After watching this on dvd I don't understand how this is considered a great love story.

    In TITANIC Kate Winsledt was going to marry a jerk so it was o.k. for her to fall in love with another man. In GONE WITH THE WIND Scarlett O'Hara relizes at the end of the movie that Rett was the man to love. But in this movie the Dr. cheats on his wife who is a good woman with his child to go after a married woman. I don't know how come the movie didn't turn people off back then.
     
  4. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    Sharif says in the commentary that it's Christie.
     
  5. Peter Rohlfs

    Peter Rohlfs Stunt Coordinator

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    Bill,
    I agree. Of course if you look at from the view of the wife whose love is so great for her husband she forgives him having a mistress.... [​IMG]
    My hero in the film is Steiger character, who nobly tries to save a former mistress and her lover in spite of the fact it is clear he won't be getting any. What a guy! [​IMG]
    Peter
     
  6. Brian W

    Brian W Stunt Coordinator

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    Patrick-

    Where in commentary does he say that? I must have missed it but will replay it tonight.

    Thanks...
     
  7. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    During the scene where Zhivago sees Lara near the end of the film.
     
  8. Brian W

    Brian W Stunt Coordinator

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    Patrick-

    I am so dense sometimes! How did I miss this in his commentary?

    I'll look/listen again when I get home tonight...

    Thanks...
     
  9. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    People must be trying to finish off their AFI challenges. [​IMG]
    I watched it for the first time this weekend myself. I think that the glimpse of Lara referred to is intentionally ambiguous---evoking the memory of Zhivago's hallucination of seeing Tonya in the blizzard in Siberia. Whether it's really her doesn't seem terribly important, although it's appropriate that it's really her, making it another of those near misses like the trolley car early on.
    From Whittier: "Of all sad words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these, It might have been."
    The documentaries with the footage of the real-life Lara (a little porkchop if ever there was one) are pretty good too.
     
  10. Trav

    Trav Extra

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  11. andrew markworthy

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    I must confess that the later work of David Lean irritates me. To me, all his colour films are over-long, with no purpose other than to ensure that the set pieces of cinematographic genius and editing could be shown off. Give me Great Expectations (or better still, Hobson's Choice which IMHO is his masterpiece) any day.

    To return to the topic - by this stage in the film, to be frank, I couldn't care who it was he saw. I just hoped it would be a quick death so the film would end.

    I know I'm in a minority with this view, and believe me, I can see in individual scenes how brilliant a director Lean was, so don't flame me!
     
  12. Brian W

    Brian W Stunt Coordinator

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    Andrew-

    I won’t flame you because I almost agree with you, and I was almost feeling that way myself last night at the end. It is too long but I still like Zhivago if for no other reason than because it is beautiful to watch. But I have mixed feelings about this film as a whole and agree with some of other critisms regarding the romance etc...really interesting how differently people respond.

    Anyway, I enjoyed and can appreciate your response. As you well know, you are not in the minority.

    Mark-

    Well put, you pretty much have summed up my feelings toward that final scene as well.
     
  13. Mitty

    Mitty Supporting Actor

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    My take is that it is certainly meant to be ambiguous as to whether it's actually her or not. The fact that he used Christie to shoot the scene is immaterial. Had he wanted to make it clear, he would've used a close up, leaving no doubt as to who it was. And, as already mentioned, it doesn't matter whether it's her or not, only whether Zhivago believes it is, and how he reacts to that belief.

    WRT the moral issue of the love triangle (quadrangle?), all I can say is life is not made up of black and whites. Yes, he was an adulterer (as was Lara), but guess what? That happens. Does Lean (or Pasternak) ever tell us that we're supposed to admire Zhivago for the choices he makes, or for his weaknesses? The central question of the story is "What if?" What if they'd met earlier, what if they'd met during less trying times? Yes, Geraldine Chaplin's character gets a bum rap. It's OK for you to hold that against Zhivago; I don't think David Lean was trying to pull a fast one on us there and hope the audience would forget her plight. But, I don't see how it makes it less of a film. I'm glad someone brought up the comparison to Titanic, because that is a good one. In Titanic, Cameron took the easy way out. What if Rose's fiance was a decent, honourable man, instead of an insufferable cad? Cameron would have had to have been a better writer that's what. He would've had to try a lot harder on his character development to sell that love story, that's for sure.
     
  14. Steve Tannehill

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  15. Tiffany A

    Tiffany A Stunt Coordinator

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    I thought it was Lara before I heard it actually was.

    Are you guys kidding? This is a beautiful love story. Love makes people do irrational things, things that don't make sense. They lived in very troubled times and emotions were close to the edge. We don't all get the chance to have "A Great Love". They did, and it's only a movie, BTW!

    If nothing else, it is one of the most beautiful movies I have seen. Lean was fabulous at capturing large amounts of beauty in one shot, i.e. Lawrence of Arabia and Ryans Daughter. I try not to judge his characters too much, rather get swept into the epic he is showing us!
     
  16. Blu

    Blu Screenwriter

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    I really don't understand the "Love Story" tag either. It seemed to me as more of a historical movie about the Russian Revolution with Zhivago's life as almost a subplot. As I was watching it I was wondering when the love story would start.
     
  17. GerardoHP

    GerardoHP Supporting Actor

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  18. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    From Lara's point of view it is easier to understand. She's been victimized by Victor and married to Pasha/Strelnikov - not an easy life. Strelnikov says things like "the personal life is dead" and "a village is burnt, a lesson is learned" when he burns the wrong town. Along comes Yuri who is a Jewish mother's fantasy son-in-law: an handsome doctor who writes poetry....

    I think Lean likes stories centered around basically decent people in terrible circumstances (Col. Nicholson in BOTRK, Lawrence in LOA, Zhivago in DZ). Each realizes that he has gone overboard at one point or another. Consider Zhivago really as a MASH doctor - that's really what he did. He tried to patch up the mayhem from WWI, the Bolshevik revolution, and then the Russian civil war, tailing off into Stalin's terror.

    One more point to consider: Yuri and Tonya's relationship is incestuous. How come nobody ever brings this up?
     
  19. Mitty

    Mitty Supporting Actor

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  20. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    I believe she is his step-sister. Her parents adopted Yuri when his own mother died. The Ralph Richardson character is Yuri's step-father and father-in-law...
     

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