Happy Birthday: David Lean (1908–1991)

David Lean (1908–1991).jpgDavid Lean (1908–1991)

Born: March 25, 1908 in Croydon, Surrey, England, UK
Died: April 16, 1991 (age 83) in London, England, UK

Married to: Sandra Lean (15 December 1990 – 16 April 1991) (his death)
Sandra Hotz (28 October 1981 – 1984) (divorced)
Leila Matkar (4 July 1960 – 1978) (divorced)
Ann Todd (21 May 1949 – 1957) (divorced)
Kay Walsh (23 November 1940 – 1949) (divorced)
Isabel Lean (28 June 1930 – 1936) (divorced) (1 child)

[1989, on the restored version of Lawrence of Arabia (1962)] Everyone worried about re-releasing Lawrence. They said the audiences have changed. They talk and shout at the screen; they’re impatient; they wouldn’t sit still for it. Not at all. You could hear a pin drop. London, New York, Washington, Los Angeles. Everywhere. I think audiences had almost forgotten the power of pictures. They’ve gotten smaller and smaller. And suddenly you see this old film, wonderfully photographed; tremendous detail; you almost feel you could take a hair off the actor’s collar. There’s a mesmeric effect from the picture on the screen.

[on Doctor Zhivago (1965)] That film earned me more money than all my other films put together. It’s a wonderful story – you want to know what happens next. And wonderful characters. And Julie (Christie)…..which was quite a face.

I realise more and more that reality on the screen, which used to be the thing to aim at, is a sort of bore. I don’t mean that the audience should sit there and say, “Oh, that’s unreal”. But movies are a kind of dream and I think they should have an unreal edge to them, and that’s what I try to do.



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