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David Lean: Interviews (Conversations with Filmmakers Series) Paperback – May 14, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Interviews with the director of Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago, A Passage to India, The Bridge on the River Kwai, and many other epic films

About the Author

Steven Organ is vice president of production for ArkMedia, Inc., and the proprietor of DavidLean.com. He has directed and produced plays and videos for theatre companies in San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.
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Product Details

  • Series: Conversations with Filmmakers Series
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Mississippi (May 14, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1604732350
  • ISBN-13: 978-1604732351
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.6 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,388,428 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By C. Santas on May 26, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book, edited by Steven Organ, contains numerous interviews of Lean by various critics, and it is a must for Lean lovers and scholars who would like to have Lean's own opinions and comments on movie-making. Essential for anyone who collects written materials on Lean. His own voice is heard on matters of his lentgthy preparations for filming, his methods used for adaptation from literary sources, script writing (the most essential element in the process), techniques used, relations with actors, etc. Such commments, given in common-sense, clear descriptions, are accessible to both the movie buff and scholar alike. Contrary to what many thought, Lean, always speaks with clarity and directness, and displays a firm grasp on film/literary matters, and, most importantly, speaks from experience. The slim volume features an Introduction, chronology, and a full-credits filmography. It also mentions the films Lean edited at the beginning of his career. This is a guide for would-be film-makers and to the newer generations who still discover one of the greatest directors of the twentieth century.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Sometime around 1971-73, before video recorders and DVRs, my dad let me stay up late one Friday night to watch "The Bridge on the River Kwai." Wow. A few years later, I came across "Lawrence of Arabia." Double wow. By then I'd learned what a director did and discovered that two of my favorite movies had been directed by David Lean.

This book is an excellent collection of interviews with the director. Some are direct question/response interviews. Of these, I think the standout is Robert Stewart's 1965 interview right after Dr. Zhivago came out. I loved reading Lean's thoughts on how he handled Zhivago himself because as Lean said, "he's not a typical screen hero. He is an observer. He doesn't do anything really." Yet, he turned that into a powerful movie and character.

Other of the interviews are of the "I interviewed David Lean and here are his comments and my thoughts." Another standout here is also from 1965 by Hollis Alpert. But the best is perhaps Harlan Kennedy's from 1985 and shortly after "A Passage to India," which has the luxury of looking back over Lean's entire career.

The editor of the book is uniquely qualified to have collected this diverse set of interviews. He maintains an interesting website devoted specifically to David Lean.

This is an excellent book that I can highly recommend to anyone interested in great films, great directors, or looking to learn how to tell a great story.
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Format: Paperback
For much the same reasons that Steven Spielberg says motivated him to become a director, I consider David Lean's "Lawrence of Arabia" to be probably my favorite movie of all time, all around. And this book of interviews with Lean has definitely been extremely rewarding in terms of understanding how such a great director thinks.

I did not know that Lean's primary interest as a director was in the traveling to distant lands to shoot his movies. I did not know how far back his directorship of movies went. I had no idea of his self-doubt and extreme sense of vulnerability to the vicious words of the film critics, who panned even his "Lawrence" when it first came out.

It's apparently a lot psychologically harder to be a director than I realized. And learning about things like that is all the more reason to buy this sort of book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Sometime around 1971-73, before video recorders and DVRs, my dad let me stay up late one Friday night to watch "The Bridge on the River Kwai." Wow. A few years later, I came across "Lawrence of Arabia." Double wow. By then I'd learned what a director did and discovered that two of my favorite movies had been directed by David Lean.

This book is an excellent collection of interviews with the director. Some are direct question/response interviews. Of these, I think the standout is Robert Stewart's 1965 interview right after Dr. Zhivago came out. I loved reading Lean's thoughts on how he handled Zhivago himself because as Lean said, "he's not a typical screen hero. He is an observer. He doesn't do anything really." Yet, he turned that into a powerful movie and character.

Other of the interviews are of the "I interviewed David Lean and here are his comments and my thoughts." Another standout here is also from 1965 by Hollis Alpert. But the best is perhaps Harlan Kennedy's from 1985 and shortly after "A Passage to India," which has the luxury of looking back over Lean's entire career.

The editor of the book is uniquely qualified to have collected this diverse set of interviews. He maintains an interesting website devoted specifically to David Lean.

This is an excellent book that I can highly recommend to anyone interested in great films, great directors, or looking to learn how to tell a great story.
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