Articles About David Lean


Lean, David. "Brief Encounter," in The Penguin Film Review, #4. 1947
New York: Penguin Books, pp. 27-35.

Director David Lean writes about what he believes audiences want to see in a film and why he believes Brief Encounter originally was a "box-office failure." Lean also names some of the "spearheads" of the film industry and compares the British and Hollywood industries during and immediately after the war. He discusses the financing of In Which We Serve, the rate of the independent producer, and how this role affects the British films today.


Thompson, Howard. "Career Inventory From The Lean View-point."
The New York Times (9 November, 1952), II, p. 5.

David Lean Is quoted on the Hollywood film industry, his early days in the British film industry, and his filming of Charles Dickens's Oliver Twist and Great Expectations.

Candee, Marjorie Dent. ed. "David Lean." Current Biography 1953.
New York: The H. W. Wilson Company, pp. 347-349. 1954.

The article chronologically traces David Lean's film career, intertwining a personal biography with a citation of his various film credits and awards up to 1952. The article describes Lean's meeting and eventual collaboration with Ronald Neame and Noel Coward. There are quotations from Lean and from the reviews of his films. A personal profile, picture, and further references are provided.


"British Feature Directors: An Index To Their Work."
Sight and Sound, 27 (Autumn) 1958, 298, .

The article provides a brief commentary on David Lean as a director and also includes a short biography and list of his film credits up to 1957.

Reynolds, Charles. "David Lean On What You Can Learn From Movies."
Popular Photography, 42 (March) 1958, 108-109+.

Through a question and answer formal, David Lean discusses the techniques of filmmaking, including composition of shots, camera selectivity, editing, and the use of sound, in the light of what amateur filmmakers might learn from watching films. Stills from Bridge on the River Kwai are used to illustrate various points.


McVay, Douglas. "David Lean, Lover of Life."
Films and Filming, 5, no. 11 (August) 1959, 9-10+.

The article profiles the work of David Lean.

Watts, Stephen, "David Lean."
Films In Review, 10 (April) 1959, 245-247.

The article contains a short summary of David Lean's life, an assessment of his rise in the British film industry, a brief mention of his films, and two anec-dotes concerning Lean as a director.

Lean, David. "Out of the Wilderness."
Films And Filming, 9, no. 4 (January) 1963, 12-15.

An interview with David Lean in which he talks about his films and his style of directing.

Alpert, Hollis. "The David Lean Recipe: A Whack in the Guts,"
The New York Times Magazine (23 May) 1965, pp. 32-33+.

This lengthy article profiles Lean as a director and his style of filmmaking during the production of Doctor Zhivago. His past films are discussed, and actors and actresses from these films are quoted on working with the director. David Lean, in turn, Is quoted at length on directing, filmmaking in general, his films, and the actors and actresses he has worked with. Stills from many of his films appear with the article.

Wolf, William. "Lean Rejects Drawing Room Comedies."
Los Angeles Times (26 October) 1968.

The article profiles David Lean's current interest in big-budget on-location filming.

Blum, Mary. "A Brief Encounter With David Lean."
After Dark, 13, no. 8 (December) 1970, 18-19.

The article briefly profiles Lean as a director and includes background information on his rise in the film industry and on his collaboration with Noel Coward. Blum quotes from a conversation with Lean which took place after the completion of Ryan's Daughter, in which he discusses editing, working with actors, and budgets. Anthony Havelock-Allan, who served as producer for many of Lean's films, is also quoted on working with the director.


Blum, Mary. "Lean Directs His Films By Fussing For Perfection."
Los Angeles Times (25 October) 1970.

The article analyzes David Lean's detailed approach to filmmaking.

"Defer Income? David Lean Counters, How Can You Be Sure Of The Audit?"
Variety (25 November) 1970, p. 2.

David Lean is quoted, in the context of the filming of Ryan's Daughter, discussing the costs and budgets of a big-budget film.

"Flying Director."
Los Angeles Herald Examiner (7 February) 1971.

The article profiles David Lean following the release of Ryan's Daughter.

Fumiss, Cathy. "Lean at SF."
Films in Review, 22 (April) 1971, 237-238.

This brief article summarizes Lean's comments during a retrospective of his films at the San Francisco Film Festival. He is quoted on how he chooses music for his films, how he casts particular actors and actresses, and on his collaboration with Robert Bolt in the making of Ryan's Daughter.

Ronan, Margaret. "David Lean and The Fat Box Office: 'Movie Audiences Don't Change."'
Senior Scholastic, 98 (16 February) 1971, 18.

David Lean is quoted on his use of scenery in Ryan's Daughter and Doctor Zhivago, on romantic films in general, and on what he believes audiences want in a film. A brief summary of public and critical reaction to these two films is included.


Ross, Steven. "In Defense of David Lean."
Take One, 3, no. 12 (July-August) 1972, 10-18.

This lengthy article opens with a brief summary of director David Lean's film credits and their critical and public reception at the time of release. Ross discusses the lack of critical auteur studies of David Lean, suggesting that "Lean's films reveal a consistently tragic vision of the romantic sensibility attempting to reach beyond the restraints and constrictions of everyday life." Ross examines this theme in detail in the light of what he calls Lean's "adventure" films and his "love stories." Ross also notes two recurring structural elements: "intimate stories of a closely-knit group of characters' fates are indirectly but powerfully shaped by history-shaking events going on around them" and "setting [is used I as a presence with as much dramatic and thematic form as any character in the film." He analyzes Lean's use of editing and of the single shot of long duration. A brief interview with Lean is included in which Lean discusses the making of Ryan's Daughter, scripting and music in his films, working with cameraman Freddie Young, and training for filmmaking. Stills from several of his films and a picture of Lean appear with the article.

Pickard, Ron. "David Lean: supreme Craftsman."
Films In Review (May) 1974, 265-284.

Following a brief introduction, there is lengthy, chronological examination of David Lean's film career and credits. Beginning with a brief biography describing his early years in the film industry and his previous work as an editor, Pickard traces Lean's rise as a director, film by film. In a generally favorable tone, he often provides a brief synopsis and analysis of the films, citing prominent cast names and production notes as well as awards. David Lean is quoted occasionally. Stills from various films and pictures of Lean are included. A filmography is provided.

Castelli, Louis Phillip. "Film Epic, A Generic Examination and an Application of Definitions to the Work of David Lean."
PhD. dissertation, Northwestern University, 1977.

The dissertation Is an extensive critical analysis of the works of David Lean, in which Castelli delineates a genre that he defines as "the epic." He uses an authorship approach and studies David Lean's films by applying them to the established generic model. Castelli provides a lengthy biography which chronologically profiles Lean's rise to a directorial career, describing his films and the events surrounding their making. He includes several schematic charts illustrating patterns in the original sources for Lean's fifteen films, their settings, lengths, and repetitions in casting and crew selection. A complete filmography is also provided. While Castelli looks at all of Lean's films, he extensively analyzes the recurring themes and motifs in Bridge on the River Kwai, Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago, and Ryan's Daughter. He also examines narrative structure in Lean's films and the formal elements of editing, camera movement, composition, music, and sound in the context of the epic genre.


Articles On David Lean Films


"Bridge On The River Kwai."
The New York Times Magazine (24 November) 1957, pp. 44-45.

The article provides a brief description of the plot with stills from the film to illustrate. Lean is credited as director and some production notes are also provided.

Laurenson, Helen. "Letter Home."
Esquire, 64 (December) 1965, 132+.

This lengthy article presents background information on the publicity Surrounding the on-location production of Doctor Zhivago. The various personalities connected with the film are profiled and quoted on the making of the film. David Lean is discussed in detail.


Martin, Harold H. "The Two Loves of Doctor Zhivago."
Saturday Evening Post, 239 (15 January) 1966.

This lengthy article, which includes numerous stills from the film, quotes David Lean on the making of Doctor Zhivago, on how the project started, and on his casting rationale. The article also quotes Julie Christie and Geraldine Chaplin on their relationship with director David Lean during the filming.

Schickel, Richard. "Epic Beauty and Terror."
Life, 60 (21 January) 1966, 48-59+.

This lengthy article has numerous stills from Doctor Zhivago with a brief account of the actual production and of the actors involved. Statements on the filming by Lean and others are included. Schickel also provides an interpretation and critique of the film.


Lukas, J. Anthony. "'Doctor Zhivago' Approved by India."
The New York Times (25 January) 1967, p. 35.

Article describes David Lean's dispute with the Indian government over the release of an edited version of Doctor Zhivago in that country. Lean is quoted describing the nature of the censorship and denying charges that the film was-anti-Soviet."


Lightman, Herb A. "On Location with Ryan's Daughter."
American Cinematographer, 50, no. 8 (August) 1968.

In this lengthy article, Lightman describes, in detail, his visit to the on. Location shooting in Ireland of Ryan's Daughter. While the article features Freddie Young, the films Director of Photography, David Lean is also discussed at length. Considerable background information concerning the film's actual production is provided, as are some anecdotes of Lean's directing during the filming. Many pictures of the on location shooting and sets, including plenty of Lean, appear with the article.


Alpert, Hollis. "David Lean's Big Gamble."
Saturday Review, 53 (14 November) 1970, 53+.

The article begins by summarizing the critical and public reaction to the release of Doctor Zhivago and the financial state of the film industry prior to the soon-to-be released Ryan's Daughter. Alpert points out that Lean's works have rarely been studied and then offers a brief, thematic analysis of Lean as an auteur, using Ryan's Daughter as a case in point. Production notes on the filming and a picture of David Lean are included with the article.


Farber, Stephen. "Look What They've Done to 'Lawrence of Arabia' Now."
The New York Times (2 May) 1971.

This brief article discusses the editing of Lawrence of Arabia for re-release and how it distorts the original film. Reference is made to David Lean and his style of filmmaking,

"Paramount Pictures To Distribute Two Dino De Laurentiis Presentations."
Paramount Pictures Press Release (9 December) 1977.

The article officially announces two forthcoming "separate but related film projects, both to be directed by David Lean and written by Robert Bolt, based on the fabled naval vessel HMS Bounty." The article goes on to state that the two films, to be entitled The Lawbreakers, and The Long Arm will be filmed on location in Polynesia. Brief publicity profiles of David Lean, Robert Bolt, and Dino De Laurentiis are included. The article does not provide any information on the actual estimated starting date of production.


"Unresolved 'Ifs' on De Laurentiis Pair."
Variety (14 December) 1977,

This brief article announces that the two forthcoming De Laurentis-David Lean projects on HMS Bounty have been scheduled to begin production in Polynesia. Whether The Lawbreakers, which describes "how the armed ship came to the South Seas waters," and The Long Arm, which "will chronicle the ship's later years," will be shot simultaneously has not been decided. The article states that the extent to which the "mutiny" will figure in the film also remains unknown to date.


Andrews, George. "A Cinematic Adventure With David Lean."
American Cinematographer, 60, no. 3 (March) 1979, 242-244+.

While researching for his latest film project on the HMS Bounty, David Lean discovers what is believed to be one of the famous Captain Cook's lost anchors. A producer at South Pacific Television gives a first hand account of a simple documentary about the salvaging of the anchor that turned Into a full scale production directed and narrated by David Lean and written by Robert Bolt. Captioned pictures of the actual filming of the production appear with the article.


"Bligh's Bounty."
The Chicago Sunday Sun-Times, Parade (21 October) 1979, p. 11.

This short article summarizes the history of problems connected with David Lean's latest two film projects on HMS Bounty. It details the changing of financial backers and the struggles over payment of the $10 million replica of the ship built for the films. The article suggests that the two films "Were to be more authentic, revealing the possible homosexual relationship between Fletcher Christian and Captain Bligh when Christian served previously aboard HMS Britannia with Bligh" and "what happened after Fletcher Christian and his fellow mutineers settled on Pitcairn Island with their Polynesian brides."


Gary Crowdus. "Lawrence of Arabia: The Cinematic (Re)writing of History"
Cineaste, Vol. XVII, No. 2, 1989. Page 14-21.

This lengthly article compares David Lean's filmed version of Lawrence's life to the real life of T.E. Lawrence.

David Ehrenstein. "Epic Dialogue"
American Film, Vol XV, No 6, 1990 Pages 20-27, 52-53.

In celebration of David Lean's Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute, David Ehrenstein interviews the director at length covering his entire film career. Article includes a lot of on-the-set photos of David Lean working on his films.


Harlan Kennedy. "Nostromo"
American Film, Vol XV, No 6, 1990 Pages 28-31, 53.

An in-depth article on the history of David Lean's product of Nostromo. This article was written prior to Mr. Lean's death.

Gary Crowdus and Alan Farrand. "Restoring Lawrence, An Interview with Robert Harris."
Cineaste, Vol. XVII, No. 2, 1989. Page 22-23.

In in-depth interview with Robert Harris who was responsible (with Jim Painten) for restoring Lawrence of Arabia. Harris discusses the conditions of the negative at the outset of restoration as well as the efforts to redub and replace many "lost" scenes.


Joel Hodson. "Who Wrote Lawrence of Arabia?: Sam Spiegel and David Lean's Denial of Credit to a Blacklisted Screenwriter."
Cineaste, Vol. XX, No. 4, 1994. Page 12-17.

This article discusses in great detail the debate over proper screenwriting credit for Lawrence of Arabia.. Hodson argues that the original script and storyline by Michael Wilson was the basis for the current filmed version. He also argues that Wilson's screenwriting credit should be reinstated along with Robert Bolt. Hodson provides lengthy samples of Wilson's original screenplay as well as a point-by-point overview of Wilson's fictional creations that appeared in the film.


Kevin Brownlow. "The Making of David Lean's Film of The Bridge on the River Kwai"
Cineaste, Vol XXII, No 2, 1996 Pages 10-16.

An excerpt from Mr. Brownlow's biography on David Lean. Contains several pictures from the film as well as production photos.

Gary Crowdus. "The Films of David Lean on Laserdisc."
Cineaste, Vol XXII, No. 2, 1996. Page 48-51.

This article gives brief descriptions of films available on laserdisc as well as the "extras" that are provided with each individual release. There is also a source guide listing all the available films and who distributes them.