Doctor Zhivago is a long and at times tedious milquetoast “romance” — a stately, grandiose chick flick. And yet there are portions…okay, quite a few portions that are brilliant and pretty much unforgettable. This BFI trailer reminds me of these, and more particularly of Freddie Young and Nicolas Roeg‘s cinematography. My favorite shot is one of the most nonsensical in film history — i.e., the closeup of Yuri’s deceased mother inside her casket after it’s been sealed and lowered into the grave, but with just enough nonexistent light for the camera to catch her bluish features.
The kindly paternal tone in Alec Guinness‘s voice as he speaks to Rita Tushingham. That wall of ice covering the freight-car door during that eternal train trip. That scene when the advancing Russian troops are turned by the deserters, and then the British-accented officer stands on top of a water barrel and tries to persuade them to hold fast in the ranks, and then he falls through the top, soaked, and is shot. Klaus Kinski‘s fury as he shouts “I am the only free man on this train!” — an HE rallying cry. Julie Christie‘s blonde hair and gleaming blue eyes. The troops raising their fists and yelling “Strelnikov!” as Tom Courtenay‘s train passes by. Guinness’s final line: “Aahh. Then it’s a gift.”