I watched Dr. Zhivago last night for the sake of the SRO, who had only vague memories of it. It had been a few years since my last viewing. Released in late ’65 but seen by most audiences the following year, it will never be more than an eye-filling, handsomely composed soap opera, but it works because of Maurice Jarre‘s haunting score along with David Lean‘s incisive editing style.
My favorite character is Klaus Kinski‘s anarchist on the train, but the most interesting developed character is Tom Courtenay‘s Pasha Antipov (aka “Strelnikov”) and he has…what, five or six scenes? This chat with Yuri Zhivago (Omar Sharif) is his best moment:
In the film Rod Steiger‘s Komarovsky tells Yuri that Strelnikov, on the run from the Bolsheviks, was captured five miles from Yuriatin while apparently trying to find Lara, his abandoned wife. He refused to answer to any name but Pasha, and then committed suicide en route to his own execution.
In Boris Pasternak’s 1957 book, Pasha finds only Yuri when he arrives in Yuriatin. From a Wikidot summary: “Yuri and Pasha are both walking dead men, having lost what was most vital to them somewhere along the way. They are Russians though, so they drink and talk hours into the night. Then Yuri goes to bed. Pasha takes a walk, and shoots himself in the head. Yuri finds his corpse in the morning.”