Ryan's Daughter (1970)
The logic behind inflating Robert Bolt's minimalist romantic drama Ryan's Daughter into a 12-million-dollar epic seems to have been "When David Lean directs, it's a super-spectacular." Sarah Miles (who at the time was married to Robert Bolt) stars as Rosy, the daughter of Irish pub keeper Tom Ryan (Leo McKern). Married to tweedy, sexless schoolmaster Charles Shaughnessy (Robert Mitchum), restless Rosy has an affair with British officer Randolph Doryan (Christopher Jones). When village idiot Michael (an Oscar-winning turn by John Mills) innocently uncovers evidence of Rosy's indiscretion, the local gossips begin wagging their tongues. Shaughnessy chooses to remain above the scandal, assuming that Rosy will come to her senses. Later, Rosy's father informs on a group of IRA insurgents, hoping to keep the peace in his village. The locals assume that Rosy, still enamored of Doryan, is the informer, and exact a humiliating punishment. Realizing that his very presence has caused disgrace for Rosy, Doryan kills himself. For Rosy and Shaughnessy, life goes on...not happily ever after, just ever after. The film was lensed on location in Ireland by frequent Lean collaborator Freddie Young. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi … More
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Critic Reviews for Ryan's Daughter
Overlength of perhaps 30 minutes serves to magnify some weaknesses of Robert Bolt's original screenplay, to dissipate the impact of the performances, and to overwhelm outstanding photography and production.
Those who were jealous of [Lean's] previous successes decried the film as an utter failure, though of course it is not, it just isn't quite as good as his other movies.
A disappointing failure of tone, a lush and overblown self-indulgence in which David Lean has given us a great deal less than meets the eye.
It's insanely overproduced in Lean's standard epic style, yet somehow the crazy mismatches in scale contribute to the film's sense of romantic delirium.
Arguably David Lean's weakest film, this lushly photographed (it won Oscar for Freddie Young) period Irish romance is rambling and pointless, and feels like an occasion for Sarah Miles (then married to writer Bolt) to show off her beautiful body.
The best thing about this much-vaunted, overlong Irish epic love triangle is its gorgeous photography.
Some hippie-dippiness dates the picture, but the vérité posturing of Lean's peers looks a lot kitschier in retrospect
If you are looking for a breath of fresh Eire, you are in the wrong movie.
Lean's depiction of provincial Ireland during the unrest of 1916 may suffer a little from its rather worthy romanticism, but this does not dilute its powerful, epic vision.
Audience Reviews for Ryan's Daughter
Even though I hated this movie, I decided to be creative and present my review in the form of three haikus. Enjoy!
Needlessly drawn out
and boring love triangle.
David Lean's big fail.
There is no excuse:
can't save a snoozer.
Despite some good scenes
and production values, you
should skip this dull mess.
No one does 'Epic' like David Lean, although in this case, I'm not sure it was warranted. For the length of time the film lasts, there is still very little character development of some of the key characters and some would argue the pay off wasn't really worth it. While I can't quite understand why John Mills won Best supporting actor (although it seems true what they say, you play retard, you win awards - just don't go too far) and why Trevor Howard didn't win or was even nominated (apart from the at the Golden Globes). It's just one of those film I suppose, very much of its time and very much a David Lean film. Give me Doctor Zhivago or Lawrence of Arabia over this any day but that's not to say I didn't like it, Freddie Young definitely deserved to win for best Cinematography as it is beautiful throughout.More
Visually stunning but dramatically drawn out love story. This takes far too long to tell it's sad tale but good performances and once again absolutely breathtaking cinematography compensate a great deal. The storm sequence is one of the most beautifully shot scenes I've ever seen in any film.More
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