His Dark Materials
Forgot your password?
Don't have an account? Sign up here
Got more questions about news letters?
Already have an account? Log in here
and the Terms and Policies,
and to receive email from Rotten Tomatoes and Fandango.
Please enter your email address and we will email you a new password.
No user info supplied.
Martin Scorsese's "The Wolf of Wall Street" is a recycling of the old form, he simply refurbishes it and gives us a good, up to date product, though it's significantly inferior to his masterpiece "Goodfellas". Are the gangsters of "Goodfellas" and "Casino" and the stockbrokers of Scorsese's latest just two faces of the same coin? I think the argument could be made either way; both wanted to be wealthy, but at least to me it seemed there was more to Henry Hill than just getting rich: "As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster." The gangster to me is a rebel and while the stockbrokers do commit illegal activities according to the government, there is no way could I support them; to me they are not "human". Sure, maybe they (gangsters and stockbrokers) are all the same kind at the end of the day, but it's a testimony to directors like Scorsese and Coppola who can manipulate our minds and make us care for such selfish beings.
Though I said the stockbrokers aren't human and I wholeheartedly despise them, Scorsese was able to evoke sympathy and pity from me near the end when Jordan Belfort (DiCaprio) is having a quarrel with his wife. I have no respect for a person whose sole purpose in life is to have more money for the sake of money so I had a very difficult time relating to the people in the film. This is probably Leonardo DiCaprio's career best performance; he is a good actor, in a couple scenes he goes to one or two higher levels of acting where he deeply becomes one with the character he is playing. I was very impressed, though I don't understand the Robert De Niro comparisons. Scorsese and DiCaprio bring so much energy, humor, and SEX to lifeless characters that the three hour length doesn't become tiresome, it actually feels much shorter. I was particularly fond of the scene involving Belfort and his wife's aunt.
I know it's DiCaprio's film through and through, but I was disappointed about Matthew McConaughey's character disappearing after creating a such a good scene with Leonardo. I only had a vague understanding of stocks; I am thankful for what I learned throughout the surprising viewing experience. People who think they have it all don't really have anything of true value.
I would put the Scorsese ahead of McQueen's "12 Years a Slave" and Cuaron's "Gravity".
There are atrocities you are generally aware of but they only have a significant impact on your conscience once you are put face to face with them; I have had enormous interest in slavery for a long time, though I never studied it extensively. Martin Luther King Jr. is the most famous of Black civil rights leaders, but I am more interested in people like Malcolm X and Fredrick Douglass. It is only out of laziness that I haven't been able to study the people and events that my heart desires deep inside. The great thing about cinema is you can learn a thing or two about history within two or three hours and at the same time enjoy it.
Steve McQueen's "12 Years a Slave" does not provide anything substantially new in showcasing the struggle of a man; it's a typical story, it can be melodramatic and preachy and close to (but not quite) overbearing at times, I personally was more keen in the time and place Solomon lived than the character himself. I am aware that it was based on a true story, but I feel it lacks a great, deep character; it also does not explore the relationship between the slave and the slave master Epps as extensively as I would have liked, particularly near the closure of the film. What I did not know and what McQueen shows is how slaves were bought and sold, in one scene the seller and the owner are in a room where they inspect the nude slaves of both sexes or how a white woman up top is looking at naked black men and women having to shower together outdoor like it isn't a big deal. Other good scenes are where a slave is astonished at seeing Solomon as a free man in a shop, when Solomon sees lynchings, and when he convinces Epps that he isn't trying to run away.
McQueen is a talented director, I think he brings the best out of a limited story and characters. Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender perform very well; I was also impressed with Brad Pitt and Alfre Woodard, among others. What this film does for me is it helps to recharge my mind to study slavery, it helps me to know what I already knew, what was on the back of my mind. It's a fine film with more positives than negatives, and I hope a lot of young people (no matter the color) go and see it. Regarding the stupidity of religion, George Carlin once said: "You have stand in awe...", this is how I felt about slavery while watching the movie; if you really take a moment and think about it you must realize at how preposterously absurd and evil the whole institution was, that you had actual laws set by a country's government to trade your fellow human beings. What's even more disastrous is that white people were so ignorant and blind and couldn't distinguish between a baboon and a black man and made them so stupid and convinced them that whatever was happening to them was justified in scripture. Who is more stupid? The slave that is forbidden to read, write, or learn and is brainwashed from childhood in to believing he is a sinner or the slave master who has several resources to be educated but still in his mind believes that because the person across from you is darker he must be a lesser being?
The absurd thing is that these slave owners or whites in general spent their whole lives with the slaves and they still could not observe and understand that both are not any different from one another. I may not clean the house or my room every day but I do not treat what I own as bad as a lot of the slave owners did.
"Shame" is the slightly better film of the two I've seen by McQueen, but I had more to say about this film because it concerns a subject of great personal interest.
Instead of seeing the new Scorsese, McQueen, or Jonze I had to see "The LEGO Movie" with two other guys, sadly it wasn't really worth spending fifteen dollars for the 3D ticket. It had potential with some clever ideas about how television brainwashes the masses, how big business is at control, stuff that I am only starting to get a grasp of. In a lot of sequences I did appreciate the compatibility of 3D with some of the set pieces, for example the LEGO desert, among other gorgeous scenery. There are a handful of conversations that are pretty funny, but nothing outrageous. The characters are cute and adorable though nobody really singles out. Liam Neeson as Bad Cop was my favorite. Below average work because of a lackluster plot and a overused ending.
A third-tier Hitchcock is still a good one. It concerns Guy, an amateur tennis player accidentally meeting the rich and suave psychopath Bruno on a train, and the latter suggests they should exchange murders. Guy hates his wife, Bruno hates his father, so he wants Guy to kill his father and Bruno will kill Guy's wife. There are two incredible shots, one involving a murder as seen through the victim's fallen eyeglasses and another of Bruno sitting still in the middle of the tennis stands as the rest of the viewers are moving their heads left and right. Hitchcock uses objects like a lighter, a name tag, and glasses as plot devices to move the story forward. Robert Walker as Bruno easily has the best performance of the cast. The story in abstract is very intriguing and exciting, I just wasn't incredibly attached to the actors playing the characters or even the world compared to the other, better works by the director. And I kind of know what's going to happen in the end during most Hitchcock films as I am watching them or they're not particularly surprising, even if they are precisely crafted.
This deals with a porn addict played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who I like very much as an actor, he's funny, charismatic and just easy to relate to. I decided to watch it after I saw the Lean film as a dessert. Scarlett Johansson is incredibly hot in this, though gradually she becomes repulsive as does her character. There are a minor surprises, and maybe this film can help people with porn addiction, I am not sure. I was taken aback by the relationship Jon has with his family, he is Italian; his father is pretty much like a friend, cussing is allowed at the dinner table like it's an everyday thing, and his dad even asks if the son's girlfriend's breasts are real! It has its moments, though it gets repetitive from time to time, I enjoyed it but after it was over I pretty much forgot about it.
David Lean's "A Passage to India" is a perfect example of where a sketchy screenplay ruins the film; it is based on the novel of the same name by E.M. Forster, which I have not read, but would like to someday. Judy Davis plays Adela Quested, a woman who comes to India from England with the mother of her fiance. It's set in the 1920s during the British Raj, Adela's fiance Ronny is the magistrate of the fictional city Chandrapore. I searched other images of Judy Davis and I did not find her attractive in them, but I was completely in love with how she carried herself as Adela, I was very charmed by her eyes, her almost unseen gestures as she tries to uncover her mysterious character.
This film had enormous potential to easily be one of three best films of Lean; I even had tears in one sequence involving the elderly Mrs. Moore and Dr. Aziz in a mosque. The main conflict begins when Dr. Aziz takes Adela and Mrs. Moore on a tour to see the Marabar Caves, what happens there brings about a trial, which involves political and class agendas as the Indian independence movement is gaining, however that's not really important. As the story is gradually unfolding I was unable to decipher it, it's a muddle as Mrs. Moore says if I remember correctly. What is this film about? Though the characters are descriptive, they are really on an island, one island for each character; that is how detached they are from each other and from the story. The great Alec Guinness plays the elderly Brahmin Godbole quite well, but again I really did not understand his relation to the story. He is just there.
Adela seems to have deep sexual desires and certainly the desire to be loved, I was disappointed that this intimate part of her wasn't really explored, particularly when she is with Aziz at the caves. As the film is over I could not understand what happened between the two, I mean there was certainly intimate tension, but what happened to it after? Aziz's character flip-flops, sometimes he is just a typical Indian as shown in that time and sometimes you feel he has deep lingerings, very confusing. It's uneven in possibly revealing Adela's character and at the same time showing the conflict between Indians and the British at the time. I really wanted to love this film, I did early on actually. I love watching a good story, driven by characters with intimacy who are set in a period drama. Forster in his lifetime prevented anyone from making a film on his novel; I am saddened that Satyajit Ray, who wanted to make an adaptation wasn't allowed to do it.
David Lean adequately shows his love for India, not in "A Passage to India," but in "The Bridge on the River Kwai," with just one monologue as Colonel Nicholson says: "I've been thinking. Tomorrow it will be twenty-eight years to the day that I've been in the service. Twenty-eight years in peace and war. I don't suppose I've been at home more than ten months in all that time. Still, it's been a good life. I loved India. I wouldn't have had it any other way. But there are times when suddenly you realize you're nearer the end than the beginning."
I liked the sequel a tiny bit better than its predecessor "The Tiger of Eschnapur" because it has a hotter dance number and it does a better job with its story and characters. Like the first film it is very colorful with glittering royal Indian clothing and you can't have India without snakes. There are even lepers who look like zombies! Sure, both films have foreseeable events but they are still fun to watch. The acting is acceptable but the characters are really card-board cut outs with the exception of Chandra who you could argue has some sort of depth as the film ends. Some of the misconceptions I found amusing were of Shiva being a female, Seetha worships a gigantic statue with huge breasts; also of Akbar the Great being referred with the Mongols instead of the Mughal empire. One thing I didn't like was during the sensual dance sequence a fake snake accompanies Seetha, and in one shot you can see it is leaning on a wire! Being an Indian myself I am fascinated by films that show India, unfortunately the two Lang films didn't live up to my expectations. The images from the two movies make it look very promising.
The first of two films by Fritz Lang that tells the story of a European architect named Harold Berger who is summoned by the local Indian king Maharaja Chandra to build schools and hospitals. Chandra is obsessed about the beautiful dancer Seetha, who becomes attached to Berger on their journey to Eschnapur because Berger saves her from a tiger. What I appreciated most was the exuberant visuals; the sets, locations, costumes, props, etc. showcasing a stereotypical view of India. Originally supposed to be in German, I had a English dubbing which was quite off as the voices didn't perfectly go along with the lips. Almost every actor in the film is non-Indian, disguised by black paint. It was a bit awkward for me to see every "Indian" speak in perfect English, but I went along with it. The main reason it's a disappointment is that it's a very feeble adventure. Lang fails in building great suspense and action; we see specific situations build up, but they're never really explored such as secret passageways or the tiger hunts, we only get a glimpse of what could have been. The story is acceptable as a triangular romance, but again it doesn't seem like Lang put that much effort in developing it. I can't deny it being a unique experience though.
I love David Lean's grand-scale ventures even if they are flawed, he just has a way of covering the landscape, to immerse his characters within the frame of his spectacular locations. "Ryan's Daughter" is set in in a small village on the seaside in Ireland during World War I, its three major characters are Rosy Ryan (Sarah Miles), the local schoolmaster Charles (Robert Mitchum) and Major Doryan (Christopher Jones). The story revolves around Rosy's need and desire for intimate love and her possible confusion with love and lust; she marries the much older Mitchum, who in her eyes is perfect, the best man, and frankly as we watch the story unfold we realize he really is wholly good. But, this is not enough for Rosy, as she instantly falls for a British officer who is positioned in her village, which is headlined by a gorgeous and passionate love-making sequence in the forest with gentle interruptions of shots of nature.
Although a good film, it easily could have been much better if it had paid much more attention on the love affair. I didn't care for any of the war related sequences, which involves Irish revolutionaries who want the British out. I am also suspicious about David Lean's tone of the story, it's sometimes hard to find out what I should take seriously, I didn't really take any of the war related scenes serious, but then there is a frightening mob sequence which somewhat feels out of context of the film's rather mild atmosphere. Maybe this was the intention but I had a distaste for pretty much every villager with the exception of the priest and the idiot; such ugly people live in such a beautiful place. Christopher Jones' performance as Rosy's lover could have been better, and so could have been the writing on his character. I've read that Marlon Brando was chosen to do the role first, now that would have been something to see. I am okay with films over three hours long if I feel they're justified, I actually would have loved to see an even longer and much more passionate affair.
Near the beginning of the film, I desired to be Rosy's lover or I wished there was a woman who could desire me as she desires Robert Mitchum first and then Christopher Jones. As the film is nearing at an end or half way through, my thoughts changed; I wondered why a woman (who I am not sure if she is entirely sane) would be unfaithful to such a saint-like husband even when she knows he is so good, maybe because he seems too casual as a lover for her, maybe he doesn't satisfy her needs or simply Rosy just wants something more, she doesn't know really.
I was initially correct to trust my gut feeling and should not have been swayed by the hype of Alfonso Cuaron's "Gravity." I like Cuaron as a director, to me he has made one great film and that's "Y Tu Mama Tambien." Nothing else comes close. He and his staff have unbelievable talent in constructing shots, one in particular is where we see a close-up of a terrified Sandra Bullock in space and as we are seeing this it seems the camera literally goes through her head gear and gradually becomes a subjective shot from an objective one. A lot of shots were very difficult to follow, I had to see them again and again. The best moments of the film are when Sandra Bullock or George Clooney are in chaos with the space debris, that's about it. Great special effects aren't enough for me to love a film, even if some I had wished I could have seen on the big screen, I need a story or something incredibly profound. I think the story is very, very limited; most of it is predictable with the exception of one surprising dream sequence, it only having two characters hurts the movie. The space debris isn't really a worthy enemy, there is very little you can do with it. Sure, we learn a little bit about Sandra Bullock's character and her feelings to provide some kind of depth, but it's not enough. It's a story about survival and I was ninety percent sure somebody was gone come out alive. I am okay with that being a given, my issues are of what happens before, it's really very basic; the difficulties the characters face aren't complicated, except when a space station is getting torn to bits. Not a bad film, but I am a little disappointed, it's not even great entertainment. It's not as tense as it tries to be.
I love "Mister Roberts" for the actors. I could never have imagined Henry Fonda sharing screen space with James Cagney, and to top that there is Jack Lemmon. All three very different from one another yet extraordinary actors. And to my surprise it was partially directed by John Ford, he was replaced by Mervyn LeRoy because Ford had issues with Fonda and Cagney, from what I read Ford actually punched Fonda in an argument! The funny thing is Warner Bros. wanted William Holden or Marlon Brando for the lead role but Ford insisted it should be Fonda. It's a comedy-drama war movie without any war action; World War II is nearing a closure, the US Navy cargo ship Reluctant hasn't gotten any action for years, they have a very strict, unpopular and harsh captain in Lieutenant Commander Morton (Cagney), Fonda is Roberts as the cargo chief and Lemmon is the laundry officer. Roberts is really like the nurturer of the crew, he takes care of the guys and protects them from Morton; he keeps writing letters for his transfer because he wants to be in combat but Morton refuses to endorse his requests out of sheer ego. One of my favorite scenes is when Cagney meets Lemmon; the latter is very scared of him and really stays in his room so Cagney has no idea that he has been on the ship for fourteen months! If you're familiar with Ford's work, this film doesn't look or feel like any of his other films, probably because he didn't direct all of it or because his famous works were made in the 40s and were largely westerns, and this film was made in 1955. My only complaint is that I don't think it really has a flow in providing time for its three stars, sometimes you wish Cagney had gotten more scope, and then there may be a scene where Lemmon is missing. Maybe because of its director replacements it's not as polished as it could have been. It's very funny at times and I was surprised at how touching it can be, there is a underline of melancholy and Henry Fonda is the best to express those feelings.
P.S. Cagney was a bad-ass in real life also.
The movie was directed by John Ford, Mervyn LeRoy and Joshua Logan who was uncredited. While directing the film, Ford had personality conflicts with actors Henry Fonda and James Cagney. When Ford met Cagney at the airport, the director warned that they would "tangle asses," which caught Cagney by surprise. Cagney later said: "I would have kicked his brains out. He was so goddamned mean to everybody. He was truly a nasty old man." The next day, Cagney was slightly late on set, and Ford became incensed. Cagney cut short the imminent tirade, saying: "When I started this picture, you said that we would tangle asses before this was over. I'm ready now - are you?" Ford backed down and walked away and he and Cagney had no further conflicts on the set.
In 1963, Jean-Luc Godard named Nicholas Ray's "Bigger Than Life" one of the ten best films ever made; Ray was famous for his vivid use of color but I think his black & white "Bitter Victory" is still the best. More importantly, all four of his films are closely knit in terms of quality, one isn't a lot better than the other, he was very consistent in producing good films of variety, if not great ones. "Bigger Than Life" is about a schoolteacher named Ed Avery (James Mason) who seems to be having various pains from time to time, at one point he even suffers a blackout, the doctors prescribe him an experimental drug named cortisone because he is told he only has few months to live. From there on Ray shows us what it's like to be in the shoes of a man who is facing addiction and possible mental illness. He is also a family man with a wife and a son and part of the story concerns how financial limitations affect their livelihood; one of the film's very best scenes is of Ed flamboyantly taking his wife and son to a high class clothing store where he makes her wife try out various expensive dresses. I haven't seen a lot of James Mason, but this is easily his best work, he is terrific as the neurotic father and husband. I was a little disappointed with the conclusion; it's a good ending to a very fine film, but I wanted a little bit more. What I really appreciated is the mood Ray creates in a single setting; the story is really about family and togetherness, however there are instances where it feels very eerie, it makes you think twice as to what's going to happen next, it's a little bit Hitchcockian in that regard.
Nicholas Ray gives another good film in the western "Johnny Guitar" starring John Crawford and Sterling Hayden. Vienna (Crawford) is a sloankeeper who supports the building of a railroad, the people of the town who are cattlemen oppose it. Mercedes McCambridge probably gives the best performance of the film as a short, ugly, jealous, fidgety, and revengeful Emma Small; she wants Vienna out of town, she despises her, partially because The Dancin' Kid (Scott Brady) was once both of their lover, as Vienna says: "He makes her feel like a woman, and that frightens her." Sterling Hayden is Johnny Guitar, another former lover of Vienna who is hired by her to "play the guitar." I never really saw Hayden as a romantic hero, he does enough to get by. Every major character in this is superbly played by their respective actors, I was especially fond of The Dancin' Kid. The first half is better than the second; the latter has a few predictable points, an injury to a character seems unconvincing, at first it's as if he is fatally wounded, then he seems alright; this injury plays a major role so it bothered me. I've seen three of Ray's films so far; "Bitter Victory" is my favorite, "Johnny Guitar" is second, and "Rebel Without a Cause" is third. I look forward to seeing more.
A friend of mine who is Mexican suggested "Nosotros Los Pobres" starring Pedro Infante, considered to be one of the greatest actors in Mexican cinema. He said he is like the Elvis of Mexico. The film is directed by Ismael Rodriguez, it's the first of a trilogy. The title of the film translates to "We, the Poor Ones," and it concerns the people living in a poor neighborhood including Pepe (Infante), who is a carpenter, he also has a daughter. I can understand why a nation (general public) would appreciate a film like this or Infante in general, it's quite simple, he is like the working class hero, it basically teaches us simple life lessons that I already knew and have seen in countless films. I don't think it's a good film; technically it's inept, and the acting isn't particularly stellar; Infante is acceptable but I had a difficult time tolerating his annoying daughter played by Evita Munoz. The "acting" from her grandmother who is on a wheelchair seems like she resurrected from a silent film. The special effects and dissolves would be classified as amateurish now. It could have been better if the pacing was right, about three or four times, when the plot is moving from one important event to another, it's not developed well; a specific event just happens, there isn't enough background to support the transition. It's melodramatic and predictable but at the same time the characters are easily relatable, especially coming from somebody who has seen several classic Bollywood films. It did surprise me with its violence and coarse language at times. I appreciate it for its cultural significance, I have no interest in seeing it ever again.
In Peter Glenville's "Becket," Peter O'Toole plays a young King Henry II and Richard Burton is Thomas Becket, a Saxon who is highly intelligent and a very dear friend of Henry. Eventually Becket is made Archbishop of Canterbury by Henry himself, so Henry can have control of his kingdom and the church, however a rift in their relationship arises because Becket puts God ahead of his King. Without trying to spoil too much, I don't think the director adequately shows us what really made Becket turn to God, we know that he has but not precisely why; what I'm trying to say is I think Richard Burton's character isn't as dense is it seems to be, Burton does his best to fulfill his duty as an actor. Peter O'Toole as the spoiled, outrageous, love-sick King Henry completely overshadows him in character and performance. O'Toole has the privilege of showing countless emotions while Burton is handcuffed in reserve. The story is quite simple even if it involves royalty, it's basically about a man who loved a man, who loved God. I prefer the younger Henry of "Becket" over the older one of "The Lion in Winter."
"The Lion in Winter" has a fantastic cast headlined by the immortal Peter O'Toole as King Henry II, Katharine Hepburn plays his wife Eleanor, and Anthony Hopkins (his film debut) as Richard, one of Henry's three sons. Henry is fifty and all three want to inherit his throne, they all including his creepy wife devour each other on Christmas. I couldn't help thinking of "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" while viewing this film, it can be considered a lesser, unintentional response to Mike Nichols' work. With the exception of one dialogue, this is one of the most unpredictable films I've seen; it's a war of words, a family drama set in a kingdom. Peter O'Toole shines most brightly; the scene where he is with King Philip II of France to discuss matters is not only the best of the movie, but showcases O'Toole's monstrous acting prowess to its peak and further. I don't think I really understood the point and intentions of its characters, the plot consists of a twist after a twist; it was really hard for me to distinguish humor from seriousness, so I think it's flawed. Maybe it's a better film than I am giving credit for, but then I am reminded of specific scenes where dramatic dialogues feel empty, sometimes I am put off by it, it seems like a frail exercise in who can say the most cleverly insulting sentence to another. I can't put this film all together in my head, and maybe this was the intention, I did enjoy it very much. It's an actor's delight.
I don't have much to say about "The Public Enemy" starring James Cagney. It's simply a bore, the only bright spot is Cagney himself. If he wasn't in it I would have hated it. It was made in 1931, one of the first gangster films, it was a breakthrough for Cagney as an actor. Except for its conclusion, the whole film is predictable even though it's fairly well told considering the time. Because of the technical restrictions I had a very hard time finding any other character appealing, it's very static; one of the early "talkies." Including others, Cagney's talents were still very suppressed, what he does in "Angels with Dirty Faces" and "White Heat" is light years ahead.
In his review of "Bitter Victory," Jean-Luc Godard (as a film critic) famously said: "Cinema is Nicholas Ray." It's definitely one of the better war films; one that concerns two individuals rather than the mission they are on or the battle they are fighting. I found it difficult to understand its characters the first time, then read about it and viewed it again; more than anything else I think it shows the absurdity of war; Captain Leith (Richard Burton) and Major Brand (Curt Jurgens) are two British officers sent in to Libya to steal some "important" documents from the Germans, which their commander seems to have no clue of. Mrs. Brand is the former lover of Leith; the film is actually not as romantic as it seems, but does involve jealousy and cowardice in battle. Even after seeing it twice I am still a bit confused about Brand, not of what he did but why he did it; at least to me his face evokes sympathy at times, however he is the "bad guy" if you want to put a label. Richard Burton is slightly unconvincing in a few scenes, otherwise he is magnificent; considering he was so handsome as a young man I was in awe of his face structure and especially his eyes, which seem to have a fire in them when he speaks. Ray's direction is very precise, it's a minimalist work, once the film begins it completely focuses on the task at hand, there aren't any distractions. Specific scenes in the black & white desert seem as if the army officers are on a different planet; it made me wish I was in the desert, not without water. Once it is over I realize the whole situation (as a story) is justified but what the characters go through is meaningless, they were sent on a mission that cost lives but didn't bring back anything of value for the sacrifice. It made me think how many of these little stories there must have been involving so many people during war time, not just in the past but in the present; people in turbulent situations make for good cinema or art in general, but you have to wonder how much pain they had to endure.
P.S. If Godard had seen his own films instead of Ray's when he was a critic he would have declared himself as cinema.
David Lean's "Brief Encounter" is vastly different from his three epics and it's also not in color. It tells a short love affair of a housewife with a doctor. There is a magical close-up of Laura (Celia Johnson) while she is having tea with Alec (Trevor Howard); he is telling her something related to medicine which she has no clue of and in that shot the viewer realizes she has fallen in love with him. It really pierced my heart, among other tender scenes. This is a considerably smaller film involving only a handful of characters with some comic relief. Charming, but it didn't exceed my expectations. I can easily think of other early films by different directors, films that really showed their respective potential as filmmakers. It's a prelude; "Doctor Zhivago" offers more, and "The Bridge on the River Kwai" and "Lawrence of Arabia" offer much, much more.