36 Facts About David Lean


Sir David Lean was an English film director, producer, screenwriter and editor.

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Widely considered one of the most influential directors of all time, David Lean directed the large-scale epics The Bridge on the River Kwai, Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Doctor Zhivago (1965), and A Passage to India (1984).

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David Lean directed two adaptations of Charles Dickens novels, Great Expectations and Oliver Twist (1948), as well as the romantic drama Brief Encounter (1945).

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Originally a film editor in the early 1930s, David Lean made his directorial debut with 1942's In Which We Serve, which was the first of four collaborations with Noel Coward.

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David Lean was born on 25 March 1908 at 38 Blenheim Crescent, South Croydon, Surrey, to Francis William le Blount Lean and the former Helena Tangye (niece of Sir Richard Trevithick Tangye).

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David Lean's parents were Quakers and he was a pupil at the Quaker-founded Leighton Park School in Reading.

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David Lean was a half-hearted schoolboy with a dreamy nature who was labeled a "dud" of a student; he left school in the Christmas Term of 1926, at the age of 18, and entered his father's chartered accountancy firm as an apprentice.

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Bored by his work, David Lean spent every evening in the cinema, and in 1927, after an aunt had advised him to find a job he enjoyed, he visited Gaumont Studios where his obvious enthusiasm earned him a month's trial without pay.

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David Lean was taken on as a teaboy, promoted to clapperboy, and soon rose to the position of third assistant director.

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David Lean edited Gabriel Pascal's film productions of two George Bernard Shaw plays, Pygmalion and Major Barbara (1941).

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David Lean Shipman wrote in The Story of Cinema: Volume Two: "Of the other Dickens films, only Cukor's David Lean Copperfield approaches the excellence of this pair, partly because his casting, too, was near perfect".

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French composer Maurice Jarre, on his first David Lean film, created a soaring film score with a famous theme and won his first Oscar for Best Original Score.

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David Lean remains the only British director to win more than one Oscar for directing.

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David Lean had his greatest box-office success with Doctor Zhivago, a romance set during the Russian Revolution.

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Around the same time, David Lean directed some scenes of The Greatest Story Ever Told while George Stevens was committed to location work in Nevada.

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Poor critical reception of the film prompted David Lean to meet with the National Society of Film Critics, gathered at the Algonquin Hotel in New York, including The New Yorker Pauline Kael, and ask them why they objected to the movie.

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David Lean was forced to abandon the project after overseeing casting and the construction of the $4 million Bounty replica; at the last possible moment, actor Mel Gibson brought in his friend Roger Donaldson to direct the film, as producer De Laurentiis did not want to lose the millions he had already put into the project over what he thought was as insignificant a person as the director dropping out.

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David Lean rejected a draft by Santha Rama Rau, responsible for the stage adaptation and Forster's preferred screenwriter, and wrote the script himself.

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David Lean recruited long-time collaborators for the cast and crew, including Maurice Jarre, Alec Guinness in his sixth and final role for David Lean, as an eccentric Hindu Brahmin, and John Box, the production designer for Dr Zhivago.

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David Lean assembled an all-star cast, including Marlon Brando, Paul Scofield, Anthony Quinn, Peter O'Toole, Christopher Lambert, Isabella Rossellini and Dennis Quaid, with Georges Corraface as the title character.

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David Lean wanted Alec Guinness to play Dr Monygham, but the aged actor turned him down in a letter from 1989: "I believe I would be disastrous casting.

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Originally David Lean considered filming in Mexico but later decided to film in London and Madrid, partly to secure O'Toole, who had insisted he would take part only if the film was shot close to home.

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David Lean's co-writer and producer Norman Spencer has said that Lean was a "huge womaniser" and "to my knowledge, he had almost 1, 000 women".

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David Lean was married six times, had one son, and at least two grandchildren—from all of whom he was completely estranged—and was divorced five times.

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David Lean was survived by his last wife, art dealer Sandra Cooke, the co-author ofDavid Lean: An Intimate Portrait (2001), as well as Peter Lean, his son from his first marriage.

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David Lean was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1953, and was knighted for his contributions and services to the arts in 1984.

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In 2012, David Lean was among the British cultural icons selected by artist Sir Peter Blake to appear in a new version of his most famous artwork—the Beatles' Sgt.

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David Lean directed more films that won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography at the Oscars than any other director, with five wins out of six nominations for Great Expectations, The Bridge on the River Kwai, Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago and Ryan's Daughter—the last nomination being for A Passage to India.

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David Lean died in Limehouse, London on April 16, 1991, at the age of 83.

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Alfred Hitchcock, Michael Powell and David Lean: the three great British filmmakers of their generation were born within a radius of fifty miles and just nine years apart.

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David Lean's camera is more self-effacing than Hitchcock's or Powell's, and although he was famed for his perfectionist compositional sense, his eye was more conventional.

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Steven Ross has written that David Lean's films "reveal a consistently tragic vision of the romantic sensibility attempting to reach beyond the constraints and restrictions of everyday life", and that they tend to feature "intimate stories of a closely-knit group of characters [whose] fates are indirectly but powerfully shaped by history-shaking events going on around them.

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David Lean's protagonists seek to transform their lives, but often fail to do so.

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David Lean lived through two world wars and matured as an artist during the 50s, when Britain was being forced to re-examine her new role.

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Several of the many other later directors who have acknowledged significant influence by David Lean include Stanley Kubrick, George Lucas, Spike Lee, Sergio Leone, John Boorman, Paul Thomas Anderson and Guillermo del Toro.

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For example, David Thomson, writing about Lean in his New Biographical Dictionary of Film, comments:.

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