Friday, 28 August 2015

Hasse Ekman at MoMA

This year is the centennial of Hasse Ekman's birth and this made it possible for me to entice Museum of Modern Art in New York to do a retrospective of his films, the first in North America I believe, MoMA wanted ten films so I made a short list of some 15 films and of these some were not available due to either rights issues or damaged prints. The ten films that remained on the short list are those you will be able to see if you are in New York, 9 - 17 September. (Here is the program.)

Ekman had been an actor already as a boy in the 1920s, but he wrote and directed his first film in 1940. In all he made 41 feature films and one TV-series, Niklasons (1965), before he retired. He was at his best from 1943 to 1954 and the majority of the chosen films were made during those years. There are also two earlier films and one late film (which is also the only one in colour). I thought I say a few words about why I have chosen these ten in particular.

Första divisionen / The First Division (1941) was Ekman's second film, set on an air field in the north of Sweden and it is a tense drama with exhilarating flying sequences. It is not a war film, and no other countries are mentioned, instead it is focused on the lives of the pilots. I chose it partly because of the quality of the cinematography and partly for it is unusual for Ekman to make a film not set in downtown Stockholm. It shows the range of his talents. It is also well-acted.

Lågor i dunklet / Flames in the Dark (1942) is a psychological thriller about a cruel, sadistic Latin teacher, played by Stig Järrel, which makes it impossible not to compare it with Hets / Torment (Alf Sjöberg 1944), where Järrel plays almost the same character. While hardly Ekman's best film, it is a showcase for Järrel (who acted in most of Ekman's films during the 1940s) and it shows Ekman trying to find his style.

Ombyte av tåg / Changing Trains (1943) is the film I consider Ekman's artistic breakthrough. It is when most of what is typical of his work first came together, a theatre setting, a sombre mood, a subtle love story and with an autobiographical background. It is not a linear story but fragmented and open, moving between different characters and back and forth in time. It was also the first time he worked together with writer Walter Ljungquist. In addition, Göran Strindberg's cinematography shows the influence of French poetic realism.

Kungliga patrasket / Royal Rabble (1945) is based upon Ekman's own family and a life at the theatre. It was the first film of his in which Eva Henning played a role (although they had acted together the year before in Stopp! Tänk på något annat (Åke Ohberg 1944), a fine film too). The acting and the compassion with which all the various characters are portrayed is wonderful and while there is tragedy here, it is primarily a love letter to the theatre, and all those people who are part of it.

Vandring med månen / Wandering With the Moon (1945) might be my favourite of all of Ekman's films. Working closely with Walter Ljungquist, it is also the Ekman-film which most resembles the films of Jean Renoir; a lyrical tale of assorted people crossing paths during a few summer days. The spectre of Nazism is there, as a dark force in the shadows, but mostly it is a celebration of the loners and oddballs that live outside the mainstream of society, and Eva Henning plays a young actress exploring her sexuality with an immature young boy played by Alf Kjellin. Åke Dahlqvist's cinematography help bring out the film's lyrical aspect, with the sun and the moon glittering on the water or the leaves and the grass.

Banketten / The Banquet (1948) is one of Ekman's darkest films about a wealthy family slowly unravelling. The father is tired and frustrated with life, his wife is living in denial about the problems they face, the older son is a decadent drunk, the younger son a communist and the daughter (Eva Henning) is trapped in a wretched marriage (her husband is played by Ekman). With the imagery of a film noir, it is both a domestic horror film and a comment about a changing society after the war.

Flickan från tredje raden / The Girl From the Third Row (1949) is yet another of Ekman's loosely structured films about multiple characters who accidentally cross paths and with a theatre setting. It is also the film which Ekman called his "anti-Bergman film", a direct response to Bergman's Prison (1949), and intricately told. Henning plays the title role, and the film moves effortlessly from tragedy to comedy to nail-biting suspense. There really is no other film quite like it.

Flicka och hyacinter / Girl With Hyacinths (1950) is undoubtedly Ekman's most famous film, beautifully shot by Göran Strindberg and brilliantly acted by especially Eva Henning. A feminist film, a film with a complex narrative structure and dealing with a number of sensitive issues, including Sweden's ambivalent role during World War 2 and its appeasement of the Nazis. A very sad film, it was Ekman's own favourite, a film he could barely talk about without getting tears in his eyes.

Gabrielle (1954) is also a dark film, of a marriage falling apart due the jealousy of the husband. Told in flashbacks, both real and imaginary, it was made after Ekman and Henning's own marriage had ended in divorce. Henning plays the wife in the film, and Birger Malmsten the husband. The cinematography is by Gunnar Fischer.

Med glorian på sned / The Halo is Slipping (1957) is something rather different. It is in colour and Ekman's first film in widescreen and it is one of four comedies Ekman made in the late 1950s with Sickan Carlsson, whom could be called Sweden's Doris Day. The last of the four is dreadful but the other three are a lot of fun, and while Fröken Chic / Miss Chic (1959) is my favourite this one comes second. They are about stuck-up men and independent-minded women, the commercialisation of radio, TV and publishing, and they have glorious set-pieces, The Halo is Slipping even has some surreal dream sequences. It is a lot more cheerful than the others in this retrospective and quite charming.

So those were my ten. They are not his ten best, but most of his best films are among them and all ten are unmistakeably Ekmanesque. They show all aspects of his art; the style, the ear for dialogue, the love of the theatre, the view of life as a tragic comedy and the ability to draw out the best of his fellow actors.

Would I be able to do another Ekman retro at MoMA in the future I would especially want to show Eldfågeln / The Fire-Bird (1952), if it has been properly restored by then. It was Ekman's first film in colour, a ballet film and an experiment with colours too, shot by Göran Strindberg.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015)

This is an unscheduled post, part of a number of posts published today about The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Links to the other posts to be found at the end. My next post will be Friday next week as usual.


On occasion I watched the TV-series The Man from U.N.C.L.E. when I was a kid, as it was often broadcast at odd hours. I was never much of a fan, but it did have some appeal to me. I have at times tried to watch again, now, as an adult, with limited success. It has been hard to come by, not even YouTube is forthcoming. I think my main interest in it back then was that Ian Fleming was involved in its creation. But it was also a twist to see an American agent, Napoleon Solo (Robert Vaughn), and a Russian agent, Illya Kuryakin (David McCallum), working together under the United Nation's flag (sort of) at the height of the cold war. (It is called The Man from U.N.C.L.E. instead of The Men from U.N.C.L.E. because originally it was only meant to be about Solo. But Kuryakin became so popular with the TV-audience that the part was expanded to become equal to Solo.)

The new film, directed, and co-produced and co-written, by Guy Ritchie has none of the topicality of the original series, and it is rather silly and shallow, but fortunately it also has oodles of laid-back wit and it is rather cool at times. There were some action sequences that had plenty of panache, but I especially enjoyed the scene in a fashionable clothes store where the two male agents have a debate about whether this particular belt go with that particular dress, and whether colours match on the outfits to be worn by the female agent. With the name dropping of fashion labels and the confidence with which they speak of such matters, they would not be out of place in a 1963 version of Sex and the City. Both Henry Cavill (as Solo) and Armie Hammer (as Kuryakin) seemed to have a good time, and they had chemistry. Hugh Grant was also a treat, in the part played by Leo G. Carroll in the series. Elizabeth Debicki as the master villain was also great. But for some reason Alicia Vikander did not seem to fit in. It was not that she was bad and she did manage to look as stylish as Audrey Hepburn at times, one especially fun scene was when she was dancing in pyjamas and sun classes, but while all the other worked well together, and had a connection, she seemed to be at a distance. Participating in the activities but not really being there, perhaps thinking about something else. Aloof.

The dynamic duo and Ms. Vikander.

So I did have fun will watching The Man from U.N.C.L.E. but I was also annoyed at times. For example the last car chase, on an island, was overblown and weird, with no sense of spatial awareness. The film varied from sequence to sequence, and from the delightful and inspired to the awkward and off-putting.

It is not immediately obvious why there is a film based on this particular series. Back then it had some impact but that was a long time ago, and unlike Mission Impossible, which first came out as a series around the same time as U.N.C.L.E., it has not left any well-known quotes or famous music behind. I suspect that the kids these days have not even heard of it. Perhaps this is why it has been kicked around for quite a while, with several different directors attached to it and then un-attached. One of them was Steven Soderbergh and I can see why he might have been attracted to it, and, actually, the finished film did remind me at times of Soderbergh. While Ritchie is nowhere near as good, or as important, as a filmmaker he is in some ways similar, but less nimble and intelligent. He is more draught beer and Soderbergh more vintage wine. (Soderbergh also has a more serious edge and capable of making films with a depth which Ritchie does not seem to have any interest in.) But with U.N.C.L.E. Ritchie comes closer to Soderbergh than before in the feel of the film. And like Soderbergh's Oceans 11, 12 and 13, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is primarily interested in digressions. It is not that they have lost the plot; there was never any interest in actually having a plot.

After Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998), the only one of Ritchie's films I have really liked is Sherlock Holmes - A Game of Shadows (2011). The U.N.C.L.E.-film made me wonder if he wants to make a Bond movie (Henry Cavill played Solo in a way that might have pleased Ian Fleming) but I hope he never does. Although I suppose he would not do a worse job than Lewis Gilbert did.

The other bloggers who have written (in Swedish only) about the film: Rörliga bilder och tryckta ord, Fiffi, Jojjenito, Fripps filmrevyer, Har du inte sett den?

Friday, 14 August 2015

George Cukor, Hasse Ekman, Jean Renoir and a subject for further research

Initially I had planned to write about George Cukor in my thesis on Hasse Ekman, as the two have several things in common (and knew each other); for example their view of actors/acting and life as a theatre stage. But in the end that darling had to be killed, a thesis cannot cover everything, although I do invoke Ernst Lubitsch and Jean Renoir in my analysis of Ekman. But Cukor was and remains a favourite, one of the very best of directors, with an exceptionally fine sense of staging and framing, which I wrote about a few years ago in La Furia Umana (#2). Cukor's style is like that of someone who is slightly amazed and intrigued by what is going on in front of the camera. He does not want to disturb, so the camera stays at a distance, he does not want to interfere, so there are few cuts, and he does not want to impose, so there are not so many close-ups. Sometimes a shot lasts for over five minutes, sometimes without the camera even moving. Here too there are parallels with Ekman's style of filmmaking.

Once when I sat and studied a Cukor film, a fellow scholar came by and I mentioned that I thought that Cukor was perhaps the master of framing. He replied that Renoir was his favourite. The other day I was reminded of this because Joe McElhaney, an uncommonly sharp scholar, said that he thought that Cukor was among the best when it came to framing, and likened him to Renoir. It seems that we have come full circle... Of course, for Jean Renoir acting, actors and the theatre were also of great importance, and the connections and similarities between Cukor/Ekman/Renoir are definitely a subject for further research, or for future essays.

It is important to remember that framing is something dynamic, it is not a question of one perfect shot, or formal beauty, but the balancing of space and emotions, set design and actor, and of creating nuance and meaning out of the combination of these aspects of the shot. Even a slight camera movement might completely alter the emotional tone of a scene, so still images do not necessarily do justice to the framing in a particular film.

In Cukor's Little Women (1933) there is a scene when a girl sneaks away at a party and talks to a boy among some flowers. It is nothing special about the scene in itself, but the framing of it, the distance of the camera from the actors, the leafs of the flowers getting between us and the actors, makes it something extra. Here are images from some of his best films.

A Star Is Born (1954)

Adam's Rib (1949)

Holiday (1938)

Born Yesterday (1950)

The Philadelphia Story (1940)

It Should Happen to You (1954)

Les Girls (1957)

Here is a whole scene from A Star Is Born, when Vicki Lester (Judy Garland) is talking about her alcoholic husband, in the dressing room between takes. It is remarkably good.

In his book about Ingmar Bergman, Robin Wood compares Bergman to Cukor and says that "Bergman's handling of actresses in his more relaxed films is strikingly like Cukor's."

I should add that on both A Star Is Born and Les Girls, and a few more films in colour, Cukor worked closely with George Hoyningen-Huene, a fashion photographer who became Cukor's visual, and colour, consultant.

Friday, 31 July 2015

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)

The most famous line from The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (John Ford 1962) is undoubtedly "This is the West sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend." It has gotten a life of its own, popping up on a number of different occasions. But there is another line, also spoken in the first few minutes of the film, which to me is of equal importance. The film begins with a US senator and his wife arriving with train to the (fictional) town called Shinbone, where they once lived, many years ago. As she goes on a tour of the place with an old friend, the former marshal, she says "The place sure has changed. Churches, high schools, shops." The marshal replies "Well, the railroad done that." I have earlier written about trains and their importance for films and for society at large, the blood stream of modernity (here and here), and Liberty Valance is one of the films which directly deals with this. The railroad changes everything. In a later scene the senator says to a couple of reporters that they are young, they do not remember the old days before the railroad. It is a reminder that John Ford's breakthrough was The Iron Horse (1924), a film about the building of the transcontinental railroad, from California to Iowa (where it connected with the railroad to the east coast). Both these films are also a reminder that one of Ford's main thematic concerns has always been the history of the United States. Some have called Ford the Shakespeare of the US, and he has also been compared to Balzac, but there is another Frenchman that could be invoked. Alexis de Tocqueville.

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is told in one long flashback, with the senator, Ranse Stoddard (James Stewart), explaining to the reporters why he has come back to Shinbone after so many years. He and his wife, Hallie (Vera Miles) have come because an old friend has died, Tom Doniphon (John Wayne). But the story is not just one of these three people, it is also about democracy in America, hence the relevance of mentioning Tocqueville, and his major study of the US, Democracy in America (De la démocratie en Amérique) published in two parts 1835 and 1840. His analysis of, for example, the grassroot democracy in small towns, such as Shinbone; the habit of having elections for all positions (although de Tocqueville disapproves of having judges elected); his talk of "self-interest well understood" as the bedrock of American society; his emphasis on the importance of justice, including as a check on democracy itself. These are things which Liberty Valance and other films by Ford address. Combining Ford and Tocqueville has been done before (see for example Robert Pippin's essay "Tocqueville, the Problem of Equality, and John Ford's Stagecoach") but I wonder if not more can be done here. Most of Ford's films that are set in the past, at least those set in the American past, could be studied in tandem with Democracy in America. The fact that Ford's depiction of that past changed over time might make such a comparative study even more interesting.

Hallie, Pompey and in the back the Ericsons.

I have seen The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance many times, but it continues to grow on me. At first I did not like it, for much the same reasons that it was disliked when it came out in 1962 and was seen as cheap, stagey and old-fashioned, far from the powerful landscapes and rich colours of Ford's earlier films. But Ford had deliberately made it in such a style, bringing the look closer to a certain kind of silent westerns (not like the epic The Iron Horse) but the simple and contained ones. But there is nothing simple about Liberty Valance. It is complex and nuanced, and rich with bitterness. The young Ranse Stoddard is idealistic, excited and passionate, he believes in law and justice. The old Stoddard has become pompous, patrician and condescending. Whether he believes in anything anymore is a valid question. Tom Doniphon, who was once respected and loved by all, a pillar of society, has died alone and forgotten. Hallie Stoddard probably married the wrong man. And both Shinbone's success and Ranse Stoddard's political career are based on a lie. That is not the view of an old-fashioned film, even if Ford's style might be a deliberate homage to an earlier style of filmmaking. It is also Ford's way of addressing his own films. This is very much a Fordian film, even if the basic plot about Liberty Valance and his death comes from a short story by Dorothy M. Johnson, to which Ford had acquired the rights. The script was written by James Warner Bellah, on whose stories Ford's so-called cavalry trilogy were also based, and Willis Goldbeck. This was the second film they wrote together for Ford, the previous one was Sergeant Rutledge (1960) in which Woody Strode played the title role. (There is a prominent musical theme in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance which is the same as appears in Young Mr. Lincoln which Ford made in 1939.)

John Wayne's character Tom Doniphon is similar to Ethan Edwards, Wayne's character in Ford's earlier The Searchers (1956). They are both interstices between the past, which they represent, and the future, which they help bring about but are unable to join. They are also in-between violence and peace. Liberty Valance (played by Lee Marvin) is the villain in this film, but there is not a neat line between him and the rest of town, it is a grey area. Doniphon is right in the middle. He is not psychotic and homicidal like Ethan Edwards, instead he descends into self-pity and resentment, but they still have the same role in society.

Liberty Valance is an ambivalent villain because, while he is often referred to as pure evil, he is insecure and bitter too. It sometimes seems as if he is violent and arrogant as a reaction against the town's hatred towards him. Sometimes he looks at Doniphon and Stoddard with a puzzled expression, sometimes with envy, sometimes with resentment. In the end, when he is shot, the doctor contemptuously rolls him over and says "He's dead." after which he is thrown on a wagon and driven out of town, his legs hanging down and the boots almost dragging in the sand. It is like as if the minute he is killed, he is forgotten.

I also said that Doniphon died alone and forgotten, but that is not quite true. His friend Pompey (Woody Strode) was with him until the end. Their friendship was of the "close personal" kind that might be given a queer reading, although it is not necessary. But Pompey is an important character, and there are a few pointed scenes with him, based around the fact that he is a black man. In one scene he is reciting the Declaration of Independence, standing beside a photograph of Abraham Lincoln, but is unable to remember the words "that all men are created equal". Perhaps he was unable to say them because he had never been treated as an equal. In a later scene, when he is denied service in a saloon, the audience is reminded of this.

The joy, hope and aspirations of the church building scene in Ford's My Darling Clementine (1946) are nowhere to be seen in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, but it would be a mistake to see this is a sudden change in Ford's outlook. His films have rarely been cheerful and optimistic. There is great beauty in them, and sometimes love and kindness triumphs, but there is frequent darkness, tragedy, a mourning of something that has gone missing but was probably never there in the first place. In How Green Was My Valley (1941) the grown man remembers his childhood with affection and longing, yet that childhood is presented as being filled with poverty, death, prejudice and oppression. There is usually a double view of the past in Ford's films, and so it is in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.

"The place sure has changed. Churches, high schools, shops." Hallie said, and the marshal replied "Well, the railroad done that." Then he added, wistfully, "The desert's still the same."

This post does not walk alone, it has a partner. My friend and former guest blogger Sofia Åkerberg has also written about The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance for today. Read her here.

The Iron Horse is not a great film, and maybe it would have been better if Raoul Walsh had directed it. But it is not a bad film either. There is especially a scene on a train filled with wounded men and women, among them an old man who is weeping inconsolably next to his dead friend, which is heartbreaking.

Three earlier post by me about Ford are here: The Grapes of Wrath, Tobacco Road, The Searchers.

Friday, 24 July 2015

David Lean - a snapshot

Last weekend Adrian Martin initiated a spirited discussion about David Lean, and there were some requests that I should write about Lean here on my blog. I have been reluctant to write about Lean, even though he is second only to Hawks in my own pantheon of filmmakers, because I have felt that a blog post is much too short. That is still the case and I shall write a proper 6000 word-ish essay, but still, a post there will be. Consider it a preview of coming attractions. It is also off-schedule as you may have noticed, but next Friday the usual schedule will return (0900 CET every second Friday).

"But above all he really loves film, and to see him at work in the cutting room running it through his hands is like watching a master painter at work. The change which comes over David in the cutting room is quite remarkable." (John Mills about David Lean.)

Great Expectations (1946)

In Brief Encounter (1945), the main character Laura Jessop (Celia Johnson) is sitting on a train and looks out through the window, watching the dark landscape passing by. As she does so she suddenly imagines herself in glamorous surroundings, her mind taking her far away from the dreary ordinariness of her life and the space in which she lives, and she sees dreamlike images of these other spaces in which she would rather be. This is what makes her a quintessential Lean character, this desire to get away, to unleash oneself from England (or one's home space) and to follow the dreams and the hidden passions. This is what Laura wants, this is what Pip wants, this is what Madeleine wants, this is what Jane Hudson wants, this is what T.E. Lawrence wants, this is what Ms. Quested wants, and, of course, this is what Lean himself wanted. And what he did. Most of them act on their desires to strike out.

A Passage to India (1984)

But it is not easy. On the one hand they have little control over their feelings, the bewildering passions that consumed them, and on the other hand they have no control over space. In Lean's films space is destiny, the environment in which you found yourself has an incredible power over you, it changes you and it decides your outcome. There is an pantheistic touch to Lean's films, right from the start with In Which We Serve (1942); the trees, the moon, the canals, the desert, the jungle, the cliffs, even a train station, it all has some kind of force, some spirit in them which makes them come alive, to speak to the humans who are privileged enough to have the gift of communication. Communication on a spiritual level. Mrs Moore in A Passage to India might be the one who is most sensitive to this. Sometimes people just seem to disappear into the space in which they find themselves. In The Sound Barrier (1952) they literally do, the air planes barely visible high up among the clouds; a film sprung from Lean's love of those very air planes. In it Susan Garthwaite tries to explain her feelings of flying, why she loves it so much, and she says it is like being in a dream.

Doctor Zhivago (1965)

Lean communicated this aspect of the world, or his view of the world, by sound and vision. He was not one for dialogue (even though they talk a lot in the three films scripted by Noel Coward) and there are large parts of his films when nothing is said at all, because it is not necessary and in any case our language is not equipped with a vocabulary capable of speaking about these things, about the wind, and the flowers and the sunbeams streaking through the forest. The shadows of birds over the jungle foliage in The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957). There is great beauty to be found in Lean's films, a constant sense of awe and wonder, which is almost unparalleled in world cinema.

This world is presented subjectively, Lean's films are frequently shot from an individual's subjective perspective even though this is not emphasised. Both the images and the sound can be subjective, unreal but this subjective experience is presented as if it was an objective record of the world, so the audience has to infer for themselves what is real and what is not. Pip's run to the graveyard with stolen food is an obvious example, or when Howard Justin walks up to his wife's room, having found out about her unfaithfulness (in The Passionate Friends, 1949), or when Henry Hobson is hallucinating, but in other films it is less obvious that the space has been distorted or that people behave in slightly odd ways.

Hobson's Choice (1954)

There is also a kind of technical beauty. Lean was a master of all aspects of the filmmaking process; camera movement, editing, lighting, staging, colours and so on. It is rare for a filmmaker to have this maddening sense of control and power. (To take one example, Hawks is a much better filmmaker in general than Robert Wise but Wise's films are much better edited than Hawks's.) It is not just nature that is breathtaking but Lean's skills as well. Sometimes this has made critics somewhat concerned, like Dilys Powell on Oliver Twist (1948). "This is an extraordinarily careful film; careful in construction, timing, cutting, movement, lighting, and details of gesture and dress."

Things hardly end well for his characters; their passions usually get the better of them, they are not as careful or controlled as Lean. Even in Bridge on the River Kwai, which is sometimes referred to as a Boy's Own adventure but is rather a study of pride, obsession and folly, in which everybody dies in the end. It does not always end as bad as that but the characters often end up miserable or at least disappointed, even though for a while they managed to live more fully than they had ever done before. The overwhelmed main characters, strangers as they are, are also often at odds with those with more experience, those who have inhabited this space much longer. Jane Hudson is criticised by the Italians she meets for her romantic, unrealistic idea of Venice, much like Lawrence is criticised for his romantic and idealistic view of the desert. There is a certain madness to them, and Lean shared this madness. "I'm I mad? Can I make the audience share my thrill? I know I'm a sort of maniac." he wrote when making Lawrence of Arabia. In River Kwai the doctor in the prison camp frequently shakes his head in disbelief, and at one point says, about the British and the Japanese commanders, "Are they both mad, or is it me? Or is it the sun?" The truth is that they have been transformed by the space into which they have been dropped, and consumed by it. In Hawks's films the characters create their own space, in Lean's films space create the characters.

"You don't have to scratch very deep in any human being to get down to the animal. We pretend we don't but we do. It's very, very little way below the surface, the wild and darker side of our nature." Lean said at one point, and he has illustrated this point over and over again. And Lawrence of Arabia (1962) is the one film of his in which he pushes all of his themes and his style to the outmost extreme; it is a film like no other. To again quote Powell: "I think it is the first time for the cinema to communicate ecstasy."

Lawrence of Arabia

To get back to Brief Encounter, Laura is sitting in her living room, remembering her love affair and when the flashbacks appear they do so in a double exposure, so that we see Laura sitting there while the past is shown in front of her, as on a screen, as if her own past was a film she was watching at the cinema, the cinema to which she went once a week. Not even to Laura herself is her experience real, but like a mirage or a hallucination, much like Lean's oeuvre as a whole.

The quotes come from Gerald Pratley's The Cinema of David Lean, Kevin Brownlow's David Lean: A Biography and The Dilys Powell Film Reader.