Now this is a bit more like it. Some of the older films plucked off the shelves for a high definition upgrade haven’t been the most deserving of candidates. But a sweeping epic such as Dr Zhivago
? That’s absolutely ripe for a quality Blu-ray release, and it’s got one right here.
Directed by the late, great David Lean, and starring Omar Sharif in his most famous role, Dr Zhivago is, of course, the story of the title character. Set across five decades, he finds himself married to one woman and in love with another, while the war and revolution around him continues to take its toll. That’s a simplified version of the narrative, granted. But even though it’s now 45 years old, this is a film rich in storytelling, and rightly regarded as one of the all-time greats.
It’s also a sumptuous film to look at, boasting genuinely startling cinematography, and that’s where the pleasure of a 1080p picture transfer comes into its own. It’s perhaps easy to note that Dr Zhivago has never looked better in the home than it does here, but this is nonetheless a very good upgrade. Rich and evocative, the transfer does the film proud, as does the packaging together of such a diverse collection of interesting extra features.
Given the treatment that some back catalogue releases have suffered on the Blu-ray format to date, it’s terrific to report that Dr Zhivago proves to be a worthy upgrade for an excellent piece of cinema. --Jon Foster
David Lean's Doctor Zhivago
is an exploration of the Russian Revolution as seen from the point of view of the intellectual, introspective title character (Omar Sharif). Lara inspires lechery in Komarovsky (her mother's lover who is a master at surviving whoever runs Russia) and can't compete with passion for the revolution of the man she marries, Pasha. Her true love is Zhivago who also loves his wife. Lara is the one who inspires poetry. The story is narrated by Zhivago's half brother Yevgraf, who has made his career in the Soviet Army. At the beginning of the film he is about to meet a young woman he believes may be the long lost daughter of Lara and Zhivago.
This epic, sweeping romance, told in flashback, captures the lushness of Moscow before the war and the violent social upheaval that followed. The film is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Boris Pasternak.