Brief story about Doctor Zhivago.

Essay by kbarron September 2003

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The Story.. Alec Guinness, a highly placed military officer in Communist Russia, narrates the story of Doctor Zhivago to a girl that probably is the doctor's daughter (by Lara), hoping to offer her, as his niece, his help.. when Guinness narrates a scene that he himself is in, the character does not speak.. (this is an effective narrative tool, duplicated by the John Travolta character in 'A Civil Action'..) - this enables him to alert us to 'unspoken' fears and inner musings..

Within the heart and mind of the true poet resides a grasp and perception of life and the human condition unequaled in it's purity by any other art form. From Rimbaud to Frost to Jim Morrison, he will in a few words or lines create or recreate an experience, thereby enabling his audience to know that experience, as well, albeit vicariously. The poet, of course, will choose the medium through which he will share his vision.

For director David Lean, that medium is the cinema; and with "Doctor Zhivago," a film of sweeping and poetic grandeur, he reveals that within, he harbors the heart and soul of the poet. Indisputably, this is the true nature of David Lean; and it is evident in every frame of this film from the beginning to end.

To borrow a line from the more recent "Moulin Rouge," this is a story bout "love." A love story set against the backdrop of the Russian Revolution. Dr. Yuri Zhivago (Omar Sharif) is a general practitioner, but he is also a poet; through his vocation as a man of medicine, he tends to those in need in everyday real life. But it is through his avocation as a poet that he expresses what he sees. He marries Tonya (Geraldine Chaplin) and has...