Saturday, May 29, 2010
EPIC UGH: RYAN'S DAUGHTER
This seemed like a good idea at the time they started filming it, I guess. David Lean, the mastermind behind your mom or dads favorite movies, shipped everyone to Ireland to create a very BIG and bold film called RYAN'S DAUGHTER. It is epic in every sense of the word. Lavish locations, an all star cast and Robert Mitchum making sure everyone in the cast and crew is getting stoned out of their minds with his transplanted pot plants. The film has a very slooooooooooooooooooow burn to it withouth much of a fire. There is something to it, but the locations and the mindblowing cinematography overshadow all the characters and plot. It is like David Lean kept saying, "IT MUST BE BIGGER!!! IT MUST TOP DR. Z!!" It totally feels like he lost his sense of character development and a love for his actors in his lust to film the Irish cliffs with the perfect wave crashing onto the rocks below. Nowadays, all the exterior shots would just be added in with a computer or filmed in Canada, which is a sad state. But without the right sceenplay, a film like this just becomes tiresome and very out of touch with its audience.
David Lean and Robert Bolt, the screenwriter, didn't seem to have a clue on what was going on in cinema and certainly were not prepared for films like this to be completely outsed. It was an original screenplay (with shades of Madam Bovary all over the place), so it didn't even have the backing of being a popular novel to help it find a built in audience. Not to say it was the final nail in the coffin of films with an overture, but it certainly had a hand in building the pinewood box that films like this would soon fill.
Sarah Miles must have thought this was going to be a huge break for her. Fresh off of BLOW-UP, she plays the bored daughter of Ryan almost perfectly. Almost too perfectly. Her boredom of her homeland is so geniune that the audience can feel her boredom in every scene and thus becomes bored themselves. When something exciting happens, it is almost jarring and then we are tossed back into boredom. Sadly, for Miles the movie tanked big time, but she did go on to battle killer snakes in Vemon at the beginning of the next decade.
David Lean was so upset with the critical outcome of RYAN'S DAUGHTER that he took a 14 year break from directing and returned to direct PASSAGE TO INDIA, which proved that in his 14 years off he STILL hadn't kept up with what was going in in the world.