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Ryan’s Daughter

Great Britain 1970. Dir: David Lean. 206 min. Blu-ray Disc

David Lean was on the epic run that included Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago when he directed this Madame Bovary-inspired drama set in a small Irish village during the 1916 Troubles. Sarah Miles is the married woman who has a scandalous affair with a shell-shocked British officer (Christopher Jones); Robert Mitchum is her much-older husband, the local schoolteacher. John Mills won an Oscar for his supporting role as a developmentally-challenged villager. Freddie Young’s sumptuous cinematography also won an Oscar — Young’s third, after his statuettes for Lawrence and Zhivago. A hit with audiences but not critics, “Ryan’s Daughter is arguably the most visually-impressive film ever made in Ireland ... The production was long and drawn out while Lean waited for perfect weather conditions for his many and spectacular outdoor scenes ... the breadth of which can only be fully appreciated on the big screen” (Alice Butler, Irish Film Institute).


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REVIEWS

"It's insanely overproduced in Lean's standard epic style, yet somehow the crazy mismatches in scale contribute to the film's sense of romantic delirium."

Chicago Reader | full review