David Lean: His Life and Films

This paper discusses David Lean, one of the most skillful editors in British film industry and very talented director: Analysis of “Brief Encounter”, “Great Expectations”, “Bridge on the River Kwai” and “Dr. Zhivago”.

David Lean was born in 1908 in Croydon, England of strict Quaker parents who considered attending films to be a sin. He was considered below average as a student, and his major interest was in going to the movies secretly or indulging in photography, one of his major loves. When he was still in his teens, he joined his father’s accounting office as a junior clerk. When he was nineteen, he withdrew from the family firm and allowed his interest in photography and film to guide him. With the encouragement of his aunt, he went to Gainsborough Studios and took some menial and low-paying jobs to get his chance. There was an absence of unions in those days, and this enabled him to switch jobs continually depending on the needs of the different sets. He worked as a clapper boy, camera assistant, and then …

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