Cincinnati Babyhead

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Movie : Passage To India

 

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David Lean is one of my favorite film-makers. He has a track record that puts him at the top with me. I grew up (got big) watching his movies. ‘Oliver Twist’ to ‘Lawrence Of Arabia’ and all the other great films in between.

‘Passage To India’ (like Ryan’s Daughter) had to grow on me. I saw it when it first came out at the theater. I was lukewarm about it. Loved the visuals on the big screen, some of the performances, the setting, locations but didn’t get it. Maybe it was the subject matter, more of a female thing that CB wasn’t ready for. Maybe CB was waiting for the Indian version of Colonel Bogie or a camel charge across the dessert. Maybe I was too busy stealing my Gal’s popcorn. Fact is I missed the movie.

A few years later I gave it another go and this time it was a different experience. I picked up so much more that I missed the first time. I just recently watched it again and liked it even more. It really is a good film from top to bottom. This was Lean’s last picture and what a way to go out. It’s a beautiful film with lots going on. Even at this stage CB probably missed a whole lot of the films subtleties.

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Two English women, one older one younger make a trip to India to visit the older ones son who happens to be the younger one’s fiance. They are both sickened by the colonization that’s going on and want to see and meet the real culture of the Indian people. They do this with mixed results. One incident that turns the insular English world and the local Indian worlds upside down.

Enough said on that. So much going on in this film. Prejudice, class, politics, sexism, friendship, love, sex and so much more. Lean plays it out in a beautiful setting, capturing the whole experience with his skill. He really was one of the best. He adapts the E M Forster story and casts the film to realize his vision. The cast of characters is many and all well done. The two female leads, Judy Davis and Peggy Ashcroft are nothing short of perfect. James Fox and Victor Banerjee are also up to the task. The balancing act these four walk throughout the film is some very good film acting. Natural. Hats off.

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Get away from the usual fare and let this film take you into the magic it creates. You really do feel you are there witnessing and experiencing the story.  David Lean puts a cap on his motion picture career with ‘Passage To India’

 

32 comments on “Movie : Passage To India

  1. hotfox63
    February 2, 2020

    Saw “Lawrence Of Arabia” many years ago. Classic movie. Scenary great trough cinematic angles, but Peter O’Toole almost seems to have a feminine acting quality. History lesson understood, but there are spots in the film story drags and I just wanted to fast forward through.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      February 2, 2020

      I think Lean falls in love (so do I) with the visuals of his films. Probably adds to the length. That quality you mentioned about O’Toole I think works in his favor.

      Liked by 2 people

      • hotfox63
        February 3, 2020

        It’s like with “Doctor Zhivago”. Some call it cult, others just a romance.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        February 3, 2020

        ‘Zhivago’ isnt one of my fave Lean pictures. Lots to like (visuals again) but just wasnt my bag. Worth watching once.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Jim S.
    February 2, 2020

    Heard of, never seen. Sounds like a good Sunday afternoon one now that I fall asleep at everything else at night. Do you recall that maybe 30 – 35 years ago, public television (at least here in the US) broadcast a mini-series called “Jewel in the Crown?” Plot sounds vaguely similar.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      February 2, 2020

      Oh yeah Doc if you know yourself that well you’ll be nodding off. Like I was saying, I was waiting for the action. Not happening. Very dreamlike and haunting.

      Like

      • Jim S.
        February 2, 2020

        Often it’s not the movie – it’s me. I’ve zonked out at good action flicks.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        February 2, 2020

        I usually nod off. Watched ‘The Lighthouse’ the other night. What a ride that was. Two guys with real bad chemistry stuck on a rock get pissed for 4 weeks. I loved it.

        Like

      • Jim S.
        February 2, 2020

        Yeah, I’ve had that on my list, saw some previews. Stumbled on it when I was reading some stuff about Dafoe. Saw him on Actor’s Studio not too long ago.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        February 2, 2020

        It’s a swing away from the usual mainstream fare. I could imagine people walking out on it. Not CB. Dafoe loves projects like this. Lean would have liked the cinematography.

        Like

  3. Sarca
    February 2, 2020

    Hi CB. You told me about this one ever since I have been watching Deepa Mehta films, and it’s certainly on my list. Will have to get my fella to find it. 😉 Cya!

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      February 2, 2020

      You remembered our chat. I was thinking about you and Mars on this one.
      Like I said on another comment, very haunting and dreamlike. Visually beautiful like all his films. Lots going on. The two women are standouts but so is the rest of the cast with all sorts of interesting relationships. I’d be curious on what you (and Mars) think. Later

      Liked by 2 people

      • BuriedOnMars
        February 4, 2020

        Yeah, we are going to have to give it a spin. We started off the decade with Ryan’s Daughter (Honestly, it was just the next movie that was on the PVR). The story didn’t feel big enough for Lean’s epic style, but he isn’t coming back to redo it so I just enjoyed it for what it is. I’m very curious about this now.

        Liked by 2 people

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        February 4, 2020

        Ryan’s is a funny one or me. Lots to like (again the fantastic cinematography), Yeah that small town story played out in that big space. So many good performances. Trevor Howard, Mitchum, John Mills etc. It was real close to getting a take. maybe I’ll reconsider. Maybe like you i’ll just enjoy it for what it is.
        There’s a great shot of Lean and some of his crew on a cliff top getting a shot in some nasty weather. It’s the cover of one of his bios.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. observationblogger
    February 2, 2020

    I had forever heard this film mentioned, but never got round to seeing it. After reading your review I now feel compelled to watch it. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      February 2, 2020

      I heard a story that when Lean was trying to secure funding to get it made, he’d been out of the business for a few years. Some of the studio execs didn’t even know who he was. Unbelievable.
      The film really is a trip. From what we’ve talked about I think you’d like this one.

      Like

      • observationblogger
        February 3, 2020

        You know, I consider myself an aficionado of movies and I’m afraid Lean’s name didn’t ring any bells. How sad is that? The director of Lawrence of Arabia for gawd sake!

        I’m going to download it tonight and watch it over coming days and report back. Cheers buddy.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        February 3, 2020

        I think Lean was still in film peoples minds when he did ‘Passage’ so no excuse for those film execs. He made great films that made people a lot of money. 3 of my all time favorites are Leans movies
        Better late than never Matthew. You have a free pass for not being of that time. Plus you’re in for a motion picture treat watching his work. Try to catch them on the biggest screen you can. That was his intention when he made them. Later fella.

        Like

  5. Yeah, Another Blogger
    February 2, 2020

    Hi. Yeah, Passage is a real good one. Another one of his films that I like a lot is Brief Encounter.
    Who do you think will win the Super Bowl?

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      February 2, 2020

      I’m a huge Trevor Howard fan.
      Niners if I look at all sides : Running game, Defense. Plus riding a wave. Good team. Chiefs solid plus Mahomes is one of those special guys. Plus I like Andy. I don’t tune in until the kick off and usually have my finger on mute button.
      What’s the Philly angle? Maybe a new blog “Another Blogger/CB Talk Sports’ Hows that for a catchy original tagline?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, Another Blogger
        February 2, 2020

        I’m rooting for Andy.

        I use the mute button a lot too. For most sports. The announcers can be real annoying.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. 1dancequeendq
    February 3, 2020

    I struggled with this film when it first came out at the cinema. I have now seen it a couple of times on the TV. The issues are still not easy to ‘sit with’ . Beautiful images but the content is uncomfortable but I guess that is the object of the exercise.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      February 4, 2020

      I agree it’s not an easy watch at times. Lots of side bars in the story. We have our personal connections with film (music) and they move us in different ways, sometimes we share certain feelings. I would think Lean would put it out there for those reasons. A personal connection. I guess he did his job with us.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. 1537
    February 3, 2020

    I loved this one as a kid, not sure why, it just really caught my imagination for a spell of time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      February 4, 2020

      A different kind of film for a kid to like but that’s the magic of a good film. His Oliver Twist did the same to me as a kid. I bought Alec Guinness more as Fagan than I did s an Indian.

      Like

  8. Tony
    February 5, 2020

    Read this as part of the modernist fiction course at uni but don’t think I’ve caught this one yet

    Like

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      February 5, 2020

      I have the book on the shelf. It is getting close to being read.
      Interesting how you compare the book to film. Usually tips in the books favor.

      Like

  9. J.
    February 6, 2020

    I’ve never seen this, CB. Sounds like the kinda thing I might get into (loads of themes to pull me in) and no doubt some excellent cinematography, so I’ll look out for it.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Pingback: Movie : Passage To India — Cincinnati Babyhead – Truth Troubles

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