25 thoughts on “TBT: Doctor Zhivago (1965)

    1. It’s not a classic, it just has that “sweep” so appealing to the Oscars. Hated the damned rainbow at the end, too. But Christie is always worth watching, even in bad make-up.

  1. LOL agree about the hair, ratted and sprayed hair in the Russian Revolution!? But I have to say that the red dress that Julie Christie wears has a special place in my heart.

  2. This was a fabulously and (well-deserved) snarky review. I’ve never like Zhivago, even when seeing it age nine and getting told that this was fabulous. Everybody is so slap-able. And could never buy Julie Christie (in the bouffant) as this luminous creature that was a justifiable object of adoration. I saw it recently now as an adult and gosh, it’s even MORE annoying. And the costumes are hideous. I did like the the private armoured train carriage at that early age but I was strange.

  3. My mom made me watch this with her one Sunday afternoon when I was 12. I remember loving that red ‘hoor’ dress, but being bored to tears for the 3 hours it was on, and having to ask my mom a lot of “what is going on?” Good to know that it wasn’t just me, it was the film!

  4. I saw this movie years and years ago, and don’t remember much about it– but i gave the book a shot last year and couldn’t get through it. I’m pretty convinced at this point that the only reason Dr. Zhivago managed to become so popular is due to the CIA’s behind-the-scenes promotion of the book as anti-soviet propaganda.

  5. The only things I like about this film is Geraldine Chaplin, Charlie Chaplin’s daughter, as Tonya, and that spooky, surreal house half-full of ice. I love Omar Sharif in other stuff, but can’t stand him in this. He’s not sexy or charming, just a whiny cheater.
    I loved it when I was a kid though. I even had a music box that played “Lara’s Theme.”

    1. The ice house was pretty damn cool to see.

      Oh gawd, I had that music box too! Wasn’t every girl-child in the ’70s issued one? I was looking for an audio file of it to embed in this post that would play that tune just to irritate everyone.

  6. The only thing or actually two things I liked in the film was Tonya’s White Hoodie and the ice full house.

    Wonder if you’re reviewing the Keira Knightley Zhivago?

  7. Oh god that screencap of them at the table in coats and turtlenecks and fingerless gloves is like what you would wear if the pipes froze, or if there were a blizzard at your summer cottage in June. There is no WAY that’s how any real Russian would really dress during a typical winter. Even in a time when that isn’t all highly anachronistic 60s Sears Catalog clothes. It looks so ridiculous (forgive me if this scene truly is a June blizzard, it’s been probably 10 years since I saw this movie and I’m happy to keep it that way).

  8. I once watched this movie with my brother and grandma (or, more accurately, hung out with them and read a book while it was playing in the background. I kept wondering, is it over yet?

  9. I have to confess that i’ve never watched the film. I tried reading the book years ago, but it bored me to tears, and was really hard to keep track of all the characters (think Forsyte Saga, only multiply the number of characters by ten). Lara seemed to be given more agency in the book, but her decisions still don’t make a lot of sense, and none of the characters are at all likeable, especially Yuri (Zhivago). He develops this creepy fixation on Lara early on in the book, and this is treated as perfectly fine and normal. Then his wife and children are conveniently deported to France to get them out of the way so that he and Lara can be together, but instead, everybody dies senselessly. And i didn’t even care. It was like “welp, good thing i never got attached to any of the characters.” I think it’s regarded as great literature and people like it so much because of it’s critical treatment of the new regime after the Bolshevik revolution (which is why he couldn’t publish it in the Soviet Union).
    My mom likes the film. I couldn’t be bothered to watch it, and now i’m glad i never did.

  10. I read this book and A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch for my Russian History class in high school 30 years ago, and we saw both films. Now I know why I preferred the latter. Thank you for breaking down the costumes. [Ivan Denisovich’s costumes are much more boring.]

  11. I saw this movie when it was released, and also read the book. Didn’t connect with either of them; was left feeling like “what is all the fuss about over this?” Kept my opinion to myself in those days.

  12. Thank you for the review! I am rolling with laughter, as a Russian :)) While enjoying pictures of the stunningly beautiful Julie Christie.
    A note regarding ushanka hats: they are originally male hats, while round-shape fur hats are actually quite fine for Russian women, sometimes with a tail (like the Yves Saint Laurent’s). Women started wearing ushanka hats probably at the WWII time, at least as pictured in our movies. They are also extremely popular in Siberia where I came from, since they are the best to protect ears in the winter cold (believe me, -45 degrees Celcius is so cold the air burns your lungs, you almost cannot breathe). Unlike men, women usually wore the earflaps tied up or back, only letting them down/tied under chin in severe weather. There is also a less expensive version, like half-ushanka, where earflaps are sewn up and cannot be let down – retaining the shape, but requiring less fur, only on the outside. It was SO funny when in the 1990s ushanka hats (with earflaps down) came into high Western fashion and we saw them in TV shows and fashion magazines :))

  13. It wasn’t exactly hard for Doctor Zhivago to win that Best Costume Oscar.

    Look at what was nominated

    Doctor Zhivago (winner)
    The Greatest Story Ever Told
    The Agony and the Ecstasy
    Inside Daisy Clover
    The Sound of Music

    Doctor Zhivago’s costumes had plenty of beauty and detail despite the so-called anachronisms.

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