BILLY LIAR
1963, Rialto Pictures, 98 min, UK, Dir: John Schlesinger

Tom Courtenay is wonderful as the frustrated, imaginative young man prone to flights of fancy - which also lead him to lie about nearly everything, whether he feels he needs to or not. This gets him in hot water with his stern father and his two very different girlfriends, not to mention his undertaker bosses, though his fast wit make his ambitions as scriptwriter for a TV host seem almost plausible. But when finally confronted with an opportunity to leave home and go to London with free-spirited friend Julie Christie (in her stunning feature film debut), we’re left to wonder whether Billy’s Walter Mitty-ish dreams are models for the future or an escape from reality.


THE NIGHT OF THE GENERALS
1967, Sony Repertory, 148 min, UK/France, Dir: Anatole Litvak

LAWRENCE OF ARABIA costars Peter O’Toole and Omar Sharif (and composer Maurice Jarre) reunite for this underrated mix of WWII history and murder mystery. When a prostitute who had been working as a German agent in occupied Warsaw is killed, military intelligence investigator Major Grau (Sharif) focuses on three German officers (Donald Pleasence, Charles Gray and O’Toole) as suspects while wartime intrigue swirls about. With Tom Courtenay, Philippe Noiret and Christopher Plummer.


DOCTOR ZHIVAGO
1965, Warner Brothers, 193 min, Dir: David Lean

This story of Czarists, revolutionaries, two beautiful women in love with the same man, a nation in upheaval - and, above all, the poet-physician (Omar Sharif) who witnesses and remembers it all - is one of the most lyrical, visually breathtaking films in the history of the medium. Co-starring Julie Christie, Geraldine Chaplin, Rod Steiger, Tom Courtenay and Alec Guinness, with sublime music by Maurice Jarre.


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