RYAN’S DAUGHTER
1970, Warner Bros., 187 min, UK, Dir: David Lean

Initially planned as a return to the small-scale storytelling of David Lean’s BRIEF ENCOUNTER days, RYAN’S DAUGHTER instead became an epic contest between the director and the Irish landscape, as he attempted to tell the tragic story of a married Irish woman (played by Sarah Miles, wife of the film’s screenwriter, Robert Bolt) and her affair with a shell-shocked British soldier (Christopher Jones). A flawed gem, the film boasts some great performances (John Mills, who won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar, and Leo McKern) and some still-underrated ones (Robert Mitchum, as a meek schoolteacher). Freddie Young’s astonishing cinematography ranks with his best work on LAWRENCE OF ARABIA and DOCTOR ZHIVAGO.


TOP SECRET!
1984, Paramount, 90 min, USA, Dir: Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker

Val Kilmer stars as an American rock star who gets sucked into the world of European espionage in the Zucker/Abrahams/Zucker team’s follow-up to their smash hit AIRPLANE! Taking shots at everything from Elvis movies to WWII action epics, this parody has more laughs per minute than just about any other film of the 1980s. With Omar Sharif as Agent Cedric.


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.


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