A cold Russian winter, the frozen masses on the brink of revolution, and best of all super awesome wool coats! David Lean’s 1965 epic, “Doctor Zhivago,” is a hearty stew of history (well, kind of), romance and tragedy. But be forewarned, this is a loooong mofo, almost as long as a Russian winter. I had to FLIP IT OVER to play part 2.
Aaaah… The days of nice title cards. I want this painting in my house!
Lara Antipova, Julie Christie, is a young woman who is having an affair with her mother’s lover, Victor Komarovsky, Rod Steiger.
I love the tie and long bangs. She just needs a pencil skirt and some Mary Jane heels.
Don’t you love a black silk ribbon on a ponytail? Chic schoolgirl.
Ok, off-topic, don’t you love this restaurant layout? This place could be in Brooklyn now. I love a sunken anything, living room, bedroom, you name it. The bar being higher up is nice, makes the space look bigger too.
Great look on Lara, mixing textures with the scarf and coat.
Lara’s little bit of white collar on an otherwise black on black ensemble… Love! Try metallic instead of white for a different spin. Her and Pasha (her boyfriend) speak to Victor about their future.
Rich, opportunistic, maybe-rapist, Rod Steiger (looking a little like Louis C.K. don’t you think?) Lean shoots him in front of a mirror suggesting a two-faced, duplicitous nature.
Lara is merely a piece of meat to him. Lean hints at this with just showing her body in the mirror, dressed in red.
Komarovsky puts a lace scarf on Lara, she looks almost Middle-Eastern, underscoring she is part of his harem, or her submissiveness.
Yuri Zhivago, Omar Sharif, was orphaned as a boy and raised by the Gromenkos. Their daughter Tonya, Geraldine Chaplin (yes, that Chaplin’s daughter), grows up and her and Yuri are expected to marry.
Tonya is in pink, totally popping out in a sea of drab, working-class.
This could be a Valentino ad. I love it! Oh, the ennuni of the upper-class.
And the back of her dress… I want. Also, note how grand and beautiful Tonya’s home is. It will not stay that way when the revolution comes.
Yuri meets Lara when he is a young doctor in training. He comes to the aid of her mother who tried to commit suicide after finding out about Lara’s affair. Yuri is taken in by Lara’s beauty and is none too please with the old man’s treatment of her.
After an argument one night Victor attacks and rapes Lara. But wait- I guess it depends on who you ask. Komarovsky wouldn’t classify it as a “legitimate” rape, like some Republicans. The shame drives Lara to shoot Victor at a high society party later that night. Victor, not mortally wounded, yells for Lara to leave, but insists no police be called. This sets tongues-a-wagging. Yuri watches the whole spectacle along with Tonya Gromenko.
Lara hides the gun in her muff, once inside she spots Komarovsky and fires. You attack my muff, my muff will attack you. Yes, I went there.
Pasha Antipov, a young would-be revolutionary and Lara’s fiancee, comes to Lara’s aid and whisks her away.
Here Pasha is the lowly one, parting the upper-class sea. Tables will be turned soon. I love his coat from the back and his jauntily tipped cap.
They head home after the party. Aren’t they a dashing couple? Save your gas, let’s all travel by sleigh.
Lara tells Pasha all the dirty details, including the rape. He is angry, but forgives her enough to look past it. Later he takes Lara and their baby daughter with him to the country. There he enlists to fight for the Russian Army.
Julie Christie just can’t do dowdy or down-and-out. Too pretty. On a side note, I noticed Asian extras, this is where the east meets west, and its influence is seen in the tunics the men wear.
Pasha goes missing in action after a charge on the German Army. Lara tries to find him and runs into Yuri who had been drafted as a doctor. They set up a field hospital and fall in love, but never act on their feelings.
You just can’t have enough layers, am I right?
I know they’re supposed to be the unwashed masses, but they do great layering, no? They got on Uggs, which I loathe, but those are OG Uggs, so I guess that’s OK.
Cape with a Peter Pan collar, loves it.
Who doesn’t love an apron dress?
Her eyes are striking, hooded enough to look exotic, crystal clear blue. And let’s just soak up how fab that sable hat is.
The war ends. The Bolsheviks have taken Moscow, therefore the country. It’s a brave new world for Yuri.
Tonya spots Yuri from her balcony on his return. The delicate ruffled shirt is a great alternative to a collared shirt for the office.
Tonya explains to Yuri the, um, change of decor, and couple extra people, er- Comrades, in their once stately mansion. Redistribution of wealth, this is THE Republican nightmare.
Tonya no longer has her fine furs, but still possesses her class and sense of style, even in a plain sweater set. The long sweater with matching knit skirt, comfy, practical, but still chic.
Tonya still stands out because she’s in color, albeit not as much as contrast as before, while those around her are in drab neutrals. This delicate pleated collar is a great detail.
Yuri’s pullover would be great in cashmere or maybe a marled wool.
Yevgraf, Alec Guinness, Yuri’s half-brother, goes deep, DEEP undercover for the Bolsheviks as a Russian soldier.
Check out Obi Wan as a young revolutionary. I love these wool caps, and his grey mock turtleneck and military jacket combo.
Yuri goes to see a patient and his sarcastic remarks get him in hot water with his Comrades.
Who doesn’t love a leather pea coat? The belt on Yuri’s coat is a nice touch. Even better in a contrast color like red, or purple.
Yevgraf, now a high-ranking Communist Party member, follows Yuri home one night, and tells him that the Party leaders are watching Yuri. Yevgraf tells them to leave Moscow if they want to survive. Yevgraf secures them fake papers to leave for Tonya’s country home in Varykino.
I kinda like this belted, tunic + knee high boots look on a guy, but you have to be the right guy to pull it off. And since the look is Proletariat, you must have it in most luxe fabrics or you’re just gonna look like a poor, Central Asian, raggamuffin.
This once noble family huddles with the rest of masses trying to get out of Moscow.
Tonya, remains upbeat in the face of uncertainty.
It’s hard to see, but this was the best shot I could get, her scarf is knitted more like lace than like standard jersey, it’s different. And how cute is her son’s hat and tone-on-tone scarves? The lower one being wrapped almost around his shoulders.
Yuri learns that Lara is living nearby in Yuriatin with her daughter. He can’t stop thinking about her. Yuri goes to Yuriatin, as you know he would, and they finally get it on.
Does it feel weird to cheer for infidelity?
The harsh winter comes and even it seems softer because Lara is back in his life.
Yuri seems trapped by circumstance if not literally by his environment. Even the frost on the windows dresses the part- looks folksy Russian.
Is that a crazy mega sable blanket, or what? Even so, it can’t keep the heat in this relationship. Yuri is bound to super-pregnant Tonya by loyalty, if not by love, and decides to break it off with Lara since the guilt is eating away at him.
He goes back to Yuriatin to tell Lara and see her one last time. She understands and knows that he would’ve eventually done the decent thing and stopped the affair. On his way back, he gets kidnapped by the Red Army and is forced into service as a doctor.
It is David Lean. He just couldn’t help himself. Here’s the long shot showing Yuri’s trail across the screen to show the vastness and how small the individual is in this society.
After two grueling years, he finally deserts, and walks all the way back to Yuriatin. When he gets to Lara’s apartment he is stunned at his transformation.
Yeeeech. Some people criticized the film for having an anti-Soviet angle, meaning Lean wanted to show how much worse the country was after Communism took over. That idea being manifested by Yuri and what he went through. His material wealth taken from him, his freedom almost non-existent, and his creativity and any joy one can get from life- a luxury of another lifetime.
Lara shows him a letter Tonya sent to her. Tonya and the family were deported to Paris. Yuri and Lara take Katya to Varykino, which is now deserted and frozen over as if out of a fairy tale.
Brrr. Artifacts of a bygone upper-class era.
I love her too-big sweater and fingerless gloves.
The only inhabitable room is the library, as if to say the only solace in an oppressive state, is your own mind, your own intellect or creativity that keeps you human. Yuri, Lara and Katya settle in the library, and he starts writing the Lara poems which make him famous.
Komarovsky appears, having switched sides to the Commies, he convinces Yuri to go with him, to save Lara and Katya now that Lara’s ex, Strelnikov/Pasha is dead, Lara’s a target. Yuri agrees, they load up all their stuff, but there’s no room for Yuri. He says he’ll catch up in his own sleigh, sending Lara off. They exchange knowing looks that he will not be going.
In the end, Yuri, an old man, spots Lara from a streetcar he’s riding in. He tries to get off and follow her, but he suffers a fatal heart attack. Lara keeps walking, never knowing Yuri was just behind her.
I wanted to do this film for winter inspiration, I didn’t last winter but I thought this winter I can’t miss out. Turns out I wasn’t the only one thinking this is great winter inspiration. Check out a current Blackglama fall campaign:
Blackglama and Carolyn Murphy looking very Lara-ish.
Maurice Jarre’s unforgettable (for good or bad), “Lara’s Theme,” is schmaltzy and waltzy but very evocative of romance, longing, a hint of tragedy with Western orchestration and Eastern tinkles of folk music.
Maybe it’s because I just finished listening to Dan Carlin’s, Hardcore History podcast, the Wrath of the Khans (5 parts!), but something about Central Asia/Mongolia/Russia captivates me right now. I guess I just needed some visuals to balance out the audio.
Epic post for an epic movie! You had me cracking up too. Good eye – the ad does seem to mimic the character’s style.
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Caroline Byrne said:
this is amazing and hilarious!
Thank you! That’s what I’m aiming for! 😉