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Ryan's Daughter (1970)

Ryan's Daughter (1970)

Robert MitchumTrevor HowardJohn MillsChristopher Jones
David Lean


Ryan's Daughter (1970) is a English movie. David Lean has directed this movie. Robert Mitchum,Trevor Howard,John Mills,Christopher Jones are the starring of this movie. It was released in 1970. Ryan's Daughter (1970) is considered one of the best Drama,Romance movie in India and around the world.

World War I seems far away from Ireland's Dingle peninsula when Rosy Ryan Shaughnessy (Sarah Miles) goes horseback riding on the beach with the young English officer. There was a magnetic attraction between them the day he was the only customer in her father's pub and Rosy was tending bar for the first time since her marriage to the village schoolmaster. Then one stormy night some Irish revolutionaries expecting a shipment of guns arrive at Ryan's pub. Is it Rosy who betrays them to the British? Will Shaugnessy take Father Collin's advice? Is the pivotal role that of the village idiot who is mute?


Ryan's Daughter (1970) Reviews

  • A victim of mistaken expectations


    It is such a major tragedy that one of the greatest directors in the history of film, David Lean was so savaged by the critics after pouring vast stores of time, energy and devotion into this production. It has long been clear to me why "Ryan's Daughter" was so poorly received. After Lean's previous epics, everyone was certain that, with all the time and money that went into this film, and with its lengthy running time, it would simply have to be a similar type of show. When people bring such expectations to a movie and are confronted with something so daringly different, they often focus on what they didn't see and miss the virtue of the picture they saw. This film is too "slow", too absorbed with the subtle dynamics of the interaction between its characters for a viewer who is burning to see vast battle scenes, mighty parades and mobs of extras caught up in violent historical struggles. The "spectacle" in this film (and spectacle it is indeed) comes from the exquisite widescreen lensing of stunning Irish coastal scenery. The fabulous storm sequence with villagers battling raging surf in their efforts to retrieve floating contraband is, in my opinion, unmatched in all the thousands of movies I have seen. The drama of the central characters' lives and the depiction of the way the eternal conflicts that continue to trouble their nation work to destroy normal existence for them....this all works for me. I guess there are going to be many who just can't buy into the whole thing, but I can only feel sorry for them. To me, Lean did create an epic here, but not the traditional kind that everyone came to see. It is a "feast-for-the-eyes", intimate epic of the tumultuous emotional life of a little village caught in a swirl of hatred, suspicion, prejudice and seething conflict with an occupying army. One of my dearest hopes is that I may live to see a handsome DVD release of this splendid masterpiece before too much more time elapses. It should NEVER be viewed in some pan-and-scan edition on an ordinary TV! Seen this way with all that glorious cinematography cropped and miniaturized, "Ryan's Daughter" could indeed be seen as a failure. I always wonder how many magnificent David Lean films we will never see as a result of the unproductive years that resulted from the crushing effect on the director of the widespread rejection of this wonderful creation. What a travesty!

  • Human longing for life, bare and simple on the screen


    I love this movie. Saw it again last night on the big, wide screen at the Astor, from a beautiful new print. There is much to deserve love: the artistry of the film making; unspeakably fine cinematography; superb use of music and sound (hearing nothing but the wind in the trees during the forest scene is breathlessly sensual); and major and minor characters who each in their own way reflect the eternal enigma of human longing for life and transcendence. The film's evocation of human lives caught up in the inexorable forces of nature and history at this particular moment and place is profoundly arresting. There's a timelessness about this movie which makes the criticisms I've heard - about miscasting, stiff acting and the like - melt away into irrelevance, or even shows them to be virtues. I love the way the film maintains narrative integrity but has a foreordained, mythical quality as well: the overwhelming, all-penetrating power of nature and fate seems to make the human doings at once piercingly real and immediate, yet disconnected, almost surreal. But the touches of humour and sharp, immediate visual detail (often wittily drawn from the visual history of paintings and caricatures of village life) save us from any kind of authorial portent or angst: the greatest wonder of this artful work is that there is nothing between us and the story, except perhaps the icy whip of the ocean wind gainst our faces. The range of characters both in kind and in how we experience them is enlivening - from the formidably down to earth Father Collins, to the captivatingly tragic and symbolic figure of Doryan. And Michael the retarded angel is the ultimate figure of grace.

  • Ryan's Daughter" - A beautiful & haunting Super Panavision 70 masterpiece


    Viewing this $12 Million David Lean directed motion picture in its original 1969/70 release in Super Panavision 70 would have been a glorious event for any true cinema lover. The fact that there is a good quality 70mm print still in existence not only shows how badly this film did in it's initial 70mm roadshow release but gives us hope that we may again get chance to see this work as it was originally intended. Lean and Robert Bolt (married at the time to female lead, Sarah Miles) loosely based their doomed love story on Gustave Flaubert "Madame Bovary". In bringing it to the screen, Lean uses a beautifully evocative score by Maurice Jarre (superior to their earlier collaborations), then adds rare photographic grandeur with the exquisite 70mm cinematography of `the master" Freddie Young (picking up another Oscar for his remarkable work) making this movie a haunting and startlingly breathtaking experience. It's a story that encompasses many facets, war, isolation, community, betrayal, religion, sex and infidelity however it is mostly about love, in every sense. The setting is a small isolated coastal village on the west coast of Ireland during the First World War with focus on the British military occupation of the region. Rosie Ryan (Sarah Miles in her Oscar nominated performance), daughter of local publican Tom Ryan (Leo McKern) is a young beautiful girl who sets her cap for the older local unassuming, & quite school teacher (her teacher), the widowed Charles Shaughnessy (played perfectly by Hollywood legend, Robert Mitchum) seeing him as a "worldly and fascinating" man. Charles and Rose marry but married turns out to be disappointing for Rose, not what she expected at all. Charles turns out to be an ordinary man; dull and uninteresting (even in bed). "There must be more!" Rose tells the village priest (played with gusto & heart by Trevor Howard), "Be careful what you ask for Rose." he tells her, "Because as sure as hell you'll get it " the film then kicks into high gear with the arrival of a young handsome and troubled British officer Randolph Doryan (distantly played Christopher Jones, think Colin Farrell). The scene in Tom Ryan's pub when the young lovers first meet is one of the most tender and erotic love scenes ever filmed and starts an affair that is destined to bring heartache. The villagers in this small Irish town are insular, bigoted and jealous and above all harboring a hatred for the British. They take pleasure exacting humiliation on the local village idiot, Michael (brilliantly played by John Mills who won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar) and later taking revenge on the innocent leaving the cowardly traitor in their midst. A sad ending but with a little hope and of all the intense relationships in this story, the farewell between Rose and Michael is most heartfelt and touching. A simple and ordinary story, criticizes for its scope and length. So why play put it on such a large canvas (70mm)? Some argue the story is too delicate and simple and should have been a "smaller" movie which is wrong, this would have deleted the impact of the story, anyone seeing this movie in 70mm will most definitely agree, the large scope and length of this work only enhances it's intimacy and reality, seen as it was intended, "Ryan's Daughter" will transfix from start to finish, you can notice this dilution if you see the film in 35mm. One of the last movies shot in the 70mm process it is truly one of the best, taking full advantage of the rugged West Irish (and South African) coastlines, the Super Panavision camera pick up everything down to the grains in the sand on those wonderful beaches and all the emotions and feeling, to assist it is acted superbly by a stellar cast who bring you right into the lives and fate of their isolated and "ordinary" Irish characters. "Ryan's Daughter" is so misunderstood and ignore as a masterpiece perhaps somewhat long especially for today's audiences, it is never dull how it remains underrated and ignored is a mystery, yet to a lot of discerning movie goers it is superior piece of cinema and surly no one can deny the beauty of this work. The storm sequence alone (without today's CGI enhancements) is awesome, perhaps the best storm scene ever put on celluloid, and how no one died during filming is a miracle. Savagely panned by the critics, especially the venomous Pauline Kael on it's initial release, so badly it sent David Lean into a self imposed exile (he didn't make another film for fourteen years, the less extravagant, minimally mounted "A Passage to India", which of the two films touches you the most??), perhaps Ms Kael, the critics and the public at large in 1960/70 lacked the sensitivity needed to make this movie a hit, tending to flock to films like "Mash", "The Godfather" and "Easy Rider", unfortunately they missed a fine and beautiful work of art. Believe me as I stated earlier, if you get change to see this work on the big screen now (a rare event), even with a 35mm print, Lean's fine hand and sensitivity is evident in every frame of "Ryan's Daughter", more so than in his other works or those of his contemporaries, faithfully accurate to the period (and lacking the 1960's inspired hair do's and fashion of "Doctor Zhivago") it remains as fresh today as it did in 1970. It is disappointing to know that it is again being ignored, with no DVD release in sight (are you listening Warner Bros?), how many other Lean movies are waiting for transfer to DVD??? Surely the cinematography and acting alone makes it a worthy candidate for a high quality transfer. If they do plan a DVD release let's hope Warner's uses the Super Panavision 70mm components and the full Roadshow length to create a DVD masterpiece from this ignored cinema masterwork, there should be some great extras out their given the epic nature of the movie, it's director and stars.

  • Lean's most underrated film


    It's not hard to see why the critics disliked Ryan's Daughter so much. Films like Midnight Cowboy and Easy Rider had come along and made lots of money and won lots of plaudits. Therefore Ryan's Daughter, a three-hour, 70mm epic must have seemed like something of a fossil – it certainly wasn't hip or trendy. But while Midnight Cowboy and Easy Rider have dated pretty badly, Ryan's Daughter seems timeless. That's not to say that Ryan's Daughter is without its faults. The story is wafer-thin, some of the writing (surprisingly for Robert Bolt) is lacklustre and the film runs out of steam before the end. But I'm more than able to forgive the film its faults, as it contains some wonderful scenes and some of the best visuals in cinema. My fondness for Lean's much maligned film is secured in the first few frames. In a long wide shot we see a cliff with a microscopic figure running towards the edge. Then we see the film's heroine, Rosy Ryan (Sarah Miles), chasing a black umbrella that is floating down towards the sea. It's a breathtaking start with some of the best photography committed to film – the skies, in particular, are gorgeous. And it's the start of the film that I enjoy the most. At the beginning the film is quite light and it has lots of energy. It also presents you with a central character who is full of hope for the future – I like the way Rosy, skipping along to Maurice Jarre's magnificent score, tosses her trashy romantic book into the sea, thinking that she wont have to live vicariously through other people anymore. And then when this is cut against Charles (Robert Mitchum) arriving on the outskirts of the village by bus, you realise what everything means – Rosy's white knight is arriving. But the film doesn't stay light and breezy for long. In fact, things go downhill on the wedding night – after expecting great things from her husband and this curious piece of human behaviour called sex, Rosy only gets a minute or so of love from Charles. It's not like it is in the books she read. After this you're introduced to Major Doryan (Christopher Jones), a shell-shocked English soldier who's been sent to Ireland. Right from the first moment you know he and Rosy are going to get involved. Therefore it's a good decision on Lean's part not to delay the inevitable. And I think the scene in the pub where Rosy and the Major meet and begin their affair is easily the best in the film, and certainly one of my favourites in cinema. It's just so imaginatively done. The photography, the editing and the scoring are perfect. I also like Rosy and the Major's first sexual encounter. It's done without any dialogue (well, until Rosy has come twice) and again it's impeccably shot. And although I'm sure all the critics scoffed at the nature shots, Lean makes it work. And Lean makes it work because he was a genuine romantic. I mean, the reason why the vast majority of romantic films are risible are because they're not sincere – they feel incredibly cynical. But Lean can film a sex scene with shots of forest canopies and not make it laughable. But the scene also works because of Miles' superb acting. Her face captures all the trepidation and excitement that such an encounter would inspire. It's actually criminal that Miles didn't win an Oscar for her performance (she was nominated). She makes Rosy, a woman who is cheating on her good-natured husband, both despicable and understandable – it's to Miles' credit that she isn't afraid to show Rosy's ugly side; sometimes she's a petulant brat. And I also think that Mitchum's performance is underrated. He makes a dull character interesting. But I think it helps if you're familiar with Mitchum's work. I mean, it's strange to see the original Max Cady play a cuckold. And it's even stranger to see him last seconds in the sack and get beaten up. And although his performance gets a lot of stick, I think Christopher Jones is fine in the film. He certainly looks the part. And although a lot of his dialogue had to be cut because the man was a mess on set, it actually works for the character. I mean, with hardly any dialogue it make his romance with Rosy a lot less banal – it gives it a bit mystery. Plus, what would an English officer and a poor Irish schoolteacher's wife have to talk about? The relationship makes much more sense as a sexual one – Rosy may love her husband but the Major gives her what she's missing. Another refreshing element of Ryan's Daughter is the portrayal of the English and the Irish. All too often in any film set in Ireland, the locals are universally pure hearted while the English are universally loathsome. Here you have small-minded Irish peasants and English soldiers who are just doing their job. You also have an IRA that kills police officers in cold blood. Yeah, the film may be simplistic, but at least it doesn't have a sentimental, misty-eyed view of the common man. And how can I talk about Ryan's Daughter and not mention the storm sequence? It's quite a remarkable piece of film and again it features some breathtaking photography – there's one shot where the waves crashing against the cliff seem to be blown backwards and another where the spray is sucked upwards into the sky. Anyone with a pair of eyes should enjoy it. However, as much as I love the film, I do think it splutters towards its conclusion. I certainly don't mind it being three hours long, but the film does seem to run out of ideas towards the end. But that's only a minor complaint. On the whole, I think the film's fantastic.

  • Sadly forgotten beautiful epic.


    It's one of the most underrated, but one of the most beautiful epic that ever put on screen. It's directed by David Lean, who made 'The Bridge on the River Kwai', 'Lawrence of Arabia' and 'Doctor Zhivago' before and this film ranks up with his previous works. I can only write about this film in superlatives. Foremost the photography - another excellent work by Freddie Young - honoured with an Academy Award, and the acting by John Mills, who won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his outstanding performance as the dumb fisherman. But I would have awarded Sarah Miles (she's "just" nominated for the Best Actress Oscar). Robert Mitchum has never been better, he fills the widow village teacher's character with life. Also great performances by the supporting cast - the aged Trevor Howard as the priest, and Ryan, the two-faced village pub owner, who risks his daughter's life when the villagers abusing her. It's one of the most disgusting character I've ever seen. Robert Bolt's original screenplay is also one of the most complex story I've ever seen. It' as good as the screenplay of 'Doctor Zhivago' which was honoured with an Academy Award and also written by Robert Bolt. This is a film about an outstanding love at an unbearable period of history between an English officer and an Irish woman. It's about sensitivity, courage, hope, admiring and collaborating. The story is so complex, that it's almost impossible to summarize in few words, so I would like to draw the attention to some WONDERFUL scenes: the love scene between the two young lovers, full of symbols and sensitively photographed. It's the most poetic love scene ever. The other beautiful scene is when Robert Mitchum finds his wife's and her lover's footsteps in the beach sand, follows them, imagines what could have happened between the two lovers and becomes sure, that his wife has got another man in her life. And finally of course the storm scene, when the villagers try to save the weapons from the stormy sea. This enormously powerful scene with those poetic scenes above are my favourites in the movie, but the whole movie is full of wonderful scenes and the 3 hours long film remains a religious experience until the last minute. Last but not least I have to mention the score which can be explained perfectly in 4 words: made by Maurice Jarre. Could be jungle, desert, Russian winter or wild Irish landscapes David Lean always knew how to use these locations to tell his stories. It's pity, that he didn't make any movies until 1984, because of the bad critics. Waste of talent and genius.


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