"Doctor Zhivago" by Boris Pasternak, was refused publication by the then USSR in 1956. His novel was then smuggled to Italy for publication and in the following decade was made into a major motion picture. Just like the struggles it took to get the book published, the production was also difficult.
Yet with the likes of director David Lean, producer Carlo Ponti (actress Sophia Loren's husband) and play writer Robert Bolt (who had "A Man For All Seasons" to his credit), the movie would get done.
Much to the delight of movie-goers everywhere, "Dr. Zhivago won five Academy Awards and is among the top 100 films according to the American Film Institute. While some are disappointed that the release to DVD does not permit the same full-screen impact that one would have experienced in the cinema, the movie-epic is still just as gripping and poignant. One aspect that this reporter likes about movies on DVD is the ability to replay scenes without wearing out the quality of the disk. VHS tape would inevitably wear out and and the quality was not the same. Here with DVD as long as the disk and DVD play is keep clean and in good condition, the movie can be played over and over.
Also, with "Anniversary editions" like this one, "special features" provide more of the "behind-the-scenes" look at the making of the movie. This is something that movie fans will enjoy. And, I have to agree with the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, this movie "is comparable to 'Gone with the Wind.'"
For me "Dr. Zhivago" is full of memorable scenes and classic movie moments that not only make it a great movie, but really display the depths of Russian Literature.
While great Russian novels, like a Chekhov play have a lot to say, the basis of just about all of them as I sense it, is trying to figure out "the soul" of humanity against a sweeping backdrop of complexities.
I also think that what makes Russian Literature most enduring is the fact that the individual must face the larger picture and some how find meaning and happiness. And, at least in Pasternak's novel, the characters must find meaning and happiness amid harsh circumstances. There is a lot that "Dr. Zhivago" says to us, especially us Americans and Westerners.