Categories: DocumentaryFilmmaking

David Lean and His Dedicated Maniacs (2009)

David Lean is widely regarded as one of history’s greatest film directors. Epics like Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago and The Bridge on the River Kwai have left an indelible mark in film history, inspiring generations of cinema goers and film makers such as Steven Spielberg. Lean had great faith in his regular film crew, once saying “Good films can be made only by a crew of dedicated maniacs.” This is a profile of four of those key men—David Lean and His Dedicated Maniacs (2009).

David Lean: “Eddie was the only one who told it to me straight. Everyone else on the crew thought it might be OK, so that I was the one who fell in it if it wasn’t.” Meet the man who drove the train during its final moments in The Bridge on the River Kwai, blew John Lennon up in How I Won the War, hoodwinked Oliver Reed into thinking he was an expert swordsman in The Three Musketeers, turned down an offer to work with Stanley Kubrick, doubled for Joan Collins in a bikini… and stole Boris Karloff’s birthday cake. Discover some of the best kept special effects secrets in film history.

How was the Ice Palace in Doctor Zhivago created? How do you cover miles of Spanish countryside in snow during the height of summer? How do you blow up a bridge without using computer animation? And how do you make dry quicksand in the desert, where there is no quicksand? No-one knew David Lean better than Eddie Fowlie or worked in as many of his movies. As Lean’s closest personal friend, Eddie reveals details of the legendary director’s life in his forthcoming and outrageously funny autobiography, A Dedicated Maniac: Memoirs of a film specialist. —Richard Torné

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