Peggy Ashcroft

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David Lean, a filmmaker of epic scale

On the day I went to visit David Lean's set of "Ryan's Daughter" in Dingle, Ireland, in 1969, the sun was shining and it reflected a dazzling light off the sands of the beach. The next day it started to rain, and within a week Robert Mitchum made his famous observation, "We've shot for one day and we're eight days behind schedule." Months later, Lean eventually took cast and crew members all the way to Natal in South Africa to match the sunny beach. He could, of course, have started over again and shot the beach scene with an overcast, but an overcast wasn't what he had in mind. He wanted sun, even in Ireland, even in March.