Consider, for example, the early shot of the red star glowing above the dark tunnel opening where the workers march in and out.
He fussed over details that would not even show on screen, including insisting that his costume designer recreate the correct period underwear for all of his actors. Macnab also felt that the musical score by Maurice Jarre still stood up but criticised the English accents.
Once edited, the final film ran almost three and a half hours. Director [David Lean] has accomplished one of the most meticulously designed and executed films—superior in several visual respects to his 'Lawrence of Arabia.
This year there was even an attempt to bring Doctor Zhivago to Broadway as a musical; unfortunately, the show closed in May after less than 50 performances the critics savaged this Zhivago as well. The whole point of the book was that even though Zhivago disapproved of the course the revolution took, he had approved of it in principle.
At the time, however, despite his outwardly unassuming style of communication, most regarded Lean more as dictator than director. Grand themes played on a grand scale required a long running time.
Most critics agreed that the film was visually stunning, but few admitted to being enchanted by its handling of character or historical incident. Lean did nothing less than recreate Moscow and its countryside at the time of the Russian revolution, using locations in Spain and Canada which supplied the vast landscape with the tiny train making its way across it.
Although uncredited, most of those scenes were actually shot on the Portuguese side of the river, overlooking the Spanish side.