A Passage to India is the final film in the illustrious career of Sir David Lean, the man behind such grand epics as Lawrence of Arabia, Dr. Zhivago, and The Bridge on the River Kwai. Here, he capstones his career in fine fashion, utilizing all of his trade skills in much the same manner as he has in his past films.
Where this film really shines is its love of India, and its portrayal of the country and its people. The actors are standard Lean, which is to say they are emotive if not somewhat subdued. The regular David Lean players are also well enough, including a barely recognizable Alec Guinness. At heart, however, this is a human drama, and it takes care of its conflicts and subjects with great delicacy and fervor; this is much more intimate and simple than David Lean’s past grand epics, and it may throw some of his more favored viewers at first, but the touches are still there, especially in the landscape shots.
All in all, I suspect this is in the book mostly as David Lean’s final picture, one he made after a 14 year hiatus, as everything that this picture does has been done by other Lean films and far better in doing so. Nonetheless, this is a fine film, and a fine climax in the career of one of the greatest to ever stand behind the camera.
Arbitrary Rating: 7/10