British Film: David Lean

Ref: C2340700

The David Lean taster course will give an overview of the distinct stages of his career, highlighting: the early wartime films, adaptations of Dickens, exploring Englishness, the historic epics and the literary adaptations. It will look at the use of light and shade in the black and white films and how that affected his depiction of landscape, through to his use of colour and the new subjects that allowed him to explore with new ways to tell stories. It will explore the use of key character actors of their time (Charles Laughton, Alec Guinness, Peggy Ashcroft). It will compare his work with that of key British contemporaries of the time (Alfred Hitchcock, Michael Powell). Finally it will look at his legacy, how it influenced directors who came after. It will argue that David Lean deserves to be compared with the great American directors of epic films (Cecil B DeMille, William Wyler).

Course aim

The David Lean taster course will give an overview of the distinct stages of his career.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • appreciate the range of films directed by David Lean in terms of subject matter, stylistic approach and composition
  • understand how his work compares with that of British contemporaries like Alfred Hitchcock and Michael Powell
  • assess his importance in World cinema and his influence on the style and approach of later filmmakers

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course

Download full course information sheet

British Film: David Lean


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2018
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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