I think that is why Ryan's Daughter
didn't succeed. The epic production had no relation to the story, which was really just a fancy soap. The critics were much too harsh but its true that the film doesn't come off. I enjoy almost all epics and I did appreciate the visual beauty, but the story was not worth telling.
Also, it seems that Lean lost his talent for casting the right people for the roles. Sarah Miles and Christopher Jones were only acceptable in their roles. I would have liked to have seen Julie Christie or Vanessa Redgrave and Marlon Brando or Peter O'Toole in the parts.
I have just finished the book; it is one of the very few biographies that I could not put down. The separation of the book into chapters that are each devoted to the making of one film (with the exeption of his early years) works very well.