22 November 2012 12:59 PM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Now rereleased in its whoppingly complete 224-minute version, the masterpiece still thrums with red-blooded passion

They don't make them like this any more, though John Huston's The Man Who Would Be King (1975) and Anthony Minghella's The English Patient (1996) came close. Peter O'Toole made an unforgettable debut in this magnificent epic by David Lean, now rereleased in its whoppingly complete 224-minute version. O'Toole is Te Lawrence, the brilliant and mercurial Arabist and aesthete who as a serving officer in WW1 found himself leading an Arab revolt against the Turks in the British interest, but failed to create the national self-determination he promised his followers. An American reporter is on hand to print the legend and to impress his readers with Britain's abiding capacity for martial glory, far from the futility of the Western Front and the disaster of Gallipoli. Edward Said wrote that Lawrence invented the Arab's "primitive simplicity »

- Peter Bradshaw

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