After settling his differences with a Japanese PoW camp commander, a British colonel co-operates to oversee his men's construction of a railway bridge for their captors - while oblivious to a plan by the Allies to destroy it.
Due to his knowledge of the native Bedouin tribes, British Lieutenant T.E. Lawrence is sent to Arabia to find Prince Faisal and serve as a liaison between the Arabs and the British in their fight against the Turks. With the aid of native Sherif Ali, Lawrence rebels against the orders of his superior officer and strikes out on a daring camel journey across the harsh desert to attack a well-guarded Turkish port. Written by
Competing with the film was a stage play by Terence Rattigan called Ross, named for one of the aliases Lawrence had used in later years to escape notice. The play had a successful London run and was set for a film adaptation, with Laurence Harvey starring, but a threatened indictment from Sam Spiegel made it impossible for producer Herbert Wilcox to attain financing, so the production was dropped at a loss of 100,000 pounds. In this case, turnabout was fair play. Wilcox had turned Lawrence down in 1926 when the hero was trying to sell the screen rights to his Seven Pillars of Wisdom. See more »
During the opening titles, the motorbike is shown from overhead standing on concrete, but when we see it started in the next close-up shot, it is standing on gravel. See more »
I first saw this movie on a scratchy VHS almost twenty years ago (I was 10). Liked it (sort of-enjoyed the battle scenes and the train blowing up), but didn't understand why my dad was so crazy about it.
The next time was on laserdisc (remember those?) almost 10 years ago and I was hooked. I finally got it - the conflict, the performances, the music, the dialogue - all mesmerising.
But it was only in 2002, when I saw the 40th-anniversary reissue on 70mm that I was completely blown away seeing the scale, the enormity of Lean's accomplishment. There were scenes that gave me goosepimples (the opening credits, the cut from the matchstick to the desert sunrise, "nothing is written" - others too numerous to mention).
The point of this rather rambling review is this - a movie that can evoke such passion in its admirers stands by itself, beyond reviews or criticism. If you haven't seen it yet I envy you, because you get to experience it for the first time.
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