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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Perhaps one of the greatest movies of all-time- in the league of The
Godfather, 12 Angry Men and Schindler's List- and definitely David
Lean's best. The background music scored by Maurice Jarre added to the
gravitas of making it one of the greatest films. The soundtracks are
full of energy and kept resonating in my mind right from the time the
movie commenced. Peter O'Toole portrayed T.E.Lawrence, a man often
marred by controversy for his radical thinking and insouciance.
T.E.Lawrence is shown as a man respected by his fellowmen after his
contribution to the Arab league in the beginning of the movie and the
movie shows his journey from Cairo to Aqaba and then to Damascus as a
member of the British army. He's considered arrogant, extraordinary and
sadistic by his colleagues but that doesn't stymie the aid, leadership
in attacking the Turks and the invaluable counsel he provided the Arabs
. The movie is a landmark in every single aspect right from the
geographical location of filming. I still contemplate over how few
scenes were shot, especially the one in which the Arabs blast a railway
track and all the horses aboard are set free.
It is one of the movies i sat and watched with inquisitiveness and enjoyed thoroughly, albeit many complain about the running time of the movie. The cinematography is a treat to sore eyes. There couldn't be a better movie in terms of being a complete amalgam of War, Adventure, Drama and History. And special appreciation to the make-up and costume crew who had made sure the Caucasian actors looked like real Arabs. This is a movie that is truly appreciated when watched than read about. Hats off to the men behind this Epic.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie is like no other I have ever seen. As a woman, just looking
at Peter O'Toole's stunningly beautiful blue eyes was enough to capture
my attention. You will not want to miss any lines in this movie as
every one of them is so important. The movie is serious and sad but has
humor and well written drama included. Omar Sharif plays a very
important role as well and his acting is superb.
The relationships that build across the desert will make you feel as if you are there with them. Even though this movie is long, with an intermission even, you will be sad that the movie ends. You will not want it to. It is that entertaining.
I loved the Prince of Faisal also as his voice is perfect of that of a Prince of Royalty. His lines are well written and he says them perfectly.
The only thing I think this movie lacked was a few women. But, being a movie focused on war you will understand why after you see the entire movie.
Lawrence of Arabia is Definitely worth seeing again. This movie is a well known Oscar winner and deserves to be in the best top 50 of classic movies ever made!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
If ever a movie earned the definition 'epic', then 'Lawrence Of Arabia'
is it. In an age when sumptuous set-pieces can be effortlessly
conjured-up by computer programmers, this truly authentic feast of
cinematic vision still possesses the power to blow your mind. This is
the real thing. The wide-sweeping vistas of desert wilderness are not
special-effects; they are REAL. And they look real. Long views,
sweeping pans and takes sustained over minutes are realised with a
clarity, colour and vividness that absolutely melt your heart. That
imagery is a more believable conduit to this complex man's evolving
obsession with Arabia than the narrative itself.
Every scene is a breathtaking study in light and colour, character and dialogue. Every second is worth seeing and every word worth hearing. And its theme music is as iconic as the man himself.
The inimitable Peter O'Toole with his blonde hair, steely-blue eyes, haunting expressions and mood swings, commands your attention in every take. His Lawrence is a man swallowed up by a personal sense of destiny, striding between his cynical and prosaic taskmasters and a doomed belief in what might be achieved with superhuman effort. Omar Sharif never played a better role as foil to his capricious hero. Unusually, there are no leading ladies. And they're certainly not needed. A love interest would have cheapened the entire presentation. Here is a story about the romance of time and place. As that other great Arabian traveller and admirer of the ideal - Wilfred Thessiger - once remarked; "women spoil everything".
This is a long movie. Those with short attention-spans raised upon sausage-machine editing are doomed to find it dull, tedious, boring, slow and all of the other criticisms that fall from the lips of a generation accustomed to x-box action sequencing. But if you are blessed with a longer vintage, then Lean's masterpiece will swallow you up as surely as the desert itself.
"Lawrence of Arabia" is a classic among the classics, unanimously
praised for its dazzling imagery, haunting music and the hypnotic
performance of Peter O'Toole. And how David Lean got the guts to shoot
a 4-hour long epic film in the desert, with no female role, no romance
whatsoever, with more meditation than sheer action, to create one of
the most glorious cinematic experiences is a miracle like only the
magic of film-making can provide every once in a while, like "Gone With
the Wind" or "The Godfather".
As said Roger Ebert in his most interesting review, "Lawrence of Arabia" is a masterstroke of genius in the way it went against all the movies' conventions for the sake of pure creation. To make his film, Lean had probably to visualize how photogenic would the immensity of the desert be, how a sunset in a red sky would amaze eyes, how the iconic entrance of Omar Sharif as Sheriff Ali would challenge every viewer. And Ebert couldn't have been more accurate because while watching "Lawrence of Arabia", I couldn't stop imagining the magical effect of these shots in the darkness of a movie theater, seeing this vague little strain in the middle of a mist turning into a thin silhouette until the figure of the black-clad Sheriff Ali emerges on the screen: pure magic Lean trusted both his minds and our eyes.
See it's impossible to dissociate "Lawrence of Arabia" from the sensational experience each frame conveys. And Lean, who had just directed another acclaimed Best Picture winner, "The Bridge on the River Kwai", handles his material with much more confidence if it was ever needed. Think of the overture in the dark. Imagine yourself sitting in a movie theater and hearing the heart-pounding drums of Maurice Jarre before the violins let escape one of the most iconic movie themes. Imagine your ears transported by this melody, visualizing in the dark, a majestic and frightening sun, an endless desert, a mysterious Oriental Goddess that scares as much as fascinates after such a set-up, the rest is history and I don't think I would bring anything new to the debate. This is why I want to develop the aspect that can easily get unnoticed in such a grandiose epic: the script.
In "Lawrence of Arabia", the lines flow with the poetry of a Greek tale with some shadowy truths resonating when you put them in historical perspective. T.E. Lawrence was the man who guided the Arab Revolt against the Turkish colonization during World War I. In a way, he embodies this quote from the New Testament: "No prophet is accepted in his own country", he's not a prophet of course in the literal meaning of the word, but he ignited an extinguished flame, the flame of a pride, distancing himself from the decadence of the British Empire to embrace a romantic cause, romantic because lost. It's not an Englishman leading the Arabs; it's an outcast leading an outcast people. And pay attention, there is this incredible mix of madness and inspiring masochism in the eyes of this man who plays with fire without even minding the pain.
O'Toole's eyes are pure and his face like graved in a vivid marble, as if he incarnated heroism in its most classical personification, he speaks the truth and acts according to it. In his first encounter with Sheriff Ali, he delivers an unforgettable and powerful rant: "So long as the Arabs fight tribe against tribe... so long will they be a little people, a silly people. Greedy, barbarous and cruel, as you are." These lines still resonate as true and it seems like the Arabs didn't learn from History, earning them one of the worst reputations in all the Western World (not everything is to be blamed on Arabs though, but that's not the point). You can tell in O'Toole's voice that he's sincere and this sincerity is displayed in the next crucial scene when he overtakes his roles and encourages Prince Feisal (Alec Guinness) to fight. The scene features another powerful saying: "Great things have small beginnings". This very line echoes another of the film's many extraordinary moments.
After having miraculously survived the crossing of the implacable Nefud desert, Lawrence rides his camel back to find a man lost in the Desert and he succeeds off-screen, leading to one of the greatest moments in the film when one of Lawrence's two servants rides his camel toward him, screaming under the triumphant core of Maurice Jarre. This exploits earns him the respect of the Arabs, a people that value bravery. Lawrence becomes 'Awrence, one of them, finally wearing his iconic white suit. His act showed how even the greatest conquest start with an act of brotherly love and solidarity, and the Arabs couldn't defeat the Turks, before defeating their own selfishness and dividing tribalism. The romanticism of the fight scenes and their exhilarating effect on Lawrence who dances his victory on a Turkish train and enjoys the madness of the war contrasts with the pessimism of the end, where the old politicians replace the young warriors.
Men like Lawrence would only incarnate dreams, lost in the lies of political calculations, greed, profit and power, condemning the Arabs to fantasize over and over again on Cordoba and its "two miles of lighting in the streets, when London was a village". It didn't last as much as Cordoba but Lawrence of Arabia represents a beautifully romantic parenthesis in Arab history that makes the rest of the Century extremely depressing. But given the events of the Arab Spring, the Arabs are conquering their pride back like the Spanish did for Cordoba, there is still a light of hope after all.
At least, one of the most revered films in America and most defining of American Cinema would be about the Arabian pride how delightfully ironic!
They don't make screens big enough for a movie like this. Hell, they
don't make Actors like these anymore... Being born in the 80's, I must
have seen "Lawrence of Arabia" in my childhood but didn't understand
what the fuss was all about (except for Peter O'Toole's beauty and
intense radiance). I have reluctantly revisited it recently. It took me
several viewings to fully appreciate it, and it's probably the greatest
movie ever made.
Much has been said about this film, and usually people who have something to criticize are getting into pissing contests over its historical accuracy. I couldn't care less about those "controversies", they are missing the point. This is a fictionalized account, not a history lesson. I'm only interested in Peter O'Toole's Lawrence and the way this particular story is told. Historically accurate or not, I don't care.
Not only "Lawrence of Arabia" hasn't aged one day, but it's light years ahead of recent productions. Cinematic perfection is what it is, and it's a miracle. There must have been a rare star alignment 50 years ago, that made everything click so perfectly - cast, acting, script, music, editing, scenery, costumes, all within a remarkable direction. Every scene is an invaluable lesson of filmmaking, a demonstration of superlative acting. What strikes me is that sensitive issues like sexual identity and violence are beautifully explored with a subtlety, intelligence and elegance that are no longer to be found in film today. I'm afraid to imagine how the "Deraa sequence" would be depicted these days. Filmmakers today just lack the talent and sensitivity to make it compelling without resorting to obscenity and gore for cheap shock value.
Peter O'Toole is splendid, sophisticated,larger-than-life, and leaves you breathless with every movement. You will notice the subtle touches of his performance, the nuances of his ambiguous identity, constantly shifting. The portrayal of Lawrence is somewhat inconsistent, inexplicit, and he remains a fascinating puzzle, which is both frustrating and also the key to the movie's overall success.
You will be blown away by the power of Lean's imagery and his ability to define a character so precisely and memorably through purely visual means. There's no CGI, so everything looks and feels real. But it feels real mostly because we see the alien Arab world through Lawrence's eyes. It's amazing how introspective, how personal such a grand-scale epic can be.
So who is O'Toole's Lawrence? What is it that drives him to do what he does? I still don't know, but with each viewing there's something new to discover. I believe that David Lean's respect for the mystery, for the ineffable of human personality is something to be admired. But it's more than respect, it's Lean's intelligence that prevents him from "explaining" Lawrence. That's why people are still crazy about this movie 50 years later.
"Lawrence of the Arabia" is not historically-accurate movie as one may
think, judging by the title. However, it manages to prove itself as one
of the greatest movie classics ever created.
First of all, the movie achieves to portrait the vast landscapes, where the story takes place, in an adventurous and even romantic colors. The cinematography shots are definitely at its' peak in this movie. One may even feel like time-traveling back to those glorious events with the protagonist just to watch the beauty of the scenery that lies ahead of him or her.
Second, the acting is mind-blowing, giving depth to the characters involved in the historical saga. Sometimes, it might be difficult to understand whether you see a real life person in front of you with incredibly complex character or is it just an actor portraying him. Anyone can clearly see how the values of main heroes affect every tiny bit of their difficult decisions.
Third, the plot is not only perfectly executed, but is tightly connected to the scenery and personal struggle to make every single dream they have to come true. Actually, the events that take place make probably even more impact on main characters, leading to the final titles of the movie.
Finally, the movie has one of the most memorable soundtracks, that will lie deeply in many hearts. Only a truly epic tale deserves to have such wonderful music.
To cut the story short, this is a masterpiece created by David Lean. Forget about history for a while. Enjoy the movie.
IMDb Top 250: 54
Continuing my David Lean unit, I devoted an afternoon to watching Lawrence of Arabia: one of the most iconic, legendary, and celebrated films of all time. Widely regarded as Lean's masterpiece, I was really excited: The Bridge on the River Kwai exceeded my expectations. The number one 'Epic' movie according to the AFI, I expected a roaring tribute to success, an aura of victory and grand scale, and lots of sand. I got 2 of those.
Lawrence of Arabia follows Lawrence's life during World War I, with one scene after his death. Right from the start there's something different about the film: for 4 minutes, there is no picture, only sound- the overture prepares you for the atmosphere of the desert, and for the nearly 4 hour journey ahead.
The first scene is very interesting, and anyone who knows any history won't consider it spoilers: after his crash, the viewer objectively sees Lawrence's funeral. There, reporters ask people about him, and they call him a great man- but almost none have actually met him. By showing his funeral first, a viewer doesn't fear for Lawrence's safety throughout the film: we can focus on his character and his actions.
From there, there is a hard cut to many years previous, and the adventure that is the middle eastern theatre of WWI begins. The Middle East is an interesting setting, virtually unexplored by Western film. In this film, we see enough of it to make up for the deficiency. We also learn about the belligerents of the conflict, Arabs who unite to displace the Turkish, who Lawrence describes as "silly people" who will be small until they can stop arguing between their tribes.
Lawrence had a fascinating life that makes for a great story, but it's good that we only see the WWI section of it: the film couldn't be any more sprawling without losing all cohesion.
The film takes its time, and that's something critical to a viewers enjoyment of the film. We see Lawrence trekking through the desert a lot. The length of the film is quite daunting, but it never feels slow, because of the sweeping scenery and fantastic soundtrack. The pace is like a jog: it never really quickens, even in battle, but there's always the sense that movement is happening.
Arabia jumps from scene to scene like a roller-coaster. There are sequences of talk, then walking through the desert, then a battle, followed by talking... it covers all the bases. Great scenes include Ali's entrance, Aqaba, and the massacre (a surprisingly dark scene). For such an epic film, I expected more depth to the battles. They are skimmed over, and one key fight isn't even shown at all!
If there's one thing I've learned so far from this unit, it's that David Lean can shoot a beautiful film. Lawrence of Arabia has the most stunning photography, I dare call it the perfect visual film. Be it desert in every direction, canyons, huge camps, horses charging to a city, or just the sun, this has the most massive scale in film. It's a shame, and one cannot stress this enough, that this film as of December 2011 does not exist on Blu Ray.
Equal to the visual is the audio. The music is perfect for the desert, with a sweeping band playing the overture that has middle eastern flair. The sound effects are brilliant, like the wind, explosions, or even the sound of the heat of the sun.
Lean does a very good job of directing. This film has a marginally larger scale than Bridge on the River Kwai, but loses the focus that film had. However, as your teachers once taught you, quantity does not equal quality, and in this case, grand does not instantly equate to great: I can't just love the movie because it's so big.
Finally, the acting. Unless you live under a rock, Lawrence's portrayal, and his character in general, is legendary. In his tour-de-force, Peter O'Toole (I was shocked this was his first major film) portrays the outspoken and impulsive Lawrence. His motives are complicated, he is a difficult to understand person. *******SPOILERS FOR A 50 YEAR OLD MOVIE******* Over the course of the film, he develops, at first for the better, but then he deteriorates. His ego gets the better of him, and he finds himself in a terrible situation. This situation, in which he is implicitly raped, is far too vague, even for the 60's. What makes that worse is that it is a key part of his development, and would be far easier to understand if even a small visual cue was added. In the end, he goes home dejected, a failure to himself, despite being a hero of the people. This is a central theme I picked out, which is the myth vs. man. Ironically,the whole film represents that theme. Perhaps things happened Lawrence didn't write about, and we see only the good and (perhaps) relatively bad. ***END SPOILERS***
The film has good support, but it is clearly O'Toole's show. You can learn a lot about someone through their interactions, and the point of the film is to learn about Lawrence. Hence, Sharif Ali is Lawrence's closest friend. We see their initial conflict, gaining of respect, and relationship. Through Ali, we see when Lawrence's fragile mental state is apparent.
Where Bridge on the River Kwai was about the waste of war, this is about the glory of war- until it's not. As Lawrence says, "Nothing is written", sadly ironic for the passionate young man.
I don't think a film like this will ever be made again. Not at this scale, not at this length. Unlike many biographical films, LoA leaves in the true ending, with his rise and fall. Despite the unhappy end, Lawrence of Arabia is a spectacle of cinematic achievement. 9.1/10
David Lean's 1962 blockbuster filmed on a grand scale still remains one of the most influential blockbusters of all time with battle scenes that still look amazing today. It tops even The Bridge on the River Kwai in terms of epic storytelling. Peter O'Toole hits the character of Lawrence right on the nose and Guinness also gets a great role that allows him to expand with his acting technique. Yet the budget and the sheer effort that went into this filmmaking is what really makes this one so interesting to watch for over 3 hours. Few blockbusters have such an emphasis on psychological idiosyncrasies than Lean's film. That is why Lean is more advanced in storytelling against DeMille or Stevens.
Back in 62, my brother came home after watching "Lawrence of Arabia" and proclaimed to me that it was the best picture he had ever seen and will likely ever see. After hearing this, I had to see it! After watching it, I now find myself saying the very same thing to anyone who will listen. Every element that I use to judge a movie was met and surpassed leaving me astonished that I couldn't find a single flaw in the movie. Yes, it's a bit long but if you get caught up with it like my brother and I did, that doesn't bother you in the least. Every character was perfectly cast and delivered brilliantly. T.E. Lawrence was unknown to me prior to seeing this movie and it was great to get a glimpse of this character out of that era who was so different than his counterparts. If any other British Serving Officer had been given that assignment, history in that region would have turned out quite different. David Lean, so I understand, prepared himself for this project for several years because he wanted to get it right and oh my what a great job he did. To truly appreciate just how great this movie is, you have to view it many times and hone in on the dialogue and delivery.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie is based on the life of T.E. Lawrence.It shows us his Arabian adventure on a camel in the desert.It goes through his battles.Lawrence of Arabia (1962) is David Lean's long classic.It won seven Oscars, including Best Director and Best Original Score (Maurice Jarre).Peter O'Toole is amazing as Lawrence.He would have earned an Oscar from his performance, but he only got a nomination.It's a real shame that to this day the man has not won one single Oscar, only an Academy Honorary Award in 2003.And he has been nominated eight times! The rest of the cast is superb as well.Alec Guinness plays Prince Feisal.Anthony Quinn portrays Auda Abu Tayi.Omar Sharif portrays Sheriff Ali.José Ferrer is Turkish Bey.Claude Reins gives the portrayal of Mr. Dryden.Arthur Kennedy plays Jackson Bentley.I.S. Johar plays Gasim.Farraj and Daud are played by Michel Ray and John Dimech.There are many memorable scenes in the movie, one being where Lawrence executes Gasim.And Daud getting killed to a quicksand.Or Lawrence's torture scene.Lawrence of Arabia is a classic not to be missed.
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