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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Hard to believe that after 45 years of loving movies, I finally got around to seeing Lawrence of Arabia. As with many films that make a huge impact on me, I dreamt about it that night. I dreamt of flowing white silk robes, decorated horses and sand. Lots of sand. Many have already given a synopsis and cast list, many have listed the films assets. For me, after the experience (and trust me, at 227 minutes, it's an experience) I was left feeling stunned and empty, stunned by the depiction of the desert, empty from the realization that nothing within the dark expanses of human experience really changes. Yes to one reviewer who was not sure Lawrence ever existed. He did. A very complicated man, shy yet full of an odd bravado, Lawrence reveled in the drama of a land he loved but could not be part of. He sought adventure and when it came, was overwhelmed and ultimately disappointed that his life was not like the childhood adventure tales he undoubtedly read. The film tells his story in broad strokes, very strong characters surround Lawrence, whose character is played brilliantly by O'Toole who stays quietly charismatic (as well as physically beautiful) creating an enigma that is never really understood. You're left wondering how the hell he got away with what he did, yet amazed that it happened. The futility of war is tempered with the romanticism it creates. People come together in common causes, strong relationships develop, heroes emerge. Wars are full of such scenarios and inspirational tales. But this is at heart the story of a film flam game, a bait and switch played on a grand scale with an Empirical Western giant manipulating desperate peoples using one of their flamboyant yet influential soldiers as a ploy. This con game was the undoing of T. E. Lawrence and he spent the rest of his life in guilt, trying to escape his fame, changing his name, reluctant to accept profits from his memoirs and wondering if the adventure had been worth it.
Lawrence has been the finest and most memorable film I have ever seen
even edging out such classics as Gone with the Wind, Gandhi,Raging
Bull, Unforgiven and Dances with Wolves. Firstly-in my opinion David
Lean was the greatest film director of all time. He had a superb true
story,fantastic locations,a great cameraman, a totally mesmerising
score and a PERFECT cast. The movie had everything except humour which
was not suitable. I shed more tears in THIS movie than almost any other
at the way Lawrence was used and abused(literally in one episode)for
the interests? of the British and French but certainly not for the
Arabs and the future of the Middle East. There were more individual
memorable and moving scenes in Lawrence than I can remember in any
other. The one where Daud died in a quicksand was truly heartbreaking.
I have seen Lawrence four times and I would watch it again!
From this film's startling beginning right through to its end, this
film is a genuine masterpiece and the greatest film I have ever seen.
It is stunning, beautiful, breathtaking, stupendous, brilliant, awesomely made and incomparable with almost anything that has gone before or after. The film follows the World War One escapades of the eponymous Lawrence as he fights for the Arabs, and struggles across miles of desert.
There are so many people to be credited for the brilliance of this film, the film that is Steven Spielberg's favourite film of all time. Peter O'Toole's performance is incredible. He brings a mixture of arrogance, humanity and terrifying insanity to his performance. He is brilliantly supported by all of the cast but chiefly by Guinness, Quinn, Sharif and Quayle, who all produce performances of fantastic calibre.
There is also Robert Bolt and Michael Wilson who produced a fantastic script which create so many layers for the enigmatic central layers. Then there is F.A. Young's spectacular cinematography, which is quite probably the most beautiful that has ever been produced. There is also Maurice Jarre's brilliantly memorable score with one of the most famous themes that has ever been composed.
But the one person who is to be acclaimed the most for this wondrous achievement is the director, David Lean. His control of this fantastic picture is outstanding and his resultant creation is unbelievable.
A true achievement, spectacular and a must see, Lawrence of Arabia will blow you away.
Along with "The Third Man" and "Lost in Translation", this is my
all-time favorite movie. "Lawrence" is one of those movies that is
ageless, in another word, gets better with each viewing. The film is
simply amazing, that holds few shortcomings. It has amazing shots of
the "clean" desert, Dirction by David Lean (whose known for his scale
in directing), great performances, and most of all, one of the best of
scripts all time (were talking about a script that stands next to
Casablanca's in greatness).
This movie is understated, and I am especially appalled that this movie is #28 on the "IMDB top 250" (especially considering that it ranked # 5 in AFI's top 100 movies). This is THE epic, and in saying that, also one of the best movies of all time.
I saw the Restoration version of "Lawrence of Arabia" in 1989 at a
local big screen theatre in surround sound. It was a thrilling
experience that I will always cherish. I made the 9 mile walk home that
night, beginning after midnight, and I felt as though I had been to
Arabia on some dream-like cloud. I walked on air all the way home.
The greatest film of all time hardly needs more words from me, but this film should be owned and seen on a regular basis just so as to remind one's self what great cinematic movie-making is all about.
Sir David Lean's effort was not wasted. This WWI history was brilliantly told and the equal of it will never be seen again! This film was greater in scope and cinematography than "Bridge on the River Kwai." I wonder why filmmakers of today do not set their standards higher so they can produce decent works of art. Perhaps they know they cannot achieve such a high standard for themselves so they just give up and produce worthless drivel that no one wants to see.
It's a shame but perhaps one day soon something will happen to revive the mystique of the past in movie making. We can only hope it will happen and it cannot be too soon.
I should probably throw on a pair of asbestos overalls if I plan to
insult the classics. It just needs to be said that the old movies are
I tried liking the Manchurian Candidate, but it didn't get my heart racing. Citizen Kane almost put me to sleep. Even some of the newer "must-sees" like Marathon Man were less than appealing.
But finally, I can give an solid 8 out of 10 to a classic movie. While Lawrence's running time has put a dent in my free time, I can honestly say that the adventurous story was well worth watching. There were grand scenes and great fights. While melodramatic in some parts, most of the acting was good.
Lawrence of Arabia is the best classic I've watched so far. I recommend it to anyone who's a fan of the epic adventure movies.
Majestic isn't a term I would apply to many films, but "Lawrence of Arabia" deserves it. So brilliant on so many levels, acting, screenplay, photography, costume design, set decoration and above all direction. David Lean is by far my favorite director and his influence can be seen in countless other films. Peter O'Toole is by far my favorite actor and this is probably his greatest performance, although The Ruling Class is equally stunning. If you would like some insight into the huge mess in the Middle East, this is one film you must watch. Martin Scorsese commented that "Lawrence" could never be made today. I agree but for different reasons. I do not think there is any director alive today who has the insight, the patience or the work ethic that was needed to make "Lawrence" Devoting millions of dollars to an intelligent historic epic would also be something that today's movie makers would never venture into. David Lean was one of the last of a dying breed of precise filmmakers (Kubrick being the other) that went to any lengths and expense to get just the right shot.
I have to be honest i see this movie because Steven Spielberg always
says that this movie is "the best movie i never gonna make" so i decide
to buy the special edition DVD and see it.
What a great surprise come when i see it:
First the cast: Peter o'toole was simply AWESOME (why in the hell they don't give it the Oscar?!?)Omar sheriff was incredible in this part,Alec Guinness like always was really really great and finally but no last Anthony Quinn unforgettable in that amazing characterization.
Second The direction:David lean construct a one in a life piece of cinematography the view,the look,the photography,the music,the acting,the dialog,all in that movie that come together in one unique piece.
Third The music:Maurice Jarre piece of music is simply unforgettable all the tracks are simply a masterpiece and are without of doubt part essential of the movie.
I say it before and i say it now They don't make movies like this...and PLEASE don't try to do it.
Everything about this film is bold, clean, striking, vivid -- most
apparent in the magnificent visuals. The landscape might as well have
been Mars. Desert scenes convey a wonderful sense of sterile beauty,
pristine and natural: blowing sands, the sun, the sky, and not much
else, uncluttered by modern techno-jumble that renders cities ugly by
comparison. The presence of a few humans on camels magnifies the
grandeur of this spiritual place.
So spectacular are the desert scenes, they almost swallow up the story, about an eccentric, quirky Englishman named T.E. Lawrence (Peter O'Toole), on a mission to help Arab tribes come together against the Turks in the early part of the twentieth century. Although not entirely factual, the film at least offers viewers a sense of real-life historical figures including not only Lawrence but also Prince Feisal (Alec Guinness), among others. All of the major characters are interesting in their own ways. All convey a sense of intelligence and enlightened vision, even as their cultural or socioeconomic backgrounds clash.
The script's dialogue is rendered potent due to its sparseness. Visuals carry the story effectively; minimal dialogue needed. And when it is present, it's sharp, crisp, striking. At one point a character asks Lawrence: "What is it ... that attracts you personally to the desert?" To which Lawrence responds in two words: "It's clean." Yes indeed. And so is the film's plot: simple, straightforward, bold, uncluttered.
Costumes and prod design are detailed. The score is pleasantly haunting, though it does get repeated a bit too often. Casting and acting are acceptable. I especially liked the camels; they are fun to observe. Color cinematography is brilliant, especially outdoors. The use of day-for-night camera filters is obvious in some scenes, giving the production an antiquated look, at times.
My major complaint is the runtime. I could have wished for a shorter film by about one hour. Some scenes are not really necessary; other scenes could have been shortened, all without losing character development or status as epic. It's a serious problem for this film, in that the resulting impression is one of pretension. I have no doubt that Lawrence and his Arab adventures are film worthy. But his story is hardly so earth-shaking as to merit nearly four hours, complete with "Intermission."
"Lawrence Of Arabia" was much better than I had expected, owing mostly to the visual grandeur. It's a very well put-together film, runtime notwithstanding. The film gives us historical and cultural perspective, and does so in a way that makes the desert landscape as much a character as the film's protagonist.
While this past weekend has seen the launch of the latest James Bond
movie, Skyfall, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the first James
Bond movie, this fall marks the 50th anniversary of the premiere of
David Lean's Lawrence of Arabia, a winner of seven 1962 Academy Awards,
including Best Picture.
Today I went to a local Cineplex theatre to watch the 2012 50th anniversary digitally remastered version; it had to be digitally remastered to be compatible with today's projection equipment. This was exposed when they had technical difficulties starting the second half.
Aside from its awards for film mastery it is unique in that there is a 15-minute intermission after a couple of hours. There are five to ten minute musical preludes to each half of the production. At 222 minutes it is only a couple of minutes longer than Gone With The Wind and the longest movie to win a Best Picture Oscar.
From the time I first saw it in early 1963 at the then multi-hundred seat Carlton Theatre in Toronto (next to the old Maple Leaf Gardens) it remains in my memory as the best film production I have seen over time. The amazing Super Panavision 70 cinematography, Maurice Jarré's symphonic musical accompaniment and the overall sound established new performance standards. More surprisingly is that, even today, the script is not out-dated, with its philosophical musings, innuendos and double entendres. The plot, covering and exposing the complexities and emotions of the constantly challenged soldier is still gripping and keeps you on the edge throughout (I have now seen it five or six times over the years).
The scenes of Arab tribal armies on the move are epic for their coverage of hundreds of riders thundering through each such scene. With its desert panoramas and these scenes of undisciplined herds of camel and horseback riders, it is really best seen on the large screen. It was perhaps the first movie to show the full advantage of, what was then, relatively new wide screen 70 mm film technology. The sound and music is still ringing in my ears hours later. To absorb it totally on even the best of today's home theatre systems would be a challenge .
For all the video and sound technology available today, Lawrence of Arabia established a new movie theatre experience that is only mildly embellished by today's technology.
Bottom line: Lawrence of Arabia remains an epic and one of the greatest films ever produced, withstanding the test of time. Read the Wikipedia entry for more background and recognitions.
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