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This film features some of the best cinematography ever done, you really get the feeling for the vast expanse of the landscape, the heat of the desert. The scene where Lawrence returns from the desert, slowly appearing, first only as a speck, in the boiling air - brilliant and not a second too long. And you can't beat hundreds of extras running and riding through giant sets. (btw, there are some blue-screen shots with o'Toole and Sharif on camel-back, those don't ring true) Peter O'Toole is amazing, but I have to disagree about many of the other roles - OK, it was a different time, but some of the performances were plain cheesy or over-the-top, even Olivier and Sharif. Also, while I'm skeptical about today's PC-brainwashed stories, the different factions were presented in a very one-dimensional way, the running time would have allowed for more nuanced characters. Not a film I'd watch very often, but definitely worth the money if you can catch it on a big screen, preferably a 70mm copy. Look for those detailed sets with the tiny mosaic and wood inlay works, or the wide-angle landscape shots! Amazing ...
Few films have gained the praise that David Lean's "Lawrence Of Arabia"
has. Followed by a both immense critical and commercial success, it is
acclaimed as one of the greatest cinematic achievements ever made, in
which almost every artistic aspect of it is considered an archetype of
great film-making. Starring Peter O'Toole as the title character, it
also boasts a lot of great supporting roles, from Alec Guinness to
A well-educated but rebellious at heart British officer, Lawrence, is sent in the Arab desert during World War I to fight against the Turks, who were attempting to gain Arabia for themselves. In the desert and in the wars he faces he with guilt finds to be attracted to them. In the course of the movie, Lawrence is able with an army supplied by Prince Faisal (Alec Guinness) and with the aid of Auda Abu Tayi (Anthony Quinn) to reach the city of Aqaba, and seize it, and after that he starts a massive assault campaign against the Turks, that will lead him to conquer Damascus as well. In the process, Lawrence's identity remains a mystery, in the sense that neither his true motives nor a solid identity can be pictured.
Perhaps the greatest of David Lean films, "Lawrence Of Arabia" is an Epic at its most perfectly formulaic. The exotic setting of the desert, the gorgeous cinematography by Freddie Young, the majestically memorable score by Maurice Jarre, and of course the long winded narrative that results nearly in a four hour movie are all contributing elements to this towering cinematic monster. What maybe robs it of being a perfect achievement is its length, surely an inaccessible one for the average audience, who would need a good lot of will to watch the whole thing. Nevertheless, it's an effort that is extremely worth those four hours.
The film won 7 Oscars, including Best Director, Picture, Cinematography, Score, Art Direction, Sound, and Editing. Only by looking at these awards is it really credible to say this film is a technically and artistically relevant movie, that will haunt you for the rest of your days for its beautiful images and its complex but epic storyline.
Unless a Billionaire offers to spend $ 1,000,000,000 to let Paul Thomas
Anderson to make an epic - you will never see another film like this
Elegantly filmed, an excellent Drama and with Cinematography next to none - this is the Epic of Epics.
I saw L of A when it first came out at one of those theaters that had the curved screens and I was seated in the middle of the front row. I thought I was going to die of thirst from being trapped in the middle of the desert for over 3 hours.
A story of the scope of an Idealist and Courageous young man who paid a terrible price to free the Arabs from the Ottoman Turks only to see France and Britain put their interests ahead of all others at the end of World War I.
Widely considered one of the greatest and most influential films in the
history of cinema, 'Laurence of Arabia' is indeed A True Epic! Its an
astonishing motion-picture, that in many ways, gave a new life to
'Laurence of Arabia' Synopsis: Epic rumination on a flamboyant and controversial British military figure and his conflicted loyalties during wartime service.
'Laurence of Arabia' astonished me by its riveting storytelling. Robert Bolt & Michael Wilson's Screenplay salutes T. E. Lawrence's brave & emotional journey. The Screenplay is utterly captivating! David Lean's Direction is outstanding! Cinematography is stunning. Editing is perfect. Art & Costume Design, are superb.
Performance-Wise: Peter O'Toole is Magnificent as T. E. Lawrence. The Godly Actor delivers one of the finest performances of his career. Its a performance, that can be ranked as the best from the 1960's! Alec Guinness as Prince Faisal, is flawless. Omar Sharif as Sheriff Ali, is excellent & stands out. Anthony Quinn as Auda Abu Tayi, is fantastic, as always. Jack Hawkins as General Allenby, does very well. Anthony Quayle as Colonel Harry Brighton, is impressive. I. S. Johar is good.
On the whole, 'Laurence of Arabia' is indeed A Cinematic Masterstorke! A True Epic! Highly Recommended!
*** 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.
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