Having pulled off the smallest ever train robbery, Little Walter and his crew decide to get out of London. The six of them set up business in a disused monastery off the Cornish coast, ... See full summary »
When Germany invades Holland in 1940, a British intelligence officer and two Dutch diamond merchants go to Amsterdam to persuade the Dutch diamond merchants to evacuate their diamond supplies to England.
A woman is found murdered in a house along the coast from Brighton. Local detectives Fellows and Wilks lead an investigation methodically following up leads and clues mostly in Brighton and... See full summary »
Henry Hobson (Charles Laughton) is a successful bootmaker, a widower and a tyrannical father of three daughters. The girls each want to leave their father by getting married, but Henry refuses because marriage traditions require him to pay out settlements.
Brenda de Banzie
Esther (Kathleen Ryan) goes into service in Victorian England, only to be seduced by the sweet talking groom William (Sir Dirk Bogarde), who then takes off with his employer's daughter. ... See full summary »
Anthology movie about three owners of a yellow Rolls-Royce. A British diplomat buys the car for his French wife. A mobster's girlfriend has an affair in Italy. An American woman drives a Yugoslavian partisan to Ljubljana on the eve of the Nazi invasion.
A ship's captain is promoted by his company from tramp steamers to their flagship passenger liner. Although he is a thoroughly competent sailor ready to take charge of such a ship, he is ... See full summary »
Italian actress Anna Maria Sandri's English was so poor that her dialogue had to be completely dubbed by Nanette Newman, wife of the film's screenwriter, Bryan Forbes. Forbes himself played a dying enemy soldier, a role that took three days to shoot, but the footage ended up on the cutting room floor See more »
The road where the ambush takes place is clearly a post-war build, having asphalt and neat chicane. See more »
Lawrence of Libya, or love among the ruins between Tobruk and El Alamein
Brian Desmond Hurst made many great films but was not much of a director. He often took care of immensely great and interesting stories with great action and fascinating intrigue and had a knack for getting outstanding music to them as well, but his films are annoyingly impersonal, as if he didn't care about the actors but just focused on getting it all done and the story told. This is one of those films, typical of him, telling a great story, featuring characters of considerable interest, but coming out with only a very conventional and almost expressionless product. He just couldn't dramatize.
There are many other assets to this film, though, like the photography with the epic and extremely romantic environment, the most romantic scenes taking place in the ruins of an ancient amphitheatre, the most spectacular part of the film, and dwelling long on a very comprehensive Libyan wedding among the bedouins. We don't have many films from Libya, this is from long before the days of Khadaffi and Isis and all that jazz, and what you are shown is a paradise among the bedouins in the shadow of the dramatic turnings of the second world war by Tobruk and El Alamein.
What especially lifts this film is the splendid music by William Alwyn adding another dimension of colours to the already resplendently colourful film, enhancing especially the romantic scenes with that extra touch which the actors and dialogue are not able to provide.
The script is by Bryan Forbes together with the author of the novel, Robin Maugham, and there is nothing wrong with the script, the saga being so humanly interesting as it is, but such a tale could have been made so much more of. It's the stuff of Lawrence of Arabia, Rudolf Valentino's sheiks and even of Charlton Heston's Moses in the desert.
Of course you come to think of Hurst's other films, like "Dangerous Moonlight" (with the Warsaw Concerto), "Simba" (of Mau-Mau in Kenya), the Malta Story with Alec Guinness, Hungry Hill and The Lion has Wings, and they all suffer from the same thing: great stories, but crippled by lack of flesh to the bones, as if the director thought the actors were of secondary importance to the epic.
Nevertheless, it's definitely worth giving a chance, for its exotic settings, its great story (with a surprisingly apt end), its splendidly coloured desert environments, its romance among the ruins, and its very vivid music, the most alive part of the film.
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