War hero turned villain George Martin escapes from prison, but he is handcuffed to a naive young crook Willie Stannard. After using a clever plan to obtain railway tickets, and with the ... See full summary »
John Lewis is bored by his librarian's job and henpecked at home. Then Liz, wife of a local counciller, sets her sights on him. But this is risky stuff in a Welsh valleys town - if he and ... See full summary »
Mr. Gray is the new Resident in Charge of the Welcome Islands in the Indian Ocean. The Islands are full of life, but the only other Europeans are the "sanctimonious, psalm-singing" ... See full summary »
Jack Read, a working-class boy, wins a scholarship to a public school as part of a post-World War II experiment in bringing boys of different social classes together. He meets much snobbery... See full summary »
Accident-prone Fingers runs a pretty unsuccessful gang. They try and rob wealthy but tricky Billy Gordon - who distrusts banks and fears the Inland Revenue - but he sees Fingers and the ... See full summary »
Brenda de Banzie
A vicious gang of crooks plan to steal the wages of a local factory, but their carefully laid plans go wrong, when the factory employs an armoured van to carry the cash. The gang still go ... See full summary »
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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