Due to his knowledge of the native Bedouin tribes, British Lieutenant T.E. Lawrence is sent to Arabia to find Prince Faisal and serve as a liaison between the Arabs and the British in their fight against the Turks. With the aid of native Sherif Ali, Lawrence rebels against the orders of his superior officer and strikes out on a daring camel journey across the harsh desert to attack a well-guarded Turkish port.Written by
Because filming was not possible in the complete darkness of night, the night scenes were filmed during the day with light filters on the lenses. This is also the reason there are shadows from the camels during the night scenes. See more »
Lawrence was the second of Sir Thomas Chapman's five sons, but he leads Ali to believe that he will never inherit his father's title, despite being his "eldest" son, because he is illegitimate. See more »
When Robert A. Harris took on the task of restoring Lawrence of Arabia in 1987, his aim was to restore the film to its original 222 minutes length that premiered before Queen Elizabeth II in London on 10 December 1962. Initially he gradually found all the missing pieces including the famous "goggle" shot and the newly created (in 1962) Columbia logo shot. Harris' idea was to return this to the missing film, despite the fact that David Lean ordered that it be removed from the original film in January 1963 because he preferred the "sparkling" Columbia logo. All the 202 minutes version of the film (which commenced at The Metropole Theatre in February 1963) had the "sparkling" Columbia logo. David Lean eventually got involved in the restoration process with Robert Harris and the two men worked together to get Lawrence back to its 222 minutes original cut. Then Lean decided that he would make some trims. In the scene in the second half where General Allenby entices Lawrence back to Arabia part of that scene is cut by a few seconds. Where Allenby says to Lawrence: "You're the most extraordinary man I've ever met" Lawrence replies: I'm extraordinary, I'm extraordinary, what of it." Lean decided to cut the second "I'm extraordinary" out. He did this also with many other scenes and brought the original running time of 222 minutes down to 216 minutes, not including the overture, entr'acte music and play out music. See more »
I first watched "Lawrence of Arabia" when I was about 11 years old. Being a big fan of Steven Spielberg at that time, I was sort of awed by the fact that this was his personal favorite (check the "conversation with Steven Spielberg" featurette in the special features disk and you'll really see Spielberg's affection for that film)
Over the years, Lawrence remained among my DVD collection, and I can't say I actually watched it since that first time, when, by the way, I didn't really like it. But "time does things to movies", and when I watched it again last year, I found my eyes to be weeping at the end. It instantly became one of my favorite movies.
Since then I learned a lot about the history of cinema, and I also learned a great deal about the movies of Sir David Lean. I found my self watching films like "Brief Encounter", "The Bridge on the River Kwai", "Doctor Zhivago", "Ryan's Daughter", and the underrated, "A passage to India". Lean became one of my favorite directors, and, just a few months ago, I decided to watch Lawrence with some friends. Although I had seen it a couple of times before, this time it was a different experience altogether: from the starting credits, to the blowing of the match, the crossing of the Nefud dessert, finding Gassim and bringing him back to the camp, the invasion of Aqaba, his torture and rape (?), Lawrence's laugh after the slap by the "outrageaous" guy, his being left alone, to the final gaze to the motorcycle. I sensed something when I watched that film, which leaves my with the undoubted feeling that "Lawrence of Arabia" is the greatest film ever made. For me, this is it. Ever since '62, it's been a downfall. No other film has managed to reach Lawrence in its poetic greatness. Few do come very close (Vertigo for instance).
If we are to classify the two complete different cinematic styles, it would be those of Hitchcock and Ford. Hitch was a very "confined" director. He captured his movies from the point of view of one character. His movies took place, most of the time, in closed spaces. In a sense, Hitchcock's films were a journey in people's emotions and a study in people's characters. On the other hand, Ford was an open director. He wasn't confined to one character, or one location, his films where actual journeys. His basis was mostly on theme, and his main ability was to amaze with his imagery. Thus, these are the two different shooting styles....Well, Lean combines both.
Which is basically why his best film, Lawrence, is the best film of all times. But not only in terms of style. Also, in terms of content. The intelligent script written by Robert Bolt, the powerhouse performances by O'Toole and Shariff (a shame they didn't get the statuette), but also, the ultimately heroic yet tragic figure of T.E. Lawrence, contribute in making this the most visually and emotionally sweeping film of the last 111 years.
Such a shame that Lean retired for 14 years after "Ryan's Daughter", there's no way to know where he would have gotten.
258 of 348 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this