I first saw this movie in 1994 as a freshman at BYU. The movie department on campus was showing it in the big screen the way it was meant to be shown. I saw it by myself and paid a dollar. I will never forget the experience. It was almost a spiritual experience.
Considering I could not stand any of the godfather movies I get where you are coming from.
I will have to give this a watch. I have heard about it for decades, but it always slides to the back burner.
I now have the blue ray on the way.
I am so sick of the crap that comes out of Hollywood and is on the TV. My wife and I had talked about it a few weeks ago, visiting the classics of cinema that we were never really introduced into.
So, thank you Para. This, I think will be an excellent introduction into good theater.
Interesting question. Also consider that Ali walked into Deraa with Lawrence and saw how that, as well as Lawrence's meeting with Allenby afterward, changed Lawrence. And also how Ali's relationship with Lawrence changed Ali, from a tribal leader to a "politician"; he saw how Lawrence accomplished things through sheer force of will. They both wanted better things for the Arabs, but didn't understand that the Arabs didn't want to change from tribal peoples to democratic peoples. And they learned this the hard way.
I've loved movies since I first saw Star Wars at age 11, but this movie, along with Zhivago, Schindler's List, Ghandi, The Godfather movies, and Wyatt Earp, have given me a much greater appreciation of the craft of moviemaking, and a love of epics. For one director to have made two such masterpieces is an amazing feat.
I first saw Lawrence of Arabia in a theater, and it was as great as you might imagine.
Phone's ringing, Dude.
Regarding The Godfather- this is my favorite film, but, Lawrence of Arabia is a greater film, a finer film. It represents the best of the craft of filmmaking.
The Godfather is a more "accessible" movie. Lawrence of Arabia, because of the plot's complexity, can be somewhat off-putting for non-film buffs.
para... a tidbit you might find of interest...
When I was much younger and was making an attempt at screenwriting, I was living in Chapel Hill, and had the good fortune of access to the UNC library. They had a good section of film scripts. I saw and studied copies of a number of great ones, including The Godfather, and, to the point here, Lawrence of Arabia. I was especially taken by LOA because the screenplay (as screenplays do) had all sorts of notes and directives. It was a revelation because it told me things about the dialog and mannerisms and actions that were expressly British and would not be apparent to an American. It made my next viewing decidedly richer.
Oh, and those marvelous bookshops on Franklin Street. I wonder if they're still there.
|Rumors of my death|
are greatly exaggerated
An excellent film. We went to the theater to watch it on the big screen, which included an intermission. I would do that again. You can't say that about any of the films out there these days.
"Someday I hope to be half the man my bird-dog thinks I am."
Yeah, a friend of mine ran one of them. A used- book store called "Nice Price Books." Good merchandise, good prices. I bought a lot of books there. This was in the mid-eighties. He was from Texas, wore cowboy boots all the time, and liked to shoot large caliber pistols. Not your typical book store owner.
|Edge seeking |
I was fortunate to see LOA first run at a theater as a young boy. It is one of my favorite movies and Peter O’toole one of my favorite actors. Lean is also a favorite director because of Doctor Zhivago.
So many powerful scenes in LOA, the attack on Aqaba, the revenge slaughter of Ottoman soldiers. But the one that always stands out is the attack on the train when Lawrence gets blood lust, and then shrugs off a bullet. Then the chief is done fighting when he gets the horse as his prize.
I saw Lawrence of Arabia in a theater in Nouakchott, the capital of Mauritania, in 1966 or 67. I was a Peace Corps volunteer one of just twelve who were the first group of PCV's to go to Mauritania.
The audience, needless to say, was a little biased. Almost all of them had ridden camels in the recent past.
In June 1967, Mauritania expelled all Americans and British as Egypt was claiming we were assisting the Israelis.
“We seem to be getting closer and closer to a situation where nobody is responsible for what they did but we are all responsible for what somebody else did.”--Thomas Sowell
Well, i suppose this is an unbiased review as I could have expected to give.
My parents were the type of people to watch a movie once and never see it again. As a side effect of this, I, as a kid born in the mid 70's had little exposure to these classics. Hell, as a preteen my favorite move was Singing in the rain. We watched it during indoor lunch at NPM went I lived in Alaska. It was the first time I had seen a musical. I loved it. Prior to that my favorite movie was Conan.
I started the LOA and made it about 30 minutes in. I was busy folding laundry and checking my phone. I had to stop and rewind to see some of the scenes again. While making dinner, I stopped it completely so my wife and I could watch it together. In restarting it for the third time, I caught quite a bit more of the dialogue between the characters.
This is a problem I struggle with, I lost 40 and 45% of my mid tonal hearing back in 2009/10 due to some 18 ear infections over 14 months. So, the softly spoken scenes are a struggle for me.
The camera work is an amazing use and combination of the rule of thirds.
But it is not only limited to the rule of thirds, there are specific shots he puts slightly outside of the rule of thirds to force the eye to it. In others, he takes that rule and layers the image in several sets of thirds.
For instant Lawrence coming down the dune, You have the rule of thirds for the sky, rule of thirds for Lawrence, and rule of thirds for the dune all at vastly different angles to each other. The effect drives the eye up, and back down again as Lawrence moves. I do not know if I have ever seen such a layered effect so well used.
The audio score is amazing. I have heard snippets throughout my life, but never the whole of it. I truly miss movies that have native scores like that. I can't remember a modern movie with one nearly this grand. I wish I had paid more attention to it and could comment more. I was often focused on the dialogue due to my hearing loss. I will say that the musical score alone makes this movie worth another watch.
Here we come to the hard part for me, those soft voices that detract from most movies. I have an impressive sound system, and in parts, it was a struggle to hear the voices. There are memorable moments where I caught glimpses of the wit and charm of the movie. Case in point at the beginning in the map room, the dialogue was so soft I only caught the full of it during my third playthrough. 'the trick is to not care about the pain,' (paraphrasing) 'Your mother mated with a scorpion,' 'He is a man we shall both be glad to be rid of.'
Those types of dialogue and conversations are well-acted. So well in fact that even in only hearing them faintly, the eyes, tilt of the head, or pursed lips carry the bulk of the role's acting weight. The dialogue leaves me with another reason to view it.
The actors, well, that is another interesting take. I think you could mute this movie and watch it with only the score playing as it would and still thoroughly enjoy it. There might be slight differences, but damn, if they do not convey the intent of the script in action I do not know what else they could do.
Two scenes come to mind. neither has spoken words of much import. Lawrence thinking through Aqaba at night, and Lawrence's self-recriminatory blood lust when attacking the Turkish division leading to Damas.
The verdict? I think my wife said it best when we finished. "this is what a movie should be. A trip to the cinema should be an occasion for such a film as this." We both thoroughly enjoyed the movie.
I have seen LoA twice. Once as a young man, and once as an adult. My mother made it a point to expose my brother and I to important films when we were young, and I am thankful for it, but I certainly didn't understand the scale and grandeur of what I was seeing at that time. When I watched it again, I was, of course, thoroughly impressed, and will hold the film in high regard for the rest of my life and recommend that other people see it whenever it is relevant to do so. One takeaway that my wife and I both agree on is the scene where his rape is implied is, how should I put it, jarring. I could have done without it. Either the movie truly loses steam after that scene, or that scene is off-putting enough that the rest of the movie is affected; whatever the case, the movie at that point and beyond is not as excellent as the entire preceding portion, in my opinion. I don't think that scene added anything of value to the film, and if it was really that important, historically, to include it, I think they could have done it better somehow. Anyone else have any thoughts/opinions on that, or information/knowledge to share regarding that aspect of the film?
Why? Do you imagine yourself up there on the screen, on the receiving end?
That scene has undertones to it which are important to the understanding of the central character. Furthermore, if nothing else, the scene allows us to see the great actor Jose Ferrer in yet another great performance. Do you want to see a master in the craft of acting? Seek out the 1950 version of Cyrano de Bergerac. In that film, Ferrer becomes cinema. Flawless.
I would change nothing about LOA, not one single frame. In all the exceptional things about this film, there's one I think anyone who has seen the film and then later recalls seeing it, experiences, yet fails to realize until it is pointed out. As Martin Scorsese points out, no one remembers the ending of this film. The film just sort of fades away in one's memory. There is much to be said for memorable endings to films and there are some great endings out there. Sometimes, though, that's all the film has- a great ending. The greatness of LOA comes not from a wow-I-didn't-expect-that ending. The greatness of the film is the film in its entirety, including scenes which some may not understand or deem important to the story. I won't second-guess David Lean, not after what he has given us.
The scene in the desert- Lawrence and his guide- the guide inquires about Lawrence's native country and asks if it is a desert land. No, says Lawrence, it's very green, populated by very fat people.
"You are not fat," says the guide.
"No," says Lawrence. "I'm different."
The ending I thought was poignant. He shakes the hand of the man who slapped him at the hospital tying back to the beginning conversations after the funeral.
The last bit though as he is driven in the car, he sees his guard. the men, the murderers, and thieves he had paid for as guards, ride back into the desert.
In his English clothes none recognize him, none hail him. It is a rebuke that his image to them is that of war, leading through adversity and plunder. As such things do, its time had ended. That end also finishes his usefulness to the tribes, it is the end of a co-dependency.
As for the prison scene, It reminds me of the Oyster scene in Sparticus. Some find that a little over the top. It does not bother me. To the Turks, and even in modern-day Afghanistan and Iraq there is a well know and publicized pederasty movement. It makes the depiction of the prison scene that much more realistic. When you add in Lawrence's flamboyant nature in the film. Twirling in the clothes. Posing for photos, the waving of the arms. The Turkish general picks up on that, in a very acute way with the scene where he stares at the eyes of each of the prisoners brought before him.
Sad to report, there's now only one bookshop left on Franklin, Epilogue Books. The rest are only memories -since we moved here in 2007, they closed one by one.
I understand the event's importance in the man's life. I read up on him a bit, after watching the movie as an adult. I didn't read The Seven Pillars of Wisdom, but I read enough to understand him a bit more. The film isn't a biopic, and doesn't elaborate on the implications of that event, so it seemed, to me, out of sync with the preceding vibe of the film. It certainly couldn't be omitted, considering Mr. Lean's commitment to accuracy, and I understand that.
We certainly don't all appreciate the same movies, and we don't appreciate movies in the same way either. I didn't like River Kwai near as much as LoA, for example. Different strokes...
I agree that Mr. Ferrer is an accomplished actor, and I very much enjoyed his performance in The Caine Mutiny; the rant at the dinner party was the crown-jewel-scene of that film, IMO.
Also, as an associated recommendation... Damn the Defiant is cool Alec Guinness movie, for those that haven't seen it.
Beautiful camera work!
|Just because you can, |
doesn't mean you should
“We’ve taken Aqaba”.
Avoid buying ChiCom/CCP products whenever possible.
I thought I had a book marker from one of those shops so I went to take a look at my copy of Scott Eyman's excellent The Speed of Sound, about the film industry's transition to sound. Turns out it's not a book marker. It was a card from Simon&Schuster, the publisher of the book. This particular copy was an advanced copy for review. That was one of the appealing things about those shops on Franklin. Being right next to the university, there were lots of books like that on the shelves, and for next to nothing.
Nothing good lasts
Apology for slight derail:
We had a thread about courtroom drama movies recently. Jose Ferrer was great in The Caine Mutiny. I thought his role in LOA was impressive as well.
End of Earth: 2 Miles
Upper Peninsula: 4 Miles
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