Best Picture # 35 and my 300th Review
Directed by: David Lean
Starring: Peter O'Toole, Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn, Jack Hawkins and Omar Sherif.
Both an epic journey and a biography. It can be analysed in any fashion, so long as the main goal is reached. This is a story of a British soldier named T.E. Lawrence whom was to aid his country in joining forces with a select few of arab to overthrow the power of the Turkish army. However, it was a task that even the mightiest of warriors would not dare take under their agenda.
The conventions are broken. Peter O'Toole, as the famous Lawrence of Arabia, brings flamboyance, elegance, beauty, intelligence and crazy charm to his character. You never know if the man is sane or insane. But the movies does more than give a plot about a man helping to conquer enemy lines, the movie seems to be more about the man, than the man. There were times I would pause the film to search up some details about Sir Lawrence, one of which being the question "Was he homosexual?". I wouldn't be surprised if another would, for his mannerisms on screen were quite evident to reach such a conclusion. Some say he was, and some say he beleived that homosecuality was not morally wrong, but distasteful. Overall, it is quite fascinating if it all would be true. We are so used to our modern day heroes and their epic adventures, such qualities from this character would be unheard of and surely impossible. But, it happened, and there is nothing to change that.
As a film student of modern cinema, I am bombarded with digital production. It has made for production to work faster and more efficient. Why else would studios announce a movie to be released next year so quickly? Both good and bad. I mostly miss movies that would take a good two years to make, including development. It's rare to see ambition in cinema anymore. Lawrence of Arabia was an ambitious creation. A director whose plan was to film in the desert with no female characters, unknown actors (a rarity these days too), all to bring imagination to life. It is a dream for David Lean to give us. But also, we shouldn't forget the magnificent visual spectacle given to us by Freddie Young, as he utilized Panavision 70 mm framework to capture the beauty of not just the desert, but the title character. Still 70 mm film, and if you want a perfect example of what it looks like, well, they are still showing The Master aren't they? What's stopping you?
The landscape is beautiful. The story is beautiful. T.E. Lawrence is beautiful. No matter how small the media window used to view such a film, it was impossible not to notice O'Toole's blue eyes, even at night. This my friends, is excellent filmmaking. Talents that are taken for granted for greener pastures. The striking visuals, dramatic music, literate screenplay and superb performance by Peter O'Toole have all been common points of acclaim and the film as a whole is widely considered one of the greatest films ever made. Surprise he never won Best Actor, even though the film won where it needed to win.
It is said that a well written script has an opening image and a final image. Both have to be different once the movie ends. If it begins sad, it should end with happiness or vice versa, but a happy ending is the most requested. The movie opens with a man riding his motorcycle across country of England, and the rider suffers an accident that takes his life. It is Sir Lawrence, the movie continues with his biography and ends with the man returning home, in a car, driven by a soldier, where it ends. Which would you believe to be the most effective? Take it however you wish, it's still taboo to kill off the lead role early in, but if done well, no one will care, but talk will be created. Why else would be impossible for a fan to simply explain how they feel about this movie? It is effective execution. Regardless, it created careers and has been a masterpiece for fifty years, and I expect it to be such for the next fifty years.
Overall, it inspires.
Written by: Bawnian©-Dexeus