Lawrence of Arabia Movie Review :
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What a bold, mad act of genius it was, to make “Lawrence of Arabia,” or even think that it could be made. In the words years later of one of its stars, Omar Sharif: “If you are the man with the money and somebody comes to you and says he wants to make a film that’s four hours long, with no stars, and no women, and no love story, and not much action either, and he wants to spend a huge amount of money to go film it in the desert–what would you say?”
The impulse to make this movie was based, above all, on imagination. The story of “Lawrence” is not founded on violent battle scenes or cheap melodrama, but on David Lean’s ability to imagine what it would look like to see a speck appear on the horizon of the desert, and slowly grow into a human being. He had to know how that would feel before he could convince himself that the project had a chance of being successful.
There is a moment in the film when the hero, the British eccentric soldier and author T.E. Lawrence, has survived a suicidal trek across the desert and is within reach of shelter and water–and he turns around and goes back, to find a friend who has fallen behind. This sequence builds up to the shot in which the shimmering heat of the desert reluctantly yields the speck that becomes a man–a shot that is held for a long time before we can even begin to see the tiny figure. On television, this shot doesn’t work at all–nothing can be seen. In a movie theater, looking at the stark clarity of a 70mm print, we lean forward and strain to bring a detail out of the waves of heat, and for a moment we experience some of the actual vastness of the desert, and its unforgiving harshness.
An epic about British officer T.E. Lawrence’s mission to aid the Arab tribes in their revolt against the Ottoman Empire during the First World War. Lawrence becomes a flamboyant, messianic figure in the cause of Arab unity but his psychological instability threatens to undermine his achievements.
Lawrence is a young maladjusted lieutenant in the British Army in North Africa during World War One. Unhappy with his current assignment coloring maps, he is ecstatic when he is offered a job as an observer in what is now Arabia. From there the story of his life becomes the stuff that legends are made of. David Lean’s magnificent and sensual 1962 epic is back at London’s BFI Southbank in a 70mm print. Robert Bolt and Michael Wilson’s terrifically bold adaptation of TE Lawrence‘s Seven Pillars of Wisdom is a movie with all the sweep and antique confidence of a cavalry charge.