David Lean has directed some of the best epics of all time. He set the
standards so high that most filmmakers find it almost impossible to
live up to Lean's sheer epic, cinema craftsmanship. Lawrence of Arabia
was his best. This is a chapter in the life of Captain T. E. Lawrence,
a troubled man who wasn't as comfortable with his own eccentricities
but certainly made up for them by becoming a charismatic leader of armies
that changed nations and the world. Soon he does, but the action in
which he is involved changes him. The movie is about how Lawrence grows from an idealistic young man to a
battle hardened man who discovers that he likes killing, and yet is
repulsed by it.
film describes how Lawrence was one of the principals involved in Arab
independence, and the movie is about some of the seminal moments in
the uniting of many of the Arab tribes. The movie also provides as much
imagery about Lawrence's psychology as it does about his actions, because
his psychology, from being able to put out a match with his bare fingers
to calling for the elimination of a fleeing column of Turkish troops
with the taking of no prisoners, provides insights into the complex
psyche of the person of T. E. Lawrence. He was an adventurer and a historian
who just happened to be in the right place at the right time to be useful
to, the British army who were trying to drive the Ottoman Empire from Arabia, and the warring
Arab tribes for their uprising in the desert lands.
appeal of David Lean epics has always been his ability as a director
to maintain equilibrium between the scope of his films and the characters
in them. Character development is never sacrificed to massive set pieces
or knock-your-socks-off action sequences. This film has these elements
too, but at heart it's a character study of one remarkable man. Lean
seemed to understand that impressive landscapes alone are not inherently
interesting; but if you place a fascinating character among those impressive
landscapes, you can have movie magic. Lawrence won many Oscars including
Best Picture, Best Director and Best Photography. It was Peter O'Tooles
first film and a great beginning for the career of Omar Sharif who went
on to star in David Lean's next film: Dr Zhivago.
battles are exquisitely executed. The fights are extremely well choreographed
and I admire the stamina and dedication of the hundreds of people involved
in the creation of this movie as they created this movie in desert temperatures.
Given the care that is taken with safety in modern films, I believe
this movie would be extremely difficult to film in the same way today.