Lawrence Of Arabia (1962)

DAVID LEAN

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBBBUnited Kingdom, 1962Horizon Pictures.  Screenplay by , , based on the writings of .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  Academy Awards 1962.  Golden Globe Awards 1962.  

Omar Sharif and Peter O’Toole in Lawrence of Arabia. Both actors were nominated for Oscars for their performances.

This is not just a movie, it’s THE movie:  David Lean’s epic masterpiece first arrived on screen in 1962, but it seems ageless even now after so many years.  Peter O’Toole makes a fantastic film debut as T.E. Lawrence, a bored cartographer for the British Army in World War One who gets the assignment of a lifetime when he is asked to observe Arab military movement in Saudi Arabia. From the moment he gets into the desert he is taken over by his fascination with the very strange and exotic culture that surrounds him, and ends up being of some assistance to both his new friends and the British back home when he decides to participate in a major battle.  Omar Sharif is also brilliant as Lawrence’s best friend, whose intimacy with him under Lean’s direction is intense to the point of being practically erotic. Recently restored to its original near-four hour length (the original was cut due to economic reasons, and for the sequence of Lawrence being sexually assaulted in a Turkish prison that was thought too risque), this film boasts a giant cast, thrilling battle sequences, and probably the best feature film photography ever seen (the beautiful vistas of the desert are simply incomparable to anything else ever seen on the big screen). It’s also a giant epic film with a whole lot of intelligence, a brainier entertainment than all the junky giants like Ben-Hur and The Robe that audiences had been putting up with for more than a decade. Also stars Arthur Kennedy, Claude Rains and a very convincing Alec Guinness as an Arabian prince.

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