Lawrence of Arabia

"Truly, for some men nothing is written until THEY write it." Sherif Ali

"Truly, for some men nothing is written until THEY write it." Sherif Ali

☆ Masterpiece 

Lawrence of Arabia (1962) is an epic film that takes a journey of heroic proportions.

Directed by Sir David Lean.

Starring Peter O'Toole, Omar Sharif, Sir Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn among many others.

Lawrence of Arabia is a visceral experience for audience members. Lean's epic goes beyond a typical biographical, historical or even an action movie. It takes you deep inside a historical figures soul. If you watch it carefully David's directing along with Peter's performance bring out the hidden soul of a man amidst his surroundings and his dazzling adventures. O'Toole's subtly brings out his characters subtext and the mental and emotional conflicts they bring him. The actor Lee Marvin said he only did roles where the character had an inner conflict going on that was opposite his actions. Lean and Peter masterfully bring out the sadomasochistic, homosexual and dislike of authority that Lawrence as a military officer had to cope with as an officer in the British armed forces.

David has said he filmed the movie from left to right to emphasize that the film was taking a journey. I wonder if David had been brought up in a Middle Eastern culture would he have filmed it right to left or in an Asian culture up and down. It's not meant to be a funny observation. We look at the world from our color lenses that were shaped by our cultural morals, ideological training, philosophical education and our religious upbringing. In any event Lean's filming technique works its magic on our subconscious understanding of moving forward.

Peter is one of my favorite actors, because he has such an odd speech pattern that is both darkly humorous and bitingly insolent and a physically unbalanced movement that is similar to a funny, drunken man being asked to walk a straight line during a sobriety test. O'Toole used these personal traits to create a charismatic, enigmatic, fearless, resourceful and utterly captivatingly flawed human being.

Special mention goes to F.A. Young's cinematography that is unforgettable and the two film restorers Robert A. Harris and Jim Painten. Robert and Jim found and saved from Columbia's film vaults the only known 70MM negative print of the entire film, including the extra 35 minutes that distributors had cut from the films theatrical release.

In the scene below you can clearly see a bond between Peter and Omar. In a recent interview Sharif stated that O'Toole nick named him Freddie and has been calling him Freddie since the first day they met on the set. This scene is one of my favorites in the film because of its simplicity and the underlining subtext between O'Toole and Sharif.


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Trivia - David Lean filmed all the movement of the film from left to right to empathize that the film was on a journey.


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