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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 2.5%
Just Average: 7.5%
Pretty Crappy: 3.75%
Sucks: 5%

2 reviews, 68 user ratings

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Lawrence of Arabia
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by Slyder

"The stick to which all epics will be measured"
5 stars

Let me tell you the first time that I fully and completely saw legendary David Lean’s masterwork Lawrence of Arabia. I was overwhelmed, completely overwhelmed by the sheer beauty and intensity of it, so much that I didn’t have the words how to describe it, let alone review it. And I don’t think there will be enough words to do so… but one can try.

The film is pretty much a biography of Thomas Edward Lawrence AKA Lawrence of Arabia (Peter O’Toole), an illegitimate son of a wealthy lord whom is stationed at a British Command Center in Cairo, Egypt. Lawrence with the aid of political dog Dryden (Claude Rains) is sent to Arabia to find Prince Feisal (Alec Guinness) and enlist a front in order to fight against the Turkish Empire in World War I. Originally to protect the Suez Canal, but the fight becomes more and more about Arabia’s independence, as well as the quirky and sexually confused Lawrence’s gentle but disturbing decline into masochism and sadism, and he’s taking Sherif Ali (Omar Sharif) along with him.

The plot description from above is doesn’t tell the whole story. It’s an experience that you have to see for your own self. The only disappointment about the movie is simply the means of watching the film. What I mean is that the moviegoers experience will always be hindered due to the fact that we’re watching it on our own television screen. See, David Lean knew that this film had to be big in order to bring TV-oriented people back into the theaters, and to accomplish that, this film was shot on glorious 65-70mm camera (in fact, one of the last films to use that format), which means that in order to get the complete full experience is in a theater room in full cinemascope glory. But as the saying goes, “you take the good with the bad...” to a certain point since it’s completely utterly mandatory that you see this film on widescreen format, cause seeing it on standard is utter shit.

The restored 221 minute print is just a cinematic masterwork which laid several standards for future epics to come. Starting with the cinematography by the legendary Freddie Young depicting the most amazing landscapes ever caught on celluloid, depicting the dry but beautiful desert, with the highlights being the masterful “mirage scene” which announced the entry of Sherif Ali into the film, as well as the “Taking of Aqaba” scene, and several scenes which beautifully show the rise of dawn amidst the desert landscape. Anne V. Coates’ editing manages to cut the film concisely as well as adding additional symbolisms notably the cut in which Lawrence puts out a match and then cut to dawn as the sun slowly starts rising, an apt metaphor of Lawrence’s soon-to-be turbulent life to follow. Maurice Jarre’s score is just the stuff of legends, unquestionably one of the finest movie scores ever made.

Robert Bolt and Michael Wilson’s screenplay is also remarkable since, along with Lean’s direction, captures both the enigma as well as the personality of Lawrence and the demons that pursued him pretty much throughout all his life. The focus on Lawrence’s life as well as the ever important supporting cast of characters is important since it’s the complexities of these people that keep the film going, and its rightfully backed up by the performances of the cast themselves. Peter O’Toole, originally a stage thespian made his debut on this film and he does quite a debut. O’Toole blends himself into Lawrence in every aspect, giving probably the best performance of his career. Another making his debut was Omar Sharif, whom needless to say is perfect for the role of Sheriff Ali due to his ethnic origins as well as his complex performance of the man whom was Lawrence’s only true friend and teacher of the Arab ways. I expected myself to be a little amused by the fact that Anthony Quinn and Alec Guinness were casted in Arab parts (Lawrence’s brother-in-arms Auda Ibu Tai and Prince Feisal respectively), but both come off great in their roles, I guess part of that you have to thank the make-up department.

In the end, this film is a masterpiece. It’s one of those films that came to stay; its one of those films that you have to watch by any means possible and one that has to be seen to be believed. It’s also arguably David Lean’s the finest work in a resume full of masterpieces (Dr. Zhivago, Bridge on the River Kwai, Brief Encounter) and also the centering point in Lean’s cinematic vision, a vision which would unfortunately be hindered by excesses in his later films to come. 5-5

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=411&reviewer=235
originally posted: 10/02/04 15:55:36
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User Comments

12/04/16 Simon Brits rule! 5 stars
3/01/15 stanley welles a long, pompous, over-puffed, over-stuffed bag of sand 2 stars
10/09/10 turner greatest epic film of all time 5 stars
10/01/10 bored mom This film still pales in contrast to Lawrence's far superior book, Seven Pillars of Wisdom. 3 stars
5/13/09 Colin M Maybe I should have watched it on a big screen. Overlong, convoluted, and pretentious. 3 stars
10/19/08 heath greatest film ever 5 stars
9/16/08 joker face fucking mindblowing cinema 5 stars
8/22/08 pantera the best film i have ever seen. Mindblowing cinematography 5 stars
8/08/08 snakeeyes MINDBLOWING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
3/19/08 omg sure the cinematography was great but the story is a complete bore and not enjoyable. 1 stars
1/26/08 proper amateur film critic A true epic with the scope and scale of great literature 5 stars
6/21/07 David Cohen Excellent movie (try to see it in a theater, or at least on a big screen TV) 5 stars
3/19/07 jeanne GLORIOUS. If this is "too long and boring" for you, stick to XBox, all you ignorant clods! 5 stars
2/16/07 action movie fan well made but too long and slow- 3 stars
1/02/06 Daveman Homophobia aside (product of its time) this is impeccable film-making, utterly exceptional. 5 stars
12/24/05 harry Superb,Suberb.Suberb.This is what filmmaking is all about 5 stars
7/12/05 Jake Feels like a history lecture given by an uncaring teacher. An OVERRATED BOREFEST!!! 1 stars
10/18/04 Leong I never noticed the hours fly by 4 stars
8/27/04 Goggman One of my favorite movies of the 60's, if not my favorite movie of the 60's. 5 stars
7/08/04 Stevo Why I studied film 5 stars
5/27/04 504 One of the greatest movies ever. Worth the 4 hour viewing time 5 stars
4/27/04 John the Movie Nerd Quite possibly the best in the world. 5 stars
12/19/03 Kent Price My favorite movei ever! 5 stars
11/28/03 john this film will live for ever sensational! 5 stars
10/21/03 What's my name again? Love the outfit, I want one!!! 5 stars
10/19/03 Alan Sorry, Putski, but O'Toole's debut was in "The Savage Innocents" (1959). 5 stars
9/15/03 Fluffy Ears Henkelschmidt IV Vot harpent to ze Pinkline post - freedom of ze speech? 2 stars
8/24/03 Brian Chire One of the best films ever made. 5 stars
8/21/03 Robbie_Ammon33 Epic Porportions 5 stars
8/19/03 Roger Thornhill Grand epic. 5 stars
8/11/03 Donald Hasselhoff I agree with Pinkline - RTBL was far better. 1 stars
8/02/03 Putski O'Toole's Debut 3 stars
8/01/03 DM Fuckin' awesome-great, great movie! 5 stars
6/20/03 J. Eshraghi Hey, Pinkline Jones, go fuck your dog and blow your cat, you fucking idiot! 5 stars
4/15/03 JL This movie is amazing. 5 stars
3/11/03 Hello there Pinkline Jones, you dickhead!!! 5 stars
2/01/03 defranco76 My favorite movie. 5 stars
1/27/03 Pinkline Jones Return to the Blue Lagoon was heaps better 2 stars
1/18/03 Hi there Marvelous Best Picture Winner of 1962. One of David Lean and Peter O'Toole's best. 5 stars
1/16/03 rotten s. milk Dominant Best Picture Winner of 1962. 5 stars
12/22/02 moviemachine Outstanding Best Picture Winner of 1962. 5 stars
12/02/02 Nevz SEE it 5 stars
11/21/02 dereck skip it 1 stars
9/12/02 homage g this is mi favorite movie of all time 5 stars
8/04/02 Grinder Still a classic 5 stars
7/31/02 Christopher One of the greatest movies ever. 5 stars
7/30/02 Lost in Space One of the few classics whose greatness eludes me. Really really average, alas 3 stars
7/28/02 Charles Tatum David Lean's pure vision will never be equaled 5 stars
3/07/02 travis r. sorensen to call it 'one of the best of all time' is a vast understatement 5 stars
11/04/01 Andrew Carden Great Setting and Concept, but The Film Suffers From A Dull Screenplay. 3 stars
10/22/01 Alain Bellehumeur a legend, truly epic 5 stars
9/25/01 Ricky excellent 5 stars
7/02/01 taj It's a milestone. It's a classic. It's gorgeous. It's kinda dull. 4 stars
6/23/01 erik the movieman Stunning Brilliance! Epic Storytelling in Every Sense of the Word!!! 5 stars
5/26/01 Cecil Zeringue One of the best films ever. 5 stars
5/22/01 Bada Bing Crosby If you didn't like this I would have to think you had mental illness 5 stars
4/25/01 R.W. Welch Cinematically the most stunning ever made, nearly as good dramatically. 5 stars
3/26/01 Jesse L Greatest movie ever made...only the brain dead wouldn't like it 5 stars
11/26/00 The Evil Penguin I agree with everyone here. 5 stars
11/17/00 Kamui Coolcoolcoolcool! 5 stars
8/11/00 Matthew Bartley Astonishing film. 5 stars
6/14/00 Athena Although not historically accurate, it's one of the best films ever made. Must see. 5 stars
1/31/99 Vick Di Brecci A startlingly beautiful adventure movie with a great two-toned (changing halfway thr) story 5 stars
11/23/98 Lord Of The Dunce Any fan of film should have seen this at least twice. 5 stars
11/21/98 little jerry Gets stranger with every viewing,and more profound.O'toole is mesmerising. 5 stars
9/15/98 Chuck-D This movie is an incredible account of how experience completely changes us. Amazing film 5 stars
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  12-Sep-1997 (PG)
  DVD: 08-May-2007



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