1962 • Lawrence of Arabia

Very long, mixed feelings.

Very long, mixed feelings.

5.18.09
Watched with Lauren

Over the course of the third week of May, Lauren and I found the time to make it through 1962’s Best Picture winner, Lawrence of Arabia.

The project has taken a break during the nice spring months, but mostly because we now have Twins baseball to watch at nights after work.  The Best Picture project certainly is better suited for the off-season, but I’m sure we’ll peck away at the 1960s throughout the summer.

Lawrence of Arabia is based on the true life story of T. E. Lawrence, an English solider who became well-known for his liaison role in the Arab Revolt of 1916-1918.

Knowing nothing about this movie going in, both Lauren and I assumed it was based in biblical times.  So when the movie started out with Lawrence scooting down the road on a motorcycle, we were in for a bit of a surprise!

Since the movie was so long, plus the fact that we watched it over three sittings, it caused me to once again have a difficult time following the plot.  Unfortunately for me, this seems to be a recurring theme with this project.  If I’m not immediately intrigued, I’m kinda screwed for the remainder of the movie.  I kinda understood what was going on, but not the specifics.  Yay, a review of a movie by someone who didn’t know what he just watched!

There were some great scenes in the desert and some great cinematography.  And then whenever they were in battle or serious war conversation, I basically tuned out.  Some of those desert scenes were very memorable, like when Lawrence risked his life and went back to rescue a fallen comrade.  And later, Lawrence was forced to execute a man, only to discover that it was ironically the very man he had rescued from the desert.  The quicksand scene was another memorable one.  Compelling stuff.

Peter O’Toole, Anthony Quinn, and Alec Guinness highlighted an all-star cast, and director David Lean earned his second Best Picture in a short period of time (Bridge on the River Kwai). I understand it was a great film achievement and many people think it’s among the best of the Best Picture winners, but for me it was nothing more than middle-of-the-pack on the rankings.

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