My current Top 5

My current Top 5


Number 06: Lawrence of Arabia (Best Picture Ranking)

Almost at the beginning of Lawrence of Arabia, one character tells T.E. Lawrence, the title character of the story, that only Bedouins and Gods can enjoy the desert – at the end of the movie, T.E. Lawrence will feel like both.

Lawrence of Arabia is the second Oscar-winner in David Lean’s filmography and it even tops his already brilliant The Bridge on the River Kwai. It’s a masterful story of a man who becomes involved in World War I in Arabia and later becomes obsessed with his own doings and surroundings. Just as you would expect from a movie by David Lean, Lawrence of Arabia is such a visual masterpiece that it puts almost all other epics to shame. It’s almost impossible to understand how he can find so many breathtakingly beautiful shots of the desert – but he can. Supported by one of the most majestic scores in motion picture history, the camera in Lawrence of Arabia catches so many little miracles that even two viewings don’t seem enough to find them all.

In the title role, Peter O’Toole gives one of the most mesmerizing performance ever caught on the screen. He is flamboyant, he is down-to-earth, he is arrogant, he is humble, he carries this massive epic on his shoulders and does so without any flaw. All the male supporting players (are there even any women in this movie?) does wonderful work, too, from Omar Sharif to Anthony Quinn to Alec Guiness and Arthur Kennedy and everyone else.

And also like most other David Lean movies, Lawrence of Arabia takes its time (actually, a lot of time) to develop itself and tell the main story – but it’s told so magnificently that it could have even taken a few more hours and I wouldn’t have minded. From T.E. Lawrence’s first arrival in the desert to the trip to Aqaba during which Lawrence returns to find a lost man only to have fate turn its back on him some time later in a truly chilling scene and right up to the final moments of the story, David Lean shows his talent as a storyteller of highest quality.

The attack on Aqaba itself it shot absolutely thrillingly and the following scenes of Lawrence trying to reach the Suez Canal and later losing control over himself, becoming more and more obsessed which his own image hold the viewers’ attention the whole time.

At some point Lawrence asks 'Do you think I'm just anybody?`- the same way Lawrence of Arabia could ask 'Do you think I'm just any movie?' and the answer would be a big 'No, you're truly one of a kind!'


Louis Morgan said...

I agree a spectacular achievement on every level. I find this film amazing because it manages such a epic scope, well creating fascinating characterizations as well. Possibly my #2.

Anonymous said...

I really don't like this film that much, I think The Bridge on the River Kwai is far superior and I also think it took way too much time to tell its story. Sure, the cinematography and direction are brilliant but everything else apart from Sharif's and Guinness' performances was just OK for me, I didn't even like O'Toole's famous performance that much. I probably have to see it again but I really don't feel like it.
Great review as always!