Lawrence of Arabia

David Lean’s film Lawrence of Arabia was first released in 1962. Until a few days ago, I had never seen it, but last week I bought the Bluray version of the restored and remastered 50th Anniversary Edition. I watched it on Saturday evening, and it was a revelation. Made in the days long before CGI, the spectacles created by Lean and his crew are simply breathtaking.

The first entrance of Sherif Ali, riding out of a mirage on his camel, is stunningly done; while the subsequent brief exchange between him and Lawrence encapsulates the vast cultural difference between the Arab and the Englishman.

LoA 01

The actors, without exception, are excellent, and Peter O’Toole creates a believable portrait of T. E. Lawrence. How accurate it is, I cannot say, but his character is fully realised.

The film, of course, totally fails the Bechdel Test. Indeed, there is not a single speaking role for a woman in the whole film, which runs to 216 minutes. The only women we ever glimpse are veiled (or dead).

LoA 04

It clearly is a story about the deeds of men, in politics and war, and it’s not a pretty story, despite the stunning backdrops. It is, however, a very great film. I will be watching it again.

About Geoff Coupe

I'm a British citizen, although I have lived and worked in the Netherlands since 1983. I came here on a three year assignment, but fell in love with the country, and one Dutchman in particular, and so have stayed here ever since. On the 13th December 2006 I also became a Dutch citizen.
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