Lawrence of Arabia

The Top 63 Marathon, part 22

Title: Lawrence of Arabia
Year: 1962
Length: 227 minutes!
Director: David Lean
Writers: Robert Bolt & Michael Wilson, based on writings of T.E. Lawrence
Starring: Peter O’Toole, Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn, Jack Hawkins, Omar Sharif
Music: Maurice Jarre
Distinctions: Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Score, Best Cinematography (color), Best Art Direction/Set Decoration (color), Best Editing and Best Sound; Oscar nominations for Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actor (O’Toole) and Best Supporting Actor (Sharif); currently #43 on the IMDb’s Top 250

My reaction
Synopsis: a conceited British man-child leads Arab armies
How I saw it: on video (rented from Netflix) yesterday
Concept: Indifferent.
Story: Indifferent. It starts out great, but for the last hour or so it just sort of wanders off into the desert to die.
Characters: Indifferent.  Lawrence is an ass.
Dialog: Good.
Pacing: Terrible. So very terrible.
Cinematography: Great.
Special effects/design: Good. But why film on location in freaking Jordan if you’re going to use locations that look like Doctor Who quarries half the time?
Acting: Good. I’m underwhelmed. And Alec Guinness in brownface is some of the most horrible casting ever.
Music: Indifferent.
Subjective Rating: 4/10 (Eh). At least it’s not as bad as Doctor Zhivago. I wonder if in 1962 a movie’s being 4 hours long was considered a good thing. Maybe it made it more of an event, that people felt obliged to take part in? Or maybe it’s the idea that if a movie’s harder to watch, it must be high art – because why else would they do it?
Objective Rating: 2.3/4 (Okay).


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