Wednesday, July 15, 2015

387. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

Running Time: 216 minutes
Directed By: David Lean
Written By: Robert Bolt, from memoir by T.E. Lawrence
Main Cast: Peter O'Toole, Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn, Jack Hawkins, Omar Sharif
Click here to view the trailer

NOTE: Apparently I'm the worst person in the world to give a plug. Yesterday, after I plugged JD's 1001 Movies blog, I forgot to include a link. here to visit JD's page. Sorry about that...For future reference, I'll also be adding JD's page to the BlogRoll on the sidebar, where I've also recently added a Goodreads widget for anyone curious as to what yours truly is currently reading. Now then...


It's no secret that when I reviewed Blade Runner last month, I got crucified for my opinions. Okay, maybe that's too harsh a word, but certainly everyone who dropped by shared a different opinion than me. However, I defend my opinions and I'll continue to defend my opinions when/if the Lawrence of Arabia lovers come out to defend the epic. Read on...

I'm not even going to PRETEND to bullshit my way through a plot synopsis for "Lawrence", because, to tell you the truth, I was pretty lost past the ninety minute mark or so. All I can tell you is this: T.E. Lawrence (O'Toole) was a member of the British Army, who campaigned to be reassigned Arab Bureau, during World War I. He intends to speak with a Prince Faisal (Guinness) about aligning himself with the Arab nation against the Turks. There's a lot of desert wandering, a lot of "boy, it's hot out here" talk and a lot of history that I'm not familiar with. T.E. Lawrence eventually goes borderline mad, almost begging to be restationed, but always being assigned to return to the desert, due to his good rapport with Prince Faisal and his familiarity with the region. I was doing pretty good throughout the first ninety minutes, like I said, but the final two hours was me simply earning the tick and somewhat trying to stay interested, all the while knowing that this clearly wasn't my cup of tea. I find it familiar that my favorite David Lean picture is EASILY Brief Encounter, probably his shortest picture and easily his least grand, at least as far as what I've seen of his work.

I really don't know what else to say other than this was just downright boring to me. It felt like Lean was talking to a select group of moviegoers, the type of audience who also enjoyed getting extra homework when they were in school. At no point was there, as far as I'm concerned, an attempt to make this history lesson fun, entertaining or even, somewhat interesting. Sure, maybe it was interesting to you, but not to me - not in the slightest. When I popped in the DVD and saw a train blowing up on the DVD menu, I though, "Okay, well at least there's a train explosion - can't be all bad, right?" WRONG!

If you put a gun to my head right now and forced me to pick something out that I liked, it wouldn't be a hard choice. The sole reason that this movie will get any points in my rating column, falls on the shoulders of Freddie Young - the film's cinematographer. In the words of Christopher Walken, "WOW! Wowie wow wow wow!". You could've picked up the remote and randomly hit the pause button throughout and anywhere you stopped, you'd have stopped on a breathtaking shot. He's also the man who shot Doctor Zhivago, which I'll be watching soon, so at least I have that to look forward to. What I don't look forward to, is another David Lean epic. I think we've established by now that I just don't like Lean's brand of storytelling, stretching mildly interesting affairs, into three plus hour ordeals. I will say, this is easily the worst Lean I've seen, with Bridge on the River Kwai at least having some interesting bits and main event ending and A Passage to India being solid throughout. By all means, see this and form your own opinions, but you have been warned.

Bring on the ridicule for my taste in film....

RATING: 3.5/10  I'm just glad it's over. Seriously, if you disagree with me, let me know and tell me why I'm so ignorant. What'd I miss? Now if you'll excuse me, I have a Dairy Queen chicken strip basket to prepare for!


July 15, 2015  5:11pm


  1. I've yet to see this, but a good friend of mine (whose taste in films I trust) tried to watch this after Peter O'Toole's death and couldn't finish it. Boring beyond words. He said it belonged in the company of other wildly overrated 'classics' we'd already formed consensus on (The Maltese Falcon, Vertigo, Ben Hur, Midnight Cowboy and Easy Rider)

    1. Well I like some of the ones you mentioned there, but I'm glad we see eye to eye on Lawrence! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. You know, whilst I can see what you mean, I am going to stick up for Lawrence.. It's a pretty decent film, if, perhaps a tad too long. OK, I will admit I don't feel like dedicating this afternoon to it.. I'm certainly glad I have dedicated an afternoon or two to it in the past.
    So a disagree, but not as much as with Blade runner.
    I now have to face the wrath of Amanda for not hating this...

    1. Well, we'll agree to disagree here then. Three more super long ones to go: Zhivago, Sorrow and the Pity and Seven Samurai. Have seen Zhivago (didn't like it) and Samurai (remember rating it high, but don't really remember it) and have never seen Sorrow.

    2. I am with you on this one. I never understood the appeal of this film. Sure on a technical level, for when it was made, it's good. Still, it's way too long. As for the other 3 movies I have never seen Pity. I like Zhivago, but don't love it (also too long, but way better than Arabia.) Samurai is a masterpiece in my opinion. I will be interested as to what you think of it.

    3. I double checked and actually I rated Seven Samurai low, but again, I don't even really remember it that well. So it could be a case of "too young to appreciate". We'll see...

      Glad you're with me on this one though. I'm taking a lot less of a beating here than I thought I would...


SINS OF OMISSION - Entry #69: Re-Animator (1985)

Running Time: 105 minutes Directed By: Stuart Gordon Written By: Dennis Paoli, William Norris, Stuart Gordon, based on the story Her...