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Appreciation for Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

Yes I have done my part to watch Prometheus (2012) after being scared silly by the film. I know this film by people freaking out that Michael Fassbender (Yes…that actor from X-Men First Class) somewhat creepily similar acting performance to the acting of Peter O’Toole in Lawrence of Arabia for his character David.

If you watch the film,you will notice lots of direct or slightly indirect homages to this film. While it is a good thing that they homaged it as it coincided so nicely with the 50th anniversary of the release of the film and the Cannes restoration. I am afraid that people would watch it because of that film (I.E Prometheus) itself. So I would give my reasons who should you give this film a try just because Fassbender did it or what so ever.

Basically the story is about T.E Lawrence (Lawrence Of Arabia)-a famous WW1 hero who is well-known to help out in the Arab revolt. Here is the picture of the real guy behind

Yup…he is quite average-looking but his life is more than it seems. It all thanks to a bold director which changed the epics of today and it’s still bringing awe to me. As Steven Spielberg once quoted in a documentary in his appreciation for Lawrence of Arabia to start off my appreciation for this film-“It was a miracle “

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To me watching as the budding cinephile Lawrence of Arabia just shook my world with its absolutely beautiful cinematography.

This GIF is one of the 1001 cinematography porn scenes you will forever see in Lawrence of Arabia. God these images will be stuck  in my head-lots of sand and desert scenes. We got to thank the cinematographer for Lawrence of Arabia-Freddie Young (he will execute few more David Lean films like Dr Zhivago and Ryan’s Daughter) for creating these scenes and it’s so perfect that he created a lens just for one scene. One scene and it’s perfection.

Here is that beauty that is just specially created for that scene.

I know that people would think it’s just a film full of sand..Nope you are missing the point. Now here comes the best eargasm you will experience in your life. Of course I need to loop it endlessly throughout that film. Hello you are talking about the greatest movie soundtracks ever alongside John Williams and so many famous movie composers. It all thanks to Maurice Jarre,who composed the most romantic score perfect for this epic. Not convinced? Click on this video

I will make a confession when I listened to the overture while to school. I feel like I was walking to the desert like a boss. I mean it. That is how good the soundtrack is. Of course Maurice Jarre will compose more scores after his fame from Lawrence of Arabia, from Dead Poets Society (Yes it’s unlikely but it works) to the most infamous among all imfamous themes that someone who never watch the film Dr Zhivago know that tune.

To me what seals this film as my ultimate favourite film is Peter O’Toole’s acting as the enigmatic Lawrence of Arabia. Now here is the fun fact who auditioned to play T.E Lawrence from Marlon Brando,Albert Finney,Anthony Perkins (Yes that creeper guy in Psycho as Norman Bates),Montongramy Cliff and even Alec Guinness (He played previously in another David Lean’s film-The Bridge to the river Kwai). Eventually this role was given to unknown Irish actor Peter O’Toole. The rest is history when he just played that role so beautifully. It gave him an Academy Award Nomination in 1962 for Best Actor for his role which was lost to Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird (personally I like Peck himself and both should have won for Best Actor). Now here is that scene that shows Peter’s pure sheer acting that I nearly cried when I re-watched it the second time.

Well you know it served inspiration for the actors in these recent films like Tom Hiddleston as Loki.

“And I find myself listening to that sometimes. And there are some great performances. Ken talked a lot about some of Peter O’Toole’s greatest performances and how in LAWRENCE OF ARABIA or THE LION IN WINTER he is on the edge of darkness. He’s on the edge of sanity. You can see it in his eyes that he’s been pushed to the brink and you’re not sure if you can trust him because there’s a madness in there, you know? A greatness, too and a charisma and a power that you want to get close to and you want to see inside, but it’s a little bit dangerous. And so I’ve been trying to kind of… I drive to work every morning and I try and light some kind of bonfire under myself which is adrenalized and hot and alone. It’s a strange feeling when you’re playing a character that feels so alone. “

Or the most recent incarnation Michael Fassbender as David,

This is Michael Fassbender…he just got famous because of X-Men First Class. So when he approached to play as an andriod

Many people who watch the film as me,commented on how creepily similar is Fassbender to O’Toole. (I swear it’s so true that it’s almsot frightening)

“Yes. That was Ridley’s initial idea for the hair and for the look. He’s the robot. Or humanoid. Or android. Or whatever you want to call it. We also took inspiration from David Bowie and some of his looks as well. I liked the idea of having a feminine quality to him for sure. Both Lawrence and David Bowie have elements of that. He’s curious about everything. Something blowing up or something killing him, if that happened, there would be curiosity right up until the moment that it happened. He thinks, I’ll do this because that will have a knock-on effect and I might learn something else from it, rather than it having anything to do with morality”

To me as a restoration geek-perhaps it is appropriate to see why I loved this film. Lawrence of Arabia was cut so many times after its theatrical premiere to the point,it was a two hour film which did not serve for its epicness. It was until they managed to find the negative in a barn. It have the entire cut of the whole film but no sound,so they have to rope back the cast back to re-record the sound again (Expect for Jack Hawkins). My god it’s sheer scale for the epic ever. Recently they finished the 4K/8K restoration just in time for the 50th anniversary of the release for the film!

Of course the story is so fantastic as it have this theme of self-idenity which was wonderfully written. Actually one of my favourite quotes from this film that summarized the film to me “Do you think I’m just anyone Ali? Do you?” we explored who is Lawrence and it is up to you to your impression of T.E Lawrence. Of course the editing is amazing and I think we have to applaud Anne V. Coates for editing this beautiful film. So here is the clip. Fun Fact: David Lean was an editor before he became a Director. How awesome could you get?

Now I have enlighten you with reasons to watch Lawrence of Arabia not because of the obvious referring in Prometheus. It was the miracle that is unmatchable to today’s epics. We do not have these epics in the scale like this anymore. I suggest to get yourself a big television,3 hours to spare and lots of snacks to enjoy this film. Have fun as one said “Big things do have small beginnings” I hoped you will develop this love for this film as I do.

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