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Lawrence of Arabia

My team is shifting from Monday-Thursday day shift to Wednesday-Saturday night shift. This means I am finishing up five days off, which was two days off too many in my opinion. Still, I've made use of it. I've been working on the LSAT and I watched "Lawrence of Arabia".

For those who have never seen it, "Lawrence" is just shy of four hours long. It's a film I tried twice to watch in the 80s when I had ADD and couldn't even sit through a two hour film on TV; in a movie theatre it was different because I had no distractions.

So essentially this was all new to me. I'm not sure what I thought of it though. Lawrence was obviously charismatic and a brillian military mind, but he was also an absolute freak. Somebody needed to find that boy a therapist; he had some pretty serious identity issues. I wished he could have survived the beginning of the movie so he could make a wrong turn on his motorcycle into "Patton" and have had everybody's favourite reincarnationist 3-star general give him the Care Bear Stare. It would have looked something like this:


One thing that was sort of unique was being able to watch this movie (and in one scene a group of Arabs are flying what is now the Kuwaiti flag) and step outside and feel the "anvil of the sun" for real.

It was an epic, it held my attention for four hours (barring dinner break and stopping between discs to watch Jon Stewart's and Stephen Colbert's shows) and Omar Sharif was hot as the weather outside.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 4th, 2009 11:24 am (UTC)
Do you know what he actually went through when he was a prisoner of the Turks? Not just torture but homosexual torture. His accounts are quite harrowing. In one a Turkish general was molesting him and he kneed the guy in the groin, which needless to say didn't go too well for him. :P

I think he had some serious sexual identity issues as well. Either before or because of that.

T.E. Lawrence also features in Robert Graves' autobiography "Goodbye to All That" which is a very interesting read. Gave me a new insight into the man from somebody who knew him personally. In fact there are heaps of famous people in Graves' autobiography. Makes you realise how all the 'men of mark' in British society in the early 20th Century tended to all know each other. It was a really small circle.
Aug. 4th, 2009 12:59 pm (UTC)
Consider that England right now is a tiny population, and in the early 20th it was even smaller, and divided up into social classes. It's not surprising at all that the "men of mark" knew each other.

I hit a Wikipedia article on Lawrence after seeing the movie that said the "raped by Turks" story might not have been true, but I acknowledge that Wikipedia isn't exactly authoritative. But he was pretty weird before then too.
Aug. 4th, 2009 01:11 pm (UTC)
Yeah it was the social class aspect that did it I'm sure - all the 'great men' in British history came through the English public school system and then usually either Oxford or Cambridge.

Among the other great characters in the book are Thomas Hardy, Siegfied Sassoon and George Mallory, the Everest climber who supposedly gave us the quote "Because it is there." It's a really rich reading experience to see all these famous characters brought to life instead of just the dry pages of history.
Aug. 4th, 2009 04:32 pm (UTC)
Ooooh - very appropriate movie watching! I still can't believe that I sat through something that long when I was 12. But there were some surprises (as Wiki mentions) that hadn't been in the original (that I recall) - like the "No prisoners" making much (MUCH) more sense after showing the dead/raped women; also the symbolic darkening of the screen, not to mention the ominous tone of the music after Lawrence was grabbed by the Turkish soldiers (and you know that I would have noticed ANY difference in the music).

I think that TE was probably relieved to have been killed on his bike. He just didn't fit in with normal English society. He hated the way women threw themselves after him, the marriage proposals they sent him, the shallowness of a polite life.

I still remember how horrified the supply-librarian for my Grade 7 class was when I mentioned that I was reading Seven Pillars of Wisdom, a book, um, er, meant for someone older. ::giggles at the thoughts of conventional people with their narrow minds:: I still have fond memories of reading that book at the - where else - beach!

But, even as pretty as Peter O'Toole was in the movie, the music was way prettier!!!
Aug. 4th, 2009 05:02 pm (UTC)
I couldn't be here and NOT watch "Lawrence of Arabia", come on. If I'd known the MWR video "store" (all rentals are free) had it when I first arrived, I'd have made it the first film I watched after arriving.

MAJ T is reading "Pillars" right now and was dismayed that I watched the movie without him.

I'd tried watching this movie twice before. The first was the shorter version, then the longer one. This was in the 80s and I think I've mentioned my ADD, which was pronounced back then. Even with my scattered attention I could tell the longer version made more sense, as with the "No prisoners" scene.
Aug. 4th, 2009 06:59 pm (UTC)
My favorite line: "Signed, in His Majesty's absence . . ."
Aug. 4th, 2009 07:44 pm (UTC)

I had to watch it for a class, and it wasn't too bad. I don't think I'd really want to watch it again.

Aug. 4th, 2009 09:31 pm (UTC)
I have not been able to watch it in full. I find it too slow moving even if it is a classic. I used to think Omar Sharif was the most handsome man alive :)
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )


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