LAWRENCE OF ARABIA
This is one of my all time favorite action films. It is based on the real life exploits of a
British soldier during World War I in Arabia.
It won 7 Academy Awards in 1962 including Best Picture.
The movie starts out at the end with T.E. Lawrence dying in
a motorcycle accident in the English countryside and with various parties
coming to his funeral. It then quickly
takes you to Cairo, Egypt where the young Lawrence is a maladjusted lieutenant unhappy
with his current assignment coloring maps.
Due to his knowledge of the Arab culture and history, he is given an
assignment to go out into the desert and find out more about the Arabs in an
effort to see how they might more effectively assist English in the war effort.
The film has a wonderful cast led by Peter O’Toole as
Lawrence. Alec Guinness as Prince
Feisal, Omar Sharif as Sherif Ali, Anthony Quinn as Auda Abu Tayi, Jack Hawkins
as General Allenby, Claude Rains as Mr. Dryden, and Arthur Kennedy as a
newspaper man following the career of Lawrence (Kennedy played a similar role
in the movie Elmer Gantry), and Jose Ferrer as the Turkish Ruler.
By the end of his brief career in the desert wars Lawrence
has been promoted to Colonel and has been thoroughly disillusion because he
unsuccessfully tries to help the Arab people gain independence.
The movie runs 216 minutes and has some very spectacular
desert scenes. David Lean Directed.
When you watch it you should keep its many themes in mind as
it is rich in lessons.
- At the
beginning of the film Lawrence does a match “trick” where he lets a match
burned down while holding it in his fingers. Another solider tries it, burns himself, and asks Lawrence
what the trick is. He is told that
there is no trick. You just have
to learn not to mind the pain. His
strength is clearly stated early on so that you are more aware of how he
is able to do the almost impossible and win battles.
see throughout the film the Europeans are cheating Arabia out of their
rights and freedoms. This is very important
given the current politics in this region. You can only understand the region by understand the long
history of how these people have been manipulated by Western powers,
including the United States.
find out one of the most important lessons that you need to know about not
only this part of the world but about much of the world---that long
standing tribal animosities and various forms of racism tend to undermine
efforts by outsiders to develop certain countries into democracies before
they have resolved their internal animosities. This continues to cause problems all over the world, not
just in Arabia. We see the same
problems plaguing Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe.
see how war can bring out great courage and at the same time bring out the
worst in people including blood lust.
see what Lord Acton warned us about long ago, that: “Power corrupts and
absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
- And at
the end you are left wondering just what motivated this fascinating
person. Yes, Lawrence was
motivated by a deep and profound love of Arabia; but what else pushed him
along? Think about this and see
what you come up with. For
example, was he a thrill seeker?
Was that the type of brain that he had and is that a partial
explanation of his death? What
were his motivations regarding the two young Arab boys that served
him? Lots of interesting questions
remain as to just what made this famous and fascinating legend tick.