An epic film that deserves an epic viewing.
A film that's 228 minutes that is 3 hours and 48 minutes longs should have been exhausting. But this one is endearing and thus deservedly has been one of the greatest films ever made. To understand this film and appreciate it more than just the film, one would better be acquainted with the history. It has a great history behind the story. Though, there are few factual manipulations to include more drama, the whole experience of viewing this, is rewarding. It's rewarding to know that such a person existed who fought a war merely on the basis of humanity. He was completely impartial and non-judgmental.
This was based on World War 1, now when we compare to films made on World War 1, with those made about World War 2, I found that they are very few in number. But this one stands above all other films that are based on World War 2.
David Lean, the master behind the making of this film, shows his efforts in every frame of it. Indeed, he builds a whole world for the camera and it has great beauty in each shot. Each angle, each move is just so detailed and precise that it's tough to find fault in any frame. From the sun rise in the arabian desert to the landscapes filled with sand dunes. From battles to closed door discussions, there is a certain magnanimity to each frame. The grandeur can be attributed partly to the choice of shooting of the film 70mm cinemascope (Super Panavision 70). For me the greatness would go to the director David Lean and to the cinematographer F A Young.
Peter O Toole perhaps, was remembered as Lawrence more than his own name. Such was the impact of his character and his depiction was pitch perfect in every aspect. Peter showcased equanimity while there was war being shown, or while grappling with his own emotional internal conflict. War is brutal but more brutal is the war within. In a war of arms, you are killed for once. But in an emotional war, each moment is deathly. Peter showcased a rare poise and I am certain the whole film experience could have been so exhausting that he would have considered it an experience of a life time that more worthy than life itself.
Amongst other things, I liked the music which was given by Maurice Jarre. The music was right up there and in such a long movie, music was very much needed to keep the emotional quotient. The music had the much needed variation. Be it the english war themes, or one to amplify arabian desert sounds or even arabian traditional music or the pathos of Lawrence too. There was a music needed for every bit and it was there all over the place. Never I felt it was over the board or too loud, it was just right.
All the actors have done a commendable job. Above all others, I loved Alec Guinness as Prince Faisal and Omar Sharif as Sherif Ali.
Thanks to David Lean and the producers of this epic. It's one of the most courageous decision of all those involved in the making and thankfully it paid great dividends in terms of awards and rewards. A definite 5/5 for an epic of a film.