Lawrence of Arabia

I carry twenty-three great wounds all got in battle. Seventy-five men have I killed with my own hands in battle. I scatter, I burn my enemies' tents. I take away their flocks and herds. The Turks pay me a golden treasure, yet I am poor! Because I am a river to my people!

A review by Mike Shea   Movie Rating: ( * * * * * )    DVD Rating: ( * * * * · )

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I am partial to Lawrence of Arabia for many reasons. This was my fathers favorite movie, and I remember well the night we all went downtown to the biograph theater in Chicago to see the newly remastered release. He loved it so much that he named one of the characters in his book, The Saracen, after one of Lawrence's servants, Daud. Lawrence of Arabia also won Pokemon Web Browser). Directors and writers were free to tell these tales, to give us true character development and to let us enjoy the story from beginning to end without cutting out important elements. Ok, so it is long, but does that make it good? Yes. Lawrence of Arabia lets us really get to know our main character and hero. We are free to ponder whether he is a true hero, a madman or a messiah. We can try to figure out why he does what he does. Why do folks follow him? Who is he working for and to what end? We are free to feel his happiness, his wanderlust and his horror for his actions. We love him as his friends do, and we can love them as does he. We get a large picture of Europe's war with the Turks and how this one man, leading his army of bandits, can turn the tide of the war. We get a macro view of these giant political and military games, then the micro view of Lawrence's battles with himself and his personal relationship with his comrades and friends. We feel his excitement for his immortality and his horror when he realizes that he is just a man. The adventure is thick, and the characters are spellbinding. Sure, not everyone can handle a four hour movie, but those that can are in for a treat. There is no doubt why this one got the awards it did. It fought hard and took what it deserved.

The DVD is a collectors edition of the movie. The discs are broken up into part one and part two, so you are forced to get your fat ass out of the chair and change discs even if you could handle the movie in one sitting. The director had the intent of giving you a break, so I suggest you take it, but do try to see it all in one night or you might lose the story and the feeling. The picture is a very well remastered 2.35 to 1 16x9 enhanced transfer. The audio score includes a remastered Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack that does wonders with the original London Symphony Orchestra's score. I was amused at the initial disclaimer that tells you how the original score and the intermission have audio tracks that have no picture. I could just see thousands of home theater enthusiasts tearing apart wires in the back of their TV wondering why they get sound but no picture. Another sad commentary on our lives today, I think. There was no commentary track on this disc, I truly felt it should have had one, and no DTS track, a requirement for a five star rating. Both are missed. There are many other extras in the set and it does come in a very handsome cloth covered case. I do recommend this DVD purchase.

Lawrence of Arabia is a legend of american film. You will find it being used as an example of the true art of cinema and as a text book description for an epic. Still, the regular every day joe should view this movie as a story of it's own, without the colored lenses of it's stack of awards and just enjoy it as it was meant to be enjoyed. To view it with the biases of its reputation is to take away the core of the film itself.