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Tony Grist

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Notes On Lawrence Of Arabia [Nov. 18th, 2013|12:24 pm]
Tony Grist
The real Lawrence was a small man- with a long face like Stan Laurel's. I imagine him as intense and energetic. Peter O'Toole is tall and languid and plays him as a cross between Hamlet and Jesus Christ with a top note of Danny La Rue. And, yes, I get it: O'Toole's eyes are blue. It's a good thing he remembered to pack his eye-liner when he went off into the desert.

The interiors are uniformly and flatly lit, with no regard to what might be going on outside the windows or any indication as to where the light is coming from.  There are no shadows. This studio work sits uncomfortably beside the naturalistic location filming.

Everything is wonderfully slow. And I don't mean that adjective ironically. No modern film-maker (outside the art house) would dare let his shots and his sequences last as long as Lean does. I admire his confidence. The desert looks tremendous with the riders moving across it; why wouldn't one want to linger?
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: davesmusictank
2013-11-18 12:38 pm (UTC)
Truly a classic film that might bore many these days with attention deficiency syndrome. Lean was a master craftsman at the art of creating a feeling of wonderment.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-11-18 12:46 pm (UTC)
Lean provokes my admiration rather than my love. I'm inclined to prefer his earlier work- before the budgets got so epic. I saw In Which We Serve recently- which he co-directed with Noel Coward- and that's a lovely film- with the heart that's lacking from Lawrence and Zhivago.
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[User Picture]From: xiphias
2013-11-18 01:03 pm (UTC)
It's a film that REQUIRES a big screen. When I've seen it on a true, vast screen, it was MESMERIZING. When I tried to rewatch it on a small screen, it was unwatchably boring, and I just turned it off.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-11-18 01:12 pm (UTC)
I suppose I saw it on the big screen when it first came out.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-11-18 08:56 pm (UTC)
Exactly. They should have hired Ian Holm.

To be honest I think O'Toole's performance is pretty dreadful.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-11-18 09:26 pm (UTC)
It's a very stagy performance. And I think he misses the real Lawrence by a mile.
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