November 18th, 2013


Notes On Lawrence Of Arabia

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?