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An Inimitable Masterpiece in Storytelling
Jul 22, 2004 03:39 AM 2003 Views
(Updated Jul 22, 2004 04:19 AM)





There comes a movie once along in history that is unforgettable, sketched in your memory forever.


Now, read this slowly and imagine how it will sound when a man shouts out (loud) these words in the middle of the desert.


That's Sherif Ali ibn el Kharish for you. Played superbly by Omar Sherif. Sherif Ali is the fearless Prince of an Arab tribe. Tribes in Arabia are many. All are fearless, brutal to the core. Death is not something unusual, uncommon to them! The Arab tribes fight hard. They fight against the Turks and they fight amongs themselves. But when they fight, it is fearless and passionate.

Peter O-Toole's finest acting, David Lean's finest direction, Hollywood's finest movie! Challenge me if you can on this one! Find me a better movie!

Lawrence of Arabia is evergreen and is in the class of its own. It has created a paradigm shift in moviemaking. You see it once, you see it twice, see it thrice - and I assure you - you shall never get bored of it.

The sweeping deserts, the barren hills coupled with the ruthless heat of the Sun and the dreadful cold of the night - the sheer magnificence of being in such a place will leave you in awe and make you fall in love for it.

As Prince Feisal brilliantly played by Alec Guiness would say, ''It seems to me - that - you are just another Desert loving ENGLISH!'' LoL. He goes on to say further, ''What is in the desert? There's nothing in it. The Arabs don't love the Desert. We love the water, the food of the the Desert.'' The words come out with such conviction - that - Alec Guiness will have you asking for more.


Let me now acquaint you with theREAL STARS of this movie:

1) THE DESERT - I am love. Love with the Arabian / Sahar desert - this golden colored soft grainy piece of nature. Songs have been penned, Books have been written. The desert has made us fall in love with it. Desert is neither good or bad. It's JUST DESERT! You see it for miles and miles and miles. The awe it brings upon you, the realization of how small and puny little thing you are in front of this magnificent beauty. You could leap with joy or fall with a thud on this piece of work - it shall cushion you with its warmth and softness. The burning sun above is jealous of you. It doesn't want you there. It says ''This is ALL MINE! - GET OUT OF HERE!''

The Sun shall make you sweat and tire you out. Yes, the Sun is jealous of anyone making a claim to THE DESERT.

Lawrence of Arabia's true masterpiece is THE DESERT.

2) T.E. LAWRENCE - Together, the DESERT and LAWRENCE, cast a charm upon the viewer. The love of Lawrence for the desert is quite evident from the scene where he nicely rests on the desert land while his companion is drinking water from the well. All this - while the sun is burning with full glory over their backs. The speaking style, behavior, his sheer audacity - all make you love Lawrence - every bit of the way. His conviction, determination and ability to influence reflects a powerful personality whose presence is radiating and felt by everyone within his radar. Mostly, you shall be captivated by Peter O-Toole's eyes. His finest movie of all. Most Recenlty, those who have watched TROY would have seen him play King Priam.

3) THE ARABS - You may love them or hate them. But they are what they were meant to be on a desert - Raw, brutal and passionate. The strength of their soul is visible in their eyes. The fierceness of it can give you a nice scare. See Prince Ali's (Omar Sherif) eyes to know what I mean. Also, their body language. Not afraid of anyone, completely independent and extremely proud. May the Gods save you - were you to offend an Arab!

4) THE CAMELS & THE HORSES - My respect for these animals increased greatly after seeing this epic - for the role they perform (past, present and so in future) to transport man through one of the harshest terrains of the world. Without CAMELS & HORSES - you can kiss goodbye to any thoughts of crossing the desertland. I had read somewhere that while Camels can survive for many days without water - they happen to die quite suddenly - without any warning. Whereas horses give you an indication of their tiredness and hence a good barometer of how much longer they can take the cruelty of the Desert (& hence either successfully accomplish the journey or seal your fate in the desert).



The movie is all about how T.E. LAWRENCE - a real life British soldier - who manages to influence Arab Tribes to unite and fight against the Turkish Empire that has captured most of Arabia. The backdrop is World War I - when British and French are looking to gain a foothold in Arabia.

The British believe that the revolt of the Arabs - if well directed and co-ordinated - can be very useful to serve their needs. Hence, they send a member of the Arab Bureau (of the British Military) - Mr. T.E. LAWRENCE - to meet Prince Feisal and know his intentions.

What the British had not bargained for - was a soldier of their own country owing more allegiance to the Arabs and their cause! Anyways, the British military doesn't mind this as long as the job is done. Hence, the story continues.

It is only after the death of T.E. LAWRENCE and many decades later after the British Intelligence released much more details about him - was revealed that - T.E. LAWRENCE had played a much greater role in the ARAB REVOLT than anyone would have given him credit for!

His influence on Prince Feisal and Sheikh Ali (alongwith many leaders of Arab Tribes) was so great - that - he united all of them under the banner of ARABS and fight the Turkish empire with the means they knew best - mainly - guerilla warfare. Not explosives or modern weaponry, but just swords and old fashioned guns.

As a Note: It is later in the Revolt - that the Arabs - mainly under T.E. Lawrence - begin using modern weaponry and explosives - to deadly effect against the Turkish Railway line (a key infrastructure).

Imagine a 27 year old doing all of the above! Yes, that's how old T.E. Lawrence was when he was sent to investigate the Arab Revolt.


The rest of the movie chugs along with enough pace to keep your mind occupied with the holistic beauty and charm of the Desert, T.E. Lawrence, the Arabs (mainly Prince Ali) and Arabia (in general).

Miss this movie at your own cost! :)




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