Combustible Celluloid
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With: Peter O'Toole, Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn, Jack Hawkins, Omar Sharif, Jose Ferrer, Anthony Quayle, Claude Rains
Written by: Robert Bolt, with Michael Wilson (uncredited), based on the writings of T.E. Lawrence
Directed by: David Lean
MPAA Rating: PG
Running Time: 227
Date: 12/10/1962

Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

4 Stars (out of 4)

We Can't All Be Lion Tamers...

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Most Hollywood epics tend toward the big and boring side, but Lawrence of Arabia is different. Instead of concentrating solely on hugeness, director David Lean focuses on a single character, casting him as myth and man at the same time.

The clever opening sequence shows mourners talking about T.E. Lawrence (Peter O'Toole) at his funeral, and already making mountains out of molehills. So when we meet the man, we know he's a combination of heroism and bluster.

Lean uses his massive Cinemascope frame to juxtapose hugeness and smallness, such as the amazing shot that cuts from a fizzled-out match to the sun coming up in the desert. Accompanied by Maurice Jarre's breathtaking score, it's a truly magnificent film.

Columbia/TriStar already released a Special Edition of the film, as well as a single-disc no-frills edition. Their Superbit Edition brings the movie back up to two discs, but still with no extras. The theory behind the Superbit discs is that they use disc space usually reserved for extras and fancy menus for better picture and sound quality. For such a glorious film as this, nothing else will suffice. (Note: in 2012, a 50th anniversary Blu-ray edition arrived.)

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