Something for the weekend. In the middle of winter it is no accident, as the Marxists used to say, that I have chosen for our musical selection the theme song from Lawrence of Arabia (1962). One of the last great historical epics, the film tells the tale of Colonel T.E. Lawrence’s involvement in the Arab uprising. It is largely historically inaccurate, although a magnificent story. One reason for the historical inaccuracy, other than the usual transmogrification of history in the hands of filmmakers, is that it relied too heavily on Lawrence’s war memoir Seven Pillars of Wisdom. Lawrence was a brilliant writer and a talented leader of guerrilla forces, but he never let a little thing like truth stand in the way of a good yarn.
The acting is superb throughout, as one would expect from a film featuring Peter O’Toole, Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn, Jack Hawkins, Claude Rains, Anthony Quayle and Omar Shariff. The screenplay is by Robert Bolt who would go on to write A Man For All Seasons.
My three favorite scenes from the film:
“Time to be great again, my Lord.”
“Thy mother mated with a scorpion.”
“On the whole, I wish I’d stayed in Tunbridge Wells.”
Anyone who has never seen this classic should remedy that lack as soon as possible. I highly recommend the recent blu-ray release.