Lawrence of Arabia is an epic biographical adventure drama title of 1962 related to the life of T. E. Lawrence. Directed by David Lean, the film was produced by Sam Spiegel by Horizon Pictures. Peter O’Toole stars as the lead character and his portrayal has led to the movie receiving recognition as one of the most influential titles in the history of cinematography. The film is a depiction of Lawrence’s experiences in the Arabian Peninsula during WW1.
Specifically, the movie centers on Lawrence’s attacks on Aqaba and Damascus and his role in the Arab National Council. Movie’s key themes are Lawrence’s psychological struggles with the personal violence in war, his own identity and his partitioned allegiance between his country of birth and his newfound brotherhood with the Arabian Desert persons (Jamil 702) The film was shot in the 1960s during a time of civil unrest, segregations, and the world was recovering from the world war. The film was made in commemoration of the life of Lawrence a British national, oxford schooled gentleman who fell in love with the desert while acting as an informant for his country. The actual happening was during the first quarter of the 20th century time in which the Arab revolt interacted with World War 1. The Arab world was a caught in the crossfire between the central powers and the Allied forces, a conflict that extended to the to the Ottoman Empire.
The war was an opportunity for many empires to break loose from their former tyrannical rule, a case well presented by Sharif Hussein, who disintegrated part of the Ottoman Empire and formed the Arabian Peninsula. Most of the Arabic nations were beginning to pile pressure on the Ottoman Empire demanding for self-rule. Nevertheless, the distrust and the disunity amongst the Arabic leaders was a key impediment to the self-rule. The Arab Revolt took place between 1914 to 1916. Still, the period witnessed the conquering of Aqaba and Damascus, an onslaught led by Lawrence and his Arab followers. With so much pressure hanging in the balance and the allied powers in collaboration with India attacking the Turks at Deraa in 1918, several kingdoms and empires tumbled down.
The Ottoman Empire collapsed as modern day Turkey rose up in 1923 (Caps 40) The movie presents various characters who build upon the plot and the life of Lawrence. Specifically, the film centers on the real life account of Thomas Edward Lawrence and his experiences in war. Nevertheless, the movie’s technical bench managed to wander off from the real expiries of the man in question, for instance, it can be claimed that the tall character chosen to play the role of Lawrence was in contrast to the real nature of Lawrence himself. Still, contrast exists in the characterization of the lead cast.
However, these actions build on his character, a hero who rebels against his mother country in favor of some foreign tribesmen. The blue-eyed blond character of Lawrence mixes pain with pleasure in his pursuit to prove his physical capability and endurance way beyond the Bedu. Nevertheless, Feisal is quick to opine that nobody can love the desert, not even the Arabs. They love the water and green, but nothing thrives in the wilderness and no being loves nothing (Jamil 702). A determined person, Lawrence defies fate, he intends to write himself a history; though he acknowledges being a human, yet like a god, he lets the tribesmen worship.
His flossing extends to the point where he asks if there was anyone willing to walk on water with him. Lawrence’s character can be mapped when he is sent as a mapmaker where he immediately gets involved in the lives of the Arab-Turk conflict, apparently, the lack of unity among the Arab tribes. He is a considerate and thoughtful person; he is heard telling the sheriff that as long as the Arab tribes fought one another, they will always belittle (703). His fascination with pain is portrayed when he accepts to engage in the match-snuffing trick, to him, the trick does not mind even if it hurts (707).
Still, his fascination with the desert is an unexplained trait, while looking out the see at Akbar; he is heard commenting, “I love this country” (702). The homelessness and parentless nature of the desert draw Lawrence to the urchins, Farraj, and Daud. Lawrence had an apparent drive, highly intellect and well educated, an idealist whose faith saw him demonstrate acts of great courage and daring, but also portrayed excessive confidence that lead to his fall from grace. Lawrence had a belief in the unification of Arabs, a visionary idea that even supersede the Arabs. However, his idealism never let him realize how hard it was to unify a group of tribes so diverse and too proud to efficiently work as an entity, as seen in the meeting of the Arab leaders after the conquest of Damascus. The film presents the development of Lawrence from the bumbling and arrogant misfit to a cohesive factor in battle and ultimately to a disillusioned failure.
The film is set on the life Lawrence. It begins with his death. It is argued that he died of a hit and ran motorcycle accident. The technical team uses this aspect in his life to capture the audience that is very much ready to pay their respect to this iconic figure, observationally; the movie takes us to his funeral. Nevertheless, it has been argued by some section that Lawrence never died of a road accident; rather he was the victim of an assassination as per historian Rodney Legg and his biographer Desmond Stewart (Raugh 670). Throughout the cause of the film, the themes of friendship, loyalty and racism are highlighted effectively.
Lawrence’s belief in his personal cause allowed and encourages others to share his dream and consequently believing in their personas. The film showcases how friendship is vital to a cause. Through unity created by friendship, the desert tribes ate able to conquer Damascus. Nevertheless, Lawrence’s loyalty is put to test when has to decide whether to remain loyal and patriotic to his country or his newfound friendship with the desert tribes. The combination of these themes and the depiction of the character of Lawrence and the political opportunism provide an unforgettable and stimulating tale of idealism and sad reality (Raugh 671).
His story underlines the potential influence of the personal situation or a historical account. Basing on his intellect, cunningness and skill to alter the course of history by exercising an enormous affect that not only touched the lives of the Arabs during the First World War but also in covert and guerrilla warfare in military strategies. The film remains true to its course by explicitly demonstrating the heavy individual price paid by Lawrence (Scott, A04) In several ways, the film is a political fable with the Lawrence’s role in the film being that of a government tool used in the achievement of one thing while in the real sense achieving the opposite. As the curtains draw on the film, Lawrence is shattered both morally and emotionally.
His molestation at the hands of the Turks leaves him with less of the self-confidence he had at the start. The importance of ego to success cannot be stressed, but with his ego crushed coupled with his projected image, Lawrence is left disoriented and betrayed as he comes face to face with the invertible truth of his personal vanity. Whether it is the result of the war or the fact that he realizes that he was just a pawn in a bigger plot is an issue worth debating. Nevertheless, the film is perfectly summed up by Feisal when he suggests that for Allenby to be as happy as him, and then he should see the back of Lawrence.
The man of the action having served his part, it was now the time for the politicians to act.
Works citedCaps, John. “Lawrence of Arabia. ” Film Comment 39. 6 (2003): 40. ProQuest.
Web. 9 Dec. 2014. Jamil, Rehan. “Lawrence of Arabia: An Encyclopedia. ” The Middle East Journal 59.
4 (2005): 702-3. ProQuest. Web. 9 Dec. 2014.
Raugh,Harold E. ,,Jr. “Lawrence of Arabia: A Cautionary Story. ” The Middle East Journal 54. 4 (2000): 670-1.
ProQuest. Web. 9 Dec. 2014.
Scott s. , Smith. “Peter O’Toole Conquered In ‘Lawrence Of Arabia’. ” Investors Business Daily 24 Nov. 2014: A04.
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