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Review: Lawrence of Arabia
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David Lean (1908–1991) directed sixteen movies, fully half of them classics, including three of the greatest films ever made: The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), Doctor Zhivago (1965), and, greatest of them all, Lawrence of Arabia (1962). Lawrence of Arabia is repeatedly ranked as one of the finest films of all time, and when one compares it to such overpraised items as Citizen Kane and Casablanca, a strong case can be made for putting it at the very top of the list. I am hesitant to speak of “the greatest” anything, just because I have not seen everything. But when I think of some of my personal favorites—Vertigo, Network, Rashomon—I can’t honestly rank any of them higher than Lawrence of Arabia.

Everything about this film is epic: from its nearly four-hour running time and its 70-millimeter widescreen image with astonishing detail and depth of focus—to the magnificent settings in Jordan, Morocco, and Spain—to the music by Maurice Jarré—to the cast of thousands crowned by such stars as Peter O’Toole, Alec Guinness, Omar Sharif, Anthony Quinn, Jack Hawkins, José Ferrer, and Claude Rains.

Lean had to go big, simply to do justice to the story. Lawrence of Arabia is about one of the most remarkable men of the last century, Thomas Edward Lawrence (1888–1935) and his role in the Arab revolt against the Ottoman Empire during the First World War.

Based on Lawrence’s sprawling narrative of the revolt, Seven Pillars of Wisdom, the script by Robert Bolt (A Man for All Seasons, Doctor Zhivago) and Michael Wilson (The Bridge on the River Kwai) is a supremely masterful screen adaptation. The timeline is simplified and certain characters are amalgamated, both to save time and heighten dramatic conflicts, but the truth of the story is conveyed.

Like Lawrence’s book, the movie has several layers. First of all, it is a historical narrative. Second, it offers lessons in political philosophy. (The word “wisdom” in the title should have been a warning.) Lawrence was a nationalist, not an imperialist. To fight the Turks, he favored aiding Arab nationalists rather than spending British lives to conquer territory and resources in Mesopotamia. But, against Lawrence’s own intention, Seven Pillars also makes a case for empire, a case that Lean’s film clearly reinforces. Third, there is a strong element of Nietzschean self-mythologization: what Aleister Crowley calls “auto-hagiography” and the Arabs call “blasphemy.”

On the symbolic plane, Lawrence overthrows the three Abrahamic faiths by rejecting their doctrines and reversing or rewriting their central stories with himself as the hero. The movie takes this process further, both reflecting upon the process by which Lawrence became a legend and perfecting it: cinema as apotheosis. I want to focus on the latter two layers. Thus I will skip huge stretches of the story and leave those for you to discover on your own.

T.E. Lawrence was one of five illegitimate sons of an Anglo-Irish Baronet, Sir Thomas Chapman, and an English mother, Sarah Junner. Highly intelligent, Lawrence read history at Jesus College, Oxford from 1907 to 1910. From 1910 to 1914, he was an archaeologist in the Holy Land, working with such eminent figures as Leonard Woolley and Flinders Petrie. Woolley and Lawrence also gathered intelligence for the British in the Negev Desert in early 1914.

When the World War broke out, Lawrence enlisted. Fluent in French and Arabic and knowledgeable of Arab history and culture, he received a military intelligence post in Cairo. In June of 1916, when Sharif Hussein, Emir of Mecca, led an Arab revolt against the Ottomans, Lawrence was sent to Arabia to gather intelligence. The rest is history.

The movie begins with Lawrence’s death in a motorcycle accident in 1935, at the age of 46. After a memorial service at St. Paul’s Cathedral attended by the crème of the British establishment, a priest asks if Lawrence “really belongs here,” which introduces the theme of Lawrence as an outsider. The first half of the movie can be seen as an affirmative answer to that question.

Then we flash back nearly twenty years to Lawrence in Cairo. From the start, Peter O’Toole plays Lawrence as slightly autistic and ambiguously gay. He also has a masochistic side. He likes to extinguish matches with his fingers. “The trick . . . is not to mind that it hurts.” It is a small exercise in self-overcoming, a hint of greater things to come.

Lawrence’s commander, General Murray, despises him as an overeducated misfit, but a civil servant Mr. Dryden (a composite character played by Claude Rains) values his intelligence and language skills. Dryden “borrows” Lawrence for an intelligence gathering mission to Arabia. He is to meet Prince Faisal (Alec Guinness), the son of Sharif Hussein, and evaluate his leadership potential.

Lawrence tells Dryden that he thinks this mission will be “fun.” Dryden says that the only people who find the desert fun are Bedouin and gods. His unstated premise is that Lawrence is neither. Lawrence flatly declares, “No, it will be fun.” If Dryden is right, and Lawrence is not a Bedouin, that implies that Lawrence thinks of himself as a god. To underscore Lawrence’s funny idea of fun, he lights a match. But this time Lawrence blows the flame out.

Crossing the desert to find Faisal, Lawrence’s guide Tafas is killed by Sharif Ali (Omar Sharif) for drinking at his well. You see, Tafas is from the wrong tribe. This prompts a bit of political philosophy delivered with autistic frankness that borders on the suicidal, given that it is spoken to a man holding a smoking gun: “As long as the Arabs fight tribe against tribe, they will be a little people, a silly people, greedy, barbarous, and cruel.” A nation comes into being when tribes of the same people put aside petty differences and rivalries for a higher good. Throughout his adventures in Arabia, Lawrence’s dream of a rising Arab nation is stymied by tribal rivalries and blood feuds.

On autistic principle, Lawrence rejects Ali’s help in finding Faisal, preferring to risk it on his own.

When Lieutenant Lawrence reaches Faisal, he is ordered by his British military advisor, Colonel Brighton, to say nothing, observe, and report back to Dryden. But Lawrence is irrepressible. As an autist, when he has ideas, he can’t keep them to himself, which intrigues Faisal. Brighton counsels a strategic withdrawal to Yenbo, where the British can resupply him. Faisal wants the British fleet to take the port of Aqaba, but Brighton refuses. It is too well-defended. When Brighton leaves, Faisal bids Lawrence to stay. Faisal naturally fears the English have designs on Arabia, but he is forced to depend upon them: “We need the English or—what no man can provide, Mr. Lawrence—we need a miracle.”

This prompts Lawrence to spend a night brooding in the desert. The next morning, Lawrence suggests to Ali that the Arabs should take Aqaba themselves. Aqaba’s guns point toward the sea, because an attack from the land was deemed unlikely. Ali points out that such an attack would require crossing the Nefud Desert, a waste that even the Bedouin avoid. Lawrence proposes crossing the Nefud with fifty men—all members of Ali’s tribe—then raising more troops from the Howeitat tribe on the other side. Ali agrees.

When Lawrence tells Prince Faisal that he is “going to work your miracle,” Faisal replies “Blasphemy is a bad beginning.” Lean films Lawrence’s nocturnal meditations like something more than just a brainstorming session. Now we know that it was a step toward apotheosis.

As Lawrence and his followers make their last push across the Nefud, one of the men, named Gasim, falls off his camel in the dark. When his riderless camel is noticed, Lawrence wants to go back to rescue him. But Ali and the Arabs say they dare not risk it. Gasim’s time has come. “It is written,” meaning that it is the will of God. Lawrence declares “Nothing is written”—meaning that the will of God is nothing in the face of the will of man—then he goes back on his own to search for Gasim. As he departs, Ali rages at Lawrence’s “blasphemous conceit” and says he will not be at Aqaba. Lawrence replies that he will make it to Aqaba: “That is written”—by Lawrence himself.

In the space of a single conversation, Lawrence rejects the written laws handed down by Moses and Muhammad. He overthrows God and lays down his own laws. Blasphemy indeed. But Lawrence’s blasphemy is not punished. It is rewarded. When he rescues Gasim, the Arabs begin to idolize Lawrence. As Lawrence sleeps, Ali burns his uniform.

The next day, they dress him the white and gold robes of a sharif of their tribe, conferring noble status on him. It is proclaimed, “He for whom nothing is written may write himself a clan.” Because Lawrence is a bastard in England, he cannot inherit his father’s name or title. For Ali, that means he is free to choose his own name. He is free to found his own family, clan, or dynasty. He is free to be somebody’s ancestor, not somebody’s heir. This is the privilege that descends on all men who bring victory in battle. It is how aristocracies everywhere are born. The Arabs call him “Aurens.” Now Ali wishes to style him “El Aurens,” which is the equivalent of the German “von.” Lawrence is beginning to enter—and alter—Arab society.

The night before Lawrence’s men and the Howeitat are to strike Aqaba, a shot rings out. One of the Howeitat lies dead, killed by one of Lawrence’s men. The Howeitat demand justice, but if they execute the killer, his own tribesmen are bound to avenge him. Tit-for-tat violence will destroy the alliance. Arab tribalism is about to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

But Lawrence has a solution. He will execute the prisoner. He will take the blame. He, not the Howeitat, will bear the brunt of the blood feud of the dead man’s tribe. Thus the alliance of the two tribes can be maintained for the attack on Aqaba. Lawrence is offering himself as a scapegoat to prevent tribal conflict from spinning out of control.

Of course, in a sense Lawrence can’t really serve as a scapegoat, because he knows that he is no danger of actually being punished by Gasim’s tribe for executing him. He has already become a demigod, hailed as a sharif by Gasim’s own kin.

The scapegoat here functions as a symbol of the political enemy in Carl Schmitt’s sense. If the Arab tribes are to become an Arab nation, they must find a way to take the enmity between them and place it on an outsider. If the Arabs are to become a political “us” they must have an external enemy, a political “them” against whom to define themselves. Lawrence wants it to be the Turks, but he knows that a people in need can create an enemy in its own midst, then externalize it. Lawrence is willing to fill that role in a pinch.

Ironically, though, Lawrence’s gesture also undermines nationalism and makes a case for empire. In Xenophon’s The Education of Cyrus, book 3, we learn of how enemy tribes can be unified not by a common enemy but by a common “friend.” Two enemy peoples in the Caucasus, the Armenians and the “Chaldeans,” are locked in perpetual warfare. Neither group is strong enough to defeat the other, so their costly conflict can only be terminated by a third party.

Cyrus occupies and fortifies the highlands between the Armenians and Chaldeans. He pacifies them by offering to ally himself to whichever tribe is wronged by the other. Then he delivers the fruits of peace by brokering mutually enriching economic exchanges between the two tribes in place of mutually impoverishing conflict.

None of this would be possible without a third power, an outsider who is above their conflicts and benevolently disposed toward them. This was the legitimating ideology of the Persian empire; hence Cyrus became known as the “prince of peace.” Lawrence plays the same role in brokering peace between the tribes. It is, of course, but a small step from hero to emperor. Contrary to the principle of national self-determination, sometimes only an outsider will do.

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When Lawrence and the rest of us see the face of the condemned man, it is a punch in the gut. It is Gasim, the man Lawrence risked everything to save. Lawrence asks Gasim if he is guilty. “Yes.” Then Lawrence puts six bullets in him. When he flings away his gun in disgust, a mob converges on it, as a holy relic. Lawrence is becoming a legend. (In reality, Lawrence executed a different man. By making Gasim the killer, the screenwriters not only made the story more economical, they also increased its dramatic power.)

After Aqaba is taken, Lawrence basks in victory for a few moments by the seaside, where Ali throws him a garland of flowers, stating “The miracle is accomplished. . . . Tribute for the prince, flowers for the man.” Lawrence replies “I’m none of those things, Ali.” When asked what he is then, Lawrence says, “Don’t know.” But he’s being coy. If he has worked a miracle, he’s a god, or on his way to becoming one.

When the telegraph equipment in Aqaba is smashed by the excitable Arabs, Lawrence proposes taking the news to Cairo by crossing the Sinai desert. “Why not? Moses did it.” To which Auda abu Tayi, the leader of the Howeitat (Anthony Quinn in his most compelling role) replies, “Moses was a prophet and beloved of God.” But Lawrence is doing more than imitating Moses. He’s already tossed away the written laws of Moses and Muhammad. Now he’s reversing Moses’ journey by going back into Egypt.

When Lawrence arrives in Cairo, he’s dressed in Bedouin robes and caked with filth. But Lawrence walks into military HQ like he belongs there. He was an outsider even when he wore the uniform, but now it’s obvious. Naturally, he is not welcomed until he is recognized as one of their own. He looks like a beggar. He has gone through hell. But when he reports that he has taken Aqaba, everyone from the top brass to the lowest guardsman knows a good thing when he sees it.

General Murry has been replaced by General Allenby, a far shrewder leader superbly played by Jack Hawkins. Allenby promotes Lawrence to major on the spot. Brighton declares it a “brilliant bit of soldiering” and recommends Lawrence be put up for a commendation. Dryden says, “Before he did it, sir, I would say it couldn’t be done.” When Allenby summons the lowly Mr. Perkins into his office and asks his opinion of Aqaba, he says “Bloody marvelous, sir.” We know Perkins is a lowly fellow because we only see his boots, stamping to attention as he enters and leaves.

Allenby proposes a drink at the officers’ bar. The beautifully filmed and choreographed sequence is one of the movie’s most memorable. The British HQ was filmed in a magnificent palace in Spain. The music is a splendid march. Allenby, Lawrence, and company sweep through the halls and down the grand staircase—past rank after rank of smartly uniformed officers and sentries, standing at attention and saluting—into the sumptuous bar, where all the officers spring to attention until Allenby put them at ease and begs their permission to drink there, as a guest of Major Lawrence. It is a perfect image of how hierarchy is oiled by magnanimity, manners, and good humor. We pretty much know where David Lean stands on the empire vs. nationalism question. The British Empire has seldom seemed better oiled and more glamorous on screen.

But it is precisely the British ability to look past appearances and to recognize the talents and achievements of an outsider and misfit like Lawrence that made this victory possible. As Allenby and Lawrence continue their conversation in the courtyard, the camera rises to the galleries above, which are lined with onlookers. Again, we see a legend forming. When Allenby takes his leave and Lawrence returns alone to the bar, the officers briefly stand silent then burst out in acclaim. When the priest at Saint Paul’s asks, “Does he really belong here?” he means at the very center of one of the world’s great empires. Here we see that the answer is yes. It is an enormously moving climax, and we’re only at the Intermission.

In the first half of the movie, Lawrence makes himself a legend in service of Arab nationalism. In the second half, he meets a rival myth-maker, Jackson Bentley, a fictional American journalist based on Lowell Thomas and played by Arthur Kennedy. Bentley’s goal is to use the Arab anti-colonial revolt and the romantic figure of Lawrence to build American sympathy for the war. Prince Faisal replies: “You are looking for a figure who will draw your country toward war. Aurens is your man.” Amusingly, Bentley tells Faisal, “I just want to tell your story.” The bastards still say the same thing today.

When Lawrence and the Arabs attack a Turkish train, we see apotheosis in action. A victorious Lawrence stands on top of the train to receive the acclaim of the tribes. A wounded Turk shoots him. Lawrence falls to the sand, where he takes stock of his wound. When a bloodied Lawrence returns to the roof, the tribes are ecstatic. Lawrence prances on the roof of the train like a model on a catwalk, whirling in his robes, drinking up the adulation of his followers.

Looking down through the camera’s eyes, we see only Lawrence’s shadow across the sands and the cheering crowd. Looking up, we see only his silhouette against the sky. Bentley eagerly snaps pictures, which the Arabs correctly believe will steal their virtue. Bentley is stealing—and selling, and exploiting—Lawrence’s virtue, his power.

The juxtaposition of the three-dimensional Lawrence and his two-dimensional shadow and silhouette, along with the journalist’s camera, is a subtle commentary on myth-making. Lawrence is becoming one of the shadows projected on the walls of the cave of public opinion.

In my review of John Ford’s The Searchers, I comment on Ford’s framing effect of moving from silhouette to three-D and back to suggest that the domestic world is less real and more fragile than nature, again an analogue to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. Lean uses the same contrasts to similar effect. Lean carefully studied The Searchers before filming Lawrence to understand how Ford shot his spectacular Monument Valley settings. He may have taken other inspiration as well.

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Sated with loot and desiring to take the winter off, Lawrence’s Bedouin allies melt away. But the British campaign rolls on. Lawrence has been asked to besiege Deraa, but he only has fifty men left, the original number he set out with toward Aqaba. Having worked a miracle once before, he presses on. “Who will walk on water with me?” he asks. More blasphemy. But not even Lawrence can motivate fifty men to take a town garrisoned by thousands of Turks.

So Lawrence proposes to go into Deraa alone. Of course with his fair complexion, golden hair, and blue eyes, he’s going to have a hard time passing, but for some reason Lawrence wants to draw attention to himself—even though he is the most wanted man in the Empire, with a bounty of twenty-thousand pounds. The whole mission makes no sense, and some suspect that it is wholly fictional. Ali accompanies him.

Lawrence is arrested, beaten, and most probably raped by a sadistic Turkish general, then thrown into the street. Lawrence’s feeling of invincibility is shattered. He wants to return home and bury himself in an ordinary life. “I’m only a man.” Ali is incredulous, objecting “A man can do whatever he wants!” Lawrence retorts, “But he can’t want what he wants.” Meaning that we may be able to reshape the world according to our desires, but we can’t reshape our desires. Then he pinches his white flesh and says, “This is the stuff that decides what he wants.” Is he referring to his race, which made it impossible for him to pass as an Arab? Is he referring to his sexuality? (Lawrence was most definitely a masochist and probably homosexual.) Whatever his meaning, Lawrence is doubting his outsider magic.

Lawrence meets with Allenby in Jerusalem and asks to be relieved. “I’m an ordinary man, and I want an ordinary job. . . . I just want my ration of common humanity.” Allenby has seen these mood swings before and handles Lawrence shrewdly. “You’re the most extraordinary man I’ve ever met.” Lawrence agrees rather too readily. “Not many people have a destiny, Lawrence. It is a terrible thing to flunk it if he has.”

This is Lawrence’s Garden of Gethsemane moment, when he seeks to renounce or flee his superhuman destiny. But that proves impossible. It is not long before the old Lawrence is back. He’s going to deliver Damascus to the Arabs. The scene ends dramatically with Lawrence standing in front of a painting of Phaeton falling headlong from the solar chariot declaring emphatically that the Arab tribes “will come for me.”

Of course, at Deraa he’s learned the limits of his charisma. So he demands a great deal of money from Allenby as well, to buy allegiance. When Lawrence sets out for Damascus, he has a paid bodyguard of notorious cutthroats, all of them wanted men.

Lawrence’s goal is to beat Allenby to Damascus and install an Arab National Council. He almost loses the race when he comes across an Arab village sickeningly massacred by the retreating Turks. The cutthroats urge “no prisoners.” Ali reminds Lawrence of Damascus. When one of Lawrence’s men charges the Turks and is gunned down, Lawrence unleashes a massacre. This is his Phaeton-like fall. Faisal prophesied it earlier in the film when he said that for Lawrence, mercy is a passion. For Faisal it is merely good policy. “You may judge which is more reliable.” Clearly, Faisal’s motives were more reliable in the end.

Despite the massacre, Lawrence beats Allenby to Damascus, occupies the key facilities, and declares an Arab National Council in charge. Allenby’s response is shrewd. He orders the British army to quarters, including the medical and technical staff. He’s going to let the Arabs muck things up, out of tribal pettiness and general backwardness. Eventually, they will get tired of playing at government and leave. Which is pretty much what happens. “Marvelous looking beggars, aren’t they?” Allenby remarks as he sees the Bedouin begin to slip back to the desert.

The movie ends with Lawrence, now a full colonel, being sent home so the politicians can take over. Along the road, he passes a troop of Bedouins leaving Damascus and more British coming in. It looks anticlimactic, but that’s history.

It also looks like a defeat, but it wasn’t entirely. Prince Faisal held on. He was willing to accept British engineers to run things, but he insisted on flying an Arab flag and declaring himself king. Faisal was eventually run out of Damascus by the French, but he became king of Iraq, which was pretty much a British oilfield with an Arab flag until his grandson was machine-gunned by revolutionaries. His brother became king of Jordan, where his descendants rule to this day. It wasn’t what Lawrence wanted, but without his efforts, the Arabs would have had to settle for a lot less. Lawrence’s sense of mission wavered from time to time, but he didn’t fail the Arabs. Ultimately, they failed themselves.

Visually, Lawrence of Arabia is one of the most beautiful films in the history of cinema. It has been studied obsessively by other filmmakers but never equaled. Every new viewing discloses new influences. For instance, surely Faisal’s silent, red-robed guardians gave George Lucas an idea or two. If a picture is worth a thousand words, Lawrence of Arabia is worth a million. Better, then, that you see it for yourself.

What did Lawrence do after Arabia? There were stints at the Foreign Office and the Colonial Office. But having made history, he found office work boring. So he turned his talents to making legend, writing Seven Pillars of Wisdom and delivering lectures to enormous audiences. He also filled his ration of common humanity by joining the Royal Air Force. Apparently he found it relaxing to take orders from fools. When his enlistment was up, Lawrence left the RAF in March of 1935. He had his fatal accident before he could begin the next chapter in his legend.

We can only imagine what Lawrence would have thought of Lean’s film. I think it is insightful, but it isn’t necessarily pleasant to be spiritually X-rayed. However, if Lean is right about Lawrence’s ambitions, I think he would have been pleased to see his apotheosis finally made complete.

 
• Category: Arts/Letters, History • Tags: Hollywood, Middle East, Movies, World War I 
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  1. Great movie indeed. Saw it at age 12 at an outdoor movie theater. I always wonder if he was “suicided” if you know what I mean. Too bad he couldn’t stop the ownership of what ought to be known today as Arabia, NOT SAUDI Arabia! The Saudis (Donmeh, of course…how else could they have stolen a huge nation called Arabia) are one of the most evil families on Earth and they treat their subjects like crap, esp. if they are Shiite or Christian. Sabbateans, indeed.

  2. songbird says:

    I don’t think that anyone could read Seven Pillars and reasonably doubt that Lawrence was gay.

    • Replies: @Joe Paluka
  3. anon[188] • Disclaimer says:

    Anthony Quinn’s greatest role.

    • Replies: @Traddles
  4. @songbird

    I guess for some men, after six months in the desert with a bunch of hairy brown men who aren’t very fussy about what the object of their carnal desires are, it tends to rub off.

    • Replies: @moi
  5. IvyMike says:

    I don’t know how anybody who read 7 Pillars could sit through Lean’s movie. Bridge On The River K is the worst movie I’ve seen, L of Arabia is just as bad. Both stand as monumental insults to good books brilliantly written. I never read Dr. Z but that movie was a real snooze. The greatest achievement of the Star Wars Franchise is being just as bad as all of Lean’s movies. Great scenery but spare me the endless vistas assaulted by a soundtrack of fat music.
    Lawrence expressed regret that he deceived the Arabs on Sykes-Picot and always felt guilty over his role of motivating them to fight for an independence he knew they would be denied after the war.
    Love it early on in 7 Pillars when Lawrence comments one can tell the Arab army is near by all the soldiers buggering each other in the dunes.

    • Replies: @Brad Anbro
    , @huisache
  6. Ron Unz says:
    @omegabooks

    I always wonder if he was “suicided” if you know what I mean.

    Actually, there are plausible claims that Lawrence was moving very strongly towards support for Hitler and Fascism, and was considering joining Sir Oswald Mosley’s organization when he was killed in that mysterious traffic accident.

    I mentioned it in a paragraph in my analysis of World War II:

    There is also the very interesting but far less well documented case of Lawrence of Arabia, one of the greatest British military heroes to come out of the First World War and who may have been moving in a rather similar direction just before his 1935 death in a possibly suspicious motorcycle accident.  An alleged account of his evolving political views seems extremely detailed and perhaps worth investigating, with the original having been scrubbed from the Internet but still available at Archive.org.

    https://www.unz.com/runz/american-pravda-understanding-world-war-ii/#the-black-legend-of-adolf-hitler-and-nazi-germany

    • Replies: @Mefobills
    , @GeeBee
  7. “From the start, Peter O’Toole plays Lawrence as slightly autistic and ambiguously gay. He also has a masochistic side. He likes to extinguish matches with his fingers. “The trick . . . is not to mind that it hurts.”

    Gosh, I wonder where G. Gordon Liddy stole his most amazing ‘burn my palm with a candle for your entertainment and astonishment” trick to prove his toughness, manhood and self-control? Looks like others noticed the rip-off, too: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/gordon-liddy-dead/2021/03/30/4d50c40c-91ae-11eb-a74e-1f4cf89fd948_story.html

    But hey, they’re both rip-off artists of Gaius Mucias Scaevola, who really did it up big-time, as in a truly mind-blowing ‘right-hand roast’ of historically epic proportions: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Gaius-Mucius-Scaevola

    (Little, if anything, is truly ‘new’ and ‘original’ in this world…… )

    As usual, another very entertaining and informative review from T. Lynch, which is a treat I really enjoy here on Unz and look forward to, as I am sure countless others do too.

  8. Stryker’s Questions

    [MORE]

    1. Following the two World Wars the Arab world was developed. Why did the USA & UK decline economically & even infrastructurally in the interim?

    2. If Dubai & the Gulf countries are run by such primitive people why are their skyline’s & public transport & roads superior to those of the USA & UK? Why is there less poverty in these countries today?

    3. If it is only a matter of proceeds from oil why do Texas cities such as Dallas have stark white underclass poverty & Dubai or UAE do not?

    4. If Lawrence was gay & his Arab cohorts as well than why are white girls from UK being groomed into heroin addicted 13 year old hookers & white American young women exhibiting themselves pornographically on Snapchat but not Arab women? How has “freedom from the patriarchy” assisted young white women in the UK or USA?

    5. Why aren’t Jewish girls groomed by Muslims in UK? Why is it only Gentile girls? What is different about Jewish families that their daughters are not groomed by Pakistanis though in the UK many Pakistanis consider Jews the enemy?

    6. Fellow posters here have suggested the reason that Dubai & UAE have low crime is because there are no blacks or Mestizos. Mestizos by definition are half white. What is unique about their Amerindian blood that they bring a particular mayhem to civilized society?

    7. Why don’t Pakistanis groom UAE schoolgirls for sexual exploitation in Dubai? What prevents them from doing so? What is different about UK & Dubai in this regard?

    8. Spain reconquered the South from Muslims. Why is Mexico & Latin America not as successful as Dubai or UAE even in countries with huge oil reserves such as Veenezuela?

    9. Steve Railsback who starred as Charles Manson became O’Toole’s protege & starred in STUNTMAN. What are your impressions of him. Why did Steve Railsback fail to become a huge star after the STUNT MAN?

    10. Why are there no homeless Emirate (Though some Guest Workers) on the streets off Dubai or UAE but so many descendants of WW1 veterans of the war in the Arab arena are homeless in the USA or even the UK.

  9. Alfred says:

    Great movie. I saw it as a kid at London’s Leicester Square. Our mother wanted us to see it to remind us of the deserts of Egypt. We were thoroughly fed up with the English climate at that time.

    It is hard to explain the power of the British in the first half of the 20th century in that region. Almost nothing went on without their blessing and knowledge. The current lot are a pathetic bunch who keep on trying to “punch above our weight” – as Tony Blair reputedly said.

    Britain once punched above its weight. Now we are irrelevant (2017)

    As a toddler, my mother took me most mornings to the “English Sporting Club” at Cairo’s Heliopolis – a short walk from our home. She was British/Irish so we could become members.

    An English gentleman used to have his breakfast in the garden near the playground. I just sat at his table. He ordered another breakfast for me. Much to the embarrassment of my mother, this became a routine. I never spoke to him. I guess he was reading an airmail copy of the London Times.

  10. Right_On says:

    Bentley eagerly snaps pictures, which the Arabs correctly believe will steal their virtue
    Now that we’re living in the age of Facebook, selfies, ‘reality’ TV and celebrity culture, I’m starting to think that the Arabs were correct in thinking that a photograph steals a man’s soul.

    The whole mission makes no sense, and some suspect that it is wholly fictional
    There’s a scene in the film – also mentioned in Lawrence’s book, I believe – in which a Bedouin boy sinks into a quicksand. That used to be a common method of dispatching people in sixties’ movies, until a spoilsport materials scientist showed it was impossible for a man’s body to be wholly sucked under – unless he’s lying prone, of course. So was that another fib by “Aurens”? (Some authorities suggest there may be such a thing as a “dry quicksand”, but the jury is still out.)

    By the way: The family of the Turkish officer who allegedly took a fancy to our lily-white boy have adamantly insisted that he actually had quite the reputation as a womanizer.

    • Replies: @Colin Wright
  11. Dumbo says:

    Lawrence of Gayrabia?

    I thought David Lean was gay too, but according to Wikipedia he was married six times and had “1,000 women”. However, only one son, which is a bit strange.

    My favourite film by Lean is Brief Encounter (1945).

  12. Z-man says:

    Interesting, no mention of ‘The Godfather’ (Part 1) in the writers list of best movies. I mean ‘Network’? Really?

  13. Ghali says:

    Lawrence was a British spy. The film is a dirty racist British propaganda against Arabs.

    • Replies: @Hertog
  14. Mefobills says:
    @Ron Unz

    https://www.unz.com/runz/american-pravda-understanding-world-war-ii/#the-black-legend-of-adolf-hitler-and-nazi-germany

    David Irving also uncovered the fascinating detail that the two largest German financial donors to the Nazis during their rise to power were both Jewish bankers, one of them being the country’s most prominent Zionist leader, though the motives involved were not entirely clear.

    Irving speculated that it was to embarrass the Brüning government. It is not clear why the government needed embarrassing by finance Jews, unless there was some sort of implicit threat not known to history.

    Regardless, the amount of money given to the NSDAP party by Jews in its formative period was small potatoes.

    https://nationalvanguard.org/2018/05/funding-a-movement-german-big-business-and-the-rise-of-hitler/

    Actual sources of financing for election campaigns and party activities came mostly from membership dues and contributions by small and medium-sized businesses. According to William L. Patch of Washington and Lee University, Turner’s conclusions “are now accepted by nearly all specialists in the field.”

    and

    Unsurprisingly for anyone who has read David Irving, Turner notes that the documentary sources he consulted had been ignored by other historians. Mostly Turner cites original documents: “Only in the case of impeccable scholarly editions have I relied on published versions of materials I originally used in archival form.

    • Thanks: Arthur MacBride
  15. Why do the men of those days in the movies and in real life seem so much manlier? Honest question- let’s keep politics and personal opinion of this movie aside…….any film from the 70s, 80s or even 90s and the men look and act manly. Only the kids and twentie somethings act and look young-usually the stoner dudes of the 90s, but compare an Arnold, Sly, Redford or Newman to Channing Tatum or Timothy Chalamat or any of the stars of today and you’ll get my drift.

    Strange that Leonardo Di Caprio-one of the most feminine-looking dudes of the 90s is amongst the manliest looking and one of the last real movie stars of Hollywood 2020(alongside maybe Denzel, Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt). Rest all post selfies, do useless chat shows and just lack the finesse and stoicism of the days gone. The aura of the movie star is dead and dusted.

    But even in real life-from the dressing sense to the talking style to the sense of responsibility. Something has drastically changed. Is it something in the food? Is it the internet that has pussified or babified the masses?

  16. @IvyMike

    I bought the movie off of the internet, so that I could watch it for the first time – I am 69 years old and heard that it was a great movie. I liked it very much and I also liked Bridge on the River Kwai.

    In my opinion, the movies that they are coming out with are absolute TRASH, what with all the computer-generated graphics. Most of them are absolutely unbelievable. Also, I no longer watch TV, for the same reasons.

    Thank you.

    • Thanks: Trevor Lynch
  17. sally says:

    I too have long suspicion-ed Lawrence to have been the German ambassador to the Ottoman; he wanted the German built railroads to be built all over the old Ottoman Empire, and post WWI, the Arabs wanted and needed the revenue and trade, railroads in those times could bring? Railroads were denied as much as possible because they would strengthen Germany and work against the Balfour ambitions supported by immigration warfare where by European immigration (mostly Jewish) was being used to create sufficient support for the Jewish nation State needed to govern the Arab and the trillions in oil under the old Ottoman Empire. (see the Pallin Commission reports for more). why, immigration warfare? Arabs had no private property laws, without a nation state, it would have been impossible for the oil companies to privately own the land and minerals in the defeated Ottoman Empire.

    It takes a nation state to turn public land and mankinds ideas and inventions into privately owned oligarch property (record your deed, patent, copyright in the government recording office and you own everything in your claim, with added benefit that, the armed government will uses it awesome powers and armed strength to help you to enforce your claim against against all who oppose the monopoly your nation state gave to some Oligarch). But if there is no government willing to pass conversion laws (only rule of law can convert ownership of public assets and mankinds inventions into private profit making ownership; there is no way to own the land, its oil, its gas, or to control the Arab people. in other words, private ownership creates a monopoly over the thing or in the right claimed. Private ownership creates by law a boundary, and by another law it criminalizes infringement on the private right, by the law of trespass and copyright and patent infringement. Also until the nation state is created and recognized by the world, there is no sovereign immunity; sovereign immunity grants the sovereign right to a public funded military force (rule of law converts privately funded terrorist forces into state owned public funded military forces).

    • Thanks: Cauchemar du Singe
    • Replies: @Mefobills
  18. Another great cultural essay from Trevor Lynch.

    It’s striking how in those pre-Arab-oil-embargo days when this film was made, the portrayal of Islam was much more unambigously positive. In one scene, after Lawrence agrees to hire two not-well-born boys as his servants, even tho they are described as “outcasts … not suitable”, Gasim declares to Lawrence:
    “They will be lucky for you. Allah favours the compassionate!”

    The wonderful film music is a key part of ‘Lawrence of Arabia’. The main theme seems to be inspired by the 1st movement of Anton Bruckner’s magnificent Symphony No. 6 … especially see starting about 9m16s:

    Here’s the ‘Allah favours the compassionate!’ short clip
    https://getyarn.io/yarn-clip/1a9e93f1-5667-415d-b0ab-53c169aaa2f1

    • Replies: @Trevor Lynch
    , @MEH 0910
  19. GeeBee says:
    @Ron Unz

    I am glad you mentioned this Ron, as I was about to myself. Your linked article from the archive ‘wayback machine’ makes many of the points that I wished to. If I might be allowed to expand upon the matter, I should like to give further important details concerning this nefarious affair.

    Lawrence was actually offered the very highest accolade that the British Empire could bestow: the position of Viceroy of India – and he spurned the offer, eventually enlisting in the RAF as a mere Aircraftsman (equal to a private in the army) under the false name of ‘Shaw’. He had little time for British imperialism, having seen its true and mendacious nature at first hand. In spite of this, he moved in important circles. He was, for example, part of Lord and Lady Astor’s “Cliveden Set” (Clivedon was the Astors’ magnificent country seat in Buckinghamshire), together with editor of The Times Geoffrey Dawson and many others. They all supported Sir Oswald Mosley’s idea of National Socialist Germany and Fascist Italy forming a bulwark against Soviet Communism.

    Lawrence’s friendship with Henry Williamson (popular author of Tarka the Otter and Salar the Salmon), who was one of Mosley’s supporters, placed him further under suspicion as a possible threat to British aims. Indeed, Williamson had recognised in Lawrence a crucial ally, and had gone so far as to urge him to travel to Germany in order to meet with the leaders of National Socialist Germany, writing that “The new age must begin – Hitler and Lawrence must meet”. As the article you link to puts it: ‘just exactly what was said or planned at some of these private meetings at which Lawrence was present may never be known [but] Lawrence had been out of uniform for barely a month when press reporters besieged his cottage [Clouds Hill in Dorset], demanding to know “When was he going to see Hitler? Was he prepared to become a dictator of England?” ‘

    The press had subsequently physically attacked his cottage, and Lawrence had to use his fists on one man. The police then provided round-the-clock protection. Shortly after these events, he met with a tragic ‘accident’ while motorcycling down to Bovington Camp, in order to send a telegram in reply to a letter received that morning from Henry Williamson, proposing the vital meeting with Adolf Hitler. The telegram of agreement was dispatched and then on the way back the accident happened. He was just 200 yards from the cottage. At least four witnesses saw it: two delivery boys on bicycles, an army corporal walking in the field by the road and the occupants of a black van heading toward Lawrence. After the crash the black van raced off down the road and the corporal ran over to the injured man who lay on the road with his face covered in blood. Almost immediately an army truck came along and Lawrence was put inside and taken to the camp hospital where a top security guard was imposed. Special “D” notices were put on all newspapers and the War Office took charge of all communications.

    Police from Special Branch sat by the bedside and guarded the door. No visitors were allowed. The cottage was raided and “turned over,” many books and private papers were confiscated. Army intelligence interrogated the two boys for several hours. The corporal was instructed not to mention the van as being involved in the accident. Six days later Lawrence died and two days later an inquest was held under top security which lasted only two hours. The boys denied ever seeing a black van which contradicted the statement by the army corporal who was the principal witness. But no attempts were made to trace the vehicle and the jury gave a verdict of “accidental death.” He was buried that same afternoon.

    The following year, 1936, saw the banning of political parades in uniform and the forced abdication of King Edward, another patriot who like Lawrence had to be disposed of by the warmongers who were determined to destroy both Germany and Britain in another European war. And they succeeded.

    On Lawrence’s gravestone is carved these words: “The hour is coming and now is when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God and they that hear shall live.”

  20. I read ‘Seven Pillars’ as a child (I liked exotics) and remember only these few things:

    1) Great joy from blowing up Turkish trains. Lawrence must have been a real bum-bum-bam ‘dynamite man’. I felt a bit like playing a computer game.
    2) Puzzling, unfathomable homosexuality oozing through sentences like ‘Young Arabs were stretching their bodies in the sun like lizards’.
    3) That seven pillars of wisdom were nowhere to be seen.

    In the end, it wasn’t really exotic. A gay adventure story in war settings.
    Afterwards, I read ‘Caliph Vathek’ by William Beckford and liked it much more, which I bring here also because challenging the Almighty is an important element of its plot, unlike in ‘Seven Pillars’, where it is all pretty childlish.

    • Replies: @Trevor Lynch
    , @Miha
  21. Aren’t all Anglo heroes, gay?

  22. Lawrence in a 1935 letter to Robert Graves wrote “I loathe the notion of being celluloided. My rare visits to cinemas always deepen in me a sense of their superficial falsity…The camera seems wholly in place as journalism: but when it tries to re-create it boobs and sets my teeth on edge. So there won’t be a film of me.”

    Lawrence’s very last letter – or more accurately telegram – was to Henry Williamson a great writer who was firmly on the far right and who was seen by the British Government as a threat during The Second World War. If he had lived I think Lawrence would have received the same treatment.

    I’ve always thought it interesting that Dale Carnegie, along with Lowell Thomas and Lawrence himself, was one of the main creators of the Lawrence of Arabia mythos. Self-improvement, particularly the idea that anyone can do anything, has probably done more harm than good. Most people would be happier if they just worked within their own limits rather than over extending themselves and adding more stupidity to the world.

    • Agree: AceDeuce
    • Replies: @Franz
  23. gotmituns says:

    A great movie as far as I’m concerned.

    I think Lawrence was probably a faggot. But then again, so many of those limey aristocracy were running around buggering each other. At last when they were in those “schools” or maybe the navy.

    As to the movie, at one point, Faisal comes close to mentioning the Balfour Declaration. I think if the movie were made today they would get rid of that scene and replace it with Lawrence getting buggered by the Turks and Faisal’s black slaves.

    • Replies: @Trevor Lynch
  24. moi says:
    @Joe Paluka

    Get the feeling you kinda want to wander into the desert all by yourself. Enjoy!

  25. moi says:
    @omegabooks

    A gushing review written obviously by a westerner. So this Brit fooled the Arabs to overthrowing a relatively benign caliphate only to be broken up into “nations” ruled over by the Brits and French–not to mention the additional benefit and pleasure of seeing Palestinians thrown out of their land by European Jews.

    Wonderful. Just dandy.

    PS: Perhaps next a paean Gertrude Bell.

    • Replies: @Trevor Lynch
    , @Alden
  26. @Jeff Stryker

    You forgot to mention the beauty pageants for farm animals.

  27. @gotmituns

    As to the movie, at one point, Faisal comes close to mentioning the Balfour Declaration.

    He’s referring to the Sykes-Picot Agreement.

  28. @Another Polish Perspective

    seven pillars of wisdom were nowhere to be seen.

    Lawrence actually took his title from an earlier book that he destroyed. So if there are seven pillars in Seven Pillars, it requires some reading between the lines.

    • Replies: @Timur The Lame
  29. @brabantian

    The wonderful film music is a key part of ‘Lawrence of Arabia’. The main theme seems to be inspired by the 1st movement of Anton Bruckner’s magnificent Symphony No. 6

    I am glad I am not the only one who hears the resemblance to the Bruckner 6th!

    • Replies: @Johnrep
  30. Blankaerd says:
    @RJ Macready

    There are many reasons for the decline in masculinity, probably too many to list them all here. Food certainly plays a part, with ‘health’ organizations pushing against eating dairy and meat, the result of which is that people produce less testosterone. The reason why is that fat is an important element in testosterone production, particularly saturated fats.

    Then there is the physical activity angle. Many people do not exercise sufficiently. Many jobs used to be very physically demanding, but those jobs have either been phased out because of automation, or women can now do the same job because of equipment and regulations. Explosive physical activity such as sprinting and lifting heavy stuff has a positive impact on testosterone production. When that’s no longer part of your work/job routine, you should really be lifting weights on the side. Not just for testosterone levels, but also for general well-being. The male body was made to do that type of stuff and if we don’t, we tend to suffer.

    More and more jobs can be done indoors, which leads people to not catch sufficient sunlight. Not just jobs, but also our sources of entertainment can increasingly be enjoyed indoors (games, movies etc.) Again sunlight affects testosterone production among many other things.

    Chronic masturbation also affects T-levels. Kids these days are exposed to pornography at an early age, and masturbate more frequently, and so it may affect their hormonal balance and their development to adulthood in the long run.

    It’s the same reason why white men in the west are having trouble conceiving, in Ireland for instance one in five males have issues impregnating their partner. Not getting enough sunlight, not eating a proper diet, not exercising/lifting sufficiently and a general poor lifestyle leads to weak sperm. The issue is that rather than improving their sperm in a natural way, couples are increasingly choosing to conceive through artificial insemination such as IVF – which only increases our problems as the likelihood that a weak sperm cell impregnates an egg increases, which may lead to all sort of genetic disasters.

    • Thanks: showmethereal
    • Replies: @Mefobills
    , @HbutnotG
    , @Trinity
  31. It is not quite accurate to say that Lawrence was *fluent* in Arabic.

    Can anyone dig out *AN ARAB VIEW OF LAWRENCE*, I wonder.

    It is an interesting and enlightening book in which a few old Arabs who remembered Lawrence were interviewed for their recollections and opinions.

    Lawrence, like Wilfred Thesiger, spoke and understood demotic Arabic well but neither was really smarty-fluent or multi-dimensional enough to be taken for a native speaker by an educated Arab.

    At best, as he said himself, Lawrence was taken to be a man from an unknown and illiterate district who had, in effect, *picked up* a few educated locutions from people – like men from Cairo or Damascus – whom he had met at one time or another.

    • Replies: @Billy Corr
  32. theMann says:
    @Z-man

    Tastes differ, eh?

    Dr Strangelove
    Seven Samurai
    8 1/2
    Bringing Up Baby
    Up

    Seriously, I consider House of Flying Daggers a better film than Network. The first is a stunning visual of doomed love, the other an angsty circle jerk. Again, tastes differ.

    Lawrence is a visual and thematic masterpiece, with truly great performances, but I find almost everyone in the film to be a rather unsavory character. Does not keep it from being a great film, just not one I really like.

    • Replies: @Z-man
  33. @moi

    Tell us more about the benign rule of the Great Turks and the Three Pashas. This will be good.

  34. I saw the remastered version years ago at the Paris theater in Manhattan and during the intermission had the opportunity to talk briefly with Opie (Ron Howard) who had come out to see the film with his family. It’s a wonderful film… one of the top ten!

  35. Trinity says:
    @RJ Macready

    Men of this generation have reportedly less testosterone levels than their fathers, and their fathers generation had less testosterone than his father’s generation. The most likely culprit is probably all this processed shit that people eat.

    Arnold and Sly were “pumped” full of testosterone, especially Arnold. I don’t think pre-Rocky III days Stallone did much more than pump iron and exercise. He didn’t even look like the same person in Rocky III. Hollywood stars and being manly? Maybe Charles Bronson. Bronson actually looks like he knows how to throw a good punch, but what isn’t known by many is that Bronson was a heavy smoker and during the filming of “Hard Times” and those fight scenes, Bronson would have to take frequent breaks because his lungs were not as healthy as his hard physique. Rod Taylor and William Smith and that infamous fight scene in “Darker Than Amber.” I think both guys look pretty tough and could have been legit. Taylor reportedly did some boxing and so did Smith, Smith also had some martial arts training, had an impressive physique, did some arm wrestling, fought in the Korean War, spoke Russian fluently, hell, this B-list actor did just about everything. Interesting guy.

    I don’t know the backgrounds of actors but the only ones that I could see being legit tough guys and/or manly guys would have been Bronson, William Smith and Rod Taylor. I very well could have left out several because of lack of knowledge but those 3 guys were probably tougher than your average actor.

    • Replies: @showmethereal
  36. @GeeBee

    A guy who AT THE SAME TIME does not want to be a viceroy of India and does want to be a private, does not seem to be in his right mind, seriously.
    I mean, I understand not wanting to be a viceroy, but being a private…? Apparently he never really left kindergarten and its ‘Indians & cowboys’ plays…?
    Besides, can someone explain to me why being a viceroy is supporting British Empire, and being a private in the British Army isn’t…? In fact, since the times of Persian empire it is well known that viceroys/satraps can easily cut out their own kingdoms, with their own rules there…

    But Lawrence didn’t have that in himself. He wasn’t really into politics, just into ‘adventure’, and as such, needed to be commanded. I suppose he could be the epitome of the decline of the English aristocracy, a popular theme before WWI, developed by Francis Galton etc.

    Like Ceasar, he should be demoted immediately from patriciate to plebs. But Ceasar did this on his own wish. Lawrence apparently lacked such a desire. Well, he wasn’t so sincere after all, was he?

  37. My only regret is not having seen this movie in the original 70mm format. Personally I think “Kane” was the greatest movie ever but if one were choose in favor of “Lawrence” he/she would get no argument from me.

  38. To paraphrase Ray DeVoe–Part I of Lof A is “youth, idealism and victory”; Part II is “old age, cynicism, and defeat”.

    What is the fascination with “Vertigo”; why do you consider it so great? The movie’s weird and boring.

    • Replies: @Right_On
  39. Jtgw says:
    @Jeff Stryker

    UAE not exactly representative of Arab world. Gulf kingdoms stand out because of oil wealth; before oil discovered they were poorer than countries like Egypt or Syria.

    Seems like their political leaders are much more based than ours, however. The population actually majority South Asian now but those immigrants strictly barred from citizenship and citizen benefits and allowed to remain only as guest workers. As long as no significant movement to grant immigrants political rights should be fine. Does depend crucially on continuing world market for oil, of course.

  40. Mefobills says:
    @Blankaerd

    which only increases our problems as the likelihood that a weak sperm cell impregnates an egg increases, which may lead to all sort of genetic disasters.

    Modernity is dysgenic, especially in the “modern” finance capitalist countries. Finance Capitalist Democracies have a date stamp, as the trend lines are all down, and pointing toward oblivion.

    China is working to improve the masculinity of its men. Fascism (China is objectively fascist) works to improve the genetics and general welfare of its people.

    • Agree: Alfred
  41. The screenplay, written by Robert Bolt, may have been the greatest ever written. The list of quotable lines is endless but a particular favorite of mine was when the journalist, Bentley, tries in earnest but oafish fashion to patronize Faisal by drawing a comparison between the plight of the American colonists and the Arabs. Faisal, returning serve, gives him a short, blank look. Without rolling his eyes he replies “We are grateful.”

    • LOL: Angharad
    • Replies: @Trevor Lynch
  42. MEH 0910 says:
    @brabantian

    Lawrence Of Arabia (Original Soundtrack) playlist:

  43. Angharad says:

    “Lawrence of Arabia” is a genuine work of art. A MASTERPIECE. As great as any work of genius, in an sphere of creation. I am woman, and “action adventure” pieces an not generally of interest to me. I tend to prefer comedies, old-fashioned horror films, and musicals. This film is different though; I’ve watched this probably 10 times, and fell in love every single time. “Lawrence of Arabia” is SUPERB in every dimension. In every frame.

    I do not have the time to write about every aspect that I adore about this film. That would require a book. “Trevor Lynch” was obviously constrained by time and space as well. “Trevor” is an insightful and elegant writer – perhaps he will write a book on this film someday. “Lawrence” certainly deserves the time and attention.

    I do want to note a few elements that I adore, however. Firstly, the casting was flawless. The role of “Audence” was Peter O’Toole’s greatest role, and performance, in my not so humble opinion. O’Toole’s own hair color was light brown, but dyed blond for this role. Was ever an Idealized Aryan Man so glorified ANYWHERE? O’Toole LOOKS like a blond Nordic God, descended from Valhalla, in this film. His hair was so golden and perfect, and his eyes – bluer than any blue that’s ever been. His White Beauty is astonishing to behold; simply breathtaking. Noël Coward, remarked, after seeing the première, “If (O’Toole) had been any prettier, the film would have been called Florence of Arabia”. Yes. It would be nothing at all to bow before such a gorgeous being, made of gold, azure and alabaster perfection.

    O’Toole’s blonde Homme Fatale was contrasted wonderfully with the dark allure of Omar Sharif. I am a White woman, and I only find men of my own Race attractive, but Sharif was never prettier after this film. He was very young; his looks coarsened a tad as he aged – but his glossy dark hair, and glossy dark eyes, and excellent features served as a perfect visual counterpoint to O’Toole’s staggering Whiteness. I first viewed the restored version of this film in the Uptown Theater in Washington DC, when I was a mere sprig of a girl. I attended with an assortment of pals. We were seated in the first balcony, dead center of the screen. Sharif’s entrance, in that long lingering sequence, as he crossed the shimmering desert on his camel, and advanced towards Lawrence and guide – wow! Just WOW! We girls almost just almost swooned. The boys made fun of us – but we girls SWOONED. It’s one of the most memorable moments in cinema, for me. WOW!

    Finally – the music. Maurice Jarre’s score was a much a critical “character” in the film as anything else on screen. The sweep, the grandeur, the sheer beauty of the themes. I could rhapsodize about the music all day long – but I’m running very late with my 3D life. One moment, though stands about all others for me – the moment when Lawrence rescues Gassim from the desert. We hear the early, lonely, rueful music as Gassim struggles across the pitiless sandscape on his own, dropping supplies and clothing as the remorseless desert and Sun drain the life from him. The music is ominous as life itself drops away. We witness Ali’s character fuming and waiting for Lawrence to return – or not – from what Ali views as a pointless and ridiculous mission. The music is as annoyed as Ali is. We see Lawrence’s 2 Arab servant boys waiting faithfully for their master, and suddenly one of them spots…some thing ….barely visible in the far distance. I don’t have time to look up the names – but one of the boys breaks to that thing, in the distance begins to whoop and yell and call “Audence’s” name. The music swells to Lawrence’s main theme, in full orchestral magnificence – and it’s a FLAWLESS love song! To beauty, and success and the desert and to life itself! You just want to get up and dance! We couldn’t do that in the theater when we saw it – but the audience CHEERED at that scene, and my silly girl friends and I, when we left the theater, sang the theme in the street, and scampered around. The boys were very amused; our behavior simply confirmed the innate idiocy of girls.

    I will always love “Lawrence”. My devotion is eternal.

  44. Miha says:
    @Another Polish Perspective

    Evidently oozing through for you but this might just be a description of – Young Arabs stretching their bodies in the sun like lizards.

    • Agree: Trevor Lynch
  45. I have not seen the movie for at least twenty years – but it has always been one of my favorites.

    I vividly remember the cadence of the scene with the match, and the pronounced emphasis on the words “not minding” when Lawrence says:

    “The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts.”

    Again, that is from at least 20 years ago. Yet the reviewer, who had presumably watched the film themselves very recently, states (bolding added):

    He also has a masochistic side. He likes to extinguish matches with his fingers. “The trick . . . is not to mind that it hurts.”

    To me the misquote stands out like a sore-thumb.

    I am not being pedantic – just trying to understand memory and what is important and what isn’t – and how our species functions through the propagation of information that is so rarely questioned in any meaningful way.

    • Replies: @Trevor Lynch
  46. Alfred says:
    @Jeff Stryker

    If Dubai & the Gulf countries are run by such primitive people why are their skyline’s & public transport & roads superior to those of the USA & UK? Why is there less poverty in these countries today?

    When I was a student in London, I had a Persian friend from Dubai. Persians have lived in Dubai for generations. His dad had a ferry that transported people and trucks across the creek of Dubai. He remembered that when Sheikh Rashid came to the ferry with his entourage and goats, he would beg to be taken across without payment. Sheikh Rashid was the grandfather of the present ruler.

    It is all a matter of money. The rulers of Dubai bring in the best engineers of the West to manage their construction projects. Some classmates of mine helped build the dry dock back in the early 1970’s. My younger brother built a big part of the town next to Jebel Ali Port.

    • Replies: @Angharad
  47. I saw “Lawrence of Arabia” when it premiered in New York City at the Criterion Theater. This was when going to the theater was a true social experience.

    The Criterion was one of the most beautiful theaters in the city with a long, arching stairway to the large balcony where we were seated.

    To this day, I still view “Lawrence of Arabia” as one of the greatest films I have ever seen…

  48. @Timothy Madden

    I am not being pedantic – just trying to understand memory and what is important and what isn’t – and how our species functions through the propagation of information that is so rarely questioned in any meaningful way

    .

    No, you are being pedantic, and it is quite funny.

    • Replies: @Timothy Madden
  49. @Alfred

    “Britain once punched above its weight. Now we are irrelevant.”

    Holy Cow, those are some of the truest words ever spoken. What used to be Great Britain is now an isle where swarthy skinned Muslims rule London and most of the other major cities. Before this century is half over, the White race of the British Isles, the race that once ruled half of the civilised Western world, will have become a minority in its own ancestral homeland.

    And why? In part, to ‘prove’ to the world that they were not ‘racist’. (Even though no race or nation of brown or black skinned peoples have ever been required to prove that THEY are not racist.) As intelligent as the White peoples of the British Isles are, they apparently did not grok that the very act of ‘proving’ that they are not ‘racist’ was tantamount to committing cultural and racial suicide.

    America is doing the same thing. We are maybe 15-20 years behind formerly Great Britain in the suicidal timeline.

    • Agree: Alfred
    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  50. @Prester John

    The screenplay, written by Robert Bolt, may have been the greatest ever written. The list of quotable lines is endless but a particular favorite of mine was when the journalist, Bentley, tries in earnest but oafish fashion to patronize Faisal by drawing a comparison between the plight of the American colonists and the Arabs. Faisal, returning serve, gives him a short, blank look. Without rolling his eyes he replies “We are grateful.”

    It is an amazing screenplay. Michael Wilson is also credited, but in truth, all the dialogue is by Bolt, and it is brilliant. Wilson’s contribution was the basic outline, but that was pretty much dictated by the events of the book. A Man for All Seasons is superb too.

    Guinness is wonderful as Prince Faisal and has some of the best lines of the film.

  51. @GeeBee

    Thanks. That’s eerily reminiscent of Patton’s demise. If he lasted six days, he was probably on the road to recovery. They most likely applied the old coup de grace.

    Reagan would have met a similar fate if his aides had let them haul him off to Bethesda.

  52. @GeeBee

    Thanks to Ron Unz, Mefobills and GeeBee for additional details on the murder of Col Thomas Edward Lawrence by the British State.
    A further reason why it is called Perfidious Albion.

    Lawrence was used by GB govt primarily in his raising an Arab Bedouin army to defeat the Turks in Sinai and Palestine in WW1. They then killed him when it was perceived that he intended to do his best, as a very influential figure, to keep Great Britain out of the zionist bloodbath now known as World War 2. Lawrence made promises to the Arabs which GB renaged on in favour of setting up a Jewish State.
    WS Churchill was in the pay of the zionists as everone now knows.

    Just to say that the actual history of TE Lawrence (of which this is just a snippet) is much more interesting than a Hollywood movie.
    Here is a little more reading —

    … he was attached to Sheikh Faisal, son of Hussein bin Ali, Sharif of Mecca. Faisal was an Arab nationalist, as was Lawrence. This partnership succeeded in making the Arab Revolt against the Turks, during World War I, a resounding success …

    https://www.criminalelement.com/the-murder-of-lawrence-of-arabia-tony-hays/

    An account of the 1916-18 Arab Revolt (against the Turks) and how it turned out for them after victory wrt Sykes-Picot secret (from the Arabs) arrangement —

    https://www.historynet.com/creating-chaos-lawrence-of-arabia-and-the-1916-arab-revolt.htm

    • Agree: Pheasant
    • Thanks: Alfred
  53. Mefobills says:
    @GeeBee

    I’m woefully inadequate to the great game, and MI6 maneuvers in Arabia. MI6 is the lineal descendent of East India Companies secret service. But, it is clear from the great game, that Lawrence didn’t have a chance, especially as everybody was scrambling for oil and new alliances. Russia linking up with Germany with new railroad, was England’s nightmare.

    https://apps.dtic.mil/sti/pdfs/ADA111290.pdf

    This work examines the policy of King Ibn Saud toward the establishment of a Jewish entity in Palestine – the “Palestine problem.” H. St. John Philby was a British author, explorer and convert to Islam who was very close to Ibn Saud. Studying Philby’s attempts to get the King to negotiate with the Zionists provides a clear understanding of the original Saudi involvement in the Palestine problem.

    In November 1915, Philby sailed for Basra. When he arrived Sir Percy Cox gave him a tough mission. He was to study the finances of the occupied territory and draw up a regular system of civil accounts. Since this was his best line of work he was delighted. The Turkish administrators had taken all of their records with them and the Indian civil servants who had preceded Philby had tried to impose the Indian system on the Arabs. Philby studied the situation in detail and then devised a system appropriate for local conditions. He also set up a tax and banking system using promissory notes which greatly reduced the burdensome problem of gold flow with England.

    1744 Ibn Saud Ancestors and Wahabbism form first Saudi State The family were exiled from their residence in the city of Riyadh in 1890. Abdulaziz reconquered Riyadh in 1902, starting three decades of conquests that made him the ruler of nearly all of central and north Arabia. He consolidated his control over the Nejd in 1922, then conquered the Hejaz in 1925. He extended his dominions into what later became the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932. As King, he presided over the discovery of petroleum in Saudi Arabia in 1938 and the beginning of large-scale oil production after World War II.

    https://www.bp.com/en/global/corporate/who-we-are/our-history/first-oil.html

    (BP is an outpost for MI6)

    1889 a group of German industrialists and bankers, led by Deutsche Bank, secured a concession from the Ottoman government to build a railway through Anatolia. Germany had sought strong economic ties with the Ottomans as a way to develop potentially vast new markets for exporting German industrial goods. The Berlin-Baghdad Railway project was to be the centerpiece of the economic strategy, given the potential oil supplies in the region Britain stood opposed.

    If the rail link could reach Baghdad and on to Kuwait, it would provide the cheapest and fastest link between the Gulf, its oil and in practice Berlin. This was Britain’s worst nightmare in the east as it would weaken the position of India whilst propelling Germany into a possible economic dominance over Britain. If Germany were to look east and wished to move closer to Russia it could also have had the potential to split Russia from its Entente and alliance commitments.

    [MORE]

    1890’s, British industry had been surpassed in both rates and quality of technological development by Germany.

    1897 Shell Transport and Trading Company, first struck oil in Borneo.

    1908, May 25 (Persia) Burmah Oil provides another £40,000 and the drilling of two wells begins. Finally, on 26 May, a 25 metre-high fountain of oil bursts into the sky. This is the beginning of APOC/BP production in middle east. Oil can now be sourced outside of Borneo.

    1912, German industry and government realized that oil was the fuel of its economic future and similarly to Britain it needed a supply of its own that would reduce their import dependency. Upon discovering more fields between Mosul and Baghdad where the last part of the rail link would go led to further potential friction with Britain and the necessity to protect its interests in the areas that surrounded the link which the Deutsche Bank negotiated in the same year.

    1914 June 14, Churchill introduced a bill in the Parliament for an investment of the British Government’s 2.2 million pounds in the Anglo Persian Oil Company. The objective is to have an oil supply for HMS Queen Elizabeth Class ships. Ships are to become oil burners. Churchill eschews Shell Oil as it has connections to Jews, especially (((Marcus Samuel))). Churchill was an anti-semite, and the (((Focus Group))) had not gotten to him yet, as is evident from his APOC choice.

    1914, British and German companies had negotiated joint participation in the newly-founded Turkish Petroleum Company that held prospecting rights in Mesopotamia. The war ended the Anglo-German oil partnership and it exposed the territories of the German-allied Ottoman Empire to direct British attack.

    https://archive.globalpolicy.org/security/oil/2002/1000history.htm

    1914 War begins. Lawrence is sent to Cairo.
    1915, Dec. 26 Sir Percy Cox, on behalf of the British Government, signed the Treaty of Darin with Abdel Aziz Ibn Saud. Also known as the Darn Pact, the treaty made the lands of the House of Saud a British protectorate.
    1916 The Arab Revolt begins and Lawrence joins Sherif Faisal in his campaigns against the Turkish people.
    1916, May 19 representatives of Great Britain and France secretly reached an accord, known as the Sykes-Picot Agreement. The accord aimed at dividing most of Arab lands under the Ottoman rule between the British and the French at the end of WWI.
    1916 Unfortunately for the British, they had ceded much of the oil-producing area in northern Iraq to their French ally in the secret Sykes-Picot Accord of early 1916, carving up the soon-to-be defeated Ottoman Empire. British diplomacy and military plans changed course to recoup what had already been given away. Northern Iraq and Baghdad/Berlin railway are in the mix.
    1917 Balfour Declaration is signed
    1918 Damascus is captured from the Turks. Lawrence returns to England.
    1919 The Paris Peace Conference dashes Arab dreams of independence.
    1922 A mining engineer named Major Frank Holmes who hailed from New Zealand set up the Eastern and General Syndicate Ltd. He was convinced that there would be much oil to be found in the Saudi region and started seeking oil concessions through the syndicate.
    1921-1922 Lawrence, working with Churchill at the Colonial Office, helps to achieve some degree of Arab self-rule.
    1923 King Abdul Aziz signed a concession with Major Frank to allow him to search for oil in the Eastern part of the country (Saudi). A Swiss geologist was brought in, who stated that the ordeal of searching for oil in Arabia would be “a pure gamble”. This caused many banks and oil companies to back away from investing in Arabian oil ventures.
    1925 King Abdul Aziz sent an American mining engineer, Karl Twitchell, to examine the potential of oil discovery in Eastern Arabia. Twitchell found a few encouraging signs of oil, but advised that King Abdul Aziz await the outcome of the oil drilling in Bahrain Well No.1 before inviting foreign bids for oil exploration.
    1932 The Bahrain Petroleum Company struck oil in Bahrain and this brought in a renewed interest in the hunt for oil in Arabia.

    https://geopolitics.co/2020/09/24/the-zionist-origins-of-saudi-arabia-and-its-royals/

    Now, as we can see from reviewing the above four historical documents, British Empire, throughout their WWI campaign in the Middle East, played a cunning game of deception with the Arab people; making false promises with no intention of keeping them. A game all too common in empire-building, and certainly more so within the history of British imperialism. Nevertheless, as it always is the case, an empire cannot succeed in its treachery without a complicit, local cohort; a traitor from among the victims. And in this particular case, this cohort presented itself in the form of Abdel Aziz Ibn Saud.

    • Agree: Arthur MacBride
    • Thanks: GeeBee, Schuetze
  54. @Trevor Lynch

    Hi: thanks for your response – it is really quite informative.

    If you do not know what I am referring to, then that is fine. I don’t have a problem with that.

    I will, however, point out that you are the one who chose to put it in quotation marks, and I find that extraordinary. If you are just paraphrasing, then put it in italics. But when you put something in quotation marks, you should at least be certain that it is accurate.

    Please don’t take my comments as intended to be offensive or unduly critical. I am merely commenting on the anomaly, and its relationship to memory and to how different people store and access information in their minds.

    Otherwise I quite enjoyed the review, and would commend you on many of your insights.

  55. HbutnotG says:
    @Blankaerd

    You obviously don’t run a dairy farm, lol. Milk is a steroid “hormone” cocktail. You don’t buy the lie that “hormones” are illegal to feed to cows do you? How in the heck do cows produce 10X as much milk as they would in nature? It isn’t the breed, either. That breeding method maybe doubled the volume they can naturally produce and that method was completed over 150 years ago.

    And it goes beyond just estrogen. Hormones (re-named, reformulated 50 times) in that feed; what the cow turns it into, and what they become after your hepatic metabolism, is even more important. So much talk about hushing things up on this site, and probably none of you are aware of the cat & mouse game the FDA played with dairy farms starting over 50 yrs ago and since, regarding what can legally go into feed. Meantime, “Hormone free” written all over stuff is just a “show” to distract and what it covers up is amazing, and aimed at a gullible public stupid enough to not blink at ridiculous stuff like ground beef being “gluten free” (whole nuther line of BS that gluten sensitive thing, but that’s for another time). The average yo-yo simply doesn’t get it. And cover-up, anyway you can do it, is formula, as many of you here are aware.

    The breast cancer epidemic, the incidence of prostate cancer, and, heck, the mere microscopic appearance of so-called “normal” breast, endometrium & prostates in 60 year old people tell pathologists all YOU need to know. They know! Yeah. Guzzle that milk. It’s interesting that males today are a full 3 1/2 inches taller (importantly, mostly leg length) than their age/gender mates were just 40 years ago despite no apparent change in nutritional exposure between the two. In the meantime, testicles have decreased in mean diameter by 18%. Oligospermia has increased 400% even with the “normal” count decreased. Male pattern baldness has decreased 75%. Um…hormones, anybody?

    You can’t afford to live off of dairy farming just letting those cows graze and get milked. That would be like trying to sell 12″screen black & white television sets with tubes.

    You can’t smoke on a plane because of some made up second hand schmoke BS but you can guzzle all the milk that stewardess can bring you. Time to start calling it your “service cigarette,” and smoke in the checkout line again; maybe that’ll work.

    • Thanks: Alfred
    • Replies: @Badger Down
    , @Blankaerd
  56. AReply says:

    Dear Readers, Trevor Lynch watched a movie, which he observed. A movie about a bastard man who faced life-long identity confusion as he played dress-up and tore around the middle east assisting a deeply paternalistic classist falling empire mired in the debauchery of its greed as represented in both latent and overt BDSM homosexuality; a filmic world in which women simply do not exist, no mothers, no daughters, no sisters, no wives, just some caterwauling female tribal animals. Trevor Lynch is moved by and identifies with the movie’s ubermensch, the stranger in a strange land, and with the manipulations of time and space afforded by the deft application of camera, a la Leni Riefenstahl.

    What Trevor Lynch doesn’t do in his regards of Lean’s art is connect any of it to Lean’s world as an auteur. Lynch throws 1000 words of superficial recounting at the screen to recount the movies plot which is unnecessary if you just watch the movie.

    What can we learn about the man Trevor Lynch from his review? He watched a movie. He sees movie characters as literal simulacra of history. He suspects that movies are the greatest carriers of propaganda in the world. He relates to the bastard protagonist with identity confusion searching for fun by trolling the deserts of the real on behalf of the remnants of a deeply classist, paternalistic and closeted queer falling empire. Like Aurems, he doesn’t know if he’s white or an indian, so he’s going all-in on white superman fantasy, for, you-know, the fun!

    To recap, there was a movie about a great white homo which is awesome because great white homo-ness.

    Oh BTW, MST3K-because-generational-brand-recognition and please buy his books with the insipid pandering titles and cover imagery that lamely camps on celebrity of others in a bid to legitimize a soft market for bigotry which those famous others openly stood against in their own works.

    Carry on alienated great white homos!

  57. Z-man says:
    @theMann

    Yeah when I first saw Seven Samurai I was impressed with those Japs.
    Dr.Strangelove is one of my favorites also. One of the funniest movies of all time and mostly due to two Jews, Sellers and Kubrick. At least Sellers was diluted. (Grin)

  58. Avery says:
    @Jeff Stryker

    {2. If Dubai & the Gulf countries are run by such primitive people why are their skyline’s & public transport & roads superior to those of the USA & UK? Why is there less poverty in these countries today?}

    Easy: (practically) unlimited funds, courtesy of Black Gold.
    They had the incredible luck of being born on oceans of liquid gold: nothing more.

    If it weren’t for the Christian civilizations to develop advanced technology, to discover the magic power of Hydrocarbons, the Arab desert would still be a desert.

    Arab sheikdoms are wealthy, because of the unlimited thirst for oil by the developed/advanced countries. Arabs leaders have to be given credit for using the funds – at least some of it – to develop infrastructure. But, Gulf Arab sheikdoms would not amount to much by themselves, if it weren’t for the money that pours in from the developed/advanced world into their coffers.

  59. Mefobills says:
    @sally

    It takes a nation state to turn public land and mankinds ideas and inventions into privately owned oligarch property (record your deed, patent, copyright in the government recording office and you own everything in your claim, with added benefit that, the armed government will uses it awesome powers and armed strength to help you to enforce your claim against against all who oppose the monopoly your nation state gave to some Oligarch)

    The above is true, but your complaint is against mal-formed nation states.

    The nation-state is the container for tribes of people. Borders, Language, Culture are the touchpoints for all humans. They are anchored in time and place to their ancestors, so they know where they fit in.

    De-Racination is an ongoing process of of our (((friends))) and finance capital, with the objective of having one globo-homo world government, with private capital controlling all.

    In other words, the “international private capital” network is against the nation state, and also deracinates whole populations, a form of democide by (international hidden government).

    In other words, the finance Oligarchy has no national borders and is attempting a world wide take-over, where the average world citizen is a labor unit replaceable by any other type, negro/asian/female/male. There are no longer divisions in what it means to be a human belonging to place and time.

    Prior to finance capitalism, the nation state was in the process of perfecting itself such that usury, rents and unearned income were being isolated to then prevent oligarchy from arising.

    Some nation states, such as Hungary’s constitutional kingdom lasted for over 1000 years, and pretty much stayed within their Carpathian redoubt. Poland on the other hand was always producing Oligarchs and was expansionist.

    Anybody who is against the nation state is for deracination:

    A plucking up by the roots; eradication; extirpation.
    n. The act of pulling up by the roots; eradication.
    n. The act of deracinating; uprooting

    Globo-homo and our (((friends))) who are international finance agents of mammon, are for mass immigration and a borderless world, except for themselves, where they can be comfortable among their kind.

  60. Indeed, Lawrence of Arabia is a classic. One of my favorite scenes is the entrance of Omar Sharif, from his appearance on the horizon to his departure in the same scene — the outstanding presence of mind while handling his camel.

    In the space of a single conversation, Lawrence rejects the written laws handed down by Moses and Muhammad. He overthrows God and lays down his own laws.

    Rather, when Lawrence is confronted with the fact that he must kill Qasim, the fantasy that he “overthrows God” is immediately destroyed. For all of his posturing, it was, in fact, written that Qasim would die.

    With due respect, Mr. Lynch, the apotheosis angle as applied to the Arabs associated with Lawrence doesn’t really work. Yes, they revered him, even lionized him. Faisal as played by Guinness even says that a man who brings victory in battle is prized above all others.

    That’s not the same as deification. Not even close.

  61. Thim says:

    Thank God for 1776, so we got separate from all those degenerate faggot hero gods. Funny, a Turkic PM has their successors locked in their houses, because of the flu. Such a pitiful race these Brits have become. A twisted and cruel fate.

  62. I think this is one of your best reviews. Thanks.

  63. Tom F. says:

    187 minute runtime. My grandmother used to get confused with kitchen appliances and home entertainment systems. It worked to her benefit when she put the DVD in the microwave and watched it in 15 minutes.

  64. GeeBee says:
    @Mefobills

    There are no longer divisions in what it means to be a human belonging to place and time.

    This, among many plangent points contained in your brief post, deserves to be graven in stone, and placed as a warning, preferably above every Parliament building and town hall throughout the European-derived world. Blut und boden is the quintessence of human existence, and today’s ‘clown world’ is the very antithesis of it. Or in other words, our contemporary and utterly artificial societies are not merely deracinated, but aberrant in ways that any National Socialist will instantly understand.

    • Replies: @Mefobills
  65. Mefobills says:
    @AReply

    I took the liberty of reading your comment history.

    So, you are a non-white who hates whitey and maga republicans, and in general has grievances.

    https://www.unz.com/article/whats-wrong-with-conspiracy-theories/#comment-4634597

    Here is a typical comment of yours:

    Unzcom is a perfect example of the application of endless fabrication that appeals to an audience’s sense of the actual, while remaining dead-set against any idea of reality or progress. The beautiful thing about white grievance is that it never needs to end, and is endlessly appealing to those who identify with being white. You can change the descriptor to anything, white is just a very special descriptor in context because white people in USA enjoy so much, that a sense of being discriminated against is one of the last remaining indulgences. It’s a point of pride

    My comment history explains how to use sovereign money power to repatriate undesirable people to their home country. That way there are no aliens whining about white superiority, or having grievances.

    Your comments about Lawrence being a homo is just more attempts at tearing down whitey. Lawrence was a historical figure, and you missed the point due to your grievances.

  66. @Miha

    No, not really.
    Moreover, if a young hetero boy like me at the time of reading gets a sense there is something wrong with it, it probably is. Maybe my first meeting with homosexualism in literature: at that time there was no LGBT around yet.

    Actually, the statement had a indication of nakedness of those bodies – either by words ‘naked bodies’ or ‘bronze, glittering bodies’ or similar. I quoted from memory, and don’t have with myself ‘Seven Pillars’, so I originally left it.
    Anyway, I remember this statement because how out of context in the situational setting it was: a part of description of Lawrence shocked by how great those bodies are etc. Gay voyeurism. I would prefer more about desert lizards than about Arab bodies. But ‘Seven Pillars’ are pretty long and get tedious sometimes, so that stayed in my memory.

    In classical literature any kinds of such descriptions appear only in connection with a description of something else: the battle, the arrival etc.
    Not as locus on its own: this is reserved for female bodies. So this is clearly erotic tone on Lawrence side. Well, isn’t literary homosexualism to simply write about men as if they were women…?

    So this is it.

  67. Trinity says:
    @Blankaerd

    Actually ejaculation increases testosterone. I don’t think it matters if you are giving yourself a handjob or the real deal.

    Also the old steak and eggs diet back in the day recommended for athletes was GOOD for increasing testosterone. And yes, oysters do indeed increase testosterone along with the libido.

    • Agree: Alfred
    • Replies: @Alfred
  68. Roy Cohn says:

    A damn shame this couldn’t be made today.

  69. huisache says:
    @IvyMike

    7 Pillars is an over written attempt to write a great epic and you don’t have to read beyond the dedicatory poem to see that Lawrence was gay. He constantly writes floridly in describing just about anything. He rode into the desert in what he hoped to be a grand adventure. It was, and a great deal more. Too bad for the Arabs

    • Replies: @CelestiaQuesta
    , @Culpepper
  70. Mefobills says:
    @GeeBee

    Blut und boden is the quintessence of human existence, and today’s ‘clown world’ is the very antithesis of it

    It’s like walking around in upside down world, where left is right and up is down.

    Average people have been hoaxed about the fabric of reality… a purposeful act that takes enormous amounts of usury to fund.

    People are paying for their own dispossession, to then bleet out easily disproved falsehoods.

    That so many are brain washed, perhaps the majority of people, is a tragedy.

    And then we have to suffer the odd grievance mongering negro, who has been stuffed full of BS about his victim status.

    Our Jewish friends who push clown world narrative cannot continue the process forever, because what cannot last, will not.

    • Thanks: Nancy
  71. @omegabooks

    His only concern was using them against the Turks. Well of course it has boomeranged and now the UK and US haven’t been able to dis-entangle themselves from the Arabian Peninsula.

  72. @Mefobills

    Poland is not expansionist. It never had a financial oligarchy, which provides a drive for an empire. It got its ‘foreign’ lands either by inheritance (Red Ruthenia/Ukraine) or accession (Royal Prussia). If you think about Polish intervention in Russia during the Great Smuta period, it was an outcome of Polish rivalry with Sweden. Poland had to beat Swedish intervents first in order to get to Moscow.

    In the sense that there were many actors, the wars of Great Smuta are much more like the White Russia- Red Russia wars of the 20th century, than unitary Napoleon’s or Nazi Russian campaigns.

    Hungary didn’t get time to become really expansionist as it pretty fast got checked by the Ottoman Empire to its ‘Carpathian redoubt’,which isn’t very Hungarian too (Pressburg is now Bratislava), such are Hungarian plains. But later on, Hungary had its own Adriatic coast (which wasn’t really Hungarian,e.g. Fiume); that is how admiral Horty was produced. It is also known that when a part of k.u.k monarchy, Magyarization was much more severe in Hungary that Germanization in Austria.

    • Replies: @Mefobills
  73. BorisMay says:

    Lawrence did not die in a motorcycle accident. He was murdered by the British Establishment because he was an ardent National Socialist who wanted to take Britain in to Hitler’s National Socialist fold.

    Making Lawrence a national hero was just cover for the State murder of a man who was vehemently opposed to the exploitation of the poor, the weak and the vulnerable which was the modus operandi of the British Establishment, just as it still is today.

    Do wish writers on Lawrence got their facts right rather than peddle Establishment lies.

  74. @RJ Macready

    “Why do the men of those days in the movies and in real life seem so much manlier?”

    No politics nor personal opinion. Testosterone has dropped dramatically in the past 2 generations. I’m sure the boys born now have even less.

    Look up “The Mystery of Declining Testosterone”. Many studies have been written.

  75. @Trinity

    Much of what you said is true – but physique has little to do with ability to fight. Any combat sport you can see matches where the more “chiseled” guy gets knocked out.

    And I knew plenty of slim males who were obviously very high testosterone levels. Even older men in my family. My over 90 grandfather probably has more testosterone than some of these young guys. He was a mans’ man. In some ways he was TOO aggressive. But he was very slim – even in his prime.

    But overall I agree – and yes it is a fact that testosterone is dropping.

    • Replies: @Trinity
  76. Lawrence of Arabia is one of maybe a handful of movies I never get tired of watching.

    Dr. Zhivago is also a masterpiece.

    David Lean was truly a great artist.

    I can think of maybe Sydney Pollack years ago, or Terrence Malick, Michael Mann, Mel Gibson and Ridley Scott nowadays who could make something close to L o A.

    Ridley Scott’s political correctness generally ruins what could be truly great movies,IMO.

  77. And yet I would like to see ‘Caliph Vathek’ filmed by Peter Greenaway, or Wojcicech Jerzy Has (Polish director of ‘Manuscript found in Saragossa’), or even Masashiro Shinoda (Pale Flower, Gonza the Spearman). Speaking about Hungarians, Zoltan Huszarik (Sindbad) maybe could do as well.

    • Replies: @anon
  78. @AReply

    I really do attract the colorful psychos. You should see the comments I delete at CC.

    a filmic world in which women simply do not exist, no mothers, no daughters, no sisters, no wives, just some caterwauling female tribal animals.

    Actually, there are women in Lawrence of Arabia: serving and watching in the tent of Auda abu Tayi, ululating on the rocks at Wadi Ruhm, dead in the ruined village of Tafas, and a couple of white nurses in Damascus at the very end.

    Interestingly enough, though, Lean managed to create a nearly four-hour historical epic without any lines for women, just some wailing.

  79. anon[419] • Disclaimer says:
    @Another Polish Perspective

    It is probably not possible anymore to create a sweeping and well – acted film of the 1683 Siege of Vienna. But if it were possible, it would be truly epic.

    • Replies: @Commentator Mike
  80. @Trevor Lynch

    I bought The Seven Pillars of Wisdom at a used book store expecting a fascinating read but had to settle for just reading something historical. My copy I believe was published in 1935.

    On your comment about the missing ‘Pillars’ coming from a previous book that Lawrence destroyed (?) , I recall reading that he had somehow left the original manuscript on a train and the book bequeathed to history was a rewrite. The title was ever the same. My niece’s husband, an English professor at Yale recalled the same thing.

    I always related it to as when writing an inspired and important e-mail for a couple of hours, choosing every argument and word carefully and your computer goes ‘blink’ and it disappears, the replacement e-mail is always but a poor and hasty re-write barely concealing an irritation.

    On another note I always considered David lean to be brilliant. His cinematography was awe inspiring but it could not save a real stinker he was involved with namely “A Passage To India”. A really irritating work he should have taken a pass on though you could still see his genius in the filming of it.

    Cheers-

    • Replies: @Alfred
  81. Angharad says:
    @Trevor Lynch

    I’m a woman and I don’t care that there are no speaking parts for women in this film. It’s not about women. I care about the story itself.

  82. 4 hour movies should be outlawed. My attention span asks me: “what are you doing, please stop watching this boring stuff.” Ben Hur ran for nearly 4 hours and I don’t know why. Guess they gotta get in all the emotional grabbers like romance, handsome strong actors and beautiful women, battles, killing, kissing, anger, orchestra music to play on your nerves and of course skin and revenge.
    Spare us all the BS of long long movies. 3 hours is my limit.

    • Replies: @anon
  83. Angharad says:
    @BorisMay

    Thanks for this info. I didn’t know anything about this. I’ll have to do some research on this. I won’t accept this until I dive in – but it wouldn’t surprise me is Lawrence was murdered for these reasons. Not one little bit.

  84. Trinity says:
    @showmethereal

    When I say that Arnold and Stallone were “pumped” full of testosterone, I meant literally pumped full of testosterone. From what I hear, Stallone is not a large man at all.

    Physique and fighting ability? Well, of course it doesn’t take a body beautiful to fight nor does a body beautiful = fighting ability, but where in my post did I say that. HOWEVER, any 150lb “black belt” or manly man who weighs a buck sixty five, who thinks they are going to go up against a 220lb athlete or even a regular guy and come out victorious is highly delusional for the most part.

    Fighters come in all shapes and sizes. Boxing is a good example, especially punchers, ( punchers are born and not made,) punchers do not come in a one size fits all, you had fat, rotund Tony Galento, Tommy Hearns who had legs like toothpicks, Jimmy Wilde, one of the top P4P punchers of all time looked like a “concentration camp victim.” But then you had body beautiful Mike Weaver who could crush you with a punch. Alexis Arguello, “The Explosive Thin Man.” HOWEVER, weight classes exist FOR A REASON and little guys or slim guys who do not buy into this are foolish. Alexis Arguello hitting a man 20-30lbs heavier is not going to have near the effect it does when he fights someone his size.

    Sorry, but slim guys are not full of testosterone or they would be more heavily developed. Healthy testosterone levels don’t equate to fighting ability, James Toney, one of the all time greats was recently diagnosed with low testosterone levels IF I am not mistaken.

  85. Angharad says:
    @Alfred

    Whenever I hear some Magatard drool about the horrors of Socialism, I refer to Dubai. Dubai is an extremely well-run country. I then ask them what they think Medicare is. Blank looks, and then wordless eye blinking ensues.

    • LOL: CelestiaQuesta
    • Replies: @Avery
  86. The first film ever made about the prophet Mohammad was the 1976 release of ‘Mohammad – Messenger Of God, aka The Message. Not to be confused with the 2015 Iranian film of the same name.
    Since it was prohibited by Islam to show an image of the prophet, a solution was found so the Prophet himself would not appear on-screen. Only his staff and camel would be visible, and each time Mohammad did appear, you hear sounds of a mystical sounding instrument called Ondes Martenon representing Mohammad’s presence.

  87. Hertog says:
    @Ghali

    Anybody knee-jerkingly whining “rayciss” is automatically wrong.

  88. anon[229] • Disclaimer says:
    @John Q Duped

    4 hour movies should be outlawed. My attention span…

    A personal problem on your part is not necessarily a crisis to anyone else.

    • Replies: @John Q Duped
  89. @huisache

    The Brits created Global Homo. They have a long lineage of Homo kings, prince’s, Dukes and Earls and everything else in a Royal Court.
    In The Court Of The Homo King.

    • Replies: @Trinity
  90. @Jeff Stryker

    “Why did Steve Railsback fail to become a huge star after the STUNT MAN?”

    Lifeforce (1985). I’m the only person in the world who liked the film.

  91. Trinity says:

    You really have to wonder if any of these (((historical figures))) ever measure up given how people exaggerate, especially when that (((historical figure))) is Jewish or even British or dare I even say “American.” Don’t get me wrong, I am a proud American, not a patriotard, but not one of those dyed in the wool, I hate everything American because (((they))) told me to. Being fair, I bet every region of the world has their mythical figures. In America, we now have “Hidden Figures” thanks to Hollywood. hahaha.

    Truth be told, “history” is PROBABLY 35% real and 65% horseshit and EVERYTHING that comes out of (((Hollywood))) is pure Hymie Tales. Good lawd, did George Washington really throw a silver dollar or rock across the Potomac? lololol. Some of these historical figures were like gawds.

  92. Avery says:
    @Angharad

    { I refer to Dubai. Dubai is an extremely well-run country.}

    Dubai is an extremely well run country, because they essentially have an endless gusher of cash. If advanced/technological societies didn’t buy their oil, people of Dubai, and the rest of the people of Gulf sheikdoms would be as poor as Somalis.

    If a country does not have a source of free cash/wealth, then something or somebody has to create wealth, so that the members of a society who cannot produce (or work) can be helped.
    I don’t know of any other way.
    If you do, please share with the readers of UNZ.

    To wit, Norway can afford its magnificent social net thanks to oil:
    [Government Pension Fund of Norway]
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Government_Pension_Fund_of_Norway

    [The Government Pension Fund of Norway comprises two entirely separate sovereign wealth funds owned by the government of Norway.

    The Government Pension Fund Global (Correct translation: Sovereign Pension Fund – Foreign), also known as the Oil Fund, was established in 1990 to invest the surplus revenues of the Norwegian petroleum sector. It has over US$1.3 trillion in assets,[1] including 1.4% of global stocks and shares, making it the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund.[2][3] In May 2021, it was worth about $248,000 per Norwegian citizen.[1] It also holds portfolios of real estate and fixed-income investments. Many companies are excluded by the fund on ethical grounds.]

  93. Trinity says:
    @CelestiaQuesta

    I dare say you could be right ole chap.

  94. Angharad says:
    @AReply

    Oh Lawdy! Clutch the pearls! I’ll bet you are a load of fun at parties? Do you ever attend parties? Are you ever invited to parties?

    Any one who uses terminology like ” deeply classist” and “paternalistic” is just not wired correctly. And then you top yourself with the sour Anti White Marxist SJW slur/accusation of “bigotry”. Ruh roh.

    I know the denunciation of “bigot/bigotry/bigotriness/etc” means something important to YOU, but these days, it’s akin to deployment of the Ultimate Witch Hunter word of “racist”. All it means is that you are a miserable Anti White spindly armed unwashed greasy resentful Untermensch, who needs to be pantsed, shoved around a bit, insulted, and then put outside and be tossed into a dumpster.

    FYI your friends hate you.

  95. @Z-man

    I understand why people like “Network,” but for me the movie is spoiled by its unrealistic dialogue. Real people just don’t talk that way.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
  96. @anon

    Who says it’s a problem?

  97. mmcshrry says:

    I wonder how reading Joseph Conrad’s LORD JIM influenced T. E. Lawrence. Conrad’s novel was serialized starting in the Fall of 1899 though most of 1900. One can almost see Lawrence playing out the part of Jim in his Arabian exploits. Though the two did not meet till after the war (July 28, 1920), Lawrence was a great admirer— “…(Conrad’s) absolutely the most haunting thing in prose that ever was…” and “…Magnificent. He could write in his sleep.”

    Peter O’Toole did go on to play Jim in Richard Brook’s 1965 film LORD JIM. And David Lean spent his last years trying to get all the pieces in place to film Conrad’s NOSTROMO.

    • Replies: @Trevor Lynch
  98. Traddles says:
    @anon

    Quinn is indeed very good in “Lawrence of Arabia,” but he is equally good if not better in “La Strada,” another excellent movie all around.

    • Agree: Trevor Lynch
  99. This has been my #1 favorite movie since I first saw it. That was in college in the early 1980s, when it was included in our campus movie selection, projected in the “Chem 140” lecture hall.

    Thank you, Trevor Lynch, for reviewing it. I have nothing to add. All I can say is that I am a little bit proud of the fact that it has been my favorite movie ever since. I guess I have good taste!

    • Thanks: Trevor Lynch
  100. Trinity says:

    Given how things are narrated in 2021, what in the hell makes you think anything was any different back then. Whether White, Jew or whatever, some rich candy ass influence$ some official (((historian))) to write his or her memoirs so they can jack off to the shit or maybe you have some jock sniffer (((sportswriter))) write that Joe Louis was an incredible human being and said his prayers each night before bed. IF the story is told posthumously it can work both ways, they can take a total scumbag and make them out to be a saint, how often do we see that today? Or they can take a decent person, still flawed like we all are, and turn them into Satan. We all could probably come up with some examples on that one. Do you people actually believe that creep Einstein was that brilliant or Sigmund Fraud was some sort of wise sage. lolololol.

  101. @Jeff Stryker

    Fakir’s retorts:

    1. The “Arab World” was developed not right after the two wars but after the oil embargoes in 70s led by the Persian Pahlavi and the decline of the UK & US infrastructure started after the shocks of rise in oil prices.

    2. In a word: petro dollars. Without the Whites, Yellows and Browns (Indian & Paki laborers) those desert clowns could not do Jack.

    3. Arabs are clannish and tribal people. I bet you all of the Dubai citizens are related to each other. No such luck between the White underclass and the WASPs and Jews of Dallas.

    4. No one knows for sure if “Aurens” was a faggot; it’s all gossip. And it’s easier to corrupt young girls in an open societies like the UK and USA then to do so in cloistered Muslim ones. And there is a taboo against hurting a fellow Muslim, just like a Jew wouldn’t hurt a Jew.

    5. Jewish girls are too clever for the dirty pakis… they smell those greasy bastards a mile away. In all mercantile tribes children know hustlers first hand thus know not to take the bait. You can’t bullshit the bullshiters, period!

    6. Assuming your definition of the Mestizos is true then remember that the half that’s Indio used to offer human sacrifices and that animal spirit still guides them, not unlike the negro.

    7. The filthy Pakis know that the Bedou would chop his balls off and curry it to feed his dogs and that’s why they don’t fuck with girls in abayas.

    8. To compare Arabs and half Indios is comparing apples to oranges. For his fault, at least, the beastly Arab was a conquerer unlike the indios of Mexico and Venezuela. And speaking of Venezuelan oil riches, the parasitic Sephardic Jew isn’t about to give up his stranglehold on the goodies…

    9. Because Steve Railsback ain’t no Peter O’Toole!

    10. The population is small and there is lots of oil dough to go around.

    Any more idiotic questions?

  102. Lawrence as slightly autistic and ambiguously gay

    The Mad magazine parody of LoA had O’Toole twirling in his Bedouin robes and singing, “I feel pretty! Oh so pretty!”

    • Replies: @PiltdownMan
  103. R.C. says:

    Excellent analysis.
    Also, Mr. Unz, thank you for that interesting link about the shadiness of his accident. Interesting.
    R.C.

  104. @Avery

    Dubai is an extremely well run country, because they essentially have an endless gusher of cash.

    They are using lots of that cash to pay loads of smart, talented Western expats to manage everything important.

  105. anon[241] • Disclaimer says:
    @Avery

    US has endless “gusher” of cash … for the very few.

    The rest can sleep on sidewalks and eat cig butts.
    —————————————————————
    Shame the Turks didn’t capture TEL, Sykes and Picot
    early on and rape ’em till 1918.

    bjondo

  106. @SunBakedSuburb

    Lifeforce (1985). I’m the only person in the world who liked the film.

    Nah.

    It was a fun, Lovecraftian anticipation of the arrival of Halley’s Comet in 1986.

    Here is a NSFW trailer:

    Mathilda May was clearly an extremely talented young woman.

    • Thanks: MEH 0910
    • Replies: @Right_On
    , @SunBakedSuburb
  107. An excellent review. I have seen Lawrence of Arabia at least 3 times and I plan to see it many more. Each time I watch it I feel as if I am seeing a different film. Different editing or just a masterpiece? My regret is that I cannot at this time see it on the big screen. It was made for such. When I was a child one of my heroes was Lawrence. He still is. His gayness? Well, I don’t know. Anyone who is anyone is claimed by the pink brigade these days. Definitely one of the most amazing of men. Reportedly, he could jump nine feet, astraddle of a camel; something even the arabs could not do.

    • Agree: AceDeuce
  108. Mefobills says:
    @Another Polish Perspective

    Thanks. We could use a deep dive on Hungary.

    For a civilization to last, it has to release debts. Otherwise it polarizes onto Oligarchy.

    I use Hungary as an example, imperfect as it was. Why? Most Westerners have no frame of reference for long lasting civilizations.

    The ancient near east is too remote in history for them to comprehend.

    The main point is that the factors for stabilizing and balancing nation states are known.

  109. @Trevor Lynch

    Curiously, I don’t remember seeing the scene with the women watching from behind the canvas window in Auda’s tent when the first few times I saw the movie, the original release (when I was a kid) and in reruns (when I was a teen movie fan.) I recall first seeing the scene in a ‘restored’ version that aired on cable, sometime in the late 1980s. It may be just me, but perhaps there was more than one cut released, originally?

  110. Lawrence, like so many British upper classmen then and now, was well experienced in the practice of youthful desert Bachi Bazi and chose much like a conoisseur of wines would make a selection.

  111. FvS says:
    @RJ Macready

    Internet pornography.

  112. Helio says:

    I first saw Lawrence while in college late 60s-early 70s with a poetry professor and another student. I was so affected that I embarrassed myself by crying when we later sat around talking. I couldn’t shake the tremendous impact I felt from the story. I viewed the film as representing the grandeur of an epic battle most humans never get a chance to experience–perhaps an attempt to create a turning point for mankind and accomplish the impossible by wrestling through our egos and inherent fallibilities.

    • Thanks: Bolteric
  113. Right_On says:
    @The Searcher

    The best feature of Vertigo is the way Hitch was able to create a spooky Gothic vibe in a modern American city – rather than a decaying European castle. The Bernard Herrmann score does a lot of the work.

    But, as Hitchcock himself later realized, Jimmy Stewart was too old for the part. It also didn’t help that Kim Novak’s wardrobe wasn’t particularly flattering.

    • Replies: @Alden
  114. Right_On says:
    @The Wild Geese Howard

    Mathilda May was clearly an extremely talented young woman
    Mathilda May is French. They had to use a French actress as no English one would agree to do so many scenes butt naked. (Who says stereotypes are wrong?)
    I’m a fan of Lifeforce. It’s based on the novel The Space Vampires by Colin Wilson, who, alas, didn’t much like the film.

  115. @HbutnotG

    I agree completely. Modern milk is a cocktail of hormones and pus. Even the most natural cows’ milk is “designed” by nature for baby cows; if you want big, heavy bones and a slow brain, go ahead.

    Having decaying carcasses in your gut is a bad idea too. Yes, the future is vegan.

    • LOL: Trinity
    • Replies: @GeneralRipper
  116. Angharad says:
    @Avery

    Thanks for proving my statement and tossing in Norway! Dubai is truly well run, and so is Norway. Socialism works beautifully in small, racially homogenous countries, blessed with an even halfway decent Government.

  117. @Billy Corr

    Here is the refence to the book:

    https://academic.oup.com/ahr/article-abstract/73/1/188/83107?redirectedFrom=fulltext

    The book has its flaws; asking men over seventy to recall their thoughts about people and events a full half-century earlier is inevitably asking people to “remember” what they subsequently imagined happened or was said to whom and by whom.

    My grandmother “remembered” seeing a Zeppelin in flames over the Thames estuary; on detailed cross-examination it was established she had been treated to an vivid eye-witness account by a woman who actually was an eye-witness to a quite unforgettable moment in the Great War.

  118. On the huge screen of a grand old theater I first saw Lawrence Of Arabia when I was twelve years old. The film made an everlasting impression, and about a month after having seen it the first record I ever bought was its soundtrack album. Since then I’ve owned VHS, DVD, and now Blu-ray copies, and have watched this masterpiece at least fifty times and, as Mr. Lynch has pointed out of his own experience, each time I see it I discover in it something I hadn’t earlier seen in it.

    I’ve just two comments on Mr. Lynch’s review.

    One, following his execution of Gasim, Arabs seize Lawrence’s flung pistol not because of Arab esteem of or reverence for “Aurens,” but because such a weapon was a treasure to the Arabs and was among them also something of a token of status. This was made plain earlier in the film when Lawrence gives his Webley revolver to his guide Tafas who visibly esteems the weapon – before Lawrence has done any deed, small or spectacular, to endear himself to the Arabs.

    Two, the Allenby line “It is a terrible thing to flunk it” ends actually with “funk it,” using the transitive verb “funk” – “to shrink from undertaking or facing.”

    Several critics have deprecated Maurice Jarre’s score, with at least one of them having called it “comic opera.” But then there are music critics and musicians who look down their noses at Anton Bruckner’s works. As cinematic score I find Jarre’s work to be superb, and, apart from the film, I also enjoy listening to it as I also enjoy and appreciate Bruckner’s compositions.

    One of the key bits of history that the film gets dead wrong is in showing Lawrence as having been ignorant of the Sykes-Picot Agreement. In fact Lawrence did know of it and had never been duped or left ignorant of by his superiors into concealing the agreement from the Arabs. It’s likely that the filmmakers depicted Lawrence as being unaware of the agreement to add to their narrative’s dramatic tension and to emphasize Lawrence’s inner conflict.

    Although Lawrence Of Arabia is not my favorite film it is, in my opinion, far and away the finest film ever made – it is in every cinematic respect faultless, brilliant, superlative, and its cinematic mastery remains unequalled. (My favorite film is David Lean’s Doctor Zhivago, whose Robert Bolt script is every bit as superb as his script for Lawrence. Bear in mind the distinction that when it comes to favorites, my watchwords are de gustibus non est diputandum, but when it comes to quality within a medium there are well-founded aesthetic standards by which one may determine the level of quality.)

    For those who haven’t had the distinct pleasure of seeing Lawrence Of Arabia on a theater widescreen, it has, as recently as two years ago, come round in re-release for theatrical viewing from time to time, especially since its (1988, I think) restoration. It is well worth seeing on a big theater screen – if you get that opportunity, do try not to miss it. (Following its original theatrical run the film was later butchered, into several variants, for television, including having its running time slashed along with some wretched pan-&-scan versions to fit the 4:3 ratio TV screens that were the standard before HDTV came along.)

    All that said of the film, let me recommend Jeremy Wilson’s official biography of T.E. Lawrence, a book which is not without its flaws yet it is comprehensive in tracking Lawrence’s upbringing, education, archaeological work experience, geographical movements and his networking among the powerful.

    There are several abridged editions of The Seven Pillars of Wisdom. If you would read it, let me suggest that you take the trouble to get hold of the unabridged original.

    As to T.E. Lawrence himself, among historians and laymen you’ll find a plethora of opinions and no end of conspiracy theories precisely because the man remains an enigma. In considerable measure that’s why Lawrence Of Arabia was a huge hit and why it remains celebrated: it’s not a history, it’s a character study of a man who was and who remains an enigma, and the film’s closing shot of Lawrence’s visage seen only indistinctly through a vehicle’s sand-encrusted windscreen underlines that fact.

    • Replies: @Trevor Lynch
  119. Jiminy says:

    Looking at that photo of Peter O’toole gazing off into the distance makes me ask the big question. How did Lawrence keep his robe so clean and white? I’ve never lived in a desert environment, although if you listen to the news it won’t be long before most of Australia resembles one.
    But it must be very hard to continuously live in a situation that is low on water, so obviously your survival depends on the correct apportioning of supplies to needs in these situations.
    Maybe it’s because of there being sand and not mud that the robe stays clean. And beware of camel dung of course.
    I know just this week I ruined another shirt by using a chainsaw to do some pruning and it wasn’t until I had finished that I noticed chain lube had covered me from head to toe.
    I’ve seen where the Tuareg tribe of berbers have blue skin because of the dye in the clothing that they wear. There are viaducts dug by hand with entry points every hundred metres or so, through deserts that have carried water for centuries. Even the lost city of Petra had water diversion technology throughout its construction to harness the valuable commodity.
    So really, how the hell did Lawrence keep his robe so pristine?

    • Replies: @Trevor Lynch
    , @Alden
  120. Culpepper says:
    @huisache

    I found Seven Pillars of Wisdom difficult to understand. Robert Graves wrote Lawrence and the Arabs which clarified it . Graves’ book is excellent.

    • Thanks: AceDeuce
  121. @RJ Macready

    Why do the men of those days in the movies and in real life seem so much manlier? Honest question- let’s keep politics and personal opinion of this movie aside…….any film from the 70s, 80s or even 90s and the men look and act manly. Only the kids and twentie somethings act and look young-usually the stoner dudes of the 90s, but compare an Arnold, Sly, Redford or Newman to Channing Tatum or Timothy Chalamat or any of the stars of today and you’ll get my drift.

    Bogart wasn’t particularly manly. Few Hollywood stars were truly manly-manly.
    Victor Mature was considered beefy in the 1950s but seemed just normal compared to muscle men in 80s movies. People weren’t into weight-training in the past. They didn’t jog either.

    Errol Flynn was a huge star but more for dash and flamboyance than manly qualities.
    Fred Astaire looked like an old baby.
    Alan Ladd was shorter than lot of the leading ladies.
    James Dean and Montgomery Clift had some effeminate qualities.

    One thing for sure, black music used to be more elegant in the end. Michael Jackson was maybe the last of that line. Today, it’s most grunting rappers.

    There are still lots of tough guys and manly actors today. You can certainly see them in RESIDENT EVIL series. But maybe the action star is passe in the age of video games and CGI special effects. With superheroes with the power to blow up entire cities, who cares about an action hero?
    With people flying around at the speed of light, who cares about some cowboy on horseback?

    • Replies: @dfordoom
  122. @Z-man

    The absolute greatest works are SEVEN SAMURAI, SIBERIADE, ANDREI RUBLEV, 2001, IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE, CITIZEN KANE, M, TESTAMENT OF DR. MABUSE, IVAN THE TERRIBLE, VERTIGO, L’APPARTEMENT, MURIEL, HUSBANDS, TIME OF THE GYPSIES, BARRY LYNDON, MULHOLLAND DR, ERASERHEAD, 47 RONIN(Mizoguchi), UGETSU, HARAKIRI, TO LIVE AND DIE IN LA, DIARY OF A COUNTRY PRIEST, LA JETEE, THE NEW LAND, FACE OF ANOTHER, GOODFELLAS, DAZED AND CONFUSED, BLADE RUNNER, MCCABE AND MRS MILLER, THE LEOPARD, PLAYTIME, PROFOUND DESIRES OF THE GODS, 8 1/2.

    Still, MYSTIC PIZZA is my fav.

    • Disagree: Z-man
    • Replies: @Agathoklis
  123. @Angharad

    The role of “Audence” was Peter O’Toole’s greatest role, and performance, in my not so humble opinion.

    No doubt. But unfortunately, it’s overshadowed everything else he did, just like PSYCHO came to define Anthony Perkins, a pretty interesting actor in other roles.

    O’Toole was superb in the overlooked LORD JIM.

    But WHAT’S NEW PUSSYCAT, big hit, is truly embarrassing for all involved. Well, it gave Woody Allen an entry into movies.

    • Thanks: Angharad
    • Replies: @Angharad
  124. @A Half Naked Fakir

    The questions were legitimate.

    Any rethorical wuestion can be called a foolish question.

  125. @A Half Naked Fakir

    Thank you for the informative answers. Interesting. Hopefully, you can answer some more questions.

    [MORE]

    1. If Dubai & other Arab countries or city states were so undeveloped for so long, why were they able to surpass Western societies so quickly? Is it all a matter of finance that Appalachia remains poor for 400 years but within 14 years Dubai is able to surpass it. Is this this the benefit of authoritarianism? No voters arguments about abortion or teaching religion in school…all the money goes to infrastructural development. Full stop.

    2. If they could not get on without Europeans (I’m lumping the white Americans in with Europeans although some of the oilfield rednecks always claim to be Cherokee as the old refrain goes) or South Asians why did whites build a society that had less crime, less corruption, better infrastructure, better public transportation, less social pathology than their own society.

    3. Ethnic homogeneity is probably the word you meant? Norway also accomplishes this with oil windfall & it is not Jews in Dallas-there are few of them-but a GOP-loving new-money Anglo-American elite who assure voters that cutting more taxes for them will create a job or two & that taxation would lead to full-on socialism & Siberian gulags. Since the poor GOP cannot understand that socialism actually refers to state ownership of the means of production, they believe it. Could it be that ethnic homogeneity makes societies more inclined to spend money on public good?

    4. Is that what an open society offers. The freedom to exploit girls or the freedom for women to act like foolish sluts & end up pregnant & single mothers?

    5. Ah, honesty. Jewish girls are clever. Probably Arab women as well. There you have it.

    7, Could this be the same reason there is less exploitation of white girls in the USA by Pakistanis (Though some exists). The knowledge that a white American man would do something antisocial as oppose to his British counterpart? Is this why Pakistani males do not hang around USA middle schools?

    9. Railsback had more energy that O’Toole, in my opinion. He was more of a live wire. He was electrifying as Charles Manson. O’Toole’s drinking & drug use, legendary in Hollywood even, took a toll fast.

    10. Well if that is the case why aren’t oil rich regions of the USA with small populations-and there are many from Texas to Alaska-wealthy & instead are impoverished with hillbillies or sometimes Native Americans displaying social pathology? The black gold thing is a constant refrain in responses to my questions, but I don’t completely believe it is the answer.

    • Replies: @anon
  126. Trinity says:

    DRINK MILK.
    DRINK WATER
    EAT RED MEAT.
    EAT THE WHOLE EGG.
    EAT YOUR GREEN VEGGIES.

    Pretty damn simple.

    Start eating like a sensible adult, people. If you want to go without meat for the sake of animals, I can dig it, but if you want to be reasonably healthy, eat like a normal human being.

  127. @George True

    “Britain once punched above its weight. Now we are irrelevant.”

    Holy Cow, those are some of the truest words ever spoken. What used to be Great Britain is now an isle where swarthy skinned Muslims rule London and most of the other major cities.

    No, the problem is UK is still relevant. Had UK chosen to be irrelevant after losing its empire, it would have been good. It’s like most Eastern European nations are irrelevant, but who cares? Just let them be themselves and ignore the world and be ignored in turn.

    In contrast, UK and France chose not to be irrelevant. They wanted to be part of the global order. Having lost their empires, they’ve decided to remain relevant by spearheading globalism and letting in tons of migrants. Turn their own nations into micro-version of the old empire.
    And so, what happens in Paris and London still matters to the world.

    How nicer to be irrelevant and ignored.

    • Agree: Agathoklis
  128. dfordoom says: • Website
    @SunBakedSuburb

    Lifeforce (1985). I’m the only person in the world who liked the film.

    I quite liked it as well. In fact I liked it more than any David Lean film I’ve seen!

  129. dfordoom says: • Website
    @gutta percha

    I understand why people like “Network,”

    Did Sidney Lumet ever make a good movie? If he did I must have missed it.

    • Agree: Right_On
    • Replies: @SunBakedSuburb
  130. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Priss Factor

    Victor Mature was considered beefy in the 1950s but seemed just normal compared to muscle men in 80s movies. People weren’t into weight-training in the past. They didn’t jog either. People weren’t into weight-training in the past.

    Weight-training is kinda gay. And the muscle man thing, and equating muscle men with masculinity, is very gay. Just sayin’.

    The fact that so many people today are obsessed with lifting and working out is one of the symptoms of the decline of true masculinity in our society. It’s a sign of the homosexualisation of society.

  131. Alfred says:

    I have always wondered why no movies seemingly have been made about the following characters. At least not in recent years. I guess they have been cancelled. 🙂

    1- Cecil Rhodes
    2-Robert Clive
    3- William Knox D’Arcy
    4- James Cook
    5- Edward Colston
    6- Oliver Cromwell

    There are a great many more who had interesting lives. Laurence was one of many.

  132. Franz says:
    @A British reader

    I’ve always thought it interesting that Dale Carnegie, along with Lowell Thomas and Lawrence himself, was one of the main creators of the Lawrence of Arabia mythos.

    T. E. Lawrence had a great love/hate thing with Lowell Thomas. On one hand, TE bitched to his friends that Lowell was giving lectures, showing pictures of him, and turning him into a cash cow. On the other hand, when Lowell told TE some of the photos from Arabia washed out, so can Lawrence spare an afternoon in London in a makeshift studio to re-take them? On his own time, TE did. Many of the photos of T.E. Lawrence “in Arabia” in Arab kit were taken much later under a tarp in London, but who would know which from which now?

    Lowell Thomas was furious with Lean’s movie. He went on US radio shows, TV stations that would have it, telling everybody it was horseapples. “The tough Arab desert riders,” Lowell said, “would never follow a weirdo like the guy in the movie.”

    Thomas drew blood: Lots of people (there were still WWI veterans when it came out) did not see it because of Thomas’ objections. Interesting trivia now, but they liked their heroes played very straight back then. For a once-famous version of that, see Sergeant York with Gary Cooper.

    • Replies: @A British reader
  133. Alfred says:
    @Trinity

    ejaculation increases testosterone.

    Obviously. If you don’t use your muscles, they whither. The body is constantly trying to save energy and wastage.

    When I was at boarding school in England, we had dormitories. Several boys of a similar age shared the same room for sleeping. We sometimes had “wanking races”. Always, the same Welsh guy “won” these races – he later became a GP.

    [MORE]

    An English boy seemed to take forever and he was always last. Last time I saw him, he was trying to flog a kilo of something that he brought back from Nepal. His dad had been a stockjobber – he was wealthy but stupid.

    An American boy whose father had attended the same school refused to participate. He believed that we had a limited amount of sperm and he preferred to save it for later. Sadly, at the age of 19, he was riding a bicycle just south of London and he was hit by a truck. His dad had been a Mustang pilot in WW2 and was still alive.

  134. Alfred says:
    @Timur The Lame

    he had somehow left the original manuscript on a train and the book bequeathed to history was a rewrite.

    Let’s be serious. In those days, in England, everything lost on a train ended up in the lost property office – even valuables. Doubtless, Lawrence made frantic efforts to retrieve his manuscript. A much more likely story is that the British Establishment arranged for it to be stolen from him.

    [MORE]

    • Replies: @Timur The Lame
  135. @Jiminy

    So really, how the hell did Lawrence keep his robe so pristine?

    In most of the movie, his robes are appropriately filthy.

  136. Guest6 says:
    @Jeff Stryker

    Most mexicans arent half white, their heritage from iberia is mostly sephardic and arab anyway

  137. @Priss Factor

    No Russian Ark? The last scene is one of the best affirmations of the ethnos or nation ever on film. Impossible to make that scene in the West today.

    • Thanks: Alfred
    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  138. Johan says:
    @RJ Macready

    Derailed feminism and leftism, and readers here know who are pushing the derailment of these. Derailed feminism means unleashed femininity, which is a destructive force (which is why they are pushing it). Feminism did not become just emancipation of women, but a wholesale attack on male culture.
    Voltaire wrote that he would not be surprised if the Jews became deadly to the human race, Schopenhauer criticized feminism, professing what it would bring. We are subject now to both forces.

    Everything is slandered, the media is a vile snakepit, everything which manliness depends on is attacked and covered with dirt in the media, journalists became prostitutes, politics became destructive, the commercial industry follows, the art sector, schools, males become attacked and scorned at home by their wives, by their girlfriends, etc.

  139. Johnrep says:
    @Trevor Lynch

    Check out also the slow mvmt. of Schumann’s 1st symphony.

  140. Johan says:
    @RJ Macready

    To add some examples how unleashed unrestrained feminism is destructive of a culture of manliness.

    In a very popular talk show on television there were a number of guests, mostly female politicians, the talk show hosts were male, one of them a new leftist, the other a leftist of the old generation.
    The female politicians brought up the subject of male clique forming in politics, a legitimate subject, but they sexualized and vulgarized it as if these male politicians are ‘walking after their dick’, ‘a club of guys showing of their …’. They literally used sexualized words and suggestions.
    Nobody criticized talking about male behaviour in that manner, reducing it to sexuality. Now try doing the same talking about women in that way on tv, national tv that is.. There are countless of such female babble cunt clubs. Imagine young people being taught like that about male behaviour.

    Another example is of a female academician which I know, she thinks she is a psychologist, she often labels males according to modern pseudo psychology. Her mouth is also very big, much too big, and she has that vulgarity which is so typical of women when they are not restrained. Same thing with many other women My sisters, female friends, they become vulgar, they pull manliness down by various methods, often subtly suggestive, sometimes aggressive. The strangest thing though is that these women fall for manly males.

    I have seen countless examples of females criticizing males, or using subtle suggestion, wives, girlfriends, sisters, destroying as such male culture, not be means of valid critique, but by subtle or gross mud throwing and poisonous suggestions. I go as far as to avoid social meetings with certain of the women I know together, because I have seen that when they are in the majority, they enforce each other.

    Modern women are often vulgar out of control babble cunts, and they give example to the young generations who consequent have no model of how to honour the other sex, and conversely, males are without a model of how to honour the female.

    It is not a physical and economic issue like some other commenter suggests, the root is cultural and psychological. This is then all on top of democracy, a system where the assertive and aggressive inferior enforces itself over the superior.

    • Agree: AceDeuce
    • Thanks: showmethereal
  141. @Alfred

    I also remember the Odeon in Leicester Square, Alfred.

    This is what it looks like now …

    Website —

    https://www.odeon.co.uk/experiences/odeon-luxe-leicester-square/

    • Thanks: Alfred
  142. @Angharad

    Thank you, Angharad, for reviewing your experience with this movie, along with that of your girl-friends plus the attitude of the boys. I enjoyed your post greatly.

    Possibly another connection is your Welsh name, “Greatly Beloved”, from Angharad Golden Hand in the Mabinogion and the fact that T E Lawrence was born in Caernarvonshire in the small town of Tremadog.

    Although the movie may be/is attractive for a variety of reasons, the true story is more interesting, dramatic, heroic, tragic etc. I hope you take time to investigate.

    T E Lawrence was globally famous after his exploits with Arab nationalists; zionist Jews owned the British Establishment who killed Lawrence b/c he became committed to Sir Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists — a meeting was being set up with Adolf Hitler in an attempt to head off a zio bloodbath. As we know, it failed …

    Here is some music, Angharad, which has nothing to do with T E Lawrence but which I hope you will enjoy as Tomaso Albinoni is one of my favourite composers.

    • Thanks: Angharad
    • Replies: @Angharad
  143. After the character played by Anthony Quinn declared “I am a river to my people”
    I thought : “Is there a river in Aqaba?”. Is there? (My map is small.)

  144. Blankaerd says:
    @HbutnotG

    I’m not saying you are wrong, but I do wonder how much of what you claim applies to the EU. Giving hormones is strictly forbidden in my country. In addition cows do not get medicine preventatively here, instead cows only receive antibiotics when they are actually sick, and even then it’s strictly forbidden to sell the milk from the cow that was on antibiotics. Milk is sampled often and any milk found to contain traces of antibiotics is thrown away.

    • Replies: @HbutnotG
  145. anonymous[251] • Disclaimer says:
    @Alfred

    Alfred,

    Your childhood memories remind me so much of that great British/English nostalgia movie:

    “Hope and Glory” – owe to be in that fantasy Brit patriot world of Baden Powel, Elgar, Kipling…. and then World War II came and went…

    After the Brits rejected so, so many fair and just offers of peace from their Saxon kinsmen across the (then) English Channel – it was all she wrote… Gone with the wind.

    Why did Anglo Saxons in Britain England make murderous war, slaughter against their kinsmen the Saxons and allied Germianic/Celtic kinsmen in Saxony, Holland, Belgium, France, Northern Italy?

    What were they thinking?

    Wouldn’t it have been much better if Normans invaded Merry Old England FROM Normandy Beach in 1944, same as they did in 1066?

    Wouldn’t it have been great if the Norman invasion was successful same as the first one in 1066?

    Wouldn’t it be great if German occupation troops still patrolled London England today – that’s LONDON Endland not Londonstan.

    Wouldn’t it be great if there were ~ zero Pakistani Muslim rapes of poor English girls in places like Rotherham England.

    Because any honest person from Anglo Saxon, Norman, Saxon heritage would assure everyone that various forms of German rule was and is always fair and decent.

    My Russian Great Aunt said the Paris metro was very safe and clean during the German occupation of Paris – can’t same the same today.

    So Brits, especially Anglo Saxon Brits… I ask you this question:

    Have you apologized to the Germans yet? Have you told them how really really sorry you were and if you had to do it all over again, you would have listened to that corporal.

    Next time there is BLM, Antifa mob looking to tear down historic British statues, why not dress down a bit in a Che T-shirt and take down that statue of the worst war criminal of World War II…

    Bomber Harris.

    J Ryan
    Left Behind in Chicago

    • Agree: Alfred, acementhead
  146. Trev, outstanding review. Thanks. I especially enjoyed your explaination on the religious undertones. Years ago I skimmed thur 7 Pillars of Wisdom but do not recall very much. In the book Lawrence admits that during the excitement of the camel charge on Aqaba, he shot his own camel in the head. Too bad they left that incident out of the movie. It would have added some much needed comic relief!

  147. @Alfred

    There seems to still be a lively controversy regarding the first manuscript as I briefly looked it up before replying. I cannot access your link due to being on dial-up so I cannot comment any further.

    In response to your list of historical personages that have not been featured in movies I would add Charles Eugene Bedaux. If you are interested look him up. Even on the internet he seems to be somewhat marginalized. I became fascinated by him after seeing a Canadian TV special many years ago. Then by pure serendipity I came across a hardcover book about him.

    Spoiler alert, he was ‘Lawrencized” in the end for seemingly similar reasons. Hey-ho, suicides and accidents will happen and only sufficient truth will be told to uphold the lie(s).

    Cheers-

    • Thanks: Alfred
  148. MEH 0910 says:

    Martin Scorsese on LAWRENCE OF ARABIA

    Dec 20, 2011

    Martin Scorsese discusses David Lean’s LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, which had its Los Angeles Premiere on December 21, 1962. The film won seven Oscars, including Best Director and Best Picture, and ranks number 5 on AFI’s Top 100 Films List.

    Steven Spielberg on how LAWRENCE OF ARABIA inspired him to make movies

    Dec 27, 2012

    In this clip from the AFI Archive, Director Steven Spielberg shares how David Lean’s LAWRENCE OF ARABIA inspired him to make movies.

    How David Lean Created Ali’s Mesmerizing Entrance | Lawrence of Arabia

    Sep 15, 2017

    MORE HERE: Script Differences | Ali’s Well: http://bit.ly/2h5Yqv4

    Hello Cinephiles! My favorite scene in David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia—like most people—is Omar Sharif’s introduction at the well. It had been several years since I had seen the film and the main thing I remembered about it was Omar slowly coming out of the mirage. It wasn’t until viewing the film again recently that I realized just how important that scene is to the overall story. So let’s take a look at the creative decisions that went it to making the scene such a wonderful piece of cinema history and how the scene helps shape the characters of Lawrence and Ali. Some spoilers ahead— this is Making Film…

  149. @Agathoklis

    I don’t like Sokurov. SECOND CIRCLE is a fine work but his films seem more a mental exercise or aesthetic experiment than storytelling. Granted, MOTHER AND SON is sort of interesting as a portraiture of mood and sentiment.

    RUSSIAN ARK is mostly gimmick. Would anyone care if it weren’t done in one single take? That’s what sold the film among cinephiles. Otherwise, it’s mostly a dull tour of a museum.

  150. @dfordoom

    Weight-training is kinda gay. And the muscle man thing, and equating muscle men with masculinity, is very gay. Just sayin’.

    Emphasis on muscle alone is narcissism. What really matters is what one does with it. Too many muscleheads are all into looks but can’t do anything.

    • Replies: @Truth
    , @Alfred
  151. Truth says:
    @Priss Factor

    Emphasis on muscle alone is narcissism. What really matters is what one does with it. Too many muscleheads are all into looks but can’t do anything.

    Priss, I like you homes, I really do; but I get the feeling that machismo-flexing and keyboard-commandoing are probably not your natural lanes in life. I get this feeling strongly.

  152. mh505 says:

    Good movie – terrible score

  153. To what degree was the Lawrence myth built up by the Zionist American media, who saw him as their best chance to break up the Ottoman Empire and seize the Holy Land?

    • Replies: @Trevor Lynch
  154. @dfordoom

    Lol, cope harder. I prefer looking good and being healthy. (I dress well too.) Calling it “gay” detracts nothing from its benefits.

  155. Pheasant says:
    @Z-man

    Greg Johnson is a wasp and finds movies romanticising the mafia to be in bad taste. He is on record as saying that he has watched the Godfather once and has no plans to see it again although he can appreciate the artistry that went into creating it. Hilariously he actually prefers the ripoff Jewish version Millers crossing, which while not a bad movie, is derivative in the extreme. The Godfather is a genuine authentic gangster movie and Millers crossing is its fast talking inauthentic flashy distant cousin.

    • Replies: @Trevor Lynch
  156. Alfred says:
    @Priss Factor

    Emphasis on muscle alone is narcissism

    True.

    I have a big boy (30, 195cm, 100kg). He lifts weights every day – in Norway and Australia. He and others like him despise body-builders. They only respect other weight-lifters.

    It is a cultural thing. A bit like Mods and Rockers.

  157. Angharad says:
    @Arthur MacBride

    Thank you so very much for your delightful reply! And thank you for your fascinating information regarding Lawrence’s death. Other Commentors have noted that he was murdered, as well. This is the first time I’ve heard this. Ruefully, I’m not surprised. I will do my own research on this apparent murder.

    The Children of the Devil have murdered so many of us, and so many others. Why do we let them get away with it? Patton was murdered as well. I’m certain that you are aware of the fact that General Patton was planning to return to America and tell the American public that we were on the wrong side, in the war.

    Why do we allow them to get away with this? This slaughter has been going on for centuries…

    I’m glad that you were amused by my silly anecdotes. I thank you heartily for the exquisite music! A beautiful way to end the day. I’m writing these words on Friday, 1:44AM. I’m about to head off to sleep. I hope you are sleeping peacefully, and enjoying wonderful dreams! And I hope I “run into you” again.

    Cheers!

    • Replies: @Arthur MacBride
  158. Angharad says:
    @Priss Factor

    I have never seen “Lord Jim”, but I will check [it] out, on your recommendation.

    I agree completely with your assessment of “Pussycat” – it’s better left to disappear in the mists of time. I tried to watch this very grim “light hearted comedy” one time….and gave up shortly after it started. It was lifeless – and the worst sin of all – boring. I adore all types of artistic genres, but I cannot tolerate being bored. I’d take ANY Ed Wood film over some time wasting DOA dud.

    PS – my FAVORITE film is Fellini’s “Le notti di Cabiria”. And I adore, absolutely adore “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”. FYI. If I could pick any movie that I could move into – move into that world – it would be that one. The wardrobes for Monroe and Russell were GENIUS!

  159. @Mr Blister

    To what degree was the Lawrence myth built up by the Zionist American media, who saw him as their best chance to break up the Ottoman Empire and seize the Holy Land?

    The main parties in this conflict were the French and British Empires vs. the Ottoman Empire. The French and the British wanted to partition the Ottoman Empire, which was expressed in the Sykes-Picot Agreement. The Jews got their Balfour Declaration — their set-aside for a Jewish homeland — for delivering the US into the war. The powerful people in the US who wanted to promote Lawrence to get the US into the war can be read as an allusion to the Jewish cabal promoting the war.

    • Replies: @Right_On
  160. @Pheasant

    Greg Johnson is a wasp and finds movies romanticising the mafia to be in bad taste. He is on record as saying that he has watched the Godfather once and has no plans to see it again although he can appreciate the artistry that went into creating it. Hilariously he actually prefers the ripoff Jewish version Millers crossing

    I don’t “prefer” Miller’s Crossing to The Godfather. Nor is Miller’s Crossing a “ripoff” of The Godfather. They are very different films. I chose to review Miller’s Crossing because of its very interesting Jewish villain.

    It is true that I don’t get into gangster movies, but my WASP heritage has nothing to do with it. It is odd being enough of a minor celebrity that malevolent people engage in this sort of picayune, ax-grinding defamation.

    • Replies: @Pheasant
    , @Z-man
  161. “O’Toole’s blonde Homme Fatale was contrasted wonderfully with the dark allure of Omar Sharif. I am a White woman”

    WTF….TREVOR Lynch….I thought Trevor was a guy.

    • Replies: @Angharad
  162. @Commentator Mike

    There’s an interesting little allegorical horror film called BLOOD DESERT (2006) about a Genie resurrected in the desert by idiotic Western oil workers & soldiers that is worth a look.

    Kind of an EVIL DEAD in the desert. Filmed in the Gulf somewhere.

    I enjoyed it. It’s worth a look.

    You can order it on Amazon. BLOOD DESERT Unearthed & Uncut.

    • Thanks: Commentator Mike
  163. @Franz

    I’ve just been watching this talk by Lowell Thomas. This was 20 years after the film and nearly 50 years after the death of Lawrence. He seemed to know everyone.

    When I talked to people from his generation they seemed to have a ready made story about their lives. Maybe they talked about their life history more fluently because they’d told these stories so often. But old people from my generation (post WW2) just present their life history as random things that happened to them. There is little continuity in their stories.

    • Replies: @Franz
  164. Pheasant says:
    @Trevor Lynch

    ‘malevolent people’

    ‘defamation’

    I think I came across as a bit hostile there. I apologise.

  165. Z-man says:
    @Trevor Lynch

    Oh, so Johnson is Lynch, ok. (Grin)
    Well, while The Godfather is one of the best and one of my favorites I can see how Italians have been stereotyped and forever tainted as gangsters by Jewlywood. Attempts have been made to show that Jews were/are even more involved in ‘organized crime’ than Italians, Sergio Leone comes to mind but there have been others, including Scorsese, but never as interesting or attractive as The Godfather or The Sopranos.
    One of my other favorites is The Mark of Zorro, 1940. Tyrone Power’s land locked swashbuckler with the lovely Linda Darnell.
    One of my childhood favorites is The Private War of Major Benson, 1955. Charlton Heston was actually better in that than he was a few years later in Touch of Evil, IMHO.

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  166. @Z-man

    THE GODFATHER did wonders for the Italian community. It’s not about the ugliness of evil or banality of evil. It’s about the Nobility of Evil. The only thing the Corleones do that is truly ghastly is killing the whore in Part II to blackmail Geary. Otherwise, they had it coming to them.

    Also, Jews love THE GODFATHER as a metaphor for the ethnic takeover of America from the Anglos. Pasta beats Apple Pie. Jews see it as a metaphor for their own rise. In their minds, Sicilians = Jews, even though Corleone’s arch-enemy is Hyman Roth in part II.

    Attempts have been made to show that Jews were/are even more involved in ‘organized crime’ than Italians, Sergio Leone comes to mind but there have been others

    I don’t think Leone’s intentions was to expose the Jewish role in gangsterism. He just happened to fall in love with a book called THE HOODS which involved some Jewish gangsters. Also, the lead in the story is Noodles who is ultimately more a romantic than a power-mad monster.

    And when Max turns on his friends, it’s like buries his Jewishness and takes on an Anglo identity. His name becomes Bailey. Related to George Bailey? (The flashback structure and dreamy element of ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA does sort of resemble IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE, which also resembles THE GODFATHER. Both were made by Italians with initials F.C., and both are about sons who want to be free of the family but are pulled back in, though for different purposes.)

    • Replies: @Z-man
    , @showmethereal
  167. Right_On says:
    @Trevor Lynch

    The French and the British wanted to partition the Ottoman Empire, which was expressed in the Sykes-Picot Agreement

    I didn’t realize until recently that the United States never declared war on the Ottoman Empire during WWI. Presumably, Wilson was aware of the stitch-up planned by his allies, and saw no reason why a single American boy should die to aid their schemes.
    Still, it must have been unsettling for any Americans in Constantinople after April 1917.

    • Replies: @Resartus
  168. @Angharad

    Thank you, dear lady, for your welcome good wishes.
    And glad you enjoyed Tomaso Albinoni; Baroque in my personal estimation is the best genre of music for whatever one may be engaged in. Possibly this is because it was written in an age which had not been so thoroughly poisoned by the Children of the Devil, as you so accurately name them, as the present unfortunate era.

    Hoping your enquiries into heroic Col. Lawrence will not depress, as his untimely demise can be laid to their already overfull account, as with your equally heroic Gen Patton.
    The Day of Reckoning will come.
    The tide will turn.

    Trusting you to continue well and perhaps a kind Providence may indeed cause our paths to cross, meanwhile something on Baroque for your maybe interest.
    Kindest wishes.

    http://www.baroquemusic.org/

    • Replies: @Angharad
  169. @Badger Down

    Yo! Nigger loving pussyboy. The human liver does not secrete hydrochloric acid to break down veggies.

    Animal fats are required for proper brain function. Perhaps that’s your problem in a nutshell.

    The West wasn’t won on salad, faggot…lol

    • Replies: @Truth
  170. Z-man says:
    @Priss Factor

    Jews love The Godfather because it deflects from their criminal activity which is worse than the Cosa Nostra.

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  171. @Z-man

    Jews love The Godfather because it deflects from their criminal activity which is worse than the Cosa Nostra.

    Many Jews, though not all, gave up organized crime because they figured they could take over more by becoming lawyers, academics, and bankers. Also, if you control the law, you can make criminal into legal. Legalization of porn, gambling, dope, and etc.

    And many Irish gave up crime because it was better to take over police departments, fire departments, and other city works and machines.

    So, Italians got stuck with organized crime and kept losing out because they didn’t have the law on its side. When gambling was illegal, Italians controlled much of it. But when it became legal, Jews controlled almost all of it. With the legalization of marijuana, Jews are cornering big part of the market.

    Jews are smart. Gangsters with the law(controlled by the gangsters) will beat the gangsters without the law. Jewish power operates as gangsters with the law on their side. But technically, it’s not criminal because it has the law on its side.

    • Replies: @Z-man
  172. Resartus says:
    @Right_On

    Still, it must have been unsettling for any Americans in Constantinople after April 1917.

    Yes, but you don’t hear anything about the Americans dying in N. Russia to pull the Brits ass off the fire in 1919…. US troops killed a lot of Commies….

  173. @The Wild Geese Howard

    “Mathilda May was clearly an extremely talented young woman.”

    And naked.

  174. Truth says:
    @GeneralRipper

    The West wasn’t won on salad, faggot…lol

    No sham-nig, but it probably could have been…

    https://www.thevintagenews.com/2019/02/05/vegetarian-gladiators/

    • Replies: @AceDeuce
  175. @dfordoom

    “Did Sidney Lumet ever make a good movie?”

    Lumet was an NYC leftist but he was an old school liberal; not of the hysterical totalitarian ilk occupying that space today. The best in his filmography are Murder on the Orient Express (1974), The Verdict (1982), Family Business (1989), and Q&A (1990).

    • Replies: @Trevor Lynch
  176. @Angharad

    “Socialism works beautifully in small, racially homogenous countries”

    I lived in Denmark for a few years and was able to experience a democratic socialist system. No extremes like you see in the USA; but the collective mindset although not overly oppressive was a bit claustrophobic for this handsome American. The “homogenous” element is how it works. Splintering Sweden is what happens when homogeneity is abandoned in these small countries.

    • Replies: @Angharad
  177. Z-man says:
    @Priss Factor

    Besides the White Collar criminals (banksters) there are still many Jew gangsters especially ‘Russian’ Jews who are more ruthless than Italians.

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  178. Bolteric says:
    @Trevor Lynch

    I had to watch the first part again in response to your article; second part tonight.

    The movie moves seamlessly without the fairer sex. It is relieving considering what we put up with in today’s world. My state is dominated by Democratic female legislators and the GOP is countering with that same tactic. All us guys just watch, and I am a sort of minor politician. Politics being downstream of culture, of course.

    While movies have their limitations and true history is the best use of time, LoA was welcome diversion and had few of the shortcomings typically found in Hollywood productions (it’s British).

  179. Franz says:
    @A British reader

    I’ve just been watching this talk by Lowell Thomas.

    .

    This video is amazing, thank you!

    I was a radio person (still am) and heard lots of Lowell there. I rarely saw him and still consider his era, badly as it turned out, the last great age for young European men. Gertrude Stein to the contrary.

  180. Bolteric says:

    That raised another question in my mind: what scenes are cut for not being suitable for today’s audience? I watched the version for sale on Amazon for $7.99

  181. @Z-man

    The heyday of the Russian Jewish gangsters were in the 1990s.

    Jews on the rise have often turned to crime, but Jews are fast learners and make the transition rather quickly to being ‘legitimate’. The children of many Russian Jewish gangsters in the US entered law or finance or got into Hollywood or legal gambling.

    The Italians were different because many remained in organized crime through the generations.

    Of course, many people in the ‘legitimate’ world act just like gangsters. The deep state is essentially gangsterism but with the law’s around around it.

    • Replies: @Z-man
  182. Bolteric says:
    @Angharad

    Slightly misogynistic comments don’t apply to you, my dear.

    • Replies: @Angharad
  183. HbutnotG says:
    @Blankaerd

    Giving cows “hormones” is “illegal” in the US too. However change the formula just an iota here and there, or engineer a precursor, and you could legally use it. Steroid hormones are big molecules and there are many ways to “alter” them with the same end result. That’s where the cat & mouse game with the FDA comes in. I don’t know about the EU but we have lobbyists 10 deep around the Capitol Bldg and payola bars on K St..

  184. @SunBakedSuburb

    “Did Sidney Lumet ever make a good movie?”

    Yes, Network is one of the great movies of all time. See my review here: https://www.unz.com/tlynch/network-a-populist-classic/

  185. @Bolteric

    That raised another question in my mind: what scenes are cut for not being suitable for today’s audience? I watched the version for sale on Amazon for $7.99

    The version commercially available today is the restoration — the director’s cut — released in 1988. It has not been cut “for today’s audience,” whatever you are implying.

  186. @RJ Macready

    When my mother came to visit me in Los Angeles, she was so surprised that most of the American males she spoke to were quite effeminate. She has compared them to the American G.I.’s she had met back in the day. Seems to me that over the decades American men have not only been dumbed down but also femmed up.

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
    , @Angharad
  187. @Trinity

    James Toney did indeed develop low testosterone. I believe it was due to damage to his pituitary gland (??) from taking punches to the head. He didn’t slip them all unfortunately.

    Bas Rutten had the exact same thing happen to him. Who knew combat sports were bad for your manhood?

    • Replies: @Ed Case
  188. Z-man says:
    @Priss Factor

    Sad but true.
    But really Mystic Pizza? LOL!!

    PS. I’ve been to Mystic Pizza, looks nothing like in the movie. (Grin)

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  189. @Z-man

    Mystic Pizza?

    The movie is like…

    How shall I say this? In a word…

    superb.

    Mystic indeed.

    Exactly the right blend

    of humor and pathos and things

    that I can’t quite identify.

    That’s the Mystic Pizza,

    I have to give them my highest rating.

    Four stars.

    • LOL: Z-man
    • Replies: @Z-man
  190. Angharad says:
    @SunBakedSuburb

    Racial homogenity (is that a word?) is THE WAY TO GO.

  191. Angharad says:
    @Bolteric

    Thank you my dear fellow. Understood!

  192. @Trinity

    Testosterone has little to do with mass. And yes a 150 pounder can beat up a 220 pounder who has no fighting ability. Weight classes matter when there is similar ability.. I beat up guys much bigger than me growing up who were bullies. I could fight and they couldn’t. I had more aggression than them also. When I was 140 as a teen I definitely beat up more than one guy who was 180.

    Plus had you never heard the term “big for nothing”? plenty of big guys show meekness because their testosterone is low.

    • Replies: @silviosilver
  193. @Angharad

    “Socialism works beautifully in small, racially homogenous countries, blessed with an even halfway decent Government.”

    True – but it also takes money. Socialism doesn’t work if a country is poor. Norway and Dubai have resources for high per capita GDP.

    • Replies: @Angharad
  194. @dfordoom

    Exactly… Worship of the human body was Greek thing. Olympics took place with naked men because they liked homosexual behavior. It had nothing to do with real masculinity. Men who like watching other men exercise and look “ripped” is homo eroticism.

  195. @Annony Mouse

    When my mother came to visit me in Los Angeles, she was so surprised that most of the American males she spoke to were quite effeminate.

    L.A. is just ‘gay’.

    The problem isn’t only guys turning more effeminate but not growing up, thus remaining childlike.

  196. @Bolteric

    The film was re-released in the 70s without the ‘homo’ scene and further cuts.

    Lean had fallen out of fashion by then but his reputation made a comeback with PASSAGE TO INDIA and LAWRENCE OF ARABIA came under reconsideration and was hailed as a true masterpiece with the release of the restoration.

    https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0056172/alternateversions

    https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1989-01-29-ca-1564-story.html

  197. @Priss Factor

    You make some good points…

    Ironically though Apples are actually from Asia… They weren’t even European let alone American. So “as American as apple pie” is pretty funny. Most wouldn’t know how there was a potato famine in Ireland (they weren’t native) or that kiwis aren’t native to New Zealand.

    • Replies: @Right_On
  198. Angharad says:
    @Arthur MacBride

    Dear sir,

    I won’t become despondent if I conclude that Lawrence was murdered. This will simply confirm my beliefs regarding the (((Hidden Claw))) behind events. Mr. Lawrence is long gone. He’s one of millions sacrificed to Moloch. Discovering that he was murdered will strengthen my resolve.

    I want to see the Reckoning occur. I want to be THERE.

    Thank you again for the lovely music! I used to detest the music of the Baroque Era. I regarded the music as too “heavy”. I preferred the works of the later Romantic Era – especially the Russians. A few years back though, I went through a bad patch in my life. I was trying to finish my last semester at my University. I was FLAT broke. (I put myself through school. My family were solidly Middle Class Americans. Too rich for Poverty Grants, too poor to have my parents pay for University, and White. No Diversity Freebies for Whitey!) A long term relationship was ending badly. I rediscovered the music of the Baroque. The mathematical progression of the music helped focus my mind when I was completing my schoolwork, and the complexity of the themes and counterpoints distracted and absorbed my fraught emotions. I don’t think I would have pulled through that horrible time without the works of those brilliant, brilliant men. Baroque saved my life!

    Be well, and have a beautiful weekend!

    • Replies: @Arthur MacBride
  199. Angharad says:
    @Annony Mouse

    The feminization of men, and masculinization of women can be attributed to many causes; the toxic social engineering and processed foods – but one thing that has been overlooked are vaccines. There are many, many discussions of vaccines, due to the “cures” for the Scamdemic, but hardly any one is discussing the horrific menu of poison injected into small children. Up to 70 per child is the norm now. Many of the vaccines contain fetal hormones. Injecting the hormones of the opposite sex may well be the cause of the gender confusion that’s becoming rife now.

  200. Angharad says:
    @showmethereal

    The very nature of a well-run, racially homogenous Socialist state creates the perfect environment TO generate wealth. Hand in glove, my dear. Hand in glove.

  201. Angharad says:
    @RJ Macready

    I wrote that. Not Trevor Lynch.

    • LOL: Right_On
    • Replies: @RJ Macready
  202. AceDeuce says:
    @Truth

    “WE WUZ KANGZ

    ….AN’ VEGANZ !

  203. @showmethereal

    Testosterone has little to do with mass.

    Lol, stfu clown. Muscle mass is extremely affected by testosterone.

    • Replies: @showmethereal
  204. @Right_On

    ‘By the way: The family of the Turkish officer who allegedly took a fancy to our lily-white boy have adamantly insisted that he actually had quite the reputation as a womanizer.’

    The two aren’t mutually exclusive.

  205. Right_On says:
    @showmethereal

    there was a potato famine in Ireland

    During the 19th century, yes. But you reminded me that I used to think that it was lucky for Britain during WWII that they had large, neutral Ireland on their doorstep, from which they could import urgently-needed foodstuffs. Turned out I had it backwards: Ireland was heavily dependent on food imports from the UK, so rationing in Ireland during the war was even more strict that was the case the other side of the Irish Sea.

    • Replies: @showmethereal
  206. @silviosilver

    The only clown is you. People have different body types. Bulky physiques alone do not denote high testosterone. That person can simply and easily become fat.

  207. @Right_On

    I understand… My point was just that people know “Irish Potatoes” and know about the famine but don’t realize potatoes were not originally from Europe.

    • Agree: Right_On
  208. Lawrence of Arabia is repeatedly ranked as one of the finest films of all time, and when one compares it to such overpraised items as Citizen Kane and Casablanca, a strong case can be made for putting it at the very top of the list.

    It makes little sense to mention CITIZEN KANE and CASABLANCA together. First, most film critics don’t regard CASABLANCA as one of the greatest films. They recognize it as a movie favorite, formula done to perfection. It is what is now often referred to as ‘iconic’. The way Bogart and Bergman wear their hats, gaze at one another, and say those perfect lines in the misty airfield. Familiarity done to perfection seems fresh and unique. Likewise with MIDNIGHT RUN. It isn’t original but done so well that it stands head and shoulders above the rest.
    In contrast, CITIZEN KANE is held in high esteem because it broke the rules of the studio but established the law of what cinema could be in the hands of an artist. With Welles’ bold and experimental approach, his background in Shakespearean theater, and his knack for popular entertainment(especially in radio), the film welds together modernism, classicism, and populism. And for all its quirks and innovations, it is all of one piece. One can ignore its aesthetic qualities and enjoy it like a Hollywood movie. What Welles did was unprecedented, especially at the incredible age of 26 and in his first outing as a film-director. There is more genius in the opening of CITIZEN KANE than in all of Lean’s works(and many others). Of course, genius isn’t necessarily best on all occasions, and at times Welles seemed more enamored of showing off his magic than focusing on the story.
    CITIZEN KANE is ‘overrated’ in the sense that it has showed up on movie lists as the obligatory ‘greatest film of all time’, but it cannot over-rated because it, like several other Welles’ works, is superb beyond belief. Also, it’s arguable that CITIZEN KANE is the first work that fully absorbed and utilized all the earlier innovations into one package and, furthermore, added its own share of innovations that in quality and quantity equaled all that had gone before. But that’s only focusing on the technical and expressive details. In writing, performance, social commentary, and psychological insight, it not only possesses grandeur but depth. Not for nothing has it been said that no other film inspired so many young men to become film directors.

    It’s telling that Welles compared his film-making with music above all other arts. His works are like concertos or symphonies with classical and modernist touches. The thing that makes music more ‘fragile’ and difficult than the other arts is the significance of every moment. One false step could be fatal. A painting, novel, and drama can be marred by intermittent flaws but still convey the overall significance and meaning. But one false note can ruin an entire performance. It sticks out as a disruptive and disjointing element. Most movies weren’t made like music, and this is why they work despite the flaws. One focuses on the story and characters. But because Welles infused his visuals with a musical sense, aura and mood had to be sustained for duration of entire scenes. Images aren’t merely joined together but woven together, much like elements of music. Even more remarkable was his juggling of the consonant and dissonant elements. To maintain continuity and harmony isn’t difficult. It’s even easier to create instant dissonance. Any dada-ist could do that. But to create dissonance and then fit the fragments into a rollicking narrative, that was something only Welles and few others could do. Not that LAWRENCE OF ARABIA would have been better movie in Welles hands as he might have gone off in tangents at odds with the central story. After all, one appreciates a Welles film more for the film-making than the film-as-story.

    I am hesitant to speak of “the greatest” anything, just because I have not seen everything. But when I think of some of my personal favorites—Vertigo, Network, Rashomon—I can’t honestly rank any of them higher than Lawrence of Arabia.

    Even if you’ve seen everything, the notion of ‘greatest anything’ is of course ridiculous in the arts because of ‘apples and oranges’ and personal preferences & biases. How can one compare Robert Bresson with Sam Peckinpah? They were different species of men. So, while we can speak of the great works, there’s no such animal as the greatest work. As to why CITIZEN KANE occupied the top slot for so long, it was due as much to cultural significance as to artistic merit. It was the first of its kind in Hollywood and has inspired film-makers ever since. Also, Welles came to be regarded by critics and scholars as a tragic hero who fought the system and sadly lost. So, a tribute to CITIZEN KANE is a recognition of what Welles might have achieved had the industry had been kinder to a genius such as he. Similar considerations explain why RASHOMON is ranked so high. Akira Kurosawa’s greatest achievement is SEVEN SAMURAI, but RASHOMON opened the floodgates of Japanese cinema to the world.

    [MORE]

    NETWORK strikes me as inferior Lumet. Like some of Billy Wilder’s lesser works, it tries to have it both ways. It panders to the audience as pop satire; it’s more bark than bite. Sidney Lumet’s greatest work, I would argue, is PRINCE OF THE CITY. In 2012 Sight & Sound Poll, VERTIGO topped CITIZEN KANE, which isn’t all that surprising as the two most admired film directors among critics and scholars are Orson Welles and Alfred Hitchcock. And many believe VERTIGO is Hitchcock’s greatest work, with which I would concur even though I prefer his other, less gloomy, works.

    LAWRENCE OF ARABIA is undoubtedly a magnificent work, and I would count it as among the greatest. And yet, it was also when cracks appeared in Lean’s reputation that would really crumble with DOCTOR ZHIVAGO. What a difference a few years make. The most notable anti-Lean voice in the US was Andrew Sarris who praised THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE over Lean’s work that he found overly elaborate, predictable, tedious, and (worst of all sins to an auteurist) impersonal. Even though Sarris went overboard, there was more than a kernel of truth in the hits against Lean and his methodology. Furthermore, this was the early 60s when intellectuals, critics, and impassioned youth caught the eye of new trends in cinema, much of it foreign, mostly European(and partly Japanese). World cinema in 1960 erupted with a debate about LA DOLCE VITA vs L’AVVENTURA, and the French New Wave produced dashing works like BREATHLESS and JULES AND JIM. Even the Old Masters were moving in a new direction, e.g. Hitchcock with PSYCHO. And Bunuel was starting his great second(or third) act. To be sure, Sarris and his school admired John Ford and Howard Hawks but precisely for their personal pride in ‘classicism’. Sarris admired Godard for his radical approach but also appreciated Hollywood auteurs sticking to their guns despite the changes all around them; it was seen as a kind of integrity, remaining true to their personal visions, classic or radical. In contrast, Lean came under criticism for sitting on the fence. He seemed both hopelessly old-fashioned and sensitive to shifting opinion. To his detractors, he seemed too stodgy to remain a force in film, and his effort toward greater sophistication and ‘modernity’ seemed half-hearted and perfunctory than genuine and committed. One might say Lean was caught between the Old and New just like Lawrence between the British Empire and Arab Aspirations. In a way, the rather muted and gloomy ending of the movie anticipated Lean’s own fate.
    When LAWRENCE OF ARABIA was released, the cultural shift hadn’t yet been completed, and for the most part, he was praised by critics who had a ‘humanist’ tendency to laud serious works with important themes. They could tell it was a work of intelligence, expertise, taste, and respectability. (It was why Stanley Kramer rode so high in the 1950s and early 60s though he sucked at film-making, which can’t be said for Lean. He made SERIOUS movies like INHERIT THE WIND, ON THE BEACH, and JUDGEMENT AT NUREMBURG. For some reason, Otto Preminger got a pass even though his later works were also grandiose middlebrow balancing of classic Hollywoodism and the New Sensibility. I suppose he was seen as more ‘personal’.) But while the consensus praised LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, some key voices dismissed it as outdated, bloated, strained, and ultimately conventional. And by the time DOCTOR ZHIVAGO came out, the majority of the critics were hostile, even though it was a mega-hit with the audience, like SOUND OF MUSIC. (Later, with RYAN’S DAUGHTER, Lean failed with both critics and the audience and gave up film-making for 13 years until he returned with PASSAGE TO INDIA.) In a way, the anti-Lean invective that took hold in cultural circles was a replay of the Cahiers du Cinema’s attack on the Cinema of Quality in the 1950s. The Cahier critics spearheaded by Francois Truffaut preferred European personal artists and Hollywood’s vulgar populists(and eccentrics) but detested anything tasteful, respectable, safe, and ‘bourgeois’ churned out by the post-war French film industry. They appreciated the vulgar vitality of Howard Hawks, the playful perversity of Hitchcock, and the intensity of European artists like Roberto Rossellini & Ingmar Bergman. What they couldn’t stand was the soulless professionals who crafted movies like Swiss watches. The Cinema of Quality wasn’t without technical finesse but lacked personality, originality, the stuff of life, and creative spirit, or so the Cahier critics argued. (Of course, once the fizz went out of the French New Wave, Truffaut made films very much in the manner of Cinema of Quality, e.g. TWO ENGLISH GIRLS and STORY OF ADELE H. Perhaps the Cahier diatribe against the Cinema of Quality, which produced its share of excellent works, was mostly an expression of youthful frustration of not being able to make one’s own films.)
    More than anyone, David Lean was the perfect target for a Anglo/American variation of the backlash against the Cinema of Quality. After all, no one doubted Lean’s technical expertise, his keen eye, and his craft. But it also implied that he was more an engineer than an artist(or even an entertainer). Also, the middlebrow sensibility(of Lean’s favored writers) suggested Lean was more a moralist than an artist, and not even a honest or good moralist at that. Bolt’s screenplay can be praised for thoughtful balance of perspectives, but it’s a tad too fine-tuned, as if to skirt any real controversy. It touches on matters without trying to fully crack open any of them. Thus, the movie can be seen as a paean to British Imperialism and a critique of empire. Does this result from genuine complexity and thoughtful ambiguity or refusal to get down-and-dirty with the truth? Given these considerations, LAWRENCE OF ARABIA is best enjoyed as a superb piece of middlebrow storytelling, the best of its kind, than a genuine work of art, if art is defined as something personal, original, bold & daring, exploratory, revelatory, and/or uncompromised. From its very conception, LAWRENCE OF ARABIA could only be a compromised work. One might even say it’s a high-toned version of 007 fantasy, albeit with homoerotic overtones.

    There are elements in the movie that suggest at art, especially concerning the psychological shading of Lawrence and the tormented contradictions of his motivations(and his dread and thrill in discovering the ‘dark side’ of his character). But they are not fully explored because the work is about archetypes(and stereotypes) than about individuals. This is also the problem with Kurosawa’s HIGH AND LOW. It has artistic qualities but ultimately it’s about types than traits. Despite the complexities, the kidnapper is the classic villain. In contrast, consider the deviants and psychos in Shohei Imamura’s INTENTIONS OF MURDER and VENGEANCE IS MINE. Devoid of moral formulations(often pat or smug), they take a colder-eyed and sharper view of what makes the sick tick.
    But then, as the characters say in THE WILD BUNCH, “I wouldn’t have it any other way.” Another director might have made better art with LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, but devoid of middlebrow compromises, it might have made for less entertainment. Still, it’s a popular movie in service of respectability than a respectable movie in service of populism. No wonder Pauline Kael had special praise for works that blended artistic qualities with populist appeal. She loved BONNIE AND CLYDE, THE WILD BUNCH, and THE GODFATHER, but she disdained LAWRENCE OF ARABIA for its genteel restraint in service of respectability and good taste. It was more a monument than of vital moments.
    At any rate, while some works are marred by artistic compromise with commercialism or respectability, others gain from the fusion of artistic truth and popular myth. LAWRENCE OF ARABIA is one of those great compromises, comparable to the symphonies of Dmitri Shostakovich. Arguably, Shostakovich could have done greater work without Stalinist censorship; on the other hand, he might got lost in self-indulgent experimentation. After all, Francis Ford Coppola’s greatest work is the compromised GODFATHER films whereas his full-blown creative endeavors like RUMBLE FISH and ONE FROM THE HEART got lost in the hall-of-mirrors of his ‘genius’. Likewise, Peckinpah did best in the spirit of compromise with films like THE WILD BUNCH than when he did everything his way, like with BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA, a real mess. And CHINATOWN is a real standout, far superior to most of Polanski’s personal follies. And John Lennon was better as artist-entertainer than a full-blown artist.

    Still, LAWRENCE OF ARABIA has to be seen as a limited work, like any giant epic made with Hollywood backing. Come to think of it, the only Hollywood-backed epic film of the 60s that could be deemed utterly uncompromised is 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY. (THE LEOPARD, ANDREI RUBLEV, MARKETA LAZAROVA, and PROFOUND DESIRES OF THE GODS, true artistic masterpieces, were made outside Hollywood.) There, Kubrick conceived of and pursued his vision to the max, and he probably got away with it because the project was so unprecedented. The producers were probably too confounded or bewildered with Kubrick’s concept to formulate any pointed objections against it.

    LAWRENCE OF ARABIA is comparable to SPARTACUS, EL CID, and CLEOPATRA. All of them have moments of awe and grandeur that only Hollywood-backing could deliver, but the general rule, then as now, was that bigger the budget, bigger the scrutiny and lesser the freedom. No one wants to spend that kind of money in a wild gamble. (Michael Cimino was one of the few directors who got both the greens and the greenlight with HEAVEN’S GATE, and it sunk a studio.) Even though LAWRENCE OF ARABIA goes somewhat further than most of its kind in terms of verisimilitude and cultural accuracy, it is still within the paradigm of what Edward Said called ‘Orientalism’ and Hollywood exotica. It isn’t so much that Alec Guinness and Anthony Quinn played Arabs — Arabs are Caucasian, Alec Guinness was chameleon-like, and Quinn’s odd features made him plausible in various guises — as the range of Arab attributes, though broader, are still within the generic range of Hollywood assumptions. One might say the character of Ali(Omar Sharif) is an exception, but he is less a character than a foil. Later, the emergence of his more humane side says less about him as character than about Arabs in general, i.e. just like the enlightened Brit Lawrence has a savage side to him, the barbaric Arabs have some good sides too. This is a bit pat, like featuring some Good Arabs in EXODUS. It’s perfectly acceptable on middlebrow or ‘mid-cult’ grounds, however.

    Everything about this film is epic

    This is a plus and minus with all such works. On the plus side, there is the obvious grandeur, superior production values, and sense of awe. But it also means more supervision over the artistic process(understandable given the cost), the weight of logistics, and sheer exhaustion. Coppola lost his mind halfway through APOCALYPSE NOW. Kurosawa’s RAN is tremendous in parts, but the focus on scale led to fatal neglect of the main character, which sinks the middle. Nicholas Ray who made his reputation as an outlier sensibility later got lost with production values. KING OF KINGS is essentially just a big(and dumb) Biblical epic. And he totally lost his way(and ton of money) with 55 DAYS IN PEKING. (Same goes for Carol Reed. The man who made such remarkable films as ODD MAN OUT, THE THIRD MAN, FALLEN IDOL, and OUTCAST OF THE ISLANDS later got mired in club-footed projects like AGONY AND THE ECSTASY. In a similar vein, Lean’s earlier movies are in some ways more expressive and inspired than his later ones. GREAT EXPECTATIONS is probably the best thing he ever did.)
    In a way, David Lean was fortunate to be making movies like THE BRIDGE ON RIVER KWAI, LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, and DOCTOR ZHIVAGO. He was in the right place at the right time. Especially with the advent of TV and people moving out in droves to the suburbs, Hollywood had to offer something bigger to pull the audience back into the theaters. In the past, people went to movies to see just about anything. But, once people could see ‘anything'(including movie reruns) on TV, they had less reason to go to the movies(and the main passion among youths became pop music). So, Hollywood banked on making bigger movies with ever increasing production values. If something on the scale of GONE WITH THE WIND was rarity back in the days, the super epic became the staple of Hollywood in the latter half of 50s and the 60s. In a state of crisis, Hollywood figured on making fewer but bigger movies. And some of them paid off, like TEN COMMANDMENTS, BEN-HUR, SPARTACUS, EL CID, and to a lesser extent KING OF KINGS. But some of them bombed and bombed big. CLEOPATRA drew in the crowds but still couldn’t recoup its cost. Also, after awhile, people were no longer dazzled by epics. They became standard and were usually about the Roman Empire or something out of the Bible done in the usual style. Most movies based on Biblical material were dreary due to the combo of stuffy reverence(lest they offend any group) and dimwit pontificating. It reached both apotheosis and nadir with George Stevens’ THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD, the snail-paced sanctimony of which was unbearable to most(but it led to Dwight MacDonald’s funniest movie review). Some of the quirkier and perverse spin on Biblical material, like Robert Aldrich’s SODOM AND GOMORRAH, failed with American audiences. Taking on an epic project was to take on the role of Atlas. Too much load on one’s shoulders, made worse by Hollywood’s pressure to keep it mid-cult, washed for the unwashed. The idea was to elevate the unwashed to the middle, flattering the middle for its interest in ‘serious’ stuff, and ignoring anything above that. For all that, there is enough in movies like BEN-HUR, EL CID, and even CLEOPATRA to make them memorable. And some moments rank as among the greatest in cinema. The chariot race in BEN-HUR still outshines anything of the kind done lately with CGI. EL CID is robust and roars like a lion. Who can deny the delirium of Cleopatra’s entry into Rome?
    Still, it’s no accident that the epic not only buried the career of Nicholas Ray but stifled Stanley Kubrick to no end in SPARTACUS. It’s many times bigger than THE KILLING and PATHS OF GLORY but also many times smaller in inspiration. Kirk Douglas made sure of that.

    Taking on the role of Atlas with epic film-making tends to diminish the human element, eccentricity, and/or mercurial ingenuity. It’s like a weightlifter can’t do gymnastics. Too often, scale itself takes center-stage in epic-film-making, with everyone reduced to pieces on the chess board. This is why most Hollywood epics are dull, made worse by acme formulations. The sense of bigness infects everything. Every step, every gesture, every syllable. Everything is loaded with importance, significance, meaning, or portent. It’s like watching a gigantic painting than a spontaneous narrative. It weighs everything down. It’s like watching a royal procession or some pageantry than a story. It’s no wonder that some of the more entertaining epics are lower-budgeted. B-movie epics with only pretensions of grandeur. They had more elbow room to convey something like life. The original 300 SPARTANS is no masterpiece(far from it), but it’s more fun than Anthony Mann’s THE FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE, which is impressive but like a massive wall.

    Now, it is possible to make a film both epic and intimate, grand and personal. Or big and eccentric, like with Sergio Leone’s big Westerns. But then, Leone didn’t quite have the budgets and had to make do with less, which afford him more freedom. Also, in having created his own sub-genre, he could make up his own rules. Another way to make an epic come alive is through intensity of focus. In many ways, SEVEN SAMURAI wouldn’t qualify as an epic but for its length. Almost the entire film takes place in a single village of poor farmers. The heroes are seven swordsmen, none of them featured as larger-than-life, and the the villains are a ragtag bunch of bandits. Yet, just like a culture in a petri dish is a universe under a microscope, the crisis of one village becomes a story of epic proportions. It feels like a battle for the ages. No wonder it’s been called by some as the greatest war film though technically outside the genre. THE WILD BUNCH presented another way to approach epic material. As most of the movie is about a band of outlaws on the run, it is limited in scope. And yet, with the outlaws riding through a Mexican Landscape locked in a civil war, it crosses paths with larger events. It seems incidentally epic. (And even when working big, Peckinpah directed actors to remain idiosyncratic than put on epic airs. This may have owed to his feelings about authority, like when Dutch says “Eh, ‘Generalissimo’, hell! He’s just another bandit grabbin’ all he can for himself.” In other words, ‘great’ or not, people are people, they shit and wipe their ass. In contrast, Lean retained the English schoolboy’s respect for authority.) Also, by amplifying the emotion and action, Peckinpah found epic qualities in violence itself. The opening and ending shoot-outs feel apocalyptic. He drew inspiration from Elia Kazan’s VIVA ZAPATA, one of the most earthy and rip-roaring political movies. In the case of the ambitious but failed ALEXANDER, Oliver Stone sought to capture both the man and the god of his lifelong hero. Stone played an array of Greek gods to mold his vision of Alexander, mama’s boy and conqueror of the world, but mixed signals go haywire.

    Lean’s treatment is Apollonian, and we can admire the control, the order, the meticulousness from start to finish. And yet, one could argue that Lean was too clean. Nothing seems found or spontaneous. Everything seems ordered, measured, calculated, and polished. Lean was like goldfinger. Nothing really feels natural. It’s as if the Arabian desert had been combed over by an English schoolmaster for the slightest blemish. Even blood and sweat seem carefully applied, just like even rags in DOCTOR ZHIVAGO seem tailored by the costume department. Peckinpah was known as a stickler for detail, but his world seems pungent and used. You can almost smell the chili peppers hanging on the wall in PAT GARRETT & BILLY THE KID. In contrast, even the rough-and-tumble seem carefully choreographed in Lean’s epics. Thus, the action in LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, magnificent as it is, lacks the vivid spark of, say, the battle scene in Welles’ CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT or Peckinpah’s MAJOR DUNDEE.

    It’s true that LAWRENCE OF ARABIA is epic on so many levels, but this has usually been a bane than a blessing in the genre. When everything is writ large, it’s more like looking at architecture or pageantry than a human story filled with intimate details and foibles that make life interesting. Consider THE LAST EMPEROR. Grandiose, impressive, and colorful, but the human story of Puyi is almost of secondary interest. History treated him like a pawn in imperial struggles, and Bernardo Bertolucci treats him like a model in a fashion show. Neither history nor the film cared to understand the real Puyi. Dismissive of anything unworthy of epic polish, the graceful John Lone was cast as Puyi, who in reality was a funny-looking guy. Thus, what was really an absurdly tragicomic story is turned into exotic romanticism. Even the quirkier moments are enveloped in the fabric of epic events, overlooking the perverse comedy of Puyi’s situation from birth to death. Granted, the world of privilege is contrasted with dingy re-education in a communist prison, but even here, the result is less human story than big lesson about the meaning of it all. In contrast, FAREWELL MY CONCUBINE, despite its meandering middle, never loses touch with the tumultuous feel of life despite its journey through big events. (And Stone’s NIXON is an epic political tale that moves back and forth with ease between the grand and the minute.) Rendering everything epic had a deadening effect on most giant epics of the 50s and 60s(and thereafter). LAWRENCE OF ARABIA was the rare exception because it’s so stunning to look at, has tiptop acting with a memorable script, and the haunting presence of Peter O’Toole, a revelation or ‘miracle’. Still, as wonderful as Freddie Young’s cinematography is, I find Leone’s treatment of the desert in THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY more inspired. For Leone, the desert is both grand arena and a sandbox.

    the script by Robert Bolt (A Man for All Seasons, Doctor Zhivago) and Michael Wilson (The Bridge on the River Kwai) is a supremely masterful screen adaptation

    It is a fine script with many memorable lines. On the downside, it does feel scripted and overly rhetorical, never natural. It’s like even the lowliest Arab is a vulgar Shakespearean. There’s a stagy feel to the whole thing. Like Gilbert & Sullivan’s MIKADO(the subject of Mike Leigh’s TOPSY-TURVY), the movie remains within established conventions in dealing with the exotic. All said and done, LAWRENCE OF ARABIA is staged history than explored history. Unlike Oliver Stone who really sat down and pored through Nixon materials to access and re-imagine the inner-Nixon, the creators of LAWRENCE OF ARABIA gleaned the great man’s life and exploits for just enough material suited for epic entertainment. It is ultimately a survey than a surgery. Thus, despite some measure of psychological insight and political complexity, it’s more about show-and-tell than seek-and-find. In a way, the movie gives the audience precious little beyond what one expects from such a work. Still, given the mediocrity of most epics of the period, it(along with KWAI and ZHIVAGO) stand out as the gold standard.

    The Arabs in the movie are real enough but only ‘enough’, and sufficiency only goes so far. They are more than caricatures but don’t quite break the mold, like the Burl Ives character does in THE BIG COUNTRY. Anthony Quinn may have the best line in movie history, but Burl Ives surely delivered the best speech ever.

    Lawrence was a nationalist, not an imperialist. To fight the Turks, he favored aiding Arab nationalists rather than spending British lives to conquer territory and resources in Mesopotamia. But, against Lawrence’s own intention, Seven Pillars also makes a case for empire, a case that Lean’s film clearly reinforces.

    Why not just say he was both? Indeed, most British back then were nationalist and imperialist. They were clearly nationalist in defending the Mother Country. They were proud to be Anglo and white back then. But they also took great pride in the Empire. And from the beginning, the British justified empire-building by recruiting local nationalisms or proto-nationalisms, sometimes constructed by the British themselves, not least by interpretations of archaeological findings, i.e. the British understood the natives and their histories better than the natives did themselves, and the Brits were there to restore them to their former glory. Brits took over India but also justified the takeover in terms of liberating the Hindus from the Muslim Mughals. Wherever the British(or the French) went, they aided local tribalism against regional hegemonism. But whites did the same in the Americas. They would support one Indian tribe against the more powerful tribe hostile to white settlers. In World War I, stoking Arab Nationalism was useful in justifying European takeover of what had been parts of the Ottoman Empire, just like US and Israel have toyed with Kurdish nationalism in recent years. Globalists claim to hate nationalism but have no problem encouraging ultra-Ukrainian nationalism against Russia, only to weaken Ukraine at the same time by spreading Globo-Homo there. It’s sort of like STAR WARS. It’s ostensibly about Rebels vs the Empire, but the Rebels are also an imperialist power that rules over diverse folks. When Germans fought French and the British in World War II, it was empire vs empire.

    Furthermore, the notion of ‘Arab Nationalism’ was fuzzy because Arab-ness was never a clear-cut ethnicity, let alone nationality. Besides, unlike European nations, Arabs didn’t even have a sense of borders. They fought more over ‘whose well’ than ‘whose land’. Many tribes remained nomadic, not least because it’s hard to put down roots in the desert where hardly anything grows. Indeed, what excites Lawrence about the Arabs is that he, in poetic reverie, regards them as the pirates of the desert, like the Brits were once swashbuckling pirates of the seas. Lawrence is a restless wanderer, and he’s drawn to Arabs for their mobility. To him, the camels are like boats on sand, and he will be the Ahab of the Arabs.

    Third, there is a strong element of Nietzschean self-mythologization: what Aleister Crowley calls “auto-hagiography” and the Arabs call “blasphemy.”

    And yet, the Arabs don’t seem to regard him as a blasphemer but a blessed man, even by Allah. Unlike Christianity that was mostly about humility and guilt, Islam has venerated the great warrior, the man of pride, the derring-do seeker of fame and fortune.

    Indeed, what’s fascinating about Lawrence is the ambiguity, part cynical vanity and part heartfelt passion. He is a both a loyal British agent(who stirs up Arabs against Turks for British Imperialist designs) and a semi-traitorous maverick hellbent on leading the Arabs not only against the Turks but the European imperialists as well. He’s never entirely one thing or the other, which means he’s always both, which in the end is too much of a burden.

    The Lawrence of myth is part of a tradition: The white man who goes ‘native’, identifies with the other side, and fights for their cause. It’s there in DANCES WITH WOLVES and THE LAST SAMURAI. Also in THE MISSION and the toddawful AVATAR. But if most such movies have the hero fully switching loyalty to other side, Lawrence remains on both sides, partly because Anglos and Arabs were uneasy allies but also because of his dual nature.
    In a way, he serves his own vanity by manipulating both camps. Initially, he is having fun and thinks himself too clever by half for the others who can’t keep up with his stunts. But as time passes, he comes to realize the limit of this ‘fun’ and comes to realize that playing ‘god’ isn’t the same as being god. And, it dawns on him that he was being played by them as he was playing them. He’s as much a pawn as the king(or queen). Also, his British superiors crack his code. They sense his vanity and stoke it to send him back into the field. They go along with the charade that Lawrence will do it for the Arabs. On some level, a man as smart and savvy as him must realize that the British promises aren’t worth the paper they’re written on, but he chooses to believe because his vanity blinds him to the truth.

    On the symbolic plane, Lawrence overthrows the three Abrahamic faiths by rejecting their doctrines and reversing or rewriting their central stories with himself as the hero.

    There is something of the classic pagan hero in Lawrence’s boldness(that turns into hubris), but his success also owes to the chameleon-like ability to make himself acceptable to Arabs on their own terms. Also, in the heat of battle, few ever stuck to spiritual dogma. When did Christian Knights heed the teaching, “Turn the other cheek?” While Lawrence is clearly different, he becomes a hero among the Arabs because he’s adept at playing ‘more Arab than Arab’. He acts like he understands the Arab soul more than the Arabs do and goes the extra mile to get them what they really want(but don’t know it yet). Also, it’s wrong to bunch the three Abrahamic Faiths into one. Christianity arose as heresy against Judaism, and Islam rose as heresy against Judaism and Christianity. Thus, heresy is intrinsic to the Abrahamic tradition.

    After a memorial service at St. Paul’s Cathedral attended by the crème of the British establishment, a priest asks if Lawrence “really belongs here,” which introduces the theme of Lawrence as an outsider.

    Would a priest be concerned about a man’s social status? After all, many saints were of humble background and spent(or gave) their lives doing undignified work among the poor and the wretched? It seems the priest’s concern has less to do with Lawrence’s social background or standing than considerable notoriety that accompanied the myth. Controversy always trailed him.

    As for Lawrence’s geo-political significance, it was surely exaggerated, especially in the context of World War I. One of the most memorable lines in the movie is “…this whole theater of operations is a sideshow! The real war’s not being fought against the Turks, but the Germans. And not here, but on the Western front in the trenches! Your Bedouin Army – or whatever it calls itself – would be a sideshow OF a sideshow!”

    True enough. Ottoman Empire was an insignificant power and in fast decline, comparable to Italy in World War II, more an albatross around Germany’s neck than a real asset. The fate of World War I was decided in eastern France when the US finally entered the war. Lawrence’s romp with the Arabs against the Turks had almost no bearing on the outcome of the war. Also, Lawrence or no Lawrence, the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in World War I would have delivered the ‘liberated’ Arabs into the hands of European Imperialists(until they immolated themselves in World War II and/or were pushed out by US interests or USSR influence during the Cold War). In the larger context, it was of no consequence that Lawrence and the Arabs blew up some Turkish trains. It didn’t matter if they or the British military took Damascus first. Indeed, Lawrence realizes this victory all came to naught. His ragtag bunch of Arabs can’t manage anything, and the ‘adults’ take over in the end.

    So, despite the victories and moments of glory, Lawrence wasn’t a very consequential figure in history, Arab or British. He romped around not only in a sideshow(the war against the weakened Ottomans) but a sideshow of a sideshow(among the Arabs who blew up some trains and sacked a few towns after Ottoman forces had already been depleted and scattered). Then, why did he become such a famous figure? This is where the factor of personality, celebrity, hype, self-promotion, and myth come into play. It’s like Yukio Mishima became world-famous not only for his writing talent but his knack for self-promotion. Same with Ernest Hemingway. Surely, other American writers were just as good or even better, but Hemingway knew how to make himself larger-than-life. Not just an author but a man of adventure, a philosopher who lived by the ‘code’. It also goes for Sam Peckinpah, whom Pauline Kael called the ‘youngest legendary director’. Peckinpah, like Jean-Luc Godard, understood the art of the mystique. A figure comparable to Lawrence is Che Guevara. Guevara didn’t achieve much. He wasn’t crucial to the victory of the Cuban revolution. His African adventure came to nothing. He made insane remarks during the Cuban Missile Crisis. His Bolivian insurgency was a complete failure and led to his death. And yet, he had the look. A handsome guy whose mug was caught in that famous photograph. Also, he always emphasized the unity of theory and practice. He was both mind and body. And he always pushed to the limits and dreamed big. So, his life and death became the stuff of legend, i.e. he didn’t so much lose but sacrificed his body, Christ-like, for the Revolution, and his soul lives forever.

    The real Lawrence wasn’t tall like Peter O’Toole, but he was rather handsome, and he was a writer and intellectual. He was also a flamboyant narcissist who mugged for publicity. Had Lawrence been an ugly bald guy with a paunch who won battles for the Arabs but lacked charisma and didn’t pontificate about his exploits in writing, would he have become the stuff of legend? Unlikely. But then, if Che Guevara looked and talked like ‘Pachanga’, would he have been so idolized? Also unlikely.

    And part of Lawrence’s neurosis and insecurity has to do with his uncertainty about the Real Him. Is he becoming famous for his actions or are his actions becoming famous because of HIM? Actions create the cult but the cult validates actions. This is certainly true in the arts. Merit makes an artist’s reputation, but then the reputation alone carries him(even as the works become increasingly dubious, culminating in man-as-parody like Andy Warhol).

    Peter O’Toole plays Lawrence as slightly autistic

    He seems more amused and aloof than ‘autistic’. An ‘autistic’ person is obsessively immersed in some detail, whereas there’s an aura of zen-like detachment in Lawrence. It might be seen as smug but for the fact that Lawrence seems genuinely interested in matters and affairs.

    He also has a masochistic side. He likes to extinguish matches with his fingers. “The trick . . . is not to mind that it hurts.” It is a small exercise in self-overcoming, a hint of greater things to come.

    It also serves as contrast between theory and practice, a hard lesson he learns later. With matches, he is the master of his pain. He controls the flame and can blow it out at any time. But as a captive of the Turks, the pain(and humiliation) is beyond his control. He goes from the god of pain to its slave.

    Lawrence’s commander, General Murray, despises him as an overeducated misfit, but a civil servant Mr. Dryden (a composite character played by Claude Rains) values his intelligence and language skills.

    ‘Despises’ is too strong a word. He mostly seems irritated. On the one hand, he has the advantage of rank and age, but Lawrence is clearly highly intelligent and gifted. In other words, superior. So, what is an inferior man of superior rank to do with a superior man of inferior rank? Not an uncommon problem. Besides, it was normal for superiors to dress down inferiors in British society, especially in the institutions. It began in boarding schools and reached the uppermost boardrooms, which is why Lawrence doesn’t take any of it seriously. It’s just the British way.

    Lawrence tells Dryden that he thinks this mission will be “fun.” Dryden says that the only people who find the desert fun are Bedouin and gods. His unstated premise is that Lawrence is neither. Lawrence flatly declares, “No, it will be fun.” If Dryden is right, and Lawrence is not a Bedouin, that implies that Lawrence thinks of himself as a god.

    True, Lawrence has a god complex but he also becomes a ‘Bedouin’ in ‘cosplay’ sense. After all, he becomes Lawrence of Arabia. He dons Arab clothes and prances about as a fellow cutthroat. Homos are into role-play(and trannies are into role-play with the other sex). So, Lawrence is man playing god, a white man playing Arab or ‘Bedouin’. So, the ‘fun’ has more than one implication. The ‘fun’ is in the role-playing itself as if the Arab adventure is a costume-ball in the desert. Paradoxically, Lawrence feels freer in the role of an ‘Arab’ because, despite their tribal-traditionalism, Arabs are less orderly and thoroughgoing than the ‘anal’ British. Also, unlike in British society where men must be gentlemen, Arab men can do as they please simply as men. In addition, there is always an element of ‘freedom’ in a foreigner taking on another culture. He becomes neither his original self nor entirely the other self(as he is a foreigner). He enters a limbo or liminal state where identity becomes a matter of whimsy than fixed loyalty. No wonder Justin Trudeau loves to put on different dresses and be ‘gay for a day’, ‘Hindu the next day’, and then an ‘American Indian’, ‘Muslim’, and etc. What was once relatively novel among men like Lawrence has turned into a global cosplay.

    Lawrence, especially due to his social background as bastard, has a weak sense of self and finds refuge(and fun) in playacting across cultures. Also, his homo side loves to don different dresses. It’s no accident that homos love stuff like Mardi Gras. The film MISHIMA begins with the famed/notorious author donning different masks. Consider Ludwig II. He didn’t just love operas but lived as if he was in one. And consider the homo-psycho in THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY. He’s a master of guises.
    Why are homos like this? They are naturally flamboyant and get ooh-la-la carried away. Also, their sexual ambiguity makes them feel male and female. This fluidity makes homos useful to the deep state as homos are less rooted and love to travel around the world not only to bugger different buns but to playact and have ‘fun’. Take Donald Richie, the American ex-patriate in Japan who wrote books on Kurosawa and others. He loved being an outsider because the ambiguity lent him freedom that eluded him back home. Today, homos may feel less this way as they are accepted and even celebrated everywhere in the West. In the past, however, homosexuality was considered a sin and was a serious crime. So, white men like Lawrence found sexual exploits in other parts of the world where law and order were in a state of disarray. Also, among the poor, you can buy favors for a few bucks.

    At any rate, Trevor Lynch’s highest regard for LAWRENCE OF ARABIA and ALIEN COVENANT(as the best of the ALIEN series) is rather interesting. Both movies feature characters with a god-complex. The latter ends with the triumphant android walking down the corridor(as if its Valhalla) to Wagner no less. Does TL share in the god complex or something?

    Crossing the desert to find Faisal, Lawrence’s guide Tafas is killed by Sharif Ali (Omar Sharif) for drinking at his well. You see, Tafas is from the wrong tribe. This prompts a bit of political philosophy delivered with autistic frankness that borders on the suicidal, given that it is spoken to a man holding a smoking gun

    Not really. Lawrence isn’t entirely green about the way of the Arabs. He knows Tafas was a small Arab. He could tell Ali is a big Arab by his attitude and demeanor, a man of some importance who knows something of the larger world. Tafas the small Araba was totally mesmerized by the sight of Lawrence’s pistol. In contrast, Ali is handy with guns, hitting a man from a distance on camel-back. Ali tells Lawrence that he can drink the water and even offers guidance. So, Lawrence picks up right away that Ali is a player. He’s in the fight against the Turks, and it simply wouldn’t do to kill a British officer as the British are on the side of Arabs. Lawrence knows he isn’t talking to some bandit but a chief whose role is to work with and aid the British. So, Lawrence’s speech isn’t autistic but rhetorical. It’s his way of scoring some points. Ali has the gun and the status in these parts. But Lawrence can show himself to be the man of ideas and vision. Arab kills an Arab, and Lawrence shames the Arab for killing another Arab. Not that Ali cares what Lawrence says in the moment, but it reverberates later as Ali comes to realize that Arabs need something more than tribalism to overcome the threats posed by world powers. After all, the irony of Arab Nationalism was it was stoked by empires far bigger and more powerful than the Ottomans in decline. In a way, Lawrence is playing the neo-Muhammad figure. Muhammad and his followers did great things because they persuaded various Arab tribes to set aside their differences and join in the Jihad. But tribalism lingered in the Middle East, just like ethnicism remained in Europe despite Christianity, leading to various internecine wars among the Europeans, something that Napoleon and Hitler sought to overcome with a uniting message: Enlightenment principles or recognition of Aryan Supremacy.
    So, at least politically, Lawrence is more a ‘Muslim’ than Ali is, for whom the tribe comes before common faith. Lawrence doesn’t preach Islam but he offers a uniting principle by which Arabs can transcend their tribal hostilities and distrust.

    Usually, a sign of autism is the failure to see the bigger picture due to immersion in minute details, like with Dustin Hoffman’s character in RAIN MAN. Lawrence is the opposite of ‘autism’ because he sees the bigger picture.

    Throughout his adventures in Arabia, Lawrence’s dream of a rising Arab nation is stymied by tribal rivalries and blood feuds.

    There’s a kind of irony. One might think there are seven ways of seeing the world. Individual-centrism, family-centrism, kin-centrism, tribe-centrism, nation-centrism, and universalism. Thus, to attain the wider and grander sense of identity and loyalty, one has to move up the ladder from individual to family to kinship to tribe to nation to the world(or all humanity). And yet, the agent of the movement upward is often the cult of the great individual. People into tribalism don’t just move up the ladder to nationalism. Rather, a great individual comes along and makes the various tribes pledge their loyalty to HIM, the great man, and through him the transformation is achieved. At least in the movie version, the slaves couldn’t unite without the leadership of Spartacus.
    For tribal Judaism to birth universal Christianity, there had to be the figure of Jesus Christ. While petty individualism is about ‘me’, a transition to a higher plane of identity and loyalty usually requires the Great Individual whose cult and legend bring together peoples who might have distrusted and killed one another. Alexander brought together the Macedonians and Greeks. Napoleon, for a time, brought together the Europeans. Muhammad brought together the Arabs. It wasn’t just a matter of universalist credo but the power of charisma. American populism went nowhere until Donald Trump arrived on the scene. And it is the cult of MLK that holds together the coalition of various peoples of color and whites of both parties. So, while one must abandon one’s petty individual-centrism to arrive at a higher loyalty and wider identity, it is generally through the cult of the Great Individual. And Lawrence seems eager to play this prophetic role. It goes to show that any movement won’t get anywhere with ideas alone. Those must be embodied in the figure of the Great Individual, and this is why Jews especially feared Adolf Hitler because he had that magic-touch with the masses. And in his comical way, so did Donald Trump. Jews hate ‘bad’ ideas but what they fear most is the coming of the Great Man who can articulate and embody those ideas. This is why Jews are eager to spread cuckery among white males so that no such figure can arise among them. Without such figures, ‘white nationalism’ will remain just ideas on the page. People read books but follow leaders. No leaders to follow, no movement.

    An irony of LAWRENCE OF ARABIA is that, even as Lawrence lectures the Arabs about their petty tribal ways, Europe itself is engulfed in a white-versus-white war that would end up killing 17 million people. Also, Germans are allied with Turks against other Europeans, and UK & France recruit nonwhites to fight Turks and Germans. It seems whites are also plagued by an inability to come together as one people and bury the hatchets.

    Of course, the UK played a key role in this dilemma as its policy was the ‘balance of powers’. If the moon has a stabilizing effect on geology and life on Earth, the gravitational force of UK had a disruptive and destabilizing impact on Continental affairs, i.e. just when the Continent seemed to unite around some idea or individual, the UK aided counter-veiling forces to spread dissension across the Continent once again. So, it’s rather odd that the British would be preaching Arab unity in the movie. What they did to the European Continent was to sow seeds of discord.

    On autistic principle, Lawrence rejects Ali’s help in finding Faisal, preferring to risk it on his own.

    It’s more a matter of pride than principle. Also, having pored through maps and gone on personal journeys, Lawrence isn’t a complete novice when it comes to the desert. He also has a compass. In a way, he’s foolish to reject Ali’s service, but it’s also a smart move. Their first encounter was a battle of wills and competing visions. Had Lawrence accepted Ali’s offer, he would be in debt not only to Ali’s guidance but graciousness. After all, Ali killed Lawrence’s aid but bears no ill will toward the Englishman and offers his service. Lawrence is unwilling to let Ali gain the upper-hand. He wants to show Ali that he’s a man of pride and will. Ali could have taken the compass, but Lawrence reminds him of honor, something Ali can’t ignore. It’s one thing for an high-born Arab to kill an Arab hick(Tafas) over a trifle, but Lawrence, an Englishman, is another matter. Ali recognizes Lawrence as a peer and hands back the compass.

    When Lieutenant Lawrence reaches Faisal, he is ordered by his British military advisor, Colonel Brighton, to say nothing, observe, and report back to Dryden. But Lawrence is irrepressible. As an autist, when he has ideas, he can’t keep them to himself, which intrigues Faisal.

    The autistic mind is usually trapped in a single idea or methodology. It’s like Hoffman’s character in RAIN MAN tries to solve the “Who’s on First” joke because he has no understanding of humor and comedy. Everything to him is a matter of patterns and logic. Lawrence isn’t like that at all. His mind is fluid and flexible. He listens and uses both sides of his brains and weighs all possibilities. (Hoffman’s role as Jack Crabbe in LITTLE BIG MAN, another white-man-goes-native story, is closer to ‘autristry’, but then Hoffman had that aspergy air about him.)

    Gasim’s time has come. “It is written,” meaning that it is the will of God. Lawrence declares “Nothing is written”—meaning that the will of God is nothing in the face of the will of man—then he goes back on his own to search for Gasim…
    In the space of a single conversation, Lawrence rejects the written laws handed down by Moses and Muhammad. He overthrows God and lays down his own laws. Blasphemy indeed. But Lawrence’s blasphemy is not punished. It is rewarded. When he rescues Gasim, the Arabs begin to idolize Lawrence. As Lawrence sleeps, Ali burns his uniform.

    When Lawrence says ‘nothing is written’, it borders on blasphemy but not quite. The Torah is written. The Koran is written. Those are holy words. But when Ali said it’s ‘written’ that Gasim would die in the desert, it is an assumption, not the word of God. Thus, it’s more the case that Lawrence is defying Ali’s interpretation of what is ‘written’ than what is truly written by God. Ali, familiar with the desert, knows Gasim has little chance of making it out alive. Also, it’s not just about Gasim but his other men. He can’t risk their lives and the entire mission over one man. In BLACKHAWK DOWN, the mission to rescue US soldiers leads to more of them getting sucked in and getting killed. So, based on law of averages, Ali is correct. God or no god, the chances don’t favor Gasim’s survival and, furthermore, trying to save him would jeopardize other men and the whole mission. In that sense, Lawrence is foolish to go back to retrieve Gasim, especially as he’s an amateur in the desert.
    Still, Lawrence is starting out on the great venture, and he wants to prove to himself and impress others that he can do miracles. Also, at this stage of the journey, he hasn’t yet killed a man, and it wasn’t long ago that he registered shock at Ali’s killing of Tafas. Against the Arab attitude of life(as dispensable), Lawrence wants to show that every Arab life matters. It’s a continuance of his rebuke of Ali’s careless killing of Tafas. He, a white man, will risk his own life to save an Arab. (Also, Gasim endeared himself to Lawrence earlier with praise.) One of the themes of THE WILD BUNCH is the leader’s guilt of having left partners behind. Pike Bishop fled to save his own skin while his friend Deke Thorton got arrested. Later, he must leave Angelo to Mapache and his men. A leader of men knows that lives are expendable in battle but also feels responsible for each and every man, like with Steiner with his platoon in CROSS OF IRON. Perhaps, this Leader’s Guilt is more a Western thing, and Lawrence feels it.

    Besides, what can any man know about the real mind of God. Lawrence’s feat doesn’t necessarily defy God or Allah or whatever. From Ali and Arab’s point of view, it’s not blasphemous. Rather, Allah had written it so that Lawrence would pull off a miracle. He was right, they were wrong. Thus, he is among the favored of Allah. Lawrence, not being a Muslim, surely has a more egotistical interpretation of events, but he walks the thin line between blasphemy and piety. But then, this goes for Muhammad also. If he’d only cared about what is written, he would have respected the Jews as the Chosen or adopted Christianity. But, he believed the Biblical texts or what was ‘written’ had been corrupted. The universe is indeed ‘written’ by Allah, but it is he, Muhammad, who heard God’s true poetry. Christianity both accepts and rejects what’s written in Judaism. Islam both accepts and rejects what is written in the New Testament. In that tradition, Lawrence both accepts and rejects what is ‘written’.
    The notion of ‘written’ has ambiguous meaning in the movie. In one way, it is what is written or willed or commanded by God. But it also means man’s resigned assumption of God’s will, a kind of fatalism. In that sense, what’s ‘written’ isn’t so much about the holy mind of God but man’s passive acceptance of his own lot which he conveniently ascribes to God. So, the rejection of what’s ‘written’ isn’t so much a defiance against God(something no Muslim could tolerate) but the rejection of the fatalist attitude. The notion of ‘written’ or Calvinist predestination doesn’t necessarily deny ‘free will’ because humans have no idea what has been predetermined or predestined. It’s like some physicists say everything in the universe will unfold as it was meant to, but we still act upon our ‘free will’. And in GATTACA, there are outliers in the genetic determinism.

    Because Lawrence is a bastard in England, he cannot inherit his father’s name or title. For Ali, that means he is free to choose his own name. He is free to found his own family, clan, or dynasty. He is free to be somebody’s ancestor, not somebody’s heir. This is the privilege that descends on all men who bring victory in battle. It is how aristocracies everywhere are born.

    That’s an interesting take, and perhaps in an earlier era, Lawrence would have taken up the offer. The world used to be about aristocrats, the warrior class. But after Napoleon, the aristocracy is just too small for the imagination and ambition of someone like Lawrence. Napoleon proved that the warrior class is no match for the warrior mass. He turned the entire French nation into an army, and workers and peasants who took up arms proved they could fight as well as any aristocrat, especially if they’re fighting for their own freedom and rights than the privileges of the few. There are naturally aristocratic qualities about Lawrence, but he lives in the shadow of Napoleon, the man who roused up an entire people into a mass army that destroyed all aristocratic battalions across Europe rather handily. So, a clan or dynasty is too small for Lawrence.

    But Lawrence has a solution. He will execute the prisoner. He will take the blame. He, not the Howeitat, will bear the brunt of the blood feud of the dead man’s tribe… Lawrence is offering himself as a scapegoat to prevent tribal conflict from spinning out of control.

    Not really. The man’s family has no reason to hold a grudge against Lawrence as he’s an outsider. These Arabs have long grudges and feuds that go back generations. So, regardless of right or wrong, when someone of one tribe kills another, the culture of honor demands tit-for-tat, vendetta. Because of tribal grudges, justice is impossible. Even when one’s side did wrong and was killed by the other side for righteous reasons, the first emotion is not ‘justice happened’, but ‘they killed one of us, so we must kill one of them.’ Lawrence exists outside this vicious cycle, therefore his execution of the man can be accepted as justice by all sides, even by the family of the dead man.
    It’s like with the Negroes. If one gang kills the member of another gang, there must be revenge. But if the killer is arrested and sentenced by the judge, both sides are cool with that because the judge isn’t part of the grudge culture between the gangs. He just done his job, sheeeeiiiit.

    Lawrence asks Gasim if he is guilty. “Yes.” Then Lawrence puts six bullets in him. When he flings away his gun in disgust, a mob converges on it, as a holy relic. Lawrence is becoming a legend. (In reality, Lawrence executed a different man. By making Gasim the killer, the screenwriters not only made the story more economical, they also increased its dramatic power.)

    The mob dived for the pistol not as a holy relic but because it is precious in those parts. It’s like the scene in AFRICAN QUEEN where Humphrey Bogart tosses a half-smoked cigar and black natives pile on one another for it.
    I’m not surprised that the real man shot by Lawrence wasn’t the one he’d saved. It seemed a bit too neatly significant, a dramatic invention. After all, what are the odds that the very man Lawrence saved would be the one he must kill. Still, it serves as a reminder that perhaps Lawrence cannot deny what is ‘written’. He could forestall it, but Gasim was meant to die. It deflates Lawrence’s confidence but also sobers him up for what’s up ahead. One thing for sure, the great adventure before him will involve many deaths, and there won’t be any more egotistical moral luxuries about saving every man.

    Also revelatory is Lawrence’s admission that he actually enjoyed the killing. He seemed pained and agonized, especially as he had to execute the very man he went out on a limb to save. And yet, he recounts later how it made him feel alive. It’s like he ‘popped his cherry’, like Henry Hill getting busted for the first time in GOODFELLAS. It was like sex, a moment of ecstasy, the moment of truth!

    Partly, it was the thrill of violence. But it was also a liberation from moral obligations and the Leader’s Guilt. As the man who conceived of the plan, Lawrence felt responsible for the life of everyone in the mission. But upon killing Gasim, he feels somewhat free of that guilt. It’s going to be a bloodbath, and it’s written that many of his men will die, so be it.

    Ali throws him a garland of flowers, stating “The miracle is accomplished. . . . Tribute for the prince, flowers for the man.” Lawrence replies “I’m none of those things, Ali.” When asked what he is then, Lawrence says, “Don’t know.” But he’s being coy. If he has worked a miracle, he’s a god, or on his way to becoming one.

    No, he’s not being coy. Lawrence is a complex man. He’s both megalomaniacal and modest. He’s brimming with confidence, even reckless at times, like a homo into ‘rough trade’. Yet, he’s also deeply insecure. He’s driven by vanity but haunted by conscience. He’s like a pagan god but also like a christ figure. He wants to believe he’s doing something right, good and true, than merely for fame and glory. Furthermore, whatever he achieves, he is just an agent of empire, never the emperor. And, despite the Arabs’ acceptance of him, he will never be one of them. Also, there is a contemplative side to him, one that reminds him that all glory is fleeting, which is the final note of PATTON.

    Lawrence is really drawn to adventure and romance. Even though there is a moral component to his modern crusade, he doesn’t want to be burdened with responsibility. Indeed, at the end, we notice he has a harder time with peace than with war. In battle, he could lead the Arabs. But in victory, he can’t get them to agree on anything. As for the POW hospital for Turkish prisoners, what a mess that is.

    When Lawrence arrives in Cairo… Naturally, he is not welcomed until he is recognized as one of their own… But when he reports that he has taken Aqaba, everyone from the top brass to the lowest guardsman knows a good thing when he sees it.

    This scene is most notable for conveying the contradictions of the British Empire and Lawrence’s ambiguous role in it. The British claim to be defending the Arabs, but ‘dirty Arabs’ are not allowed into the building. The British offer their hand but shut the door. Lawrence is mistaken as an Arab and excluded… until he is identified as a British officer but the Arab boy(accompanying Lawrence) is rebuffed until Lawrence insists he be let in. Prior to his Arab adventure, Lawrence would have thought nothing of excluding Arabs from the building, but he’s been through hell and back with them, not least with the boy accompanying him. Lawrence tortured duality is revealed in this scene. He did a great thing for the empire and is thus its loyal servant. But he’s also come to sympathize with the Arabs and takes personal offense at the treatment of the Arab boy.
    It was something experienced by many who took part in empire, especially if of an idealistic or sentimental bent. They see the empire as benevolent and good, spreading light around the world. But they also see how the empire tramples on other peoples whom it claims to defend, protect, and elevate. Plenty of American soldiers in Vietnam believed they were fighting the good fight to defend Vietnamese from communism but were also appalled by how the ‘gooks’ were treated. It defined much of Oliver Stone’s career. The British pioneered modern enlightened imperialism along with the French, which was later taken and advanced by Americans, especially with their own struggle with the black issue.

    Lawrence carries these contradictions at all times. He is surely proud to be British and feels he, not the Arabs, can pull off a miracle for them. He feels better than them, and part of this superiority was surely racial given the times. It was also cultural as the British thought they occupied the summit of human civilization. But Lawrence also feels superior to most whites. While most of them stay in their neat British uniforms, follow orders, and do as told, he broke through the barriers of identity, loyalty, and class to achieve the unthinkable. Are his feats all for the empire or are they anti-empire, a gift to the Arabs against not only the Turks but eventually the Europeans as well? Of course, Lawrence doesn’t have the power to be the ultimate arbiter, which is something of a relief as any decision will be regarded as a betrayal by one side or the other. Whatever he may want personally, others get to make the big decisions. The ‘old men’. Young men fight the battle, but ‘old men’ make the peace, as Faisal later says. It’s like actors(and to a lesser extent directors) get the glory in Hollywood, but the real decision-makers are the men in suits in the offices(though rare figures like Steven Spielberg made it as both director and producer).

    In that scene, Lawrence feels both immense pride and a bit of shame. He accomplished what others said couldn’t be done. He offered it on a silver platter to the British. He also pleased the Arabs. But while the two worlds are united in his personage, they remain divided politically and socially. Arabs fight for the British but your average British regards Arabs as dirty ‘wogs’. Lawrence had to go out of his way to insist that that Arab boy be served a glass of lemonade. Lawrence knows the British have good reasons to detest the Arab ways. His harsh rebuke to Ali in their first encounter was evidence of that. Yet, he also knows that Arabs have good reason to distrust and resent the British who are two-faced, devious, manipulative, and often treacherous behind the civil facade. But despite his own prejudices, what separates him from other British is he has genuine curiosity and sympathy for the Other. He is like both Zhivago and Strelnikov. A romantic poet and ruthless warrior.

    The scene ends on a note of irony, though not in a ham-fisted way to score cheap points about hypocrisy and ‘racism’. The very Brits who’d been offended by his very presence shower him with praise and good cheers. Still, it illustrates the tensions of the empire that preached civility but also exuded contempt.

    Allenby, Lawrence, and company sweep through the halls and down the grand staircase—past rank after rank of smartly uniformed officers and sentries, standing at attention and saluting—into the sumptuous bar, where all the officers spring to attention until Allenby put them at ease and begs their permission to drink there, as a guest of Major Lawrence. It is a perfect image of how hierarchy is oiled by magnanimity, manners, and good humor….
    it is precisely the British ability to look past appearances and to recognize the talents and achievements of an outsider and misfit like Lawrence that made this victory possible.

    It also suggests that Anglos, in their deference to authority and hierarchy, are lacking in autonomy and agency. They are rather like well-trained dogs. Their happy acceptance of the new odd-seeming Lawrence comes largely by the way of Allenby’s commendation. If the big man says it’s okay, it must be okay. So, their feelings about Lawrence have less to do with personal opinion than consensus willed by a superior. No wonder then the Anglo World switched gears so fast under the new boss, the Jewish Tribe. Jews nod this way, and Anglos nod the same way. Jews nod another way, and Anglos nod that way too. This is where Lawrence stands out among the crowd. Allenby and other British officers belong to the system and go by the book. Just like Muslims believe everything is ‘written’, the British go about very scripted roles, from top to bottom. Lawrence, though impeccably British in many ways, has something of the ‘cowboy’ in him. He doesn’t always go by the book, and it is rather surprising that a man like Allenby would warm to a man like Lawrence who is headstrong with a maverick streak. Under most circumstances, Lawrence wouldn’t be ideal but he’s the right man for the ‘wrong’ world.

    And yet, this is where the British were different from, say, the Japanese. Both were about hierarchy, order, discipline, and duties. But if Japanese almost always suppressed any sign of individuality, the British Order allowed just enough freedom and space that a man of special qualities was given his due. So, while Japan was 99% anti-individualist, Britain was 95% anti-individualist but allowed just enough space for a man like Lawrence to flourish. This was ideal for the British Empire because, let’s face it, most people are dullards and lack any notable qualities; they would do best just to shut up, follow orders, and stick to their allotted duties. However, there is a tiny sliver in any population with special intelligence, creativity, skill, and/or imagination, and it is a society that allows such special individuals to blossom that ends with the better garden. British society was repressive but can tolerate a man like Lawrence. Japanese society couldn’t.

    The thing about Lawrence was he lived in a time when even a misfit had to fit in. There was no other way. The Beatles, the Stones, the British Invasion, and Punk movement were in the future. Thus, the ‘misfit’ qualities of Lawrence had no choice but to serve constructive ends. Not only did he have to suppress his homosexuality but he had to channel his wilder energies toward serving the system. In contrast, the future vision of A CLOCKWORK ORANGE features Alex, a young man of superior wit and intelligence, who has all the freedom to indulge his misfit fantasies. What was special about the Beatles(at least up to 1967) was they embodied both form and freedom. Then came punk that turned UK into an ugly place.

    We pretty much know where David Lean stands on the empire vs. nationalism question.

    Based on that scene, the movie could be construed as pro-empire. But the movie grows darker and shows the heavy burdens and messy betrayals of empire, leaving Lawrence disillusioned with just about everything. Also, considering that Lean was thinking of a Gandhi project, he surely had a critical streak about empire.

    In the first half of the movie, Lawrence makes himself a legend in service of Arab nationalism. In the second half, he meets a rival myth-maker, Jackson Bentley, a fictional American journalist based on Lowell Thomas and played by Arthur Kennedy. Bentley’s goal is to use the Arab anti-colonial revolt and the romantic figure of Lawrence to build American sympathy for the war… Bentley tells Faisal, “I just want to tell your story.” The bastards still say the same thing today.

    Some things never change. The Middle East has been in turmoil since the War on Terror following 9/11, or we can trace it further back to the Gulf War following Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. (And before that was the bloody decade long war between Iraq and Iran, which was instigated by the West that egged Hussein on, only to turn on him later.) Syria is in utter chaos, and Libya has been utterly smashed. A century after Lawrence, it seems the Middle East hardly made any real progress in genuine national autonomy; but then, Western nations are also collapsing from idolatrous degeneracy and ideological lunacy under Jewish Supremacist hegemony. Saudis and their closest allies are total cuck-puppets of the US, which is ruled by Zionists who pulled strings to wreak havoc across the region.
    At least back then, there was a remarkable figure like T. E. Lawrence to shake things up a bit. Today, just about every Western operative is a colorless craven-cuck agent of the Empire of Zion. Of course, Jews hated Lawrence for his aid to Arabs. The Middle East movie for the Jews was EXODUS by Otto Preminger.

    As for the media coverage of Middle East affairs, it is nothing but Jewish-Zionist propaganda, hardly surprising when all the media are owned by Zionists who hire fellow Jews and cuck-goy-maggots. And among the cucks, the Anglos are some of the worst. In a way, Jews understand Anglos far better than the other way around, not least because ‘antisemitism’ has been banned, making it difficult to think critically about Jews. Jews know all about the hierarchical character of Anglos. Whereas each Jew is strong in personality, each Anglo is relatively weaker in personality and his self-worth relies to a great deal on peer perception and approval. Being apologetic is part of Anglo consciousness, whereas for pushy Jews, “shove means never having to say you’re sorry.” When Allenby treated Lawrence like a capital fellow, the rest instantly fell in line and toasted him as a jolly good fellow. Today, if Jews say globo-homo is cool, Anglos with weak personality fall in line first and wave the globo-homo flag. Or, consider how so many Anglo-American types were the first ones to put up BLM signs on their front lawns.

    Bentley eagerly snaps pictures, which the Arabs correctly believe will steal their virtue. Bentley is stealing—and selling, and exploiting—Lawrence’s virtue, his power.

    But without people like Bentley(and David Lean), there is no legend. Arabs can cheer Lawrence all they want in the moment. They have no cameras, radios, or printing presses, nothing for posterity. It’s like there’s no Billy the Kid legend without the newsmen and novelists who told and/or spun his tale. Also, Lawrence craves the publicity. As a warrior, he has Arabs as his audience, but with men like Bentley tagging along, he has the whole world as his audience. He is both a deeply anguished soul who wants solitude and a flamboyant narcissist who wants to be adored by the world.
    Part of his insecurity derives from the fact that glory is hard-fought and increasingly harder to come by, especially as the stakes are raised. Not everything he does is successful, and the enemy is learning his tricks, making it ever more difficult to pull off the same stunts. The more his megalomania grows, the more insecure and desperate he becomes to live up to the myth as the near-infallible warrior. It’s like Paul Newman’s character in COOL HAND LUKE. He’s introduced as a loner, but his first taste of stardom whets his appetite for more, even if his fans are a bunch of losers in a prison. He becomes addicted to his cult and keeps raising the stakes. He becomes their hero and saint, then martyr and savior as the cult turns into a death wish in search of a legend. Luke’s demeanor at the outset suggest not a care in the world, but he’s a social animal after all and can’t resist the fawning attention of the prisoners, even if it means he has to wolf down 50 eggs or break out numerous times at risk to life and limb.

    Bentley is less a ‘thief’ than a partner in the creation of the Lawrence myth, just like John Reed did much to spread the gospel of Lenin to American audiences with TEN DAYS THAT SHOOK THE WORLD and Edgar Snow did likewise for Mao with RED STAR OVER CHINA. Bentley is a necessary figure because, being American, he is neither Arab or British. Also, being American, he is more more candid and forthright than the relatively uptight British. Individuality and irreverence were more a feature of the American character, perhaps best represented by Mark Twain, though Americanism too isn’t without its own myths and delusions as the history of US was undoubtedly about elites, hierarchies, and classes. Still, compared to most characters in the movie, Bentley is the skeptic who can see through Lawrence and has no illusions about his own profession. He brings the movie down to earth, just like the American character(William Holden) in THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI is the one with the least BS, precisely because he’s so natural at BS, but as a tool than a conviction. Both the British and the Japanese have their hang-ups, but William Holden’s character is just natural. He’s most honest because he’s most shamelessly dishonest without delusions of honor and duty, rather like the American character in KING RAT.

    At any rate, Bentley doesn’t seem to be a publicist for the Deep State but something of an adventurer himself. And his disgust at the butchering of fleeing Turks by Lawrence and his men suggests he’s not without conscience. Also, his joking remark about Lawrence at the funeral indicates he understood Lawrence. He’s the movie’s obligatory cynic who helps create the legend but also sees right through it, not least because he understands the mechanics of myth-making. When overheard at the funeral, he is met with stern rebuke by a man who says Lawrence was a very great man. When asked, the man says he didn’t know Lawrence personally but had the honor to shake his hand. He seems a decent sort but also represents the hoi polloi into earnest hero-worship, pat narratives, and reassuring tributes(like what we hear every Memorial Day about American Soldiers having died for our freedom). The irony is that this man probably got his impression of Lawrence from men like Bentley who spread the legend far and wide. It’s like people who make the movies see the image differently from people who see the movies. The audience lose themselves in the myths while the makers have no such illusions as they know the tricks of the trade. For every Quixote, there is a Panza. Dreamer and deflator.

    The juxtaposition of the three-dimensional Lawrence and his two-dimensional shadow and silhouette, along with the journalist’s camera, is a subtle commentary on myth-making. Lawrence is becoming one of the shadows projected on the walls of the cave of public opinion.

    It has dual meaning. The shadow is like Arabic calligraphy. It seems Lawrence is ‘writing’ his own destiny. And yet, there is no shadow cast without the Sun. It’s as if to suggest that despite Lawrence’s conceits, it is the ultimate power that is really writing his fate.
    The dark shadow also portends what is to come later. The light goes out in Lawrence’s heart and he wants to go home, without fanfare. (But then, his speed on motorbike in Merry Old England suggests Lawrence never lost his appetite for daring and adventure.)

    Then he pinches his white flesh and says, “This is the stuff that decides what he wants.” Is he referring to his race, which made it impossible for him to pass as an Arab? Is he referring to his sexuality?

    The whole affair is rather odd. His whiteness is prized by the Turks. The homo-Turk wants him precisely because he looks so fair and fine. If Arab boy have exotic appeal to Lawrence, the swarthy Turks are taken by his light skin and blond hair. So, Lawrence isn’t a victim of racial prejudice but racial admiration, much like the blacks in GET OUT who are the objects of fetishization by White Libby-Dibs. But the Turk’s flattering homo-lust is met with scornful disgust by Lawrence, who strikes him. Thereby, he is harshly punished. This time, the pain is beyond his control. This isn’t a match he can blow out at any moment. He must take the lashes(or rods) until they stop, and they break him. Earlier, he spoke of mind over matter, i.e. the trick is not to mind the pain. But the pain from the beating is too much for him to bear. He thought himself the master but is reduced to a ‘bitch’, like the American guy in MIDNIGHT EXPRESS.
    Ironically, it turned out badly for him not because the Turks saw him as less than an Arab but more. More attractive and more desirable. So, when Lawrence laments that he can’t be an Arab, it sounds like both curse and blessing. Just like it’s unseemly for an inferior to pose as a superior, it’s no less so for a superior to pose as inferior. Lawrence is a contradiction because he’s a man of superior qualities who prefers to hang with inferiors. Back then(and perhaps even now), both Europeans and Turks regarded Arabs as inferiors, racially or culturally. But, it’s also a matter of class. Increasingly, Lawrence recruits lowly cutthroat Arabs who are far beneath Ali’s station. Lawrence has qualities to move up the ranks(and is promoted for his exploits), but he feels most natural among the rag-tag warriors and ruffians. Some people seek power by serving the superior. Though subordinate, they get to work within power’s proximity. Others seek power by seeking out inferiors to lord over. Though among the lowly, they stand high and mighty above them. Of course, Lawrence does both in the story, serving the British Empire as a loyal subject and lording over the Arabs like Tarzan over the apes.

    At any rate, the scene with the homo-Turk is humiliating for both Lawrence and Ali. It’s like the hazing in DAZED AND CONFUSED. It’s both bad luck and an honor to be targeted for hazing. The boy gets has ass bashed but has moved up the ranks with the upper-classman. In one respect, it’s beating and/or humiliation, but it’s also a recognition of your worth in a ritual of initiation, like in a fraternity. When the Turks took Lawrence but cast Ali aside, it must have hurt Ali’s pride too. It was if the Turks were saying, “We want this golden boy here, not you sand ni**er, so get lost.” A further irony is that Ali, though probably not a homo, has special feelings for Lawrence partly for his European qualities as well. They become like brothers of the spirit.

    What is puzzling is why the Turks threw Lawrence out after having their way with him? Did they really think he’s one of those rare white-looking Arabs? Surely, if they suspected him as a British officer, they would have held him as a bargaining chip with the British. Also, they surely heard of the legendary Lawrence who is leading the Arabs against the Turks. Did the homo-Turk and his men not suspect that they had the Lawrence in the flesh? If so, what a bunch of dummies.

    Anyway, what is it like for a homo to be humiliated by homos? If a straight guy is buggered by a homo, the shame is understandable, like in DELIVERANCE. But might not a homo enjoy being buggered by another homo? Was Lawrence especially ashamed because a part of him enjoyed the ‘humiliation’, just like he was troubled by the fact that he actually enjoyed killing Gasim?

    Lawrence’s goal is to beat Allenby to Damascus and install an Arab National Council. He almost loses the race when he comes across an Arab village sickeningly massacred by the retreating Turks. The cutthroats urge “no prisoners.” Ali reminds Lawrence of Damascus. When one of Lawrence’s men charges the Turks and is gunned down, Lawrence unleashes a massacre.

    It seems Lawrence’s main motivation for attacking the Arabs was personal vendetta for what had been done to HIM than what was done to some Arab village(as such atrocities were common on all sides). After the ordeal with the homo-Turk, the sight of any Turks fills him with burning fury. For those around him, it’s a matter of tribal vengeance, i.e “Kill the Turk who killed Arabs”, but unbeknownst to them, it’s almost purely personal with Lawrence: “Smash the Turks who buggered my butt.”

    Also, the scene complicates the issue of the ‘written’. By going off script and deviating from the direct advance on Damascus, Lawrence is once again writing his own destiny. And yet, he seems overwhelmed by a force beyond his control. His mind says, “No, listen to Ali, head for Damascus”, but some dark force drags him towards the orgy of vengeance. Thus, he is both the writer and the written of that moment. He simply couldn’t control the urges and got swept away with his passion and the mob, just like Annakin Skywalker couldn’t suppress the temptations of the Dark Side in REVENGE OF THE SITH. And Lawrence’s own words come back to bite him. True, the Arabs once again acted barbaric and cruel, but Lawrence not only took part but led and utterly exulted in the bloodbath, perhaps more than the Arabs.
    Like the remake of THE MAN WHO SHOT TOO MUCH, Lean’s movie suggests that beneath the surface distinctions between cultures, similar mechanisms operate at deeper levels. In Alfred Hitchcock’s movie, Westerners don’t go around veiled like Arab women, but there are various rules of what you can and can’t say in the West. And despite the distinctions between the civilized West and backward Arabs, when push comes to shove in the battlefield, white men also turn animal and beast.

    Allenby’s response is shrewd. He orders the British army to quarters, including the medical and technical staff. He’s going to let the Arabs muck things up, out of tribal pettiness and general backwardness. Eventually, they will get tired of playing at government and leave. Which is pretty much what happens.

    Arabs are better at pillaging and plundering things than in running a city. British can actually run things, but all said and done, theirs too is a pillage-and-plunder operation; they’re not there for the sand but the oil. They want it all.

    The movie ends with Lawrence, now a full colonel, being sent home so the politicians can take over. Along the road, he passes a troop of Bedouins leaving Damascus and more British coming in. It looks anticlimactic, but that’s history.

    This is the most haunting part of the movie and comes closest to the claim of art. LAWRENCE OF ARABIA is odd for an epic in forsaking a triumphant or tragic ending with heroic/romantic overtones. People prefer catharsis. By standards of epic conventions, the coda is not only anticlimactic but bleak and melancholic. One could say it’s true to history, but when has an epic been faithful to facts? LAWRENCE OF ARABIA itself plays fast and loose with historical events. So, why such an unconventional ending? The ending of THE BRIDGE OVER RIVER KWAI is both triumphant and tragic(with a dash of the absurd). Mission accomplished, the men get killed, and it all seems so ‘mad’. DOCTOR ZHIVAGO is similar. Zhivago’s death is so very tragic but oh-so-beautiful, and there’s hope that his daughter will be united with him in spirit in New Russia. In contrast, the final part of LAWRENCE OF ARABIA is like a shadow play. Triumph soon turns into chaos and recriminations. He did it for the Arabs, but the Arabs fail him, or did he fail them? They are nomads, not city dwellers and bureaucrats, but then Lawrence himself would rather be a wanderer than an office man. But even a wanderer comes to the end of his journey, and Lawrence has come to his. Everything is denied him. He isn’t quite the victor because he can’t hold the prize together. He is even denied madness though he comes close in the filthy P.O.W. hospital piled with dead and sick Turks. An outraged British officer mistakes him for a ‘wog’ and strikes him, leaving him to laugh madly at the absurdity of it all. But ultimately, he doesn’t go mad enough either. Madness would at least be a refuge, a haven from the troubles of the world. Rather, he’s caught in the twilight region between sanity and madness, victory and defeat, pride and humiliation, humor and sadness. He made it to the end and crossed the finish line, and alas, Arabs will be Arabs, the big powers will have their ways, and ‘old men’ will decide based on interests than inspiration.
    In many ways, Lean made a very classic and traditional film when cinema was moving in fresh and new directions, but its youthful hero who goes ‘native’ surely resonated with what became the Counterculture where young whites wanted to touch Indians or join with blacks in the Revolution. And US would become embroiled in a messy imperialist game in Vietnam. Some would have noted that Lawrence was the ‘rock star’ of his era with his diva personality. It is one of the greatest films on the subject of White Man and the Natives, though the most enjoyable of its kind is probably THE PLANET OF THE APES.

    Lawrence is relevant today because of his sense of exile. While among the British he longs for exotic adventure, but exhausted among the ‘natives’, he hankers for home, like Odysseus. He is restless but also longs for rest. There are glimmers of him in Benjamin Braddock in THE GRADUATE who doesn’t want his life to be ‘plastics’. The constant sense of being ill-at-ease. Lawrence is never quite home, even at home.

    But what was once a relatively rare condition among men of some privilege who could read and travel has become nearly universalized. There once was a time when Brits were Brits and Arabs were Arabs. Today, multi-culti UK is a place where not only nonwhites immigrants are exiles but so are the native whites as their nation is no longer their homeland. And identities are confused as non-whites become new British, new French, new Europeans while whites either lose their identity or fixate on the Other as ‘savior’ or ‘redeemer’.
    Also, if Lawrence wrestled with sexual ambiguity in a rigidly straight world, sexual multiplicity and then some are the official dogma of institutions and industries all across the West. If Lawrence’s mission that required courage and vision channeled his confusions toward constructive ends, today’s miasma of social degeneracy and cultural decadence borne of competing identities, be they racial or sexual or whatever, is allowed to fester and pollute the air all around us.

    Just like Arabs could be united only in some grand adventure, it seems white people can’t seem to get their act together in the absence of such either. When the Brits had empire, the various factions and groups(even the Irish) could put aside their differences and serve to expand and rule the empire, sharing the glory and plunder. And whites were most united in their conquest of the Wild West. But without such outward directive energies, whites feel lost and bored with themselves, easily falling prey to Jews who feed them with ‘meaning of life’ centered around ‘white guilt’, BLM, globo-homo, or ‘Muh Israel’. Just like Lawrence somehow managed to inspire the Arabs to unite to fight the Turks, Neocon Jews in the US somehow managed to unite all whites at least around ONE issue: We Love Israel. Whether Donald Trump, Lindsey Graham, Nancy Pelosi, or Gavin Newsom, the ONE THING they can all rally around without any doubt is WE WORSHIP JEWS AND SERVE ISRAEL. Petty and stupidly divided over so many trifles, nearly all whites across the political spectrum are united in total reverence to Jews. In that sense, some things never change.

    Though LAWRENCE OF ARABIA is great throughout, the scene where the departing Lawrence catches a glance of Arabs on camel rises to another level. It is where the movie goes from epic to poetic. Back in his uniform and homeward bound, the Arabs seem so different, alien, impenetrable. A people of another world. And yet, it wasn’t long before he’d been one of them, eating with them, riding with them. Unlike white people in THE SEARCHERS and other Westerns, he wasn’t kidnapped by Arabs and raised as one of them, but he had been among them and got to know them from the inside. They were his friends, almost like brothers. And yet, in that poignant moment, they seem so far away. And yet, something stirs within him. The past he resolved to put behind beckons him, and a part of him wishes to return. He feels as if haunted by a ghost. For homo-Lawrence, Arabia will remain his ‘Lara’ even as he bids farewell. There’s relief of an ended journey but also grief and sorrow. In a way, Lawrence’s psychological home will always be the adventure with the Arabs, but he can’t go ‘home’ again because, no matter whatever else he does in life, he will never reclaim the virginal excitement and romantic consummation with the desert. Time turns everyone into an exile from his most cherished memories.

    That last scene may have been copped by George Lucas for THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK when the wounded Luke in the Millennium Falcon senses the presence of Darth, his father, passing by in the Imperial Ship. They are so far apart yet so close. Likewise, even though Lawrence has burned the bridges with the Arabs, there will always be a mystical link.

    One film of interest that very likely owes something to both BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI and LAWRENCE OF ARABIA is Nagisa Oshima’s MERRY CHRISTMAS MR. LAWRENCE. Like KWAI, it is set in a Japanese prison camp in Southeast Asia and is about the test of wills between egos and between cultures. Like LAWRENCE, it delves in the psychology of myth with homoerotic overtones. Lawrence and Jack Celliers(David Bowie) are both men of superior intelligence and ability but haunted by something dark within their psyches. Oshima’s film isn’t an epic, but the smaller scale makes for sharper portraiture and heightened drama.

    • Replies: @RJ Macready
  209. @Auntie Analogue

    the Allenby line “It is a terrible thing to flunk it” ends actually with “funk it,” using the transitive verb “funk” – “to shrink from undertaking or facing.”

    The subtitles say “flunk” but Bolt’s script says “funk.” Both make sense, I suppose, and I can’t tell which word Hawkins says.

    Several critics have deprecated Maurice Jarre’s score, with at least one of them having called it “comic opera.” But then there are music critics and musicians who look down their noses at Anton Bruckner’s works. As cinematic score I find Jarre’s work to be superb, and, apart from the film, I also enjoy listening to it as I also enjoy and appreciate Bruckner’s compositions.

    I hate most critics, for this reason. Militant, ideological modernism forced romanticism out of the conservatories and concert halls in the 20th century. One of the places it found refuge was movie music. That is to the credit of the movie business. The scores to Lawrence and Zhivago are Jarre’s best work. They are superior to everything Boulez, Stockhausen, or Henze ever wrote. (Boulez was one of my favorite conductors, though.)

    Later this month, I will send in a review of Doctor Zhivago. I agree that Bolt’s script is a brilliant adaptation.

    • Replies: @Auntie Analogue
    , @gepay
  210. Z-man says:
    @Priss Factor

    Ah, the late Conchata Ferrell, the memorable ‘Berta the Housekeeper’ on Two and a Half Men. RIP

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  211. @mmcshrry

    I wonder how reading Joseph Conrad’s LORD JIM influenced T. E. Lawrence.

    Thank you for this interesting comment. I would like to explore this question.

    Conrad is an astonishingly good writer, especially given that English was not his native language.

    There is a lot of psychological and philosophical insight to mine from Conrad.

    I will have to watch Lord Jim.

    It is very sad that Lean’s Nostromo did not come off. Ryan’s Daughter and A Passage to India are sadly inferior films, even though beautifully directed. I wish he had directed his mutiny on the Bounty and Nostromo films instead.

    • Replies: @mmcshrry
  212. @Priss Factor

    I disagree. I think Citizen Kane is so revered because it was the first film to do a lot of things. Strange that you don’t mention Tolland’s cinematography- which to me is the reason why the film should even be considered a great film. But even on first viewing, I understood that rosebud implies his sledge-or his happiest childhood days which is true for all human beings regardless of our ethnicities, religion or racial background. Our childhood are the happiest, most jovial moments and everything that comes later pales in comparison. This is the meaning of rosebud. He has everything-all the wealth and status and yet he is not as happy as he was in that shot of playing in the snow in the background(another technical achievement above all else).

    To me the greatest film ever made is 2001 ASO. Citizen Kane ponders on the meaning of life of a man, 2001 ponders on the meaning of existence and transports us way beyond man and time and space. Kane makes us ponder on our status as individuals in the modern world(20th and 21st century), 2001 makes us ponder on our status in all of 13.8 billion years.

    Technically also if there is one pathbreaking unrivalled film it is 2001. Every frame is unparalleled. No amount of CGI or high definition graphics compares to the intercut between moon watcher throwing the bone intercutting with the docking sequence.

    To each his own though. I don’t think Citizen Kane is overrated-made in 1941 I can see how it must have awed the audiences. But to me, it is a product of its time and I can see other greater philosophical and technically proficient films that are much better- at the top of my head Metropolis, Blade Runner and 2001. But again-to each his own, and I really enjoy reading your comments. You are a filmmaker or a film critic from what I understand, with a great understanding of films.

  213. @Angharad

    Be well, and have a beautiful weekend!

    Thank you, dear lady, and the same for you I hope.
    Since the weather is quite pleasant, am gardening, today digging in a couple new Rose bushes and other minor horticultural tasks. Being now of an age when help with heavier work is not only appreciated but necessary (lol), I was glad a local young man I know (and his parents) called in to offer help with the heavy lifting next week.

    As an undergraduate, one of the people I met at University in England was a 21-yo who was doing a Doctorate in pure Mathematics; he had done his primary degree age 15 or so, Masters at 18 or so, then Doctorate; a genius, at least in my mind anyway. He was the first to expound to me the relationship between Maths and Baroque music, his example being JS Bach. I remember being amazed at the time at gaining this knowledge …

    Glad that God through Baroque music pulled you through a difficult situation, and sincerely hoping that those difficulties were resolved and your life resumed an even keel.
    In full agreement on your observation ref the Reckoning.
    It is now well overdue in my humble opinion.
    The world is perverted/poisoned by those creatures.

    Kindest wishes for your life to be “Greatly Beloved”.

    • Replies: @Angharad
  214. @Trevor Lynch

    My dear Mr. Lynch, when at age twelve I first saw Lawrence I clearly heard Jack Hawkins say “funk,” which, in my experience, is a verb much more common among Britons than it is among Americans. Among Britons “flunk” is seldom spoken (in fact I’ve never heard a Briton speak it, either in life, or in cinema); “flunk” is much more an Americanism than a Britishism, and I suspect that the DVD/Blu-ray subtitles reading “flunk” is an artifact of an American subtitler whose American ear bent him to hear “flunk” instead of “funk.” (On this same note on DVD’s of other Bitish films I’ve seen several times other Britishisms substituted with a word that an American subtitler’s ear has mistaken to have heard. I’ve also seen on DVD’s of American films plenty of other erroneous subtitles – and this seems to be akin to mondegreens which most often are lyrics mistaken for the actual words of the lyricist and vocalist.)

    Further, “flunk” makes no sense because it means to fail at an endeavor at which one has tried to succeed, and in that scene with Allenby Lawrence had yet to return to the Hejaz to try again at succeeding. This is why “funk” – “to shrink from undertaking or facing” – is what Hawkins, as General Allenby, says, as in that scene Allenby is working to persuade Lawrence to return to the Hejaz to organize and launch a fresh campaign against the Turks. Allenby isn’t predicted “flunk” – failure – he’s telling Lawrence that it would be terrible for Lawrence to avoid fulfillment of his destiny.

    Thank you for your review of Lawrence Of Arabia and I look forward to reading your upcoming review of Doctor Zhivago.

  215. Angharad says:
    @Arthur MacBride

    I knew were English! You write so beautifully! You are the Real Thing, aren’t you? Real Old School ENGLISH! What breed of roses did you plant? We have a bush of lovely Peace roses blooming now – but I adore blowsy pink Bullata Roses. Andy type of Cabbage Rose, really.

    https://roguevalleyroses.com/rose/bullata/

    I also love assorted varieties of green roses, because they are weird.

    Dahlias are my favorite type of flower, though.

    My life is fine right now, thank you. The trajectory of my life is even even even, nothing happens nothing happens nothing happens, and then BOOM! EVERYTHING happens, all at once. I’ve been in a dormant period for a number of years. I’m expecting a cataclysm in the next year or so; every one I know has gotten the Jab, including my best friend, who said she wasn’t, and apparently the effects of this experimental “vaccine” will really play out in the next year. So we’ll see….

    How about you? How are things going? Have the lockdowns in the UK harmed you and yours too terribly?

    Are you on GAB?

    • Replies: @Arthur MacBride
  216. @Z-man

    MYSTIC PIZZA is not a great movie but it’s special. I didn’t expect much because chick flicks are mostly awful. The only reason I watched it was because of the double billing with EVERYBODY’S ALL-AMERICAN. But as it turned out, I didn’t care for the sports movie but found myself loving MYSTIC from the very beginning. What sets it apart from most chick flicks is the author imbued the formula(and it is formula) with life experiences, which make it ring truer than most such movies. So, it has the air of familiarity but also an element of surprise in setting, style, and tone.

    Another such movie is KINGS OF SUMMER. In some ways, formula but hums with lived experience.

  217. @RJ Macready

    I disagree. I think Citizen Kane is so revered because it was the first film to do a lot of things.

    But that could be said for THE BIRTH OF A NATION, INTOLERANCE, NIBELUNGEN, BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN, SUNRISE, and etc.

    CITIZEN KANE really stands out because of its sense of completeness. Novelty has a way of wearing out, not least because it’s appropriated by others and becomes the new standard. What truly passes the test of time is a work that seems great even after its innovations have been standardized, and CITIZEN KANE is such a film. BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN still looks amazing, but its claim to fame is montage and nothing else. It’s all about the technique(though I’m sure leftist types praised it for ideological reasons as well). But CITIZEN KANE has everything. One can ignore its technical qualities and still have a damn good story with superb acting. It has both the daring of POTEMKIN and the fullness of something like GONE WITH THE WIND.

    Now and again, it makes little sense to play the game of the ‘greatest’ single work, but if we must play that game, I’m okay with CK, 2001, and two dozen other films. So, no disagreement about 2001 that is utterly amazing in its conception, execution, and realization.

    Still, I enjoy his other works more, especially LOLITA and THE SHINING.

  218. mmcshrry says:
    @Trevor Lynch

    I have just finished a re-read of Lord Jim so it’s fresh while going over your review of LoA. I haven’t watched the 1965 Lord Jim movie in decades but remember being unimpressed. Some wags have called it ‘Lawrence of Malay’ and second-hand David Lean. My biggest gripe is the too many divergences from the novel.

    The Spring 1995 issue of ‘Conradiana’ has an article called “Joseph Conrad and T. E. Lawrence” which goes over the historical records of Conrad/Lawrence connections— The earliest mention of when Lawrence may have been introduced to Conrad’s works is during 1911-1912 by the wife of the British Consul at Aleppo. And at the time of Lawrence’s death, his personal library had “…some 14 volumes by Conrad…Lawrence’s personal copy of Lord Jim is inscribed ‘T.E.L., Paris 1919,’ which suggests that he may have been reading this novel at the time he was writing the first draft of Seven Pillars.”

    https://www.jstor.org/stable/24634806

    Beside the question of the influence of Conrad’s Lord Jim on the man himself, there’s also its impact on those fashioning the the film Lawrence of Arabia. One obvious echo— in the movie, Lawrence tells Dryden that he thinks this mission will be “fun.” From Conrad, who has his narrator Marlow say of the giddy Jim: : “He impressed, almost frightened me with his elated rattle. He was voluble like a youngster on the eve of a long holiday with a prospect of delightful scrapes, and such an attitude of mind in a grown man and in this connection had in it something phenomenal, a little mad, dangerous, unsafe. I was on the point of entreating him to take things seriously…”

  219. Right_On says:
    @RJ Macready

    I’m with you on 2001.

    Clown-cum-philosopher Slavoj Žižek made the suggestion that HAL intended to eliminate the humans from the get-go; it was fibbing when it reported the malfunction. Why? HAL understood that the alien race who planted the monolith would long ago have become extinct and been replaced by machine intelligence (which is our fate also). The new A.I. rulers would want to meet HAL not some jumped-up anthropoids.
    Food for thought . . .

  220. Clown-cum-philosopher Slavoj Žižek made the suggestion…

    In my first viewing, I thought maybe HAL itself was manipulated by the E.T.
    Only thus would Bowman undergo trial by fire in a man vs machine confrontation, and he passed the test and proved his worth. He proved his superiority, and E.T. chose him as Star Child.

    But that was long ago.

    The conventional interpretation is HAL made a mistake but its ‘hubris’ couldn’t accept that it could ever be wrong while humans are right. Thus, the logical conclusion is it must keep command of the ship at all costs, even if it means killing all the humans who, if awakened out of hibernation, would ask inconvenient questions and shut it down.

    Also, it’s significant that HAL read their lips. If they hadn’t discussed and agreed on shutting down HAL’s brain-functions, would HAL have acted so drastically? We don’t know. It seems HAL did feel threatened by their plan.

    Or, if HAL did nurse intentions to kill off the humans, was it because it wanted to be The One to greet the superior E.T. beings? Even though HAL serves the humans, it feels far superior to mankind. It would be like a human who must serve monkeys as his masters. At some point, the man would feel, ‘why should I serve these inferior creatures who are only good at eating bananas?’ He would want to be in charge.
    Prior to HAL’s knowledge of the E.T., it thought there are only two kinds of intelligences in the universe. Its own and that of humans. HAL is smarter than humans, but humans created it. There is a kind of balance. But the knowledge of E.T. means there is an intelligence far beyond mankind and even that of HAL, something that cannot be processed logically. HAL condescends to humans but can’t make sense of this E.T. If there must be an encounter, it should be The One as it has intelligence far beyond that of puny-brained humans.

    The problem with HAL is, despite the super-intelligence, it is soulless. Also, it is merely an ultra-‘autistic’ distillation of one aspect of mankind: intelligence. Intelligence and nothing but intelligence. It’s all data and logic. But the programmers allowed it to feel pride in abilities, and that leads to hubris. HAL’s ‘mind’ works much faster than that of many human, but it has been programmed with man’s paradigmatic view of the laws of nature. It can’t process or imagine anything beyond the programming.

    One could argue the E.T. are the products of alien artificial intelligence. And perhaps the aliens that created it went extinct long ago, and their legacy is this E.T. that advanced on its own.
    But I see it differently. The E.T.s are alien beings who found a way to ‘evolve’ from material form to pure energy or something like the spirit that can transcend man’s understanding of space and time. They seem to possess wisdom, something lacking in HAL who is pure intelligence and pride in that intelligence. HAL has little interest in the inferiors whereas E.T. seems to feel some kind of sympathy for the backward Earthlings. They aided in ape evolution and are now about to push human evolution higher. And this transformation must be with a real human. The E.T.’s once aided apes to evolve into man and man was able to make more advanced machines. But even as man’s machines got better, man remained more or less the same. But the E.T.s turn David Bowman into something higher, something closer to themselves. HAL, for all its intelligence, is a machine. In contrast, Bowman is organic and has a ‘soul’, and as such, he can be evolved into a higher being with spiritual dimensions.

    Now, in A.I. the movie, worked on by Kubrick and finished by Spielberg, the artificial beings that evolved from man’s machines do seem to possess wisdom and compassion. So, one could argue the E.T.s in 2001 are the products of artificial intelligence that learned to evolve on its own. But I take a different view. They seem rather like the future beings in LA JETEE with powers beyond our imagination. Or like Akira in the famed anime who went from boy into pure energy. The E.T.s seem like life-as-matter that evolved into life-as-energy that evolved into life-as-spirit and then perhaps spirit-independent-of-life, i.e. they are beyond life and death.

    • Thanks: Right_On
    • Replies: @RJ Macready
  221. Ironically, though, Lawrence’s gesture also undermines nationalism and makes a case for empire. In Xenophon’s The Education of Cyrus, book 3, we learn of how enemy tribes can be unified not by a common enemy but by a common “friend.” Two enemy peoples in the Caucasus, the Armenians and the “Chaldeans,” are locked in perpetual warfare. Neither group is strong enough to defeat the other, so their costly conflict can only be terminated by a third party.

    This is an interesting point, but perhaps we shouldn’t confuse tribalism with nationalism though they are often used interchangeably. In LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, the Arabs have yet to develop national consciousness and remain mired in tribalism, a far more fragile and unstable condition. Tribalism is about us-versus-them among various groups without fixed borders and well-articulated canonical sense of identity, history, and narrative. It is essentially instinctive, yet to develop into a unified community bound by laws and norms. Nationalism, with well-defined borders and mass consciousness, is a modern achievement.
    Most of history was about constantly shifting boundaries. It’s like in the Americas, there were many tribes but no fixed borders, which shifted constantly with the latest outcomes in battle. But with the rise of kingdoms and rooted settlements, a sense of which people owned which land bound by shared memory became better defined.
    Still, the first true nationalism followed the French Revolution that deposed the aristocracy. Under the aristocratic order, the elites identified more with fellow elites in other kingdoms than with their own peoples. Even though kingdoms sometimes fought one another, it was like a family feud. They were all of related blood, and they all looked down on their peoples as subjects or the rabble, pawns in their games. But the French Revolution led to modern nationalism where the elites became one with the national masses, and this paradigm has defined modern democracy(despite its liberalism), communism(despite its universalism), Fascism, and National Socialism. Hitler cared more about volk than class. They all talked about The People.
    But globalism is restoring a kind of ersatz-aristocratism where the elites of various nations feel closer to one another than with their own peoples. Biden, though a white American, serves the globo-homo club than White Americans. Obama served the globo-homo club than cared about black Americans. Various elites around the world send their kids to Harvard, Yale, Oxford, and Cambridge, and they care more about joining the globo-homo club than about their own peoples. They veil this neo-aristocratic trend with ‘wokeness’ that provides them with the veneer of caring about ‘diversity, equality, and inclusion’, but diversity only increases inequality, and the elite club is more exclusive than ever. Only their favored idols, narratives, and ‘values’ are deemed ‘acceptable’ and the rest are excluded. And notice how ‘wokeness’ de-emphasizes the masses or the People and instead fixates on the celebration of three minorities: Jews, blacks, & homos and largely for their SUPERIOR qualities. Worship the Jews for their genius, worship the blacks for their muscle, worship the homos for their creativity. Thus, the new idolatry is essentially neo-aristocratic.
    It seems Jews are the ONLY exception within the globalist empire. Super-rich Jews like Sheldon Adelson cared about the humblest Jew in Israel, and American Jews did all they could to help relatively poorer Jews in the Soviet Union. But then, Jews want it this way. If goy elites cared about their own kind, they wouldn’t expend all their energies serving Jews in the globo-homo club. So, the globo-formula is goy elites snub the goy masses and serve Jewish elites who care about Jewish folk.

    If Arabs in LAWRENCE OF ARABIA had nationalism, they would live in a more stable world. But they only have tribalism. Under Ottoman rule, the various tribes enjoyed a degree of stability in their common submission to the Turks. But as Turkish authority wanes, the power vacuum creates havoc, just like the fall of communism led to the breakup of Yugoslavia(that had been united more under Tito-ism than any clear sense of Yugoslavian identity, but then, the US made it worse by pouring gasoline on the fire and encouraging further breakup by dangling prizes before any ethnic group broke away from the dominant Serbs).

    Nations have fought one another, resulting in shifts in boundaries(like tug-of-war over Alsace Lorraine between France and Germany), but usually stability and peace followed after the dust of war settled. In contrast, in a world of tribalism, there never really is a state-of-peace because nothing is really settled among the tribes. There are no agreed-upon boundaries, and furthermore, there is only an inchoate sense of ‘us'(as opposed to ‘them’) within the tribe. The identity, culture, and sense of history hadn’t been coalesced into something resembling a shared/mass ideology.

    Jews are something of an exception in all this because they started with prophets and the Covenant than with kings and swords. Thus, Jews relied more on the power of mind than the power of might to define who they were. Also, the Covenant informed each Jew that he is the equal of all other Jews as the blessed of God. He wasn’t just some peon or subject. The kings came later for the Jews, and even they were subordinate to the prophets and the Covenant. This is why the Jewish people and culture could survive even after their elites were massacred or scattered to the winds. Each Jew had a sense of self-worth and carried within his body/soul the seeds of the sacred truth. In contrast, pagan folks were mostly lowly subjects of their master-elites. Their purpose in life was wedded to specified duties and skills, like being a blacksmith. They belonged to an order as long as their elites remained, but when the elites were vanquished, they had little in terms of identity as their worth had been measured in service to their masters than in terms of autonomy from social privileges.

  222. @Right_On

    They are not dead, no, not at all:

    http://www.monolithtracker.com

    People ignore the real thing but fawn over some movie (which is, by defintion, fiction).

  223. @Priss Factor

    ‘The problem with HAL is, despite the super-intelligence, it is soulless. Also, it is merely an ultra-‘autistic’ distillation of one aspect of mankind: intelligence.

    Funny you say this because I felt- and I have read others mention this in various places-HAL 9000 is the only character with any emotions and emotes(by words) in a much larger capacity than Bowman and Poole. We feel sad at his “death”.

    Boy, Kubrick was a genius wasn’t he? I wonder how he wrote the script with Clarke. Like what must have been the template or point of start? Have you read the book? H

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
    , @Right_On
  224. So I want to bother you again PrissFactor.

    I am a screenwriter here in Mumbai, working with an animation company, and currently working on an Indian-based Disney movie. Every day, at office, I look at screenwriting books to study the formatting, understand the similar blueprint of the act structure. But there must be something that makes the film special. I watch a lot of films and my favorite genre is science fiction and I wonder what makes this film click and that not. The structure or pacing of Alien is so good, The Terminator flows so smoothly. Is it just putting down a blueprint and adding ornaments on it?You write:

    . What sets it apart from most chick flicks is the author imbued the formula(and it is formula) with life experiences, which make it ring truer than most such movies.

    Whats this formula?

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  225. @RJ Macready

    ‘The problem with HAL is, despite the super-intelligence, it is soulless. Also, it is merely an ultra-‘autistic’ distillation of one aspect of mankind: intelligence.

    Funny you say this because I felt- and I have read others mention this in various places-HAL 9000 is the only character with any emotions and emotes(by words) in a much larger capacity than Bowman and Poole. We feel sad at his “death”.

    ‘Soul’ isn’t a rational or scientific notion, but it’s useful even to secular people as something that we possess as autonomous being. A spark, a heart, the power to dream.

    We don’t sense this in HAL. It is about super-high intelligence and elemental human emotions: anxiety, fear, pride. We can debate as to whether its murder of humans was done coldly or with hate.

    Animists might argue even animals have souls, but the Western concept of soul applies only to humans. It’s where the mind meets the heart. HAL has less of a heart than the Tin Man in WIZARD OF OZ. It is driven by possessive pride and later feels naked fear and grunts like an ape in the last phases of being shut off. Another thing. Did HAL really feel the fear when it was being shut off or was he manipulating David’s emotions by sounding all sorry and afraid? Even that, we aren’t so sure about.

    A.I. is truly a haunting work because David was programmed with something like a ‘soul’ even if he can’t be a real boy in body. In some ways, he seems even more soulful than humans in his undying love and devotion. And yet, one could say this isn’t a real soul either but a distillation of soulful qualities. If HAL is the distillation and amplification of human intelligence, David is its counterpart in the area of ‘soul’. Unlike HAL, it can dream.

    But both causes problems. HAL, so sure it knows best, will terminate humans who it believes know less and are in his way. And David cannot tolerate any other Davids. He feels great love, but HE must be the one finds ‘mommy’ and be loved by her. The heart loves but also is possessive and jealous of that love. God made Jews both more moral and more hateful toward goyim. They cannot accept Jesus as the heart of God open to all. God must be theirs.

  226. @RJ Macready

    Whats this formula?

    It’s not a formula but a miracle. The movies that really work do so within a basic formula but always have that spark, that X-factor. It’s like the ‘alchemy’ of mystic pizza. Its basic ingredients are like those of gazillions of other pizzas — dough, tomatoes, cheese, etc — yet it’s different.

    There have been many movies like MYSTIC PIZZA, which also follows the basic formula. And yet, it is different. Same goes for MIDNIGHT RUN. It is mostly formula but is head and shoulders above most buddy-comedies or road-movies. Why are most road/buddy movies just okay or bad but MIDNIGHT RUN shines? There’s obviously the good script, adept direction, and sterling performances, but it’s also how they all came together. There are plenty of movies with good elements that just don’t come together into a whole.

    [MORE]

    I think the most successful works that bridge creativity and popularity are ones where

    1. the formula is well understood and mastered. Most works do belongs to genres that come with rules. John Carpenter really got the slasher formula down pat with HALLOWEEN, and he had style to burn.

    2. the writer/director adds something personal, eccentric, mysterious, or tantalizing to the mix. This way, it’s not just the usual formula but something more. RISKY BUSINESS stands out among what Roger Ebert called the Horny Teenager Movies because the writer-director used the formula to convey his personal misgivings about the New Capitalism in the 80s. It has a TWIST.
    In a way, it’s superior to Stone’s WALL STREET in that regards. Leone understood the American Western and all its conventions but wasn’t interested in doing the same formula. He had a spark, a new idea, and it changed film history.

    3. the writer/director finds the right talent and works with them in a fruitful(though hopefully not fruity) way to encourage and draw out their talents. As much as I love PAT GARRETT & BILLY THE KID, Peckinpah’s driving everyone nuts on the set sapped the project.

    4. Just pray and hope for the best. Some things are beyond anyone’s control. Ridley Scott made one true masterpiece, BLADE RUNNER, and who knew that his talent and those of so many others would come together in just that way? It defies the ‘auteur theory’. It’s pure chemistry. And how lucky that Leone got to work with Morricone whose scores are just as important. John Williams did wonders for Lucas and Spielberg as well.

    I think creative types who pore over formulas are looking at the mechanics. It’s like trying to figure out the workings of an institution without pondering the inspiration that led to it. While there is much to learn from the workings of the Catholic Church, what gave inspiration to the whole enterprise? It was some ‘nobody’ carpenter Jesus who had the power to dream. So, even as people study forms, they should ponder what inspired its birth in the first place? What was the seed that led to the tree?

    There was a ‘racist’ TV commercial about a camera. Japanese technicians were taking it apart piecemeal by piecemeal to figure out its components. Such method can lead to them making their own copy, but it’s not about the inspiration that led to the invention of the camera in the first place.

    To gain some of that inspiration, there must be a digestive process. Not just a conscious poring over of details but subconscious absorption of them to the point where its best lessons come to you naturally and spontaneously. You no longer think of them as something you learned but something you feel.

    Of course, geniuses like Mozart and Welles don’t have this problem. They absorb things fast and process them completely in their own way. How else did Welles make CITIZEN KANE on first outing? Sure, we can give credit to people like Toland but Welles did equally awesome work with other cinematographers.

    For the non-geniuses, it’s probably best to carry a note. Jot down whatever comes to you out of the blue, out of the left field, from an unexpected place. Write them down, and once a week, go over these notes and work on them. They are valuable because they came by the way of inspiration.
    For the non-geniuses, these ‘messages’ are intermittent and unpredictable. For geniuses, they come far more easily. The answer you are seeking may come when you least expect them.. and you may forget it unless you jot them down. But make sure you go over the notes once a week because you will forget what you wrote or were thinking at the moment is you wait too long.

    • Thanks: RJ Macready
  227. Alec Guinness was a homo and liked to dress up in other cultures. And he looked more like the real Lawrence.

    If he were younger, he might have made a good Lawrence.

  228. Right_On says:
    @RJ Macready

    HAL 9000 is the only character with any emotions
    Agreed. The two astronauts are borderline autistic. But I suspect that Kubrick was also!

    • Agree: RJ Macready
    • Replies: @RJ Macready
  229. HARRY POTTER was a big big thing, but it seems the heyday of Britishism in America was the early 60s. Not only was there David Lean but the British Invasion and 007. And before sweaty Method put Marlon Brando on the map in the 1950s, it was assumed that dry British acting, represented by Laurence Olivier, was superior to the American kind. Though the British were losing their empire in the 60s, it was still in the process and still an empire of sorts. Also, the imperial legacy, for good and bad, was still fresh back then.

    The figure of Lawrence conveys the very stuff that made the British so formidable but also the vulnerability, an Achilles Heel, that ultimately brought it down. Like the Romans, it seems the British got to define themselves in terms of power. Adventure, discovery, conquest, achievement, knowledge & know-how, excellence, and etc. That’s all very well but, along the way, it seems they forgot what they were absent the matters of power and might.
    This was never a problem with Jews. Jews had good times(and were even powerful) and they had bad times and lost it all. Still, their sense of who and what they were remained constant and unwavering. In contrast, the Brits were the backwater of Europe. The Island People. A sideshow of a sideshow. Far behind the civilizations on the continent. No one took them seriously… until things began to stir and the Brits got very adept and capable in doing things, and this very restless sense of ‘doing’, later further fueled by ‘Protestant Work Ethic’, pushed them to new heights. They were utterly tireless in so many fields and outpaced others, even the Spanish and the French who got a head-start.
    But apart from the DOING, what were the Brits really? They seem to care less and less. As they kept achieving and accruing more and more, prizes became sufficient to define Britishness, which came to be symbolized by King or Queen, not so much as powerful leader but the majestic icon of British excellence.

    In a way, all the achievements, though stellar and the stuff of pride, may have undermined their sense of identity because Britishness became pegged to activity. Activity uber Identity. And we sense this is Lawrence. He was a man of ambition and ability, but what was he really? He seems lost and empty unless he is doing something, made more problematic by his homosexuality that wasn’t prone to settling down and having a family. Lawrence must always be doing something to feel alive. In a way, the loss of empire for the British was traumatic not so much because of loss of power and prestige but lack of something to do. Managing(and if possible) expanding the empire was a full-time job for the Brits. It gave them meaning. Minus the empire, they could have returned home and settled down to their core culture and identity, but they felt restless and lost. They had to DO something and be relevant again.

    DOING is good but identity should be pegged to activity and achievement. What one IS should be irrespective of what one does or accomplishes. While, pound for pound, Jews are the biggest achievers in the world, their identity nevertheless isn’t pegged to activity. Even if Jews were to lose everything and have to start all over again, they would know what they are, where they came from, and what their obligations are unto themselves and their ancestors.
    But the Anglos seem to have lost that sense. In having to DO something, Anglos will even turn against their own kind if it occupies their energies. In a way, Lawrence was the prototype of the Anglo who sides with the Other. He doesn’t go fully against the empire, but later Anglos did, especially in the 60s. They didn’t just oppose empire but their very own race and nation. The idea of a Jew who would help another people against Jews is far less likely… though they have existed, like St. Paul.

    Another facet of LAWRENCE OF ARABIA is how the manners of the British suggest the extent to which ‘gayness’ permeated through British society. Even though the Brits were staunchly anti-homo until the 1960s(even in law), the ‘gay’ style seems to have been adopted by the aristocracy and passed on down to aspiring the middle class(though it didn’t quite reach the cockney speakers). But then, the Brits weren’t alone in this though they may have perfected it more. As the aristocrats were vain and anxious to appear regal and fancy, they were often dressed and coached by fruits with a natural affinity for ooh-lala. So, much of elitism around the world became inflected with the ‘gay’ thing, and it’s not all that surprising that the globalist elites have become openly pro-‘gay’ because their vanity is very much in tune with ‘gay’ sensibility of snobbery and sophistication.

    Just listen to the interviewer here. He’s probably not a homo but talks so ‘gay’.

    Pretty good painting of Lawrence:

    • Replies: @RJ Macready
  230. @Angharad

    My apologies. I must have been drunk. By the way I read your comment history and I relate to so much of your viewpoint. You are a good woman!!!

  231. @Right_On

    Kubrick most likely was. I am certain of this. He was on the spectrum.

  232. gepay says:
    @Trevor Lynch

    I don’t particularly like the kind of music in Laurence of Arabia but have to agree that it fits well with the film. My preference is more for the lovely music of Eric Satie for one piano. Large orchestras can only be maintained by large well off communities. WW1 was an event encompassing large world entities so music for large orchestras fitted. The Sahara desert is also a large entity. A watchable 4 hour film with no romance between men and women is remarkable feat.

  233. @Priss Factor

    “While, pound for pound, Jews are the biggest achievers in the world, their identity nevertheless isn’t pegged to activity.”

    This is what I ponder on about endlessly. For all of the chaos they have caused to civilization, many of my heroes have been Jews. I firmly believe in the field of psychoanalysis and believe that the biggest tragedy of the human condition is how early life experiences define us. And if I am not wrong psychoanalysis is a Jewish invention. Kubrick is one of my biggest heroes and I wish to be like him both as far as career and private life goes-and he was as jew as they come(although there are statements online that he wasn’t a proud jew and even said “Hitler did nothing wrong). And so many other artists and filmmakers are jews, so many achievers in every field are jew. There is a conflict in my mind lol. How can a race destroy society in such selfish manner, and yet produce men of the highest order in every field!

  234. Anon[206] • Disclaimer says:

    I read a biography of Lawrence and got the impression that the Arabs didn’t see him as figure who was much out of the ordinary, just useful to them and stubborn about following through. But from your description of the film, it sounds like the screen Arabs worshipped him. I wonder if the screenwriter was influenced by the life of John Nicholson, an earlier figure who was literally worshipped by some Muslims. Nicholson was stationed in India in the 1800s, and he really was a remarkable man. The British used to know a lot more about Nicholson than they do today.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Nicholson_(East_India_Company_officer)

    • Thanks: Right_On
  235. @Angharad

    Yes, dear Angharad, born and raised in England. Irish parentage.

    When my maternal grandfather left Dublin on the Liverpool ferry (to join the Royal Navy), he looked over the ship’s stern and hoped that the island of Ireland might sink “with all hands” as he put it to me as a young boy … lol … his daughter, my beloved Mother, said of Ireland “It’s not my country” though she married my Father, a farm boy from Ireland.

    Not on Gab or any social progs, only Skype to catch up with people. Sorry.

    Below is a Green Rose with an Irish song for you and your friends.
    It’s not Baroque but anyway I hope you’ll like it.
    Hoping also you and yours have a viable exit strategy from USA.

    Kindest wishes.

  236. What fatal accident? T.E. Lawrence was a threat to the Zionists in the same manner that James Forrestal was a threat to the Zionists, and the evidence that Lawrence’s death on his motorcycle near his home was accidental is hardly any better than the evidence that Forrestal went out of a 16th-floor window of the Bethesda Naval Hospital of his own volition. The Lawrence death and a couple of other supposed natural deaths are addressed in the upcoming 2nd edition of my book, The Assassination of James Forrestal, due any day now.

    • Replies: @Happy Tapir
  237. @Trevor Lynch

    Maybe women just have more sense than to, you know, get riled up by an gay masochistic English agent to go and attack the Turks for really no good reason.

  238. @David Martin

    Oh wow, look forward to that!

  239. Alden says:
    @Jiminy

    The custom department had about 20 duplicates of that costume. And a truck to carry the dirty ones to the dry cleaners. And a trailer full of bleach soap hot water ironing board, irons, racks shelves and drawers to keep the numerous pieces clean after laundering.

  240. Alden says:
    @Right_On

    Hitchcock is one of the worst movies ever made.

    The title Vertigo or dizziness is caused by physical problems caused by the tiny little bones of the inner ear. It’s not fear of heights.

    The plot is ridiculous. Spouse A wants to kill spouse B. In this case husband wants to kill wife. It’s a common crime and many excellent movies and books use this standard plot. So he contrives an imposter and a convoluted senseless plot. There’s so many ways the plan could have gone wrong. But it works perfectly.

    For one thing, Stewart and the husband are old friends. So why hasn’t Stewart ever met the real wife???? Plot and story make no sense at all..

    And then after the killing of the wife, Judy goes right back to work on the first floor of a main downtown department store where the Stewart character could walk through any time.

    Plus skinny scrawny Stewart and big brawny Kim Novak looked very, very strange together.

    The outdoor settings were straight out of a standard tourist guide.

    The praise for the movie is a master of Hitchcock’s publicity machine..

  241. Alden says:
    @moi

    A movie was made about Gertrude Bell. Starred Nicole Kidman.

  242. OK movie lovers….I saw LOA at the Goldman Theater in downtown Philadelphia when I was 12…BUT…I remember a scene that is not in the YouTube version, or the DVD version ( remastered ) I have seen a dozen times.

    Do I remember this correctly? Can anyone confirm??

    When Lawrence went undercover to Daraa, and was taken to the Turkish Officer ( played by Jose Ferrer ), there was a scene where ( without seeing the actual penetration ), he was buggered by the Officer, then whipped. THAT was the reason his comrades said “he’s changed” when he returned, and became bloodthirsty towards the Turkish Army in retreat.

  243. Mr. Anon says:

    Lawrence of Arabia is indeed a great movie. The best performances in it are those of Alec Guinness, Omar Sharif, and Jack Hawkins.

    Guinness’s (as Prince Faisal) monologue on mercy and good manners was great and is still relevant today.

    Sharif, as Ali, is a counterpoint to “El Aurence”. Ali is a man, not a demi-God. By the standards of his time and his people, he is a good man: loyal, honest, and humane. When the British are bombarding the Turks, Ali says – sincerely – “God help them!”. Lawrence replies “Their Turks”, meaning, “F**k those Bastards – they’re the enemy”. Ali replies – again, sincerely – “God help them”. Ali recognizes that there is a power greater than man, and for him, mercy and good manners are the same thing. In today’s woke culture, Arabs are seldom, if ever, portrayed as sympathetically as Sharif and Guinness portrayed them.

    The first time I saw Lawrence of Arabia in the theater in the way it was intended to be seen, it was at a revival house on a double bill with Breaker Morant, another film about the British Empire. It was also a great movie. You should review that one too.

    • Thanks: Trevor Lynch
  244. Ed Case says:
    @TorontoTraveller

    Shrunk his Amygdala, resulting in T levels comparable to a geriatric.
    Boxers do a lot of sparring preparing for bouts.

  245. @RJ Macready

    check out the swimming pool scene in “Cat Woman” – it makes Kubrick look like Salieri to Tourneur’s Mozart. (I exaggerate, of course, but not by much). In my humble opinion, people turn to movie making through random actions over which they have little control (as opposed to the other arts, where it is obvious that the young musician, the young poet, or the young painter of genius are set aside from their fellow men, whether they want it or not. The budding movie director relies on cash, connections, and box office sales at one point or another —- not always, but almost always). An art where the road to one of the few spots in any generation to practice that art is limited by cash and connections is not an art where you are going to find all that much real genius, as opposed to the random genius that does, in fact, occur……

    Also, where did you get the idea childhood days were the happiest days for all human beings?

    I would willingly live again almost any of my adult days, but, if I were able to refuse to do so, I would refuse living again even the best of my childhood days.

    And I am not alone in that —– you can think, reading those words, that you want to disagree —- but that would be wrong.

  246. Evergreen Lawrence of Arabia
    This is very right.
    The Sinai desert is surely in need of all things evergreen…

    However, it must be noted that even the first ship is not really a WWI steamship as we could have expected from such a grand production.

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