Monday, 16 December 2013

The Passing Of 'Lawrence Of Arabia'

English: Screen shot from the extended (12 min...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
He was 'Lawrence of Arabia' to so many people, the brilliant Peter O'Toole made the role his own in David Lean's stunning epic. Of course you'll know by now he is dead - here's Alex Ritman's excellent obituary in today's The National.

I've long been a big fan of the film. It's bunkum, of course. Lawrence didn't say lots of the things the film has him say, including that glorious, "small people, silly people" line. And the whole thing with the two boys was outrageous. But O'Toole neatly nailed the enigmatic persona, the aloof yet ambitious 'Little Lawrence'. And Lean, wow, what a job.

I had Paul Stokes re-enact the scene in Wadi Rumm where Lawrence danced in his Sherifian robes, in the original MS of Olives - A Violent Romance. It was all part of Paul's assimilation, his growing 'Arabness' as he faces precisely the dilemma Lawrence faced as he betrayed 'his' Arabs to the mendacious Sykes-Picot Treaty. Paul was created purposefully in Lawrence's role as betrayer and friend, a foreigner who offers help and is not to be trusted.

The scene didn't make it through into the final novel, I guess I thought it was all a little too much. Anyway, I've got the Director's Cut of Lawrence of Arabia. And now I'm going to watch it...

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