Reelviews #8: Lawrence of Arabia


Ho Chi Minh City, 1975

A prescient allegory for the Vietnam War, David Lean’s “Lawrence of Arabia” of 1962 moves the action to the Arabian Middle East during WWI, and recasts Hoang Van Thai as T. E. Lawrence (Peter O’Toole). The film is remarkable not for its deeply conventional view that a foreign power will be unable to persevere against determined indigenous opposition, but rather for its unusual attention to the longer-term effects of the glorious revolution. It is not hard to read the incompetence of the Damascus council as a critique (well-justified in the event) of the evils that the eventual communist government would bring to South Vietnam. Even more interesting is the blood-lust revealed in the character of Lawrence — a bold artistic choice, given the wide-spread leftist sympathy for the communists in the arts, then as much as now.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Digg
  • Reddit
  • HackerNews
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Slashdot
This entry was posted in Reelviews. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.