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  1. #81
    Member Country: United States Jennythenipper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Crook View Post
    At different times Michael Powell, John Ford and David Lean were asked to direct it

    That's a good read, Steve. I had heard that Spiegel had name-dropped Brando, but not that Prof. Lawrence had no idea who Brando was! That's fantastic.

    One can only imagine John Ford's Lawrence of Arabia with John Wayne as Lawrence and Ward Bond as Col. Brighton, maybe Barry Fitzgerald as Feisal???

    I recently reread Seven Pillars of Wisdom and almost everything in the film has some antecedent in Lawrence's own account. If anything it's even gayer than the movie, and certainly the sado-masochism comes through well enough as well. Lawrence could be startlingly cold when describing violence directed at anyone other than his beloved Arab Revolt. One of the most troubling things about the production to my mind was the selective way in which characters were treated by the filmakers. Brighton and Jackson are based on real people. They get a name change so as not to offend the families of the real people. Allenby doesn't get a name change which is curious and none of the Arab characters do either. Two of them sued: Ali and Auda's families did not like the way their relatives were portrayed. Ali had no hand in murdering anyone at a well (though there is a similar incident in the SPOW, the shooter is anonymous) and there is no evidence that Auda took any more bribes than anyone else in the region including all the other members of the Arab revolt. Both of those incidents were added to increase tension. I think if they would have made up more names it might have been better.

    The thing is the kernal of the idea that Wilson had, that Prof. Lawrence liked so much, very much comes through in the film. Lawrence is a pawn of imperialist forces, though one who is not entirely naive about the fact that he's being used. Lawrence says as much in SPOW, though at times he's more flippant about things than I think he really felt. O'Toole captures this joking, self-chastising, self-aware aspect of Lawrence's character remarkably well. Who cares if he was a foot too tall and too pretty to stand in for Lawrence? If Prof. Lawrence shouldn't have known his own brother, I wonder if that isn't the point. I mean I think Lawrence his who he was from his family and friends. It all comes out in his autobiography if you read between the lines a bit (not much, even the most cursory reading you'll find the elements that Prof. Lawrence so vehemently objected to.)
    As for the accuracy of the massacre of Tafas, recent archeology shows that the Arab Revolt were far from merciful and that "no prisoner" type charges were the norm even before Aqaba. At the battle of Aqaba they fought hand to had with the Turks and left not a single survivor. The execution of Gasim, has its antecedent in the book, though there is a Gasim who is rescued from the desert, he is not the same as the man who is executed to prevent a blood feud. As for Lawrence enjoying the execution, in SPOW he says that he was so distraught afterward that he had to be carried into his saddle. To me that scene in the film portrays Lawrence's mental and physical exhaustion as well as the extreme guilt that the real life Lawrence felt at various times in life at the bloodshed during the revolt.

  2. #82
    Senior Member Country: UK
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Crook View Post
    At different times Michael Powell, John Ford and David Lean were asked to direct it

    Interesting - thanks,Steve.
    Ta Ta
    Marky B

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