U.K., 1962, 216 min, 70mm, Dir. David Lean, Rated PG, Sony Pictures Releasing
“One of the most intelligent, handsome, and influential of all war epics.” – Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
Let’s say it outright, Lawrence of Arabia is Steven Spielberg’s favorite film of all time (‘a miracle’) and the one that inspired him to become a filmmaker. ’Epic’ is an over-used word in cinema, but David Lean’s 1962, near four-hour journey with TE Lawrence (Peter O’Toole) into the Arabian desert is surely the gold standard for films large in scale, design and delivery. It’s over half a century since Lean chronicled the exploits of Lawrence, an unconventional British officer who struck out alone during World War I with the aid of Bedouins (including Omar Sharif in his most famous role) to fight the Turks in parts of modern Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria. Most striking, still, are the desert scenes filmed by the great Freddie Young: battles yes, but also the film’s harnessing of the searing, inhuman heat of the sandy wilds, first introduced by Lean’s famous cut from a striking match to a rising sun. O’Toole, too, remains compelling, as he swings between arrogance and humility, confidence and doubt. Noel Coward found him so irresistible, he quipped the film should have been titled Florence of Arabia. Winner of seven Oscars and accolades too numerous to mention, you’ll need to dedicate half a day to Lawrence. You’ll be amply rewarded: - it deserves to be seen again on the big screen.
The Gables Cinema is the only art cinema in the southeastern United States equipped to screen films in 70mm, the high-resolution format that became synonymous with the medium's epics and films of exceptional visual grandeur. To see a film projected in this format is to see them in their full splendor, with pristine image and detailed sound. New screenings are added throughout the year.