Customer Reviews

458
4.6 out of 5 stars
Lawrence of Arabia [VHS] (1962)
Format: VHS TapeChange
Price:£4.99+£2.80shipping
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

96 of 104 people found the following review helpful
I went to my son's house for Easter and instead of sitting down to watch the latest action flick (His great joke is treating me to films that I would never watch on my own.), I discovered to my great pleasure that the evening's entertainment was "Lawrence of Arabia." As my son set up the DVD, he said, "Don't you remember? You took us to see it when we were kids." I had forgotten.

When I got home, I pulled out my own two-disc set of the Limited Edition, noting the incredibly clear transfer that looks like HD when I played it on my computer. I then watched the extras. Whereas so many "the making of" documentaries nowadays are self-serving and otherwise forgettable, the Interview with David Lean, Omar Sherif, and the behind-the-scenes crew is truly enlightening, as are the comments of Steven Spielberg.

Enough cannot be said about the subtleties of Peter O'Toole's nuanced performance of the troubled protagonist (and I am still cross about Hollywood's failure to recognize him in any other way than a "Lifetime Achievement Award"--Hollywood's booby prize). In perusing the other reviews on this website, I have noted proper accolades for the performances of Omar Sharif, Jack Hawkins, Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn, and Claude Raines (always brilliant), but I noticed a failure to appreciate the performance of Anthony Quayle, whose portrayal of the adjutant moves from stiff-upper-lipped-Empire-right-or-wrong--at first resenting Lawrence whom he clearly considers an eccentric loose cannon--to anguished disgust at the political manipulations of Allenby (Hawkins), Dryden (Raines), and Faisal (Guinness), who shamelessly discard Lawrence as an embarrassment after they not only have used him but also have used him up to achieve their political ends. Quayle's sterling performance complements and completes this phenomenal ensemble cast.

Having seen the film several times since 1963, and realizing that my young adult self did not understand the full implications of the story, which I have since come to appreciate, I can well imagine that it was David Lean's sweeping panoramas, Maurice Jarre's haunting musical score which evokes the emptiness of the desert, and the spectacle of the snorting camels, the prancing Arabian horses, and the snappy British military bands that imprinted "Lawrence of Arabia" indelibly into the childhood memories of my son, who was seven years old at the time. Certainly, a tribute to the magic of David Lean's filmmaking.
1313 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
114 of 124 people found the following review helpful
on 24 December 2002
From the success of Bridge over the river Kwai, David Lean settled on the story of Colonel T.E Lawrence or Ned to his family and friends, with which to once again captivate and entrance his cinematic public. Perhaps Mr Lean did not anticipate the size of the task that awaited him as if had it might have put him off.
It was a risk for Mr Lean and his backers, after all this was a story that was surrounded in mystery, controversy and conflicting testimony, with the enigmatic Lawrence at its centre. The times had moved on and audiences were demanding big names and new cinema, David Lean had the big names(Alec Guiness, Jack Hawkins & Anthony Quinn) but the two central characters (Lawrence and Ali) were played by two relatively unkown actors, Peter O'Toole and Omar Sharif, a big gamble for any director with such a fantastic story to tell.

For the British in the first half of the century, the story of T.E Lawrence was a romanticised narrative, far departed from the hellish western front. He became much more than an intelligence officer in the British Army, he himself knew the power of propoganda and so did his political and military masters, not to mention the editors of papers back in England and the USA, for which Lawrence was a much needed "breath of fresh air" for the depreseive trench warfare reading of the first world war.
David Lean's film while not strictly historicaly accurate (depending upon which version of Lawrence's life you believe) is a master piece of cinema. The cinematography is ground breaking and the scale of production magnificent. This means that it feels "real" for the audience. No computer graphics here, so when you see the hundreds of arabs charging into Aqaba with sabres raised, those ARE real actors all charging hell for leather into a town (constructed entirely by Lean's team, another fantastic acheivment). This size of staging has to be admired and works beautifully in the film.
Perhaps the fascinating thing about Lean's film is that it does paint a balanced picture of Lawrence. Despite the conflicting testimony of his life and actions by many biographers and Lawrence himself, Lean rightly decided to air those darker sides of Lawrence's war time life along side his projected golden media image. This is summed up beautifully at the start of the film when a British hack asks an American journalist (who had met Lawrence during the Arabian campaign) for a few words after the remberence service for Lawrence at St Pauls. The American journalist gives only complimentary rhetoric (on the record) and then when the hack moves off delivers a cutting slur against Lawrence's character. Perhaps this is why the film works so well, it does not paint Lawrence as a "superman" who is above all vices and cleaner than clean, something American cinema did so well and continues too. Lean presents Lawrence as a great man, nevertheless a man with demons who had a darker side, it shows how he was used to achieve those ends decided by his superiors as much as he used others to get what he wanted.
Peter O'Toole is a genius in the role, the cast as a whole all perform so well that you forget that they are actors and they become the characters they potray, this is surely what every actor and director hope to achieve but rarely do they. Lean and Co have created more than a film, its a ripping yarn, a master class in acting, directing, production, editing and casting. This reviewer recommends Lawrence Of Arabia with no reserevations.
44 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
65 of 71 people found the following review helpful
on 13 June 2001
I can never understand why people buyy certain titles on DVD when video is adequate. Exercise videos spring to mind! But the masterpiece that is Lawrence of Arabia is one of those films that really benefits from digital technology. Painstakingly restored, the stunning scenery, sensitive soundtrack and sheer self-indulgence of the director overwhelm the viewer into thinking that 4 hours is not long enough! It takes over 2 minutes for Omar Sharif to ride up on his camel, during which time only two or three words are spoken and the camera hardly moves. If this kind of film were made today it would be slashed into a 90 minute action movie. Buy it. It will never be matched.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
43 of 47 people found the following review helpful
on 30 May 2006
I realise the complaint the other reviewer has about the changeover being 10 minutes before the intermission. But once you get used to it, the sheer quality more than makes up for it.

Superbit DVDs are like a bridge between normal DVD and the next generation HD technology, in that the disk space is put over to superior picture and sound quality. Lawrence of Arabia was remastered and a high definition scan was taken from the original print. It's then the case of how much info the DVD can store which dictates how good the picture is going to be. So as there's no extras to be concerned with, that space is taken up with better resolution and DTS sound.

If, like me, you can watch the film on a large screen, it really is amazing. And with the DTS making the surround sound speakers work much better than Dolby, you really feel like you're in the desert with Lawrence. It's probably the greatest epic ever made, in that it's vision and it's ambition feels unattainable, yet here it is, Lawrence of Arabia, in all it's glory.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 16 November 2003
Beautiful direction(David Lean)and panoramic veiws in "super panavision 70" coupled with a gripping real story which is truelly an amazing piece of history. A compliment of superb actors such as Alec Guiness, Peter O'tool (Lawrence), Anthony Quayle and Omar Sherif thrown in and you have yourself a garenteed classic.
If you havent seen this film or perhaps only saw glimses of it on a Boxing Day afternoon as a kid whilst playing with your presents and expect it to be a bit boring you will be in for a treat and a suprise. Never has a desert looked so inviting im sure.One for the collection as DVD quality picture and stereo sounds on modern equiptment bring this film to life. It must have been a great film for the huge theatre screens.
Extras like the 'making of..' and theatrical trailers are all in there although I dint find them interesting enough to be honest and only took a few glances but its better to have stuff you wont watch than nothing at all right? :D
Im glad I took the chance and ordered this film, I think you would be too, buy it for the rack!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
44 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on 21 December 2006
In some films the landscape is one of the stars. This is the landscape film par excellence. You see, feel, taste and smell the desert as a result of David Lean's stunning desert photography. And that isn't all. This film is an 'embarrassment of riches'. It has an amazingly complex but confident and charismatic central performance from Peter O'Toole as Lawrence and superb supporting performances from Omar Sharif, Jack Hawkins, Alec Guinness, Claude Rains, Anthony Quayle - to name only some of them. That great Shakespearian actor of the 1940s, Sir Donald Wolfit, has a rare big film cameo appearance as irascible General Murray. Its one of his few performances preserved on film. No account of the riches of this film would be complete without saluting the marvellous symphonic score by Maurice Jarre and the wonderfully literate, thought provoking script by Robert Bolt. 'Lawrence of Arabia' is truly one of the handful of enduringly great films and this DVD allows you to enjoy time and again not only the diamond sharp desert photography of the movie itself but also the nostalgia of a well made 'Making of' documentary.
11 commentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 4 June 2004
This is presented in the way that the original cinema-goers would have seen it. The music starts with a blank screen, like an overture before the curtain goes up (must fit some red velvet and gold braid to my TV!) and the original intermission marks the end of disc 1.
O'Toole and Sharif are devastatingly handsome, but even they struggle against the scene-stealing desert. If only IMAX existed when David Lean was making this masterpiece.
My only disappointment was the sound quality; the music especially sounded compressed and congested between the loudspeakers.
So that's 5 stars for the vision and 3 stars for the sound, averaging out at 4 overall.
55 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 10 February 2013
The quality of the image is incredible. I often assumed a 50 year old film would look noticeably aged on Bluray. Not here. The job they have done on the transfer is fantastic. It is like watching a new film. Stunning quality. With sound to match.

This Bluray is designed to really show off your big screen TV. The epic sizes of the views. Eye watering clarity. Filming that is just not possible today as they would take the lazy route of CGI. Here you get the desert and battles in huge, clear, glorious colour.

And when Omar Sharif makes his entrance it is just breathtaking!! The details of the desert. And the huge depth of distance.

I have seen this film many times in the past. But never like this. This has to be in anyone's collection. Especially at this bargain price.

Also of note - NO ADVERTS!! Yipee!! This Bluray kicks straight to the menus when you put them in. Couldn't be better.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on 10 September 2012
The restored version issued today on Blu Ray is wonderful. The detail is fantastic, from the small figures lost in the desert landscapes to the colours in the blankets to the small things caught in dust storms. The DTS sound is stirring, you get caught up in the thunderous charge on Aqaba, the great themes of the score and all the well remembered lines. After watching it today on a big home projector screen and full surround all I can say is that THIS is a proper film and I cannot wait to see it on a really big screen at the cinema in November.
44 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on 14 October 2012
I first saw this 50 years ago in 70mm, then the restored version 25 years ago; several video versions and film presentations since... I can say that this disc (and the 4K theatrical version) is by far the best is has looked since it first came out. The detail and freshness of the images are stunning; even the sound is better. The only drawback is that you must see this on a huge screen to fully appreciate what David Lean was going for.
11 commentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Ben-Hur [1959] [DVD]
Ben-Hur [1959] [DVD] by Charlton Heston (DVD - 2001)
£4.99

Lawrence Of Arabia/Gladiator [DVD]
Lawrence Of Arabia/Gladiator [DVD] by Peter O'Toole (DVD - 2008)
£14.99

 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.

Sponsored Links

  (What is this?)
  -  
Explore Lawrence Of Arabia 1962. More on Ask.com. Get Answers Now!