An Expat Life: Nicaragua Blues and Ruse

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Saudi Larry

Oh Lawrence, if you could see the mess we're in now! How ironic, the American Taliban had nothing on this guy. He really seemed to care about his Arab brothers, as they fought to escape Turkish tyranny and unite feuding tribal leaders on the oil-rich peninsula.

Alas, a movie about Saudis without refreshing! Of course, Lawrence of Arabia is a classic, and most everyone knows a little about the story. Lawrence, the romanticist, well-read and idealistic, chooses the 'other path', advocating indigenous territorial claims in an era of epic European land grabs and imperialism. A man without borders, Lawrence uses cunning and daring to stymie and harangue Turkish installations along the Arabian peninsula. Increasingly, he becomes more ruthless, gaining undying loyalty from the various Arab tribesmen, along the way.

A conflicted British officer with an affinity for Arab culture, played brilliantly by Peter O'Toole, Lawrence and Sherif Ali, local chieftainplayed even more convincingly by Omar Sharif, represent the clash of civilizations that still dogs us today in the 21st Century. Admittedly, I have limited understanding of the region, as a whole, and watched with great interest, this classic film about a region so troubling to us as Americans today. While Anglo Lawrence and his band of camel-riding marauders were fighting an established Turkish foe during World War I, we today, look to the now-established Saudis to fight another brand of stealth marauders that plagues the globe. Sadly, I'm convinced nothing has changed, as both tales are wraught with self-preservation, deceit, and unabated greed.

But back to the main story.....some interesting tidbits about the film....This isn't the flick you want to see with a feminist, as there are absolutely no female speaking parts....a cinematic record. That said, the cinematography is absolutely stunning, the soundtrack is classic.....there is even a musical interlude that allows one to freshen one's beverage. In all, an interesting film that has aged well in the 40 or so years since its theatrical release. It's worth the price of admission just to see Omar Sharif ride his camel up from the distant horizon, just to shoot a guy sipping water from his well.

Worth The Hype or Not Worth The Hype: Worth The Hype.....Great acting, cinematography, musical score. A bit long, which is tempered by the intermission. When's the last time they made a movie with one of those!? If you are interested in historical dramas, this one's for you (I am), but beware, it has some dry, British-type moments, which aren't for everyone....especially those of us Yanks that like our stories with happy endings. Overall, I'd say it deserves to be in the Top 100 of all-time.

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