Tag Archives: lawrence of arabia

The Best Picture Project – The English Patient (1996)

The English Patient Poster.jpgDirected by Anthony Minghella

Screenplay by Anthony Minghella, Based on the novel by Michael Ondaatje

Starring Kristin Scott Thomas, Ralph Fiennes, Juliette Binoche and Willem Dafoe.  Also featured were Naveen Andrews, Colin Firth and Jürgen Prochnow

To my mind it’s always been a hallmark of weak writing to reference the work of others, at least when it’s done for the explicit purpose of latching onto the credibility of the work of the other without actually having to create it organically yourself.  In other words, rather than actually create something on your own, you simply reach out, grab something by somebody else, shine it up a little bit and then say, “Ta da, look at what I did.” Continue reading

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The Best Picture Project – On The Waterfront (1954)

Directed by Elia Kazan

Screenplay by Budd Schulberg

Starring Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Eva Marie Saint, Lee J. Cobb and Rod Steiger

Some movies can be taken on their own terms and are never more than what they are.  There is no subtext, there is no commentary, there is no hidden agenda and absolutely no meanings can be read into them from the context in which they appeared or from whom they were born.  On the whole, I’d say most movies are this way.

Some movies, though, can never be merely a movie because they are nothing but subtext, are rife with commentary, teem with hidden agendas and are overloaded with meaning. Continue reading

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The Best Picture Project – Amadeus (1984)

Directed by Milos Foreman

Written by Peter Schaffer, adapted from his play

Starring F. Murray Abraham and Tom Hulce

Amadeus is one of those films honored by the Academy that, because of the perfect storm of subject, lack of recognizable stars, and what-have-you, is for the most part, generally unknown by the modern public – at least that’s the way it seems to me. After all, whenever I discuss any movies, especially Best Picture winners, nobody mentions Amadeus. The action-nerds talk about Platoon, the sci-fi guys talk about 2001 and Star Wars getting shafted, the costume drama buffs talk about Gone With the Wind, and the musical buffs have a million to choose from. Even thriller guy gets to talk about Silence of the Lambs. Continue reading

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The Best Picture Project – Chariots of Fire (1981)

Directed by Hugh Hudson

Screenplay by Colin Welland

Starring Ben Cross, Ian Charleson, Ian Holm, Alice Krige

After I watched Chariots of Fire I didn’t know how to approach it for this project.  Should I trash it?  Should I love it?  Should I go sideways and talk about some aspect of the movie that leads me down another path onto another topic and ignore the movie altogether, which seems to be exactly what I’m doing now?  Even as I’m writing this, I’m still not quite sure how to approach it. Continue reading

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The Best Picture Project – The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

File:194ER57.jpgDirected by David Lean

Screenplay by Michael Wilson and Carl Foreman, from the Pierre Boulle Novel

Starring Alec Guiness and William Holden

A few weeks ago – or maybe a few months ago – I wrote in these pages about Lawrence of Arabia, Best Picture winner of 1962.  One of the complaints I had about Arabia is that, for all its arresting imagery, which the film had in spades, was the way everything bogged down in the second half when all the adventure turned to politics.  After all, the film is practically four hours long anyway and to throw politics into the mix – well, the only reason I made it to the end is because the first half was so damned good. Continue reading

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The Best Picture Project – Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

Directed by David Lean

Screenplay by Robert Bolt and Michael Wilson

Based upon the memoir The Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T.E. Lawrence

Cinematography by Freddie Young

Starring Peter O’Toole, Omar Sharif, Anthony Quinn, Sir Alec Guinness and Claude Rains

 Normally I start my take on a given movie the usual way, with a recap and my impressions and save any bits of trivia until the end. But with Lawrence of Arabia the trivia saved to the end would blunt its impact, so there’s no waiting for it. It goes right here. Continue reading

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