Film Society to screen ‘Lawrence of Arabia’
NEW ULM — The New Ulm Film Society is continuing its WWI film series on Tuesday, Oct. 10 with a screening of the 1962 classic “Lawrence of Arabia.”
“Lawrence of Arabia” is an important film milestone, but in terms of historical context it offers a different perspective of WWI. Typically, most westerners think of WWI in terms of trench warfare that occurred in Europe. “Lawrence of Arabia” is one of the few films to show the Great War was in fact a World War that was fought in all corners of the globe.
The film is an historical drama aboutT.E. Lawrence’s experiences in the Arabian Peninsula during the Great War. The film based on Lawrence’s memoirs “Seven Pillars of Wisdom,” which gave a vivid account of his adventures. The film stars Peter O’Toole as Lawrence.
Lawrence of Arabia is the first film in the Film Society’s WWI screening that is based directly on a true story. T.E. Lawrence was a British Officer. Initially stationed in Egypt he was sent to Arabia in 1916 and served as a British liaison to the Arab forces during the Arab Revolt. Lawrence participated and led military campaigns agains the Ottoman forces throughout the war.
When first released in 1962, it was a tremendous success. It was the top grossing film of 1962. It won seven Oscars at the 1962 Academy Awards, including Best Picture. It is also the longest film to win the Oscar with a run time of over three and half hours.
In the five decades since the film was released it is still widely hailed as one of the greatest films of all time. Lawrence of Arabia has inspired countless epics and it made O’Toole famous. It was his first Oscar nomination and this role is often cited as his best performance.
“Lawrence of Arabia” is a must see film for any cinephile, but unfortunately seeing the film in its best form has been nearly impossible until recently.
In order to fully appreciate the epic sale of “Lawrence of Arabia” audiences must watch on the big screen. There is a reason this film won the oscar for best cinematography. It is a gorgeous film to watch. The sweeping scenes of the desert alone are worth the price of admission.
In the early 60s filmmakers starting shooting films in wider aspect ratios in order to differentiate from television screens, but Lawrence of Arabia was the first film to truly benefit from the wide screen look. Audiences were able to see first-hand the vast and empty desert, which helped put them directly in the action.
Unfortunately for a generation of film viewers seeing Lawrence of Arabia at its full 70 mm aspect ratio was not an option. Home video cut wide screen epic down to a square box reducing the film’s grandeur to fit a TV screen.
Fortunately with the increase in flatscreen TVs and the rise of DVD and Blurays have allowed viewers to see “Lawrence of Arabia” as intended.
Those attending the New Ulm Film Society screen will have the chance to see the film projected on full screen in its full glory.
In addition the Film Society has received permission to use the comfy chairs from the library second floor for this screening. Since the film is nearly four hours long the screening will begin at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 10 at the New Ulm Public Library. Before and after, members of the Film Society will facilitate discussion about the film.