“Riding the Whirlwind”

A distributor’s worst nightmare, I’ve given in to the home theater phenomenon when it comes to the movie experience. When I watch movies I want to be transported, and I can’t get into it properly with all the inane audiences yapping and texting. So I’ve curtailed my movie theater outings to special events, films that just beg to be seen on a super large screen. And AFI consistently is the place to go for this kind of transportation.

Sunday nights through September 2 at 7:15pm you can catch David Lean’s masterpiece “Lawrence of Arabia” in “glorious 70mm” as AFI says – and it truly is glorious. The restored print re-released on my eighteenth birthday and has captivated me ever since. Though I’m a huge Peter O’Toole fan, here in his intense cinematic debut, it’s Omar Sharif’s fire and ice performance that really does it for me now (“You will not be in Aqaba!!”). It’s also easily one of the most compelling and quotable scripts of the last century, not to mention, relevant once again.

The beautiful restoration of AFI’s Silver Theater back into an old-school temple of film makes it a great venue to see epics like this one. It sears the screen. You have five chances to escape your couch and go. I suggest you take them.

“With Major Lawrence, mercy is a passion. With me, it is merely good manners. You may judge which motive is the more reliable.”

5 Comments so far

  1. David (unregistered) on July 31st, 2007 @ 12:11 pm

    This is my all time favorite movie, and have always missed a screening on the big screen. I’m definitely making a schedule to try to catch it this year at it’s requisite showing at the AFI. This is one film that defined epic, where so many things clicked… the thematic material, music, acting, and overall filmmaking (all the technical “bits”). Until I had seen it fully during my early teens, ‘Blade Runner’ was on top, but now ‘Lawrence’ has been there for the last 20 years on my list.

  2. Jenn L (unregistered) on July 31st, 2007 @ 1:09 pm

    David, I totally agree with you – top of my list too. If you’ve never seen it on the big screen, just imagine the quick cut from the shot of Lawrence blowing out the match to the shot of the desert rising sun. Mindblowing. They even do the overture and intermission, which completely transports you into that world. Have I flogged this enough?? YOU HAVE TO GO THIS YEAR.

  3. Don (unregistered) on July 31st, 2007 @ 1:13 pm

    LoA has one of my favorite bits of dialog in it, right near the beginning, when one of Lawrence’s cohorts tries to duplicate his way of putting out a match.

    “Ooh! It damn well ‘urts!”
    “Certainly it hurts.”
    “What’s the trick then?”
    “The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts.”

  4. Radman (unregistered) on July 31st, 2007 @ 1:32 pm


    thanks so much for this post. I had completely forgotten about AFI. I will see LOA, but i will also see the john houston series they are presenting. cheers.

  5. Carl Weaver (unregistered) on July 31st, 2007 @ 2:14 pm

    That is one of the most beautiful movies I have ever seen. Thanks for this notice, Jenn. I have only seen it on my wee 13″ TV, so this should be a real treat!

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