08-13-06 - 1

We saw "Lawrence of Arabia" at the Castro as part of their 70 mm series. I love that movie, it's so beautiful, and Pete O'Toole is such a charming scamp. The Castro Theatre is a gem, the hammered bronze ceiling in the main theatre is gorgeous, but the screen is actually a bit small (it wasn't built to be a movie theatre). Personally I couldn't detect the benefits of the 70 mm print, I'd rather see it in a Cinerama theatre or something like that with a super-wide screen. It's also funny seeing the British actors with putty noses and dark makeup to try to look arab. The evil Turk is gay, the arabs are primitive and barbaric, O'Toole and others wear a ridiculous amount of stage makeup, etc.. lots of funny anachronisms. It's also a great movie to watch given the events in the Middle East these days, though I imagine even the educated San Francisco audience doesn't really understand the context (Prince Faisal in the movie became the first King of Iraq, which was one of the many countries carved by the British out of the Ottoman Empire; oil wasn't discovered until around 1930); (I don't really get it all either, it's a very complicated history; for example, how does the Arab revolt against the Turks relate to the rise of the Wahhabi tribes in Saudi Arabia? what was happening in Israel between WW1 and WW2 and what was the British role?)

I also noticed that "Lawrence of Arabia" is essentially "Dune". They would make a good double feature (a ten hour double feature).

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