This weeks pick is none other than David Lean, whose film “Lawrence of Arabia” was recently screened on TCM. What would you consider his best film? What is your favorite?
Hands down, “Lawrence” is this masterful directors best film. I may be bold in my statement, but I have yet to watch a film that captures the scope of an epic the way that this film has…although “The Bridge on the River Kwai” and “Doctor Zhivago” come pretty close. My personal favorite of his is a three way tie between the films already mentioned. I must admit though that I am cheating, having yet to see his early British works. “Brief Encounter” seems like it might be a strong competitor… but then again so do all of his Dickens adaptations.
I want to refute a previous statment of mine and say that I consider “Gone With the Wind” an equal to “Lawrence” in terms of visual stunningness and character development. Two indelible epics.
I own Lawrence of Arabia. It’s everything everyone says it is….
But not much else. Which, DEFINITELY isn’t a bad thing.
I’m not a big fan of Lean’s – not a fan at all in fact – but I agree with Den.
Without a question “Lawrence of Arabia”. It may seem the obvious choice but that is one of the best films ever made and never ceases to amaze me every time I see it. Everything came out perfect with that film: acting, directing and music. I’m eagerly awaiting for its release on blu-ray!
Though I love all of his movies that I’ve seen, Lawrence of Arabia is by far my favorite from him and very likely in my top five of all-time. I saw it on the big screen in 70mm just a few nights ago and it was the most overwhelming movie experience I’ve ever had.
I also love Bridge On The River Kwai, among others.
There is not a Lean film I don’t like (including Ryan’s Daughter)
I just want to throw Brief Encounter out there. It’s beautiful, and one of my five or ten favorite films of all time.
Bridge on the River Kwai is awesome, also, but Brief Encounter is something special to me.
“Hands down, “Lawrence” is this masterful directors best film.”
Lean’s best period is the British one BY FAR!!! Brief Encounter is on my top 1000 and I also love Great Expectations and Hobson’s Choice.
His U.S. period is impressive but fairly uneven. Least favorite Lean for me is Doctor Zhivago.
Brief Encounter followed by Summetime.
Love Oliver Twist.
Brief Encounter by far, for me.
Lawrence of Arabia is his boldest film… it may be the boldest film ever made by any studio, but it’s not his best work. It’s very much caught up in its own grandiose beauty and loses sight of the wonderfully simple humanity of his early features.
For the most part the more interesting the people in his work the less interesting the film. Brief Encounter is a film about two faceless people; two people you wouldn’t ever recognize or care about in real life. But the deep warmth and humanity shown towards the two people makes one realize how important even the most “meaningless” of action, in the most “meaningless” life is. His later epics seem to say the exact opposite.
Lean’s best period is the British one BY FAR!!!
Lawrence of Arabia is a British film. I’m not sure what you mean by his “U.S. period”.
I love Lawrence of Arabia.
three way tie- Lawrence of Arabia, Dr Zhivago, Bridge on the River Kwai
I cannot chose
He is a real master of the medium; even his least successful pictures like Hobson’s Choice have some pretty great elements in them. But I would have to say Lawrence of Arabia is his masterwork. Not only is it his best film but one of the finest English language films of the second half of the last century.
I’ve never seen a Lean film I didn’t like. Nor have I seen one that comes close to Lawrence of Arabia.
“Lawrence of Arabia is a British film. I’m not sure what you mean by his “U.S. period”.”
It was distributed by Columbia Pictures (as well as Kwai) and no matter how “British aroma” it has in its flesh and bones, it’s still an “American”-promoted epic. (dude, Sam Spiegel producer!!!) Hence why Lean was actually heard by a wider public thanks to these two epics AND Oscar-related films and NOT with his British period films
A lot of his films come close to Lawrence by the way Brad, it’s the “big” material that blinds most. But I’m glad more British-funded films have been named so far than his epic period.
Lawrence of Arabia. It is less David Lean’s direction more Peter O’Toole’s radiant performance that places the film over the rest (for me anyway).
For me, “Oliver Twist.” I have affection for “Great Expectations,” “Summertime,” “Hobson’s Choice” and, of course, “Lawrence of Arabia” plus a few others in his canon. But “Oliver Twist” moves better than any of the others. It’s almost musical in that it has a tempo. Sometimes fast, sometimes faster, sometimes slow. And it has Alec Guinness’s outrageous Fagin.
Lawrence of Arabia
I wonder how many have seen almost all of his British period before claiming Lawrence is their top tier favorite. Two Dickens adaptations don’t represent him at all in his first period.
I’ll also give my vote of support to Passage to India which might be one of the better flowing swan songs I’ve seen from a director.
>> lot of his films come close to Lawrence by the way Brad, it’s the “big” material that blinds most.<<
You know, its not just an the dessert terrain or the epic scope of Lawrence that makes me love it (not that it hurts) , but Peter O’Toole giving one of the all time great film performances. In many ways its a very intimate character study.
I’ve seen most of Lean’s output at one time or another, and think very highly of almost all of it. LAWRENCE is pretty amazing, still, but I think it is matched by BRIEF ENCOUNTER and the underrated HOBSON’S CHOICE.
Never a fan of ZHIVAGO, or that PASSAGE TO INDIA. RYAN’S DAUGHTER has some interest, but I can’t blame folks for not liking it. The more I see BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI the less I like it, maybe the upcoming restoration will help.
Easy, Ryan’s Daughter.