Mr. Skeffington–Though not as great as Now, Voyager, this is another pretty good Bette Davis film. She plays a beautiful socialite who clings to superficial ideas of love and beauty until an illness forces her to re-examine her values and take a less selfish view of life.
Yeah, personally, I think she looks a little ridiculous in the film’s early scenes, but it’s supposed to be the late 1800’s, so…
Once again, Claude Rains co-stars. I think I love him. I almost posted just about him the other day. He was in loads of great films, including Mr. Smith Goes to Washington; Now, Voyager; Mr. Skeffington; Casablanca; Notorious; and Lawrence of Arabia. Not bad.
Lawrence of Arabia–I can’t say enough about how great this movie is. I think it’s one of those films that people hear about all the time, but it seems like many people today haven’t actually seen it. This may be partly because of its length. I have to thank Ezra for talking me into going to see it at the Brattle several summers ago. It’s hard to describe how absolutely fantastic and awe-inspiring this film is on the big screen. The desert scenes are just amazing. Today’s adventure films, however technically fancy and ambitious they might be, rarely come even close to being as magnificent (not a word I use lightly). It was the last film to be shot on 70mm film, rather than shot on 35mm and then enlarged, so the visual detail is stunning.
Anyway, Lawrence of Arabia is much more than an adventure film. It sounds silly to even try to explain it. The film won 7 Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography, and Best Original Score–all well deserved. Peter O’Toole lost the Best Actor award to Gregory Peck (To Kill a Mockingbird). I’m a bit shocked that Omar Sharif didn’t win Best Supporting Actor. The cast is incredible–O’Toole, Sharif, Anthony Quinn, Claude Rains, Alec Guinness… And this was one of O’Toole’s first films, and Omar Sharif’s first English film. There’s only a single woman in the whole film–a nurse who just flashes through one scene and is uncredited–an interesting content point in itself. The internet tells me that the real T.E. Lawrence was indeed gay.
Anyway, if you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend setting aside time some weekend to watch the whole thing, start to finish. If you ever get the opportunity to see it in the theater, go! You won’t be disappointed.