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January 26, 1990 - Image 15

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1990-01-26
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Lawrenife more
awesome than. ever

even a god. Lawrence becomes
enveloped in this praise as he
achieves his glorious military
victory and his arrogance slowly
begins to consume him. After the
desert crossing, Ali burns
Lawrence's uniform and gives
him a sacred white robe
indicating his leadership over the
Arabs, in one of the most
enjoyable scenes in the film.
More than anything else,

merciless one, an odd eccenti
an insane murderer, an
extraordinary figure to an ord
The second half of the film
differs greatly from the first.
Adventure, triumph, and thei
of Lawrence symbolize the fi
two hours while defeat,
humiliation, and massacre cas
darker hue on the last 90 min
All of the spectacular color an

nc to

by Tony Silber

His eyes pierce and mesmerize,
shining more blue than the
glimmering reflection of the
Mediterranean. He rides like a
king in search of a kingdom, a
warrior in search of battle, a god
in search of worshippers. He
stands above his fellow men as
the small lock of his blond hair
bobbling with the wind in front of
his suntanned face. He is larger
than life and knows it this is the
character T.E. Lawrence, an
undisciplined and frustrated
British officer serving in Egypt
during World War I. His story is
Lawrence of Arabia, one of the
greatest epic pictures ever filmed.
But how to improve on near-
perfection? This was the
challenge facing director David
Lean (Bridge On the River Kwa:) as
he prepared the new print of his
masterpiece which won seven
Acadamy Awards in 1%2
including Best Picture, Director,
Cinematography, and Musical
Score. Yes, it is more magnificent
than ever. The story is still so
exciting and unbelievable and the
performances by Peter O'Toole,
Alec Guinness, Omar Sharif, and
Anthony Quinn are still
outstanding to say the least, and
the photography and music are as
beautiful as ever.
The film begins with
Lawrence's death as he
motorcycles through the English
countryside. He drives into an
area marked 'Danger' and he
increases his speed, whisking
faster and faster around the
pastoral plains, as a smile comes
to his face. This is Lawrence,
lover of danger, tempter of fate,
gourmand of adventure.-
The film then takes us back for

a look at the career of this
revered, despised, and
complicated man, beginning in
Cairo. O'Toole was born for this
role; the cinema world would
have been truly cheated had
anyone but he portrayed this part.
It was a role that was to symbolize
many of his future roles.
Lawrence is unconventional, off
balance, conceited, and dreamy
and O'Toole is simply wonderful
in conveying all the color and
flavor of the title character.
Upon being assigned to the
scorching Arabian desert to aid
the Arab revolt against the Turks,
Lawrence remarks, "It's going to
be fun." He travels to Medina on
camel back, finally meeting a
powerful Arab prince (Alec
Guinness) trying to keep his
autonomy from the British.
Lawrence convinces him that
they must capture the coastal city
of Acaba, held by the Turks, but
first they must cross the most
vicious desert terrain in the world.
The desert crossing is one of the
most powerful sequences of the
film; the heat and desolate
emptiness of the Arabian desert
are vividly photographed and
bring us to this ghastly
environment Lawrence loves.
The grueling crossing ignites a
competitive fire between
Lawrence and Ali, the leader of
the Arab band. This perilous
journey becomes a battle of wills
characterizing the tumultuous
relationship between these
characters throughout the film. As
Ali says of Lawrence, "For some
men, nothing is written unless
they,write it." This expresses the
Arab's feelings to Lawrence. He
is one of them - a leader, hero,

costs him his invaluble friendship
with Ali. O'Toole is actually quite
frightening in this part of the film.
rise The look of wonder and optimism
rst that filled his eyes in the earlier
part of the film is replaced by a
st a dark, evil glare.
utes. In 70mm, Lawrence of Arabia is
d more awesome than ever. David
Lean has reconstructed this
cinematic monument beatifully
for the wide screen. The sound,
color, and emotion of the film
create a moviegoing experience
that could not be reproduced on a
VCR, or even in the traditional
35mm. "Lawrence is a sword with
two edges," Guinness said of the
main character. That is an astute
description of this film as well, a
a film which shoots for perfection
and nearly hits the mark. In.
retrospect, one might say that
three and a half hours is not
enough to tell this story.
Nonetheless, it is a fascinating,
stunning, and moving film in the
most spectacular tradition of the
aging Hollywood epic. Peter
O'Toole's performance, one of
the more incredible exhibitions of
dramatic skill, elevates Lawrence o
Arabia into classic film status.
The performances of Guinness,
Quinn, and Sharif are as great as
their names in the industry. But
he this film belongs to O'Toole and
s to Lean. They have taken an
an obscure adventure story and made
tal it a whirling journey of the senses.
e Lawrence of Arabia gives us an
incredible experience to savor
but where time halts and our
curiosities cascade at will, but it is
still just a motion picture, isn't it?


international flights
seem to be popular
targets for terrorists.
After the Lockerbie
bombing in
December 1988,
security at
international airports
was tightened, and
rightly so, but the
security beast
currently stomping
the terra is
inadequate, even
when whipped into a
frenzy over Christmas
by the ever-vigilant
State Department.
The airlines have

"Sir, are you carrying anything
that can be used as a weapon?"
The urge almost overcame me
to make a wisecrack, but a sign
above his head warned that
people making jokes about bombs
would basically be in deep shit.
The wrong answer also means
you and your bags get searched.
I know very few people who
take other peoples bags on board
with them at random, (no, I stole
these bags) or have no idea what
is in their own luggage (jeez,
there could be a bomb in there for
all I know...).
I know exactly zero people who
accept packages from strangers in
airports, leave their bags with
known terrorists, or carry weapons
in their luggage, and then admit it
to a security guard.
"Sir, has anyone given you any
packages to take on the plane?"
"Uhhh...yeah, actually, this
small wiry man with a strange
accent pressed a package into my
hand and told me not to open it
until I got to London and... Hey!
Get your hands off me,
goddammit, I'm an American

and every five minutes, a cheerful
voice would announce that
unattended baggage would be
taken away, and possibly
destroyed. No one would watch
my baggage for me, so I had to
haul it to the restroom every time,
which after a few drinks became a
cruel burden. It was like dragging
a dead horse to the press box at
Wolverine Stadium.
The restroom and left luggage
were hard to tell apart. In the
restroom, people were trying to fit
their luggage trolleys into the
stalls with them, and the left
luggage clerks were in a state of
permanent urination, guarding all
that potentially explosive luggage.
When my flight was called, I
was on the point of nervous
fatigue. All around me, wild-eyed
people were clutching their bags
with fear on their faces. I
answered the usual questions
(yes, this is my bag I am carrying),
but only was allowed through
when I correctly guessed my own
address, my father's name and
occupation, and my destination.
And then a funny thing
happened. When I walked

The film opens the same way would havc
many other classic westerns do, had taken;
with a far-off figure standing alone and ended
on the open plain, looking out Wyoming.
across the horizon while the sun film is big:
begins to rise. But as the camera sprawlingc
slowly closes in and the figure of all, the f
turns around, it's not Clint snake crea
Eastwood who greets us with his the small p
piercing "I'm ready for business" Providence
eyes, but Kevin Bacon, flashing us for trouble
a huge "I just took care of some Bacon ar
business" grin as he zips up his pair of han
pants and the opening credits just cruise
up pick-up
by Mark Binelli ey meet

begin to roll.
Trmors, the first
giant-monster thriller
with a country music
soundtrack (and
attitude), shows what
e happened if Godzilla
a wrong turn at Tokyo
up in Cheyenne,
Everything about this
the characters, the
desert setting, and, most
our nasty underground
tures that burrow into
prairie town of
e (population 14) looking
rnd Fred Ward star as a
dymen who basically
around a lot in their beat
p truck. In the desert,
up with love interest

Lawrence of Arabia is a larger-than-
life portrait of a larger-than-life
man. He becomes a crusader to
unify the warring Arab tribes into
a single, powerful nation. "I will
give it to them," he says
often in describing his
objectives. O'Toole's
range in conveying the
intricate personality of
Lawrence is incredibly
dynamic. The amazing
events he partakes in
change him from aA
merciful man to a
Finn Carter, who plays a
grad student studying
the strange
seismographic activity in the area.
Hmm. The plot thickens when our
boys discover the dead bodies of
several of their neighbors and then
the phones go dead and then
everybody gets trapped in town
after a rock slide closes out the
only road out of the mountains.
These pitfalls might sound comy
or derivative, but Tremors is perfect
'50s B-movie fun, one of the most
purely fun movies to come out in
quite a while. It's in the same vein
as Jaws or Aliens, where humans
get killed off by some brutal,
deadly creature, but in the end
outsmart and destroy it, proving
once again that homo sapiens is
still the most brutal and deadly

epic scope are lost following t
intermission. Lawrence come
the realization that he is justa
ordinary man following a brut
beating in a Turkish town. H
returns to "proper"
British military life,
is noticeably out of
place and
uncomfortable. He
returns to Arabia a
different man- ha
callous, cruel,
vindictive, and
murderous. This ch
creature around.
But the differenc


between Tremors and
many other films like it is that it
has a great sense of humor.
Director Ron Underwood was able
to keep the film very fast-paced,
edge-of-your-seat thrilling without
trying to force the audience to take
the threat of the 30-foot worms
seriously (after they kill the first
creature, one of the town's
residents puts up a sign, "Photos,
you and snake monster, $3.00").
He accomplishes this mostly
through the actors, who seemed to
be having a great time making this
film. Most entertaining is the
relationship between Bacon and
Ward, who really convince us that
they have been buddies forever
with subtleties such as the faces

The security guard at London
Heathrow tugged at his "ALERT
SECURITY" badge and frowned
the frown he was taught in
security guard school.
"Sir, is that your stereo?"
I looked down at my box just to
make sure I hadn't accidentally
hauled someone else's enormous
portable stereo across two
continents and a major ocean.
"Uhh... yes, it's mine", I
replied, giving him a quizzical
look. He gave me a bored look in
return, and said, "These are
standard questions, sir, don't be
But I was alarmed. I was in the
manic grip of the security beast.
Flying is convenient, and often
fun, except when they don't serve
beer in economy class. The
solution to this is to pay the
upgrade to first class and then
make up the difference in the
price by drinking that amount of,
free beer.
However, air travel has always
had its particular problems,
largely because it compresses all
the normal trauma of travel into a
short time, and throws in a few
traumas unique to flying. Why is
overhead bin above your row
always full? Why do airlines serve
Miller Lite? Why do they all serve
that horrible brown mush for
dessert? Why can I never get
everything back on the tray when
I'm finished my meal? Why are
my bags always third-last off the
plane? Do journalism students
write the mind numbing in-flight
Travelling by air has an added
problem. No one wants to blow
up the Greyhound bus from
Tulsa to Buffalo (apart from
people wholive in Buffalo), or the
Amtrak from San Francisco, but

reverted to a security
system that involves
asking every
passenger a set of
questions so inane
that a trained
brontosaurus could get a window
seat on the 6:40 to London.
Flying out of Detroit Metro to
London before Christmas, I ran
into the security beast that was to
dog my every step for the holiday.
Perhaps my
recollections of ,.3 jlp
the men and
women of the -
profession are a
little twisted, and "'
in all truth, being '
a security guard
at an
airport ranks up .
there with bomb ^
disposal in . V
Belfast as a fun ;:.
career. But I
paid. Now I
wanted to fly.
It was 5 o'clock
in the morning
wheI arrived in
the Detroit
Metro, to be
confronted by a
security guard
who launched
into his
questioning, as
it's probably ILl5)L
known in4
security jargon.
"Sir, are those
your bags you are carrying?"
"Sir, did you pack those bags
"Sir, are you aware of the
contents of your baggage?"
"Sir, has anyone given you any
packages to take on the plane?"
"Sir, have you been in
possession of your bags at all


playing in 70mm at the Michigan
Theater through Sunday evening.
they make at each other behind
Carter's back. Co-stars Reba
McIntyre and Michael Gross (Mr.
Keaton from Famiy Ties) are also
crowd-pleasing ala gun-nut
license plate UZI 4 U survivalist
couple who actually sort of enjoy
having an enemy to blow away.
The other co-stars of the film
are, of course, the monsters, which
are, of course, carnivorous, and
they have all of these little snake
tentacles with teeth that come out
of their mouths that drag their
victims in when it's feeding time.
But the nice thing is that in spite
of all of these neat special effects,
the human actors are never
overshadowed by their muppet
adversaries. It's a welcome change
from rooting for Freddy to slice up
the next faceless co-ed.

. . . . _
_ >1

In London, I was asked the
same questions, but with more
intensity. The airport police
carried machine guns. Even the
people at the customer service
desk had been trained by Delta
Force. I spent one or six hours in
the airport bar, hoping that the
barman would occasionally serve
me a beer at regular earth prices,

through the security gate, it
beeped. I took out my Zippo
lighter, my sunglasses, my keys,
but it still beeped. I then took off
my coat (metal buttons), my hat
(wire rim) and my belt. It still
beeped, so I got a body search
straight out of Midnight Express.
The scary thing was that the gate
in Detroit had allowed me




January 26,1990


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