Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The David Lean Collection |
Lawrence of Arabia / The Bridge on the River Kwai / A Passage to India
Actor: David Lean
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Military & War
BRIDGE ON RIVER KWAI, LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, A PASSAGE OF INDIA
Kevin Killian | San Francisco, CA United States | 10/03/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"BRIDGE shows us a certain kind of international filmmaking when, after the war, big budget British pictures often had to haul in an American star or two to get financing. William Holden is certainly working hard in BRIDGE, but he seems as though he's panting in overdrive trying to keep up with the effortless cool of Alec Guinness and the other British stars. This trend is even more pronounced in LAWRENCE, made at a time when the studios were all in deep crisis and each individual movie had the power to make or break the studio financing it. It was a time of huge gambles, and occasionally one or two of them would pay off handsomely.
Kevin Brownlow's life of David Lean (1996) shows how Lean came to regard Alec Guinness as a sort of touchstone for good luck, using him whenever possible. (He went into RYAN'S DAUGHTER with a foreboding that proved eerily accurate; the picture had disappointing financial results--and in Lean's view he had failed to lure in Alec Guinness and that was the reason). In LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, Lean was faced with the challenge of bringing Guinness into the movie even though he (Guinness) had desperately wanted to play Lawrence himself, and had done so to great acclaim in the play Terence Rattigan wrote for him to showcase his powers in the part (ROSS was the name of Rattigan's drama).
In today's political climate it is sometimes said that Guinness was making a fool of himself trying to play men from different, "exotic" cultural backgrounds, particularly his Indian doctor in A PASSAGE TO INDIA, and many Indians have objected, arguing that there were thousands of authentically Indian actors who might have played the part with more ease than Guinness. When I watch the movie I get a disagreeable feeling when I hear Guinness trying to put over his sing-song voice. It's like a whole volume of Edward Said flooding the screen with "I told you so." It's not that he's a bad actor, but he doesn't convince. He seems to be making fun of South Asian people by mocking their accents, not to mention their skin color. Same with LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, though not so bad. It's a thorny question and I have no answers, only to observe that Guinness was one of those proud men who think they can play anything--and mostly they're correct."