Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Peter O'Toole, James Mason, Curd Jürgens, Eli Wallach, Jack Hawkins
Director: Richard Brooks
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama
Three years after Lawrence of Arabia, the largely impressive Lord Jim (1965) finds Peter O'Toole again essaying a self-doubting but remarkable, white Englishman who leads a foreign people against their oppressor. Based on ... more »
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Cowboy Buddha | 06/15/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Lord Jim" is handicapped by the fact that people will always compare it to David Lean's "Lawrence of Arabia," which had the same leading man and a similar theme. Despite its Conradian source, "Lord Jim" doesn't have a hero as complex or a setting as compelling as Lean's masterpiece. But it is spectacular entertainment, and a serious inquiry into the roots of human actions.Despite some B-Movie flourishes (Eli Wallach and Jim's "love interest" are particularly risable), the vulnerability and humanity of its hero captivate the viewer. And the Indonesian setting, while culturally very inaccurate, does evoke the mystery and exotica of 19th century travelogues. At its conclusion, the script tends to talk to death certain conclusions that the viewer could have reached on his/her own, but O'Toole is gifted enough to make it affecting. And anyway, the action sequences, and musky South China Sea atmosphere, are breathtaking.For those who complain that it is overlong, I suggest you view it as a trilogy, as it is divided quite neatly into three sections, each with its own conflict, cast, and rising momentum. The first is the best, but all have their own brand of power and fascination. I've seen this film many, many times, and even the clumsy or silly parts give me enormous pleasure. I think you'll feel the same way.In conclusion, I don't share the general bitterness that Amazon endorses a reviewer like Leonard Maltin. He has simply seen more movies than anyone else (it's his whole "life," after all), hence is more likely to have seen whatever film Amazon needs reviewed. It's obviously a decision based on convenience, not ability."
Lawrence of the South Seas
Cowboy Buddha | Essex UK | 08/24/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Well, Peter O'Toole was never going to find another character or film as magnificent as Lawrence of Arabia. And his first films after that triumph were commendable attempts to avoid typecasting - What's New Pussycat and Becket. But it was inevitable he would again become a tormented blonde Englishman in an alien environment. And he could have done a lot worse than starring as Lord Jim for Richard Brooks.
Any discussion of this film has to concentrate on O'Toole and Brooks. That is not to say there are no other impressive performances, or that the film is not beautifully photographed or graced with a lushly evocative score. But the film is Brooks' vision and O'Toole is the one who must bring it to life. They are both reasonably successful.
Brooks obviously wanted to create an intelligent epic -one to rival the Robert Bolt/David Lean collaborations. But Brooks was both writer and director - and he was adapting a book that was as pyschological as potentially visual. Luckily for him, audiences in the 1960's were more sophisticated (dare we say intelligent?) and willing to think about what they were watching than today's consumers of assembly-line disposable entertainment. So characters could discuss and debate as well as blow things up. Although the disjointed nature of some of the film suggests pre-release studio interference. In the end, the film is a commendable attempt - perhaps more worthy than enjoyable, but still with lots to hold the viewer's interest.
The southeast Asian locations are frequently spectacular and some sequences - the storm at sea and the final battle with pirates - are excitedly staged. The film always looks and sounds beautiful. And, for once, an international cast with various accents actually contributes to the flavor of the script and characters. Stalwart Jack Hawkins, industrious Paul Lukas, wily Eli Wallach (doing a variation on his Magnificent Seven bandit) and James Mason seemingly enjoying himself as a gentleman pirate. The "native" players are also unusually good. Only gorgeous Daliah Lavi occasionally seems out of place, looking more like a 60's dolly bird than an exotic maiden.
But, of course, it is Peter O'Toole who commands the greatest attention. He is seldom off the screen and is probably the main reason for viewing the film today. He is properly enigmatic although without the multiple layers of Lawrence. This may well be the only film in which O'Toole occasionally underacts. After all these years, I still remember the Mad Magazine parody of Lord Jim. Two extras keep asking which emotion O'Toole is displaying - anger, love, determination, fear, doubt. For each one, he wear the same expression.
I'm quite glad to have seen Lord Jim again after so long - and with it looking so good. It's not a classic, not a film to be watched repeatedly. But it's a fine example of a large scale epic that could also be thoughtful and almost moving. A relic of an age of big and brave film making."
"Always he wants to be what he is not."
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 04/01/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I had read where another reviewer stated an apt title for this film might have been `Lawrence of Malaya' as both films feature Peter O'Toole as a man who finds himself in a foreign land, fighting against an oppressive power structure, eventually earning the respect of the native peoples, but ultimately suffering from the undeniable fact that he is a stranger, and will always be regarded as such despite whatever honor and reverence imparted upon him by those whom he helped. Based on a novel by Joseph Conrad and written and directed by Richard Brooks (Blackboard Jungle), Lord Jim (1965) stars Peter O'Toole as the title character (although the `Lord' part isn't assigned to him until much later in the film). Also appearing is James Mason (20,000 Leagues Under the Sea), Eli Wallach (The Magnificent Seven), Curt Jürgens (The Longest Day), Jack Hawkins (The Bridge on the River Kwai), Paul Lukas (The Lady Vanishes), Daliah Lavi (The Silencers), and Tatsuo Saito (Three Stripes in the Sun).
As the story begins we witness a young British sailor named Jim graduating from sailor's school (or whatever they call it) and taking a commission on a ship commanded by Captain Marlow (Hawkins). Jim seems a perfectly capable and able seaman, but he's also a bit of a daydreamer as thoughts of gallantry and heroic deeds swirl in his head. After an injury leaves Jim in a foreign port, he signs on aboard the S.S. Patna, a rusty, decrepit tramp steamer carrying a mess of Muslims on a pilgrimage. Trouble occurs at sea and the ship appears in danger of sinking, which drives the cowardly crew (Jim finds himself terror-stricken, reluctantly joining the rest of the crew) to abandon ship prematurely in one of the two meager lifeboats. As they return to port, they're shocked to see the ship they abandoned is now in the harbor, as it was salvaged (and all passengers saved). Driven by guilt, Jim confesses to his sins, and is shunned by his fellow British sailors, becoming a social outcast, eventually taking any job aboard any ship in an effort to escape the shameful eyes that now look upon him. Eventually Jim finds himself in the employ of a trader named Stein (Lukas), transporting munitions to group of natives indentured to a ruthless and philosophical warlord (Wallach). Jim manages to deliver the weapons, but soon finds himself caught up in the resistance movement, fighting alongside the natives, perhaps in an effort of redemption, as he's continually haunted and consumed by his actions of the past. His heroism earns him a level of acceptance from the peoples, as they infer upon him the title of `Tuan', or Lord Jim out of respect. Jim seems to have found a place in the world, but, as one would expect, the past (which he hadn't shared with his adopted peoples) comes back to haunt him in the form of a pirate named Gentleman Brown (Mason).
In terms of grand epics (the film runs a hefty 2 hours and 34 minutes), I felt Lord Jim fell a little short in comparison to such films like Bridge on the River Kwai or Lawrence of Arabia. I guess the main issue I had was it seemed O'Toole's character just seemed so distant to me. He was sort of presented as this man-boy, caught up in dreams of grandeur, yet mired within his own limitations and fears, subsequently haunted by a past he can't escape. I think he turned in a very good performance, but I just had a problem connecting with his character and so his cause never really became my cause. This lack of connection prevented me from investing too much of myself within the film, and often made me reflect on Hollywood's general inability to properly relate source material to the silver screen. Perhaps this stems from the fact that some novels just aren't adaptable to film (but then I used to think that of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings novels, and they turned out pretty well). At times I thought the film was really wonderful, and had clear direction, but then other times it seemed a little disjointed. I did enjoy Wallach's performance as The General as he was presented as cunning and thoughtful villain, instead of just a two-dimensional antagonist element used to drive the story. I thought James Mason did exceptionally well as Gentleman Brown, understanding Jim's weakness so perfectly and using it to his advantage. I especially like how he was introduced, described by another character as a man that `has given more people to death than the Bubonic Plague. He's wanted from Madagascar to Hong Kong for piracy, slaving, mutiny, murder, arson, rape, and some things that aren't even mentioned in the Bible.' After a build up like that, I could hardly wait to see the character, and I wasn't disappointed. I did feel some of the supporting parts, especially the natives, seemed a bit weak and watered down, and existed not so much as real, supportive characters, but more as plot contrivances (I also felt this of the character of Stein, especially with the sort of creepy father-son relationship he had with Jim). The in-depth and extended examination of the differences between one being a coward versus being a hero seemed a bit murky at times, and the concepts a little indigestible, but I think this has more to due with variances with regards to the source material. All in all a sweeping and entertaining film with a compelling heart and excellent production values that fell a little short of being a masterpiece, but not for lack of trying.
The widescreen anamorphic (2.20:1) picture on this DVD looks decent, but some of the colors didn't seem as sharp as I felt they could have been. The Dolby Digital 3.0 audio is acceptable, and generally clear and distinct. Extras include a preview section featuring trailers for Lawrence of Arabia, Bridge on the River Kwai, and In Cold Blood.
C. C. Rayner | Sydney, Australia | 07/10/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Conrad's novel, like many he wrote, was on one level a ripping yarn, and on another, an exploration of the inner man. The psychological aspect to the story, written at the turn of the twentieth century, heralded a new style of fiction. This adds to its interest, although the heavily descriptive prose is an acquired taste.
It is the journey of a troubled outcast, roaming the South Seas in a time gone by, taking us through adventure and ending in redemption. It is both glorious romance and personal enlightenment. The novel opens with a description of the character, a manly seaman, dogged and taciturn, yet susceptible to deeper agony. This was the essence of the story: the soul in tempest.
The picture is a very competent adaptation of the book, well written and filmed on location with an excellent cast. Peter O'Toole is a fine actor and at this time was at the height of his powers. He is more suited to playing eccentrics and had already defined Lawrence of Arabia on screen. He might have been less convincing as Jim, but his performance was solid and sufficiently enigmatic to carry the role.
Like all good stories, it has a good ending. While not a happy one, it is the most satisfying resolution of a tale you will ever get. The written version is exquisite, and the film captures this beautifully. You will never forget it.