hmv.com presents… The Best Soundtracks of All Time: Lawrence of Arabia
With some great in-store offers coming this summer on film soundtracks as part our 'Decades' series, every day we'll be picking the best soundtrack, one for every year, starting with 1950 right through to the present day. Today we're up to 1962 and it's the turn of Maurice Jarre's epic sscore for David Lean's classic, Lawrence of Arabia...
Lawrence of Arabia, David Lean’s desert-based epic starring Peter O’Toole
So what’s the film about?
The film is based around the life of T.E. Lawrence, a British army officer involved in numerous military campaigns around the time of WWI, including the Arab Revolt against the Turkish Ottoman Empire’s rule. David Lean’s film features a stellar performance from O’Toole in the lead role, depicting his involvement in the Arab National Council and his battles in Damascus and Aqaba, as well as own personal conflicts, such as his divided loyalty between the British and his new Arabian comrades.
Is this a score or a soundtrack?
It’s very much a dramatic score from the pen for Maurice Jarre.
So what’s it like?
Jarre’s score is magnificent in the true sense of the word, and it had to be; Lawrence of Arabia features some epic cinematography from Freddie Young and was one of the first films shot in Super Panavison 70, meaning that the music had to match the huge scale of the production values and the visual effect of the film’s vast, rolling desert landscapes. Jarre manages the job with aplomb, contributing a score that combines a very western sense of scale and arrangement with a host of eastern influences, from the melodies to the instrumentation, adding authenticity to its feel and evoking a real sense of the dry, arid environment in the Arabian desert.
What does it give the film?
Right from the overture’s opening, complete with pounding drums, Jarre’s score gives the films a sense of place, with its lush orchestration and sweeping, eastern-tinged melody completing the sense of scale on this huge production.
What’s the best moment?
Jarre’s spooky, jangling accompaniment to the scenes featuring Lawrence en route to Aqaba nand in the Sinai desert are just beautiful; the music is eerie, hypnotic and really gives you a feel for the cool desert nights.
Has it stood the test of time?
Absolutely. David Lean’s film is rightly hailed as a classic, with many considering it O’Toole best ever performance, and Jarre’s title theme is nothing less than iconic.