Sunday, January 12, 2014

Postscript to "Lawrence of Arabia"

I neglected to mention in "'Lawrence of Arabia': A Reappraisal" French composer Maurice Jarre's incomparable score to "Lawrence of Arabia," one which is closest to what we would call classical composition. Jarre composed the scores to many other notable (not necessarily good) films, including "Dr.Zhivago," "A Passage to India," and "Witness." He also composed the score to the Islamic version of a Biblical epic, "Mohammad, Messenger of God" (1976), financed by the Saudis and the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Anthony Quinn also appears in this puff piece as Mohammad's "Frank Nitti" enforcer, Hamza. No one plays Mohammad. There isn't even a voice-over, because that would've been in violation of the Islamic rule of never portraying the "prophet" in any form whatsoever. Moustapha Akkad, the director/producer, also appropriately produced the seemingly endless "Halloween" horror movies, and another Anthony Quinn vehicle, "Lion of the Desert."

Not so ironically, Akkad, a "Zionist conspiracy to take over the world" believer, was killed by a Muslim suicide-bomber in Jordan in 2005. When he was killed, he was in the process of producing another Islamic epic, this one about Saladin, to star Sean Connery. About that project, Akkad said,

"Saladin exactly portrays Islam. Right now, Islam is portrayed as a terrorist religion. Because a few terrorists are Muslims, the whole religion has that image. If there ever was a religious war full of terror, it was the Crusades. But you can't blame Christianity because a few adventurers did this. That's my message."

Well, because a relatively few Nazis killed a few people, should Nazism earn a negative image? Or Communism? Or even Progressivism? Hollywood was co-opted by Islam decades ago, just as it was co-opted by the Left decades earlier. It explains why, in one respect, there have been no films critical of Islam, only a handful excoriating the U.S., or about terrorists in the form of neo-Nazis or madmen or space aliens or "right wing" conspirators.

I can picture Connery soft-pedaling the character of Saladin, who in fact was a brutal Muslim demagogue with a taste for beheadings, just as he soft-pedaled the character of the Berber brigand Mulai Ahmed er Raisuli in "The Wind and the Lion" (1975).

I think Noël Coward's 1943 lyrics capture the politically correct lunacy of our times very nicely: 

When our victory is ultimately won,
It was just those nasty Nazis who persuaded them to fight
And their Beethoven and Bach are really far worse than their bite
Let's be meek to them
And turn the other cheek to them
And try to bring out their latent sense of fun.
Let's give them full air parity
And treat the rats with charity,
But don't let's be beastly to the Hun.

Coward was a "Naziphobe," you see. He ought to have been arrested and dragged into court and charged with blaspheming Hitler, defaming Nazism, and provoking Nazi violence. He also denigrated "excessive humanitarians" and their assurances that Islam really is a "religion of peace."

1 comment:

Edward Cline said...

It just occurred to me: Another difference between the Lawrence movie and fact: Lawrence operated in what's now Jordan, not in "Arabia." I don't think he ever entered what would not become "Arabia" until Ibn Saud (the Arab he didn't support) annexed it after deposing Hussien Ali, his rival. "Lawrence of Jordan" just doesn't have the same ring to it, does it?