Imagine the story of a British soldier sent to Cairo in 1916 during a deadly war between Saudi Arabia and the Ottoman Empire. This is the unconventional story of Officer Thomas Lawrence who is ordered to investigate the Arab revolt deep in the blistering desert. Surviving the cruel desert Lawrence learns the hardship of being an effective leader: organizing his men,keeping the peace between tribes, gathering supplies,planning/executing attacks, and surviving the desert itself. Despite his own personal conflictions about war he grows a fondness for the Arab people and their way of life. Yet he is torn between helping the Arabs take back their country and his distaste for bloodshed and feeling of nostalgia for Britain. The film showed a great deal of Mise en scene through its set of location and the changing of Lawrence's dress entire.
The 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia directed by David Lean illustrated Mise en Scene through a naturalistic approach in order to embody the themes of death,life, and hope. In order for Lean to recapture the story of Lawrence, he needed a set that replicated Lawrence's travels in the Saudi Arabian deserts. Therefore he shot majority of the film in the desert. The blistering sun beating down on those who dare to journey across it, trekking miles on the back of camels desperately searching for water and the natural brush of life/vegetation. Opposite from the rays was the cool pitch black night only lightened by the sky filled with stars. The heat with its rays and mirages symbolized death, the desert also showed an aspect of life through its people and beautiful diamond filled sky both filled with hope.
As the story progresses so does Lawrence's outfits change. In the beginning of the film he is wearing civilian clothes made up of a gray shirt,coat,and pants. He rides his motorcycle carefree through the country side, like any other ordinary man. The story shifts after his motorcycle accident. After showing his funeral, the film than shows a flashback of his life and work in Arabia. Showing a young,charismatic,and yet awkward British solider in uniform. This plain uniform consisted of a beige hat, shirt, jacket, pants, and shoes. This outfit symbolized his role as a solider, a member that was to look,act, and conduct himself identical to the group. Just another British solider nothing special, nor the hero the people proclaim.
As the story continues he then obtains a head piece worn by the natives. This was given to him by his guide as a token of friendship. this helps protect him from the sun's rays and the blowing sand. He wears the head piece with his British uniform. Showing he is somewhat interested in the culture he is investigating. After earning some of the Arabian soldiers trust and respect he is presented with a gift. Native clothes made up of a white head piece with gold trim,a white sash,tunic, robe , and a gold Arabian dagger. Illustrating how emerged in the Arab culture he has become. He even goes as far as to wear the outfit when meeting with his Commanding British Officers. There are numerous comments among the commanding officers about his ridiculous parading around in such an outfit. Instead of changing his entire he proudly continues to wear the clothing. Besides the small traces of gold, Lawrence is the only character wearing all white. For the director used this particular color to emphasize leadership. Dressed in white Lawrence gives off the persona of a hero to the Arab people giving them hope. He is often refereed to as a hero though he denies it every time.