Cinematic Swipe: Attack Of The Lawrence Of Arabia Clones

Be it coincidence, homage or the outright hope that they don’t get caught aping someone else’s movie, filmmakers have been replicating the work of those who have gone before them for some time now. Every now and then we like to stop and point out one of those instances.*

Even if he never admitted it, it is fairly obvious that Star Wars impresario George Lucas is an admirer of David Lean’s 1962 epic classic Lawrence Of Arabia. One just has to look at how he shot the sequences taking place on the desert planet of Tattoine in the science-fiction saga’s initial installment to figure that out. But with the 2002 Star Wars prequel Attack Of The Clones, Lucas raised his game and went from inspiration to outright homage.

For the scene where Senator Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman) and Jedi Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) return to Amadala’s home planet of Naboo, Lucas and crew traveled to the Plaza de Espana in Seville, Spain. Built in 1929 for the Ibero-American Exposition World’s Fair, its Moorish revival style architecture stood in for the Cairo Headquarters of the British Army to which Lawrence (Peter O’Toole) reports to following the successful raid on the town of Aqaba. As you can see below, the one shot in Attack Of The Clones is an almost direct copy of the one that closes out the first half of Lawrence Of Arabia, where British General Allenby (Jack Hawkins) confers with diplomat Mr. Dryden (Claude Rains). Of course, Lucas shoots it a little tighter and adds CGI  background details to keep the plaza from looking too Earthbound, but you can still tell that it is the same location. Click on each photo below for a larger view.

Presently, the Plaza houses numerous government offices, including the Seville Town Hall. However, it is open to the public for those film fans who want to walk in the footsteps of either heroes of the Middle East or a galaxy far, far away.

*And in the spirit of the swipe, we readily acknowledge that we were “inspired” by a similar feature over at Rich Johnson’s comic book news and gossip site, Bleeding Cool.

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About Rich Drees 7024 Articles
A film fan since he first saw that Rebel Blockade Runner fleeing the massive Imperial Star Destroyer at the tender age of 8 and a veteran freelance journalist with twenty-five years experience writing about film and pop culture. He is a member of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle.
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