Due to his knowledge of the native Bedouin tribes, British Lieutenant T.E. Lawrence is sent to Arabia to find Prince Faisal and serve as a liaison between the Arabs and the British in their fight against the Turks. With the aid of native Sherif Ali, Lawrence rebels against the orders of his superior officer and strikes out on a daring camel journey across the harsh desert to attack a well-guarded Turkish port.Written by
The 35mm master interpositive produced by Technicolor in 1966 had reel 2A flipped. So left and right became reversed on-screen for about 10 minutes in all prints, including initial video releases and television broadcasts. With no writing on the screen during these 10 minutes, it was nearly impossible to spot this error. During the restoration by Robert A. Harris, Sir David Lean pointed out the error, and it was corrected. This reversal also led to an urban myth about this movie: that Lawrence had switched his watch from his left wrist to his right wrist. Due to the reversed imagery in reel 2A, he indeed had appeared to do this in early released versions of the film. See more »
After the dissolution of the Arab Council, Ali disappears into the shadows leaving Auda alone by the reflecting pool. He looks briefly at the reflected moon in it, then turns toward the camera as if to stare directly at it. But for the moon's reflection to be visible to the camera, the moon must be behind him. See more »
Mr. Peter O'Toole was also in "The Savage Innocents", with Anthony Quinn (1960). See more »
The abridged 202 minutes version has at least one scene that was not in the original 222 minutes version. Where Auda Abu Tayi(Anthony Quinn) calls out, "Come dine with me at Wadi Rhumm"In the original 222 mins version this scene cut directly to the inside of the tent where the Bedouins are waiting to eat. Director David Lean felt that this came across as corny, so he decided to insert a new shot of the the cliffs and asked Maurice Jarre(the composer) to compose new music that would be appropriate for the additional scene. This was the only scene that was not in the original 222 mins version. of the film. See more »
Sweeping, epic and literate version of British adventurer and soldier T E Lawrence's experiences in Arabia during the First World War. Lawrence, miraculously well played by Peter O'Toole, "went native" when sent into the desert to find Alec Guinness's Prince Feisal. Before long he was striking out himself against the Turkish Ottoman Empire, which still held sway in the region at the beginning of the last century. Lawrence's efforts to unify the various Arab factions are particularly prescient.
Lawrence became an inspirational warlord whose neutral presence amongst the Arab tribes, lead by Omar Sharif and Anthony Quinn, amongst others, served to glue together shifting and uneasy alliances. As well as wrestling with himself, with his own demons, and with the cruel desert environment, the Englishman was also faced with culture clashes which pitted not only the imperialists against the indigenous populations, but also the mercenary practices of the Arab guerillas against the discipline of the British army. In the end, Lawrence himself does not know which side he is on, nor which party he belongs to. Set against a backdrop of the Arabian desert, the nomadic allies under Lawrence's direction, attack and disrupt the Turks' efforts to maintain control of the territory, whilst the elephant - the British army and its heavy guns under General Jack Hawkins - pushes ever deeper into the area: not until his job is done does Lawrence learn that the French and British governments have carved up the middle-east between them and that the battle-lines for the 21st century are already being drawn.
Scripted by the inimitable Robert Bolt and directed by David Lean, Lawrence of Arabia is one of those films without a weakness, despite drawing complaints for its near four hour length. The dialogue, cinematography, soundtrack and especially direction are superlative; likewise the supporting actors. But it is O'Toole at his charismatic best who steals the show in his starring debut; he never looked back. It may take an effort to watch this movie, but is well worth the ride and will, by the bye, provide some insight into the fractious and volatile world of Arab politics.
One of the best films ever made.
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