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
After five months shooting in Jordan, Producer Sam Spiegel ran short on cash and moved the entire production to Spain, where he had frozen assets he could only spend in that country. Director Sir David Lean was so unhappy about the move that he stayed in Jordan on his own after everyone else had left for a rest in England. Surveying one of the last scenes there, a desert panorama complete with camels, he complained, "Bloody well match that somewhere else in the world." See more »
General Sir Edmund Allenby (promoted to Field Marshal in 1919) is characterized in the film as being cynical, manipulative, obstructive, and dismissive of Lawrence and his Arab allies, and is shown to come into conflict with them several times. However, there is significant evidence that Allenby and Lawrence enjoyed working with one another and had a good relationship that stretched into the post-war period. Allenby even endorsed Lawrence's book, "Seven Pillars of Wisdom," while Lawrence remembered him fondly as "great." Allenby also appeared to respect the Arabs working alongside him, as evinced by his congratulating Prince Faisal on the "great achievement" of his "gallant troops." See more »
When Robert Harris took on the task of restoring Lawrence of Arabia(1962) in 1987, his aim was to restore the film to its original 222 minutes length that premiered before The Queen in London on 10 December 1962. Initially he gradually found all the missing pieces including the famous "goggle" shot and the newly created(in 1962) Columbia logo shot. Harris' idea was to return this to the missing film, despite the fact that David Lean ordered that it be removed from the original film in January 1963 because he preferred the "sparkling" Columbia logo. All the 202 minutes version of the film,(which commenced at The Metropole Theatre in February 1963). had the "sparkling" Columbia logo. David Lean eventually got involved in the restoration process with Robert Harris and the two men worked together to get Lawrence back to its 222 minutes original cut. Then Lean decided that he would make some trims. In the scene in the second half where General Allenby entices Lawrence back to Arabia part of that scene is cut by a few seconds. Where Allenby says to Lawrence: "You're the most extraordinary man I've ever met" Lawrence replies: I'm extraordinary, I'm extraordinary, what of it." Lean decided to cut the second "I'm extraordinary" out. He did this also with many other scenes and brought the original running time of 222 minutes down to 216 minutes, not including the overture, entr'acte music and play out music. See more »
I first saw this movie on a scratchy VHS almost twenty years ago (I was 10). Liked it (sort of-enjoyed the battle scenes and the train blowing up), but didn't understand why my dad was so crazy about it.
The next time was on laserdisc (remember those?) almost 10 years ago and I was hooked. I finally got it - the conflict, the performances, the music, the dialogue - all mesmerising.
But it was only in 2002, when I saw the 40th-anniversary reissue on 70mm that I was completely blown away seeing the scale, the enormity of Lean's accomplishment. There were scenes that gave me goosepimples (the opening credits, the cut from the matchstick to the desert sunrise, "nothing is written" - others too numerous to mention).
The point of this rather rambling review is this - a movie that can evoke such passion in its admirers stands by itself, beyond reviews or criticism. If you haven't seen it yet I envy you, because you get to experience it for the first time.
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