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
When Omar Sharif screentested to play Sherif Ali, Sir David Lean wanted to give the character facial hair to contrast with the fair, clean-shaven Peter O'Toole. He tried Sharif with a beard, but didn't like it. Then he fitted the actor with a mustache, which is how Sharif played the role. Sharif had become a star in his native Egypt without facial hair. The impact that the mustachioed Sharif made in the movie was so strong that he kept the mustache for the rest of his career. See more »
Lawrence's fatal motorcycle ride is shown as having originated at a rural residence. In fact, Lawrence was returning home, having departed from a nearby army base. 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 »
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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