Lawrence of Arabia

D: David Lean
Columbia/Horizon (Sam Spiegel)
UK 1962
221 mins


W: Robert Bolt & Michael Wilson [based on "The Seven Pillars Of Wisdom" by T. E. Lawrence]
DP: Frederick A. Young
Ed: Anne V. Coates
Mus: Maurice Jarre
PD: John Box
Cos: Phyllis Dalton

Peter O'Toole (T. E. Lawrence), Alec Guinness (Prince Feisal), Anthony Quinn (Auda Abu Tayi), Jack Hawkins (General Allenby), Jose Ferrer (Turkish Bey), Anthony Quayle (Col. Harry Brighton), Claude Rains (Mr. Dryden), Arthur Kennedy (Jackson Bentley), Omar Sharif (Sherif Ali Ibn El Kharish)

Sweeping epics don't come much grander than this, as David Lean dedicates three & a half hours to the adventures of T.E. Lawrence, a British soldier who experienced living amongst Arabs during British occupation in the Middle East. 
The story is told in flashback, following Lawrence's death by motorcycle accident in the 1930's and a memorial service at St. Paul's Cathedral where those present bicker about the man's character.
Lean's presentation is so full of action and adventure, it's easy to forgive any oversight in getting beneath the skin and unveiling the complexities of such a mysterious character with such historical significance, and this helped greatly by Peter O'Toole's majestic performance, especially considering it was the actor's cinematic debut.
The rest of the supporting cast are equally excellent, particularly Omar Sharif, one of few who didn't require makeup to achieve a more convincing skin tone.
The sweeping photography, grandiose music score and impressive production design are all candy for the eye, and though the length of the film may put off many viewers, this is a film classic which must be watched, if only for the one time.

Peter O'Toole & Omar Sharif in Lawrence of Arabia
Peter O'Toole & Omar Sharif in Lawrence of Arabia