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"Lawrence of Arabia" Production information, Cast and Credit

The 70mm Newsletter
Written by: Columbia Pictures, 1989. Press kit is excerpted from the original press material that accompanied the film in 1962. Credits as of 5. January 1989 (+ 1995 update *) Date: 06.08.2008
Updated: 17.01.2023
Release of the restored version in London 1989

Director David Lean's breathtaking film "Lawrence of Arabia" premiered in December 1962 and went on to win seven Academy Awards for Best Picture, Director, Cinematography (color), Art Direction (color), Sound, Editing and Music. Almost immediately after its opening, however, the saga about T.E. Lawrence, the enigmatic British hero of the Arab revolt against Turkey during World War I, was cut from 222 to 202 minutes because exhibitors wanted a shorter film to show in their theaters. In late 1970, the film was again cut by an additional 15 minutes (to a 187-minute length) for reissue.

Now, under President Dawn Steel's leadership, Columbia Pictures is demonstrating its commitment to preserving our film heritage by presenting "Lawrence of Arabia" in a painstakingly restored 70mm version that, includes scenes not viewed since the movie was first released. In addition, this version makes use of new Dolby six-track Spectral Recording sound surpassing that of the original release.

Appearing in the title role of "Lawrence of Arabia" is Peter O'Toole, who became an international star with the film's release. Starring with him are Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn, Jack Hawkins, Jose Ferrer, Anthony Quayle, Claude Rains, Arthur Kennedy and Omar Sharif. Sam Spiegel produced the film, and Robert Bolt wrote the screenplay, his very first.

The film was reconstructed and restored by Robert A. Harris, who was among those instrumental in restoring Abel Gance's 1927 masterpiece “Napoleon", which was re-released in 1981. Producing the
restoration of "Lawrence of Arabia" were Harris and Jim Painten.

When Harris and Painten began their work, there was no surviving print of "Lawrence" and earlier re-editings had resulted in much of the original picture negative and sound being misplaced, lost or junked. Under the direction of Harris, work to restore the 70mm premiere version of "Lawrence" began when thousands of pounds of materials were shipped to the United States, including hundreds of thousands of feet of "trims and cuts" and elements of the original 65mm camera negative, as well as surviving 35mm work-print elements.

Restoration of the camera negative was undertaken at Metrocolor Laboratories, with sound work done at the Goldwyn Sound Facility. Anne V. Coates, who won an Academy Award for her editing of "Lawrence of Arabia," served as editorial consultant and was instrumental in helping to re-create the original sequence of the restored scenes. Richard L. Anderson served as sound consultant, with Gregg Landaker the re-recording mixer for the new Dolby six-track Spectral Recording version.

Amazingly, the Eastmancolor camera negative, although its color balance had shifted somewhat in time, has been brought back not only to 100 percent of its original color, but has also been enhanced by the new Eastman release stocks.

Part of the restoration process involved re-voicing key sequences with the talents of Peter O'Toole, Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn, Arthur Kennedy and Charles Gray as the voice of the late Jack Hawkins. (Gray had previously served in this capacity when Hawkins' throat problem made it necessary.) The work with O'Toole, Guinness and Gray was completed in London under the direction of Lean himself. Kennedy's lines were recorded in Savannah, Ga., by Painten, and Quinn gave his time for a few lines in New York.

The material that follows in this press kit is excerpted from the original press material that accompanied the film in 1962 (with the addition of updated filmographies). We hope it helps to recapture the excitement generated by "Lawrence of Arabia" when it was first shown to the world, an excitement Columbia Pictures hopes you will share with the premiere release of the director's cut of this wonderful classic.
More in 70mm reading:

Restoration of "Lawrence of Arabia"

Restoration of "Spartacus"

Restoration of "My Fair Lady"

Restoration of "Vertigo"

The Reconstruction and Restoration of John Wayne's "The Alamo"

Robert A. Harris: Film Restoration on the eve of the Millennium A View from the Trenches

in70mm.com News
2003 re-release of the restored version in Los Angeles

"I deem him one of the greatest beings alive in our time. I do not see his like elsewhere. His name will live in English letters; it will live in the annals of war; it will live in the legends of Arabia." -- Winston Churchill

Sam Spiegel had first read T. E. Lawrence's own account of his Arabian adventure "Seven Pillars of Wisdom" some years before its general publication. Like many another he had fallen under the fascination of its extraordinary author. And like many another in his own field -- had entertained the idea of a film on the subject. Now the film rights in "Seven Pillars" became available. Spiegel at once acquired them, and he and David Lean decided that "Lawrence of Arabia" should be their next venture.

To say that Lawrence was a complex character is to state the case mildly. There is enough action, enough psychological and thematic material in "Seven Pillars" for a dozen films with a dozen different points of view. On top of that Lawrence and his book have enjoyed, or endured, the comments and interpretations of some scores of historians, soldiers and journalists, often with an ax of their own to grind.

Spiegel and Lean engaged the British playwright Robert Bolt to write the screenplay, and the three worked out together their own point of view upon the man and the theme to be drawn from his story.

Of the many overwhelming problems which the screenplay presented, none was more critical than the casting of the name part. Since the role of Lawrence fell into none of the familiar categories of cinema hero, it was felt that the actor should be one not familiar to cinema audiences. The choice fell on Peter O'Toole, young Irish star of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre at Stratford-on-Avon.

The unknown would be surrounded by the famous.

Alec Guinness, who had portrayed Lawrence in the Terence Rattigan play "Ross," was eager to interpret Prince Feisal, in whose subtle, fine-drawn character he found a challenge. Anthony Quinn found a vehicle for his vivid energy and style in the part of Auda abu Tayi. Jack Hawkins fittingly portrays General Allenby, Lawrence's commander-in- chief, "The Bull" as he was called by his subordinates, half in affection and half in awe. Claude Rains, past master of of the quiet gesture, found congenial the part of Dryden, Allenby's simple-seeming, devious political adviser. Jose Ferrer chose to contribute a vignette of unhappiness and helpless cruelty in the part of the Turkish bey (governor). Anthony Quayle was intrigued by the character of Brighton, the British colonel, adhering to the admirable and inadequate code of military duty and obedience. Arthur Kennedy, noted for the uncompromising truthfulness of his performances, became Bentley, the newsman, know more than half of the truth. too knowing to Omar Sharif, first favorite in the cinemas of the Middle East, is here introduced to Western audiences as Sheik Ali ibn el Kharish, Lawrence's friend, his teacher in the ways of the Bedouin, his pupil in the ways of Europe.

Beyond the problems of casting lay the physical difficulties of shooting such a film.

David Lean took himself off to Jordan with John Box, the art director. There they found the desert to be as Lawrence loved it and described in his book, a landscape almost unimaginable to those who have not seen it, and not seen before on film. There, too, they came upon the wreckage of trains just as Lawrence left them nearly 40 years ago, the metal kept bright by the utter dryness of the atmosphere. Lean and Spiegel decided it was there in Jordan and nowhere else that the bulk of the film must be shot, be the difficulties what they may.

Young King Hussein, descendant of Hussein of Mecca, Feisal's father, who initiated the revolt against the Turks which Lawrence led, interested himself in the making of the film. It was by his order that the unit received expert help from the crack camel-riders of the Desert Patrol, and by his courtesy -- and it may be said under his protection -- that the unit secured the participation of some hundreds of Bedouin tribesmen.

The first shooting site was Jebel Tubeiq, 250 miles east of Aqaba in a desolate area near the Saudi Arabian frontier with the nearest water 150 miles away. The site was discovered through aerial reconnaissance by director Lean and art director John Box. Until photographs and sketches of the area had been made by the film men, the place had been unmarked on any map. Jebel Tubeig had been uninhabited since the seventh century A.D., when a band of monks abandoned a monastery they had established there in what must have been the world's most remote hideout. Paleolithic rock carvings in the area are said to date back 12,000 years. Until the arrival of the film troupe, Lawrence undoubtedly was one of the very few white men e ever to have laid eyes on Tubeiq. Lean and director of photography Freddie Young found infinite pictorial challenge in Jebel Tubeiq, with its fields of brilliant red sand dunes reaching illimitably to the horizon.

The initial exploit which brought Lawrence to fame was his dashing capture of the port of Aqaba, itself remote. Here the company established its headquarters. The logistics of moving equipment and personnel to Aqaba from London were not easy. The moves from there to the location sites were very difficult indeed. These moves were sometimes in the region of 300 miles. Once there, the crews, the actors, the Bedouin who gathered and the animals must be fed and watered. Where heavy equipment wa was imperative, roads must be improvised, and where these broke down, Caterpillar tractors brought in by sea to Aqaba must drag the foundered lorries from the sand. Meanwhile the temperature rose to levels where thermometers had to be cooled to prevent them from destroying themselves in an effort to record it.

But though the weeks under canvas ran into months, morale ran high and the unit persisted. In the first place it was adventure. In the second place, they were there for nobody's whim but because that particular landscape was part and parcel of Lawrence's story and couldn't be faked. the circumstances posed problems to Peter Dukelow, the construction foreman, the landscape and the people fascinated director of photography Freddie Young as they had fascinated David Lean. If

Beneath the cliffs of Wadi Rhumm, tribal battleground time out of mind, the Bedouin presented with their black goat-hair tents, their animals, themselves, a picture precisely Old Testament - except for their weapons, beautifully maintained even when worn over the poorest garments. The women, however, could not be photographed because the tribesmen held it as a moral insult that any man should hold a picture of another's wife. Where women were necessary to the film, 20 women who being of a Christian sect did not fall under the ban were substituted with the permission of their priest.

Because of their modernization, the actual sites of Cairo, Damascus and Jerusalem could not be used for scenes showing Lawrence's activities in these cities in 1916 to 1918. For these scenes, the company moved to Spain, where at Sevilla the Moorish-Arabic architecture provided near duplicates of the buildings of the Lawrence story. At a Spanish location also the blasting assaults on the Hejaz Railway were filmed. Some photography had been done at Aqaba, but because this city too had been modernized, the Red Sea port was totally reproduced on a Spanish site as it appeared in 1916, with a Turkish army camp laid out behind it. The filming of the Arab charge through the camp site brought thousands of sightseers to the surrounding hillsides to witness the greatest entertainment of their lives.

The far-traveling "Lawrence of Arabia" company made still another major geographical shift -- to Morocco. Here, through the cooperation of King Hassan II and his brother, H.R.H. Prince Moulay Abdallah, the Royal Moroccan Army supplied cavalry, members of the Camel Corps and foot soldiers in all, thousands of men, camels and horses.' And here was played out the stunning blood-bath sequence of "Lawrence of Arabia."

The battle sequences completed, there remained only the opening scenes of the Robert Bolt screenplay to be filmed in England, including a re-enactment of the memorial service to T.E. Lawrence at St. Paul's Cathedral.

The authenticity of "Lawrence of Arabia" had been high-priced. The people of the film troupe had worked in areas where thermometers had to be kept refrigerated. They had worked in snow for scenes showing Lawrence and his followers struggling through wintry mountain passes. They had encountered the famous "Blue Men" from Tantan. They had lived and worked among Arabian nomads who are no whit changed in custom or appearance from what they were in Biblical days. High-priced indeed the authenticity and realism of "Lawrence of Arabia," but worth it in terms of rare experience for the audiences in the motion picture theaters.


About the Cast

Newspaper advert for 1990 release of the restored version in Denmark, June 1990


To an Irishman, Peter O'Toole, of Connemara, County Galway, went one of the choicest roles in the whole history of motion picture-making -- the title role in "Lawrence of Arabia."

O'Toole is called an "unknown," and he is said to be "introduced" in "Lawrence of Arabia." But these words should not lead anyone to the misapprehension that he is a newcomer or an amateur in the acting profession. He was 6 years old, O'Toole recalls, when he fell in love with the theater at a performance of "Rose Marie." He has had years of hard work in the theater, of theatrical study, training and experience. (Preceding "Lawrence of Arabia," O'Toole had also appeared in the films "Kidnapped," "The Day They Robbed the Bank of England" and "The Savage Innocents.")

When Sam Spiegel and David Lean began their long search for an actor to play the legendary and baffling character of Lawrence, O'Toole was ready for his chance. When his film tests were screened, Spiegel and Lean knew they had found their man.

At the time of the testing, O'Toole was appearing at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre at Stratford-on-Avon as the youngest man ever to attain star status at that celebrated playhouse. He was doing three parts there: Shylock in "The Merchant of Venice," Petruchio in "The Taming of the Shrew" and Thersites in "Troilus and Cressida."

The first thing O'Toole learned for "Lawrence of Arabia" was something he had never needed in Shakespeare: he learned to ride a camel. If anybody ever "lived" a role, O'Toole lived the role of Lawrence. life. He studied the man's He read the "Seven Pillars of Wisdom" until he knew long passages of it by heart. He learned Arabian folklore. He learned to endure life in the desert as Lawrence himself endured it. O'Toole is an athletic six-footer. He has been a boxer and a navy rugby player, and he is an expert swimmer. But at one time he stepped onto the scales to discover that the Lawrence assignment had cost him 20 of his 176 pounds.

In his early manhood, O'Toole was for five years a newspaperman on the Yorkshire Evening News in Leeds. Even his editor, the story goes, thought that he should be an actor, or at least something other than a newspaperman: He was fired. During two years in the submarine service he set his mind on the acting profession. He enrolled in the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, won a scholarship and studied there two years.

His first professional experience was with the Bristol Old Vic Company. In three years he played 53 roles from Hamlet to Jimmy Porter in "Look Back in Anger" to comedy roles in Christmas pantomime. In his second play in London's West End, O'Toole won starring status in "The Long and the Short and the Tall," and with it came the award of Actor of the Year. . . . And Sam Spiegel saw him in the production and remembered him.


Over the years every new Alec Guinness performance has been... new. from the rest. Each has been different and distinctive If his name didn't appear in the playbills and in the theatrical notices, members of the audience would have no way of knowing that the player on the stage or screen is Alec Guinness.

He doesn't have a trademark. If the members of the "Lawrence of Arabia" audience had no advance information about the role of Prince Feisal, they'd have to take Feisal's fingerprints to discover that he is played by Alec Guinness; and they'd be properly astonished to learn that the role is done by the same man who appeared in "The Lavender Hill Mob," "Kind Hearts and Coronets," "The Man in the White Suit" and "Tunes of Glory."

In the Second World War, Guinness enlisted in the Royal Navy as an ordinary seaman but soon won a commission. the war his film ca: After career began with "Great Expectations," marking his first association with David Lean, under whose direction in "The Bridge on the River Kwai" Guinness was to win the acting award of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Guinness asked for a part in "Lawrence of Arabia." The renewal of his association with Sam Spiegel and David Lean was warranty enough to Guinness that the part would be worthwhile.

Guinness was knighted by the Queen in 1958, following his performance in "The Bridge on the River Kwai."

Alec Guinness received the 1979 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Danish 1963 release advert


Anthony Quinn's portrayal of the Howeitat sheik, Auda, in "Lawrence of Arabia" is another chapter in a personal success story which has been highly gratifying to his admirers and of which the actor himself is forthrightly proud.

Quinn is of Mexican-Irish ancestry. When he was a child, his peasant mother, then herself only 17 years old, brought him on her back across the Mexican border into the United States. The family subsisted as fruit pickers in California orchards. At one time Quinn achieved the eminence of foreman of an orchard gang, but he was so young that a truant officer caught him at it and sent him back to school.

As a youth, he had a serious speech impediment. He persuaded a surgeon to do an operation on his tongue on the long-term credit plan. He used the same approach to prevail upon Katherine Hamil, a Hollywood dramatic coach, to be allowed in her class so that he could learn to speak correctly. He had a severely disciplined plan of self- education: a book a week; every page of every newspaper he could lay hands on; a symphony each week; and each week a visit to an art exhibit.

Quinn's first film job was a Cheyenne Indian in Cecil B. DeMille's "The Plainsman." In 1952 he won the award of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for his work in "Viva Zapata!" He won it again in 1956 for his portrayal of painter Paul Gauguin in "Lust for Life." Among recent film portrayals, he scored vividly as the Greek fisherman in "The Guns of Navarone." He went from that assignment to the stage to play Henry II to Laurence Olivier's Thomas a Becket, and then compounded that triumph by exchanging roles with Olivier to the high admiration of the critics.

Perhaps in Anthony Quinn's philosophy there is the key to his success story. Says Quinn: "I am competing with myself."


The man who played the commando chief in "The Bridge on the River Kwai" is associated again with Sam Spiegel, David Lean and Alec Guinness in "Lawrence of Arabia." Jack Hawkins is back in battle dress in the role of General Sir Edmund Allenby, who was commander-in-chief of British forces in the Middle East during the First World War.

Hawkins is markedly changed in appearance for the role. To play the part, he sacrificed his thick, dark brown, wavy hair. Allenby had a receding hairline; in fact, he was nearly bald during the period of the story. So Hawkins submitted to having his scalp shaved on top, with just enough thinned hair left to match the Allenby photographs. And he added a mustache for verisimilitude.

Military roles have recurred frequently in Hawkins' career since the time when, at the age of 19, he appeared in "Beau Geste" with Laurence Olivier at His Majesty's Theatre in London. He made his American stage debut in the famous war drama "Journey's End." Among the films which have had him in uniform are "The Malta Story," "The Cruel Sea" and "The Two-Headed Spy." He has had real-life military experience in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers.

To the highly professional Hawkins is entrusted one of the most important and subtly powerful scenes in the Robert Bolt screenplay. This is the scene in which Allenby, .an intelligent and sensitive man, but ruthless if need be in the performance of his duty, shrewdly evokes in Lawrence the dream of destiny that sends him back to personal tragedy in the desert war.

(Jack Hawkins died in 1973.)

With his performance in "Lawrence of Arabia," Jose Ferrer adds one more to his long list of masterpieces of the tour de force in acting.

Ferrer's role as the bey, Turkish governor of Deraa, dominates one of the turning-point sequences of the film drama, that of the capture and torture of Lawrence. In actual history, some commentators believe, this dreadful episode was a turning point for T.E. Lawrence himself, David Lean's direction, Ferrer makes of the episode an unforgettable vignette of malevolence.

In scanning the record of the versatile Ferrer, it is difficult if not impossible to find anything in the nature of an ordinary performance. High among his masterpieces is his footlights portrayal of the stealthy Iago to Paul Robeson's Othello. High among them is also his portrayal of the crippled Toulouse Lautrec in "Moulin Rouge," for which Ferrer won an awards nomination of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Perhaps most noteworthy of all is his history-making performance in the title role of Edmond Rostand's classic, "Cyrano de Bergerac." Ferrer was star and producer of the footlights version of "Cyrano," and he won not only the Academy nomination but the Academy Award itself in Stanley Kramer's motion picture adaptation of the play.

In recent years Ferrer has turned more and more to direction, but he will always be an actor. When Sam Spiegel cabled him and asked him to read the script of "Lawrence of Arabia," Ferrer cabled back accepting the Turkish bey role. With Sam Spiegel and David Lean in charge, Ferrer felt no need to see the script in advance.


Thoroughgoing and highly trained professionalism is shared in common, without exception, by the players of "Lawrence of Arabia."

Representative of this professionalism is Anthony Quayle in the part of Colonel Brighton, Lawrence's field commander. Quayle's nine years at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-on-Avon constitute only one chapter in his theatrical career. He made his first Broadway appearance in 1936 at the Henry Miller Theatre in "The Country Wife." Twenty years later he was back on Broadway to win acclaim in "Tamburlaine the Great."

Quayle was trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic His first stage appearance was at London's "Q" His early association was with the Old Vic, and he Art. Theatre. has toured the Continent and Egypt with that celebrated company. He won prestige as a stage producer with "Crime and Punishment" at the New Theatre and with the Restoration comedy "The Relapse," which had a long run at London's Phoenix.

Quayle's first important film role was in "The Battle of the River Plate" (U.S. title "Pursuit of the Graf Spee") for Michael Powell. For Alfred Hitchcock he did "The Wrong Man"; for Carl Foreman, "The Guns of Navarone." He extended his activity into television with his direction of "Caesar and Cleopatra" as an NBC spectacular. He is the author of two books, "Eight Hours From England" and "On Such a Night," which he wrote in his spare time while he was appearing in "Antony and Cleopatra" and "Othello."

Veteran of many military roles on stage and screen, Quayle had real-life military experience with the Royal Artillery in the Aegean, and he worked behind enemy lines in Albania. In private life the actor is a swimming and boating enthusiast.

(Anthony Quayle received a knighthood in 1985.)


Claude Rains once promised himself that when he reached the age of 60 he would retire. retirement age to 65. At 60, he advanced the Now, playing the role of Dryden in "Lawrence of Arabia," he is in his 70s.

At least he was in his 70s when he joined the cast. But his wife declares that when a new role comes years drop from his shoulders.

London-born, Claude Rains played hooky from school when he was 10 years old. Soon he was appearing as a boy singer in "Sweet Nell of old Drury" at the Haymarket Theatre.

In the world of the footlights, Rains has been call-boy, carpenter, electrician, treasurer and company manager. He was seven years with Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree. He made his actual acting debut in "The Gods of the Mountain" at the Haymarket. At the age of 21, he went to Australia with Maeterlinck's "The Blue Bird." He made his American stage debut at New Haven in "Androcles and the Lion."

When the First World War began, Rains returned to England to enlist. Impressed by the colorful kilted uniforms, he joined a London Scottish regiment, swearing that his family was of Scottish descent. He was in the trenches in France, was gassed at Vimy Ridge and emerged from the war a captain.

Rains had his first film assignment in a picture in which he was never seen: "The Invisible Man." On his own list of his favorite screen vehicles are "Mr. Skeffington," "Caesar and Cleopatra," "Casablanca," "Here Comes Mr. Jordan" and "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington."

In 1951, as star of the Broadway hit "Darkness at Noon," Sidney Kingsley's dramatization of the Arthur Koestler novel, he won all six of the year's major drama awards.

(Claude Rains died in 1967.)
1971 poster layout


In "Lawrence of Arabia," Arthur Kennedy plays Bentley, the American newspaper correspondent who helps create and popularize the legend of Lawrence.

It is Bentley who, shocked out his journalistic cynicism, pronounces judgment on Lawrence as the two men survey the horror of the battlefield of Tafas.

George M. Cohan called him "the most brilliant young actor on Broadway." Still another friend and admirer was James Cagney. When Cagney starred in "City for Conquest," he asked that Kennedy be cast as his brother in the film. The result was a Warner Bros. contract.

Kennedy is a disciplined professional with years of rigorous training and experience in back of his performance. Job hunting during the Depression, he found a place with the Globe Theatre Group, which presented abbreviated versions of Shakespeare at the Cleveland Great Lakes Exposition. The repertoire consisted of 16 plays, performed seven a day and nine on holidays and weekends. morning. There were rehearsals every "Hard work," Kennedy recalls, "but valuable experience."

On Broadway Kennedy had brilliant successes in "Death of a Salesman" and "All My Sons." Five times his fellow film professionals have nominated him for the Academy Award, for his work in "Champion," "Bright Victory," "Peyton Place," "Some Came Running" and "Trial." His recent film credits include "Elmer Gantry," "Claudelle Inglish," "Murder, She Said," "Barabbas" and "The Adventures of a Young Man."


For the colorful role in "Lawrence of Arabia" of the Harith sheik, Ali ibn el Kharish, Sam Spiegel and David Lean chose the Egyptian star Omar Sharif. Although the role will be Sharif's introduction to Western film audiences, he has long been the pre-eminent favorite of Middle Eastern moviegoers.

Sharif's film "The Blazing Sun" was singled out for individual praise by critics at the Cannes Film Festival in 1955, although no performance was given an award that year. Four years later Sharif's "Goha" carried off the festival prize.

Sharif personally has no thought of concentrating on romantic roles. He prefers variety of portrayal. Ultimately he hopes to be a director and emulate David Lean.

"When Lean explains a scene," says Sharif, "he himself becomes the character, and the player knows exactly what he must do. When I can do that for another actor, I shall be ready to be a director."

There are critics and theatergoers in many parts of the world who will say that Omar Sharif is the new "Valentino." There are many more who have said that no tag can be put on this brilliant star, new to the Western world. Under any conditions, following his performance in "Lawrence of Arabia," Sharif is certain to be a name to be reckoned withas one of the future stars of the screens of the world.

About the Filmmakers


This picture, says Lean, took hold of him in a way that no other has. He shares with Lawrence the capacity to drive himself and the love of unfamiliar localities.

If he can drive himself, he can lead others. He has those two contradictory qualities of leadership: humility and confidence. He will listen carefully to opinions from almost anyone as to how a scene is to be taken; but once he has decided on the way it is to be, it must be that way and no other. He can be most stubborn.

The ability to fix the spirit of a place on film has been stretched to the full by "Lawrence of Arabia," but in Lean's own estimation this is incidental. His first intention is to tell a story.

Of his methods he himself says this: "I envy people who have flashes of insight and genius in solving picture problems. I have to work out every way to do a scene and then choose one which will serve the story purposes properly and still not be expected by the audience."

The strategy of the unexpected gives his pictures their freshness and vigor. The adherence to "the story purposes" gives them their substance. His definition of a story is the classic one of something with a beginning, a middle and an end. He feels acutely the need of the artist to move with his times, but he will not use devices, methods or themes until he understands them honestly and through and through, regarding it as trickery to do otherwise.

The stars of "Lawrence of Arabia" accepted their roles in the picture without reading the script. That simple statement of fact is possibly the highest professional tribute that could be paid to director David Lean.

The good actors -- the most exciting in the profession have learned faith in the man. They trust him for his intellect in the selection of subject matter that will be not only entertaining but meaningful and provocative to the public. They trust him for his mastery of the motion picture craft that will help them make their own performances memorable.

Alec Guinness has said, "David Lean is the most meticulous craftsman in the industry, the most painstaking in every department."

His apprenticeship was arduous. He was born in Croydon, England, and his family expected him to be an accountant. Instead he got a job -- making tea -- at Gainsborough Studios. He threw himself single-mindedly into every opportunity which offered, determined to equip himself as a director who should know his job. He does. His films include "In Which We Serve," "Great Expectations," "Brief Encounter," "Breaking the Sound Barrier" and "The Bridge on the River Kwai" (for which Lean won an Academy Award).

In person he is tall, thin, sinewy, sharp-featured. He has unusually large eyes which cloud as he retires into himself for long periods of thought and then, as he emerges, will suddenly focus with startling penetration.

"I try," says Lean, "to make clear a point and a point of view. People in the audience may differ with me, according to their own personalities and experience. All I hope for is that they take away with them something to think about and talk about."

Like Sam Spiegel, David Lean expresses ideas in motion pictures. He doesn't ask that the audience agree; only that it listen. These two men have been fortunate in finding each other. Their fight for artistic truth and integrity was challenged by "Kwai" and by "Lawrence." Lean, like Spiegel, is a stubborn man in having his own way. One of the many remarkable things about "Lawrence of Arabia" is that two such stubborn men were able to agree on the making of it.

(David Lean, who earned an Academy Award for directing "Lawrence of Arabia," received a knighthood in 1984. He is currently working on the upcoming film "Nostromo.")
Advert for the 1971 re-release in London.


On first acquaintance, Sam Spiegel would probably satisfy the popular expectation of the more urbane type of film producer. He has charm, force of personality, is witty, dresses quietly. He speaks four languages fluently and two more sufficiently well to get his own way in them. He likes good living, knows where to find it in most parts of the globe and delights in sharing it. He is stout and has a Roman head in which the eyes are still mischievous When the expression is most senatorial. To give a good present and to drive a good bargain afford him equal satisfaction.

But he is also a scholar, versed in European literature and thought. His references in conversation range far in many directions. He is an arbiter of modern painting with a first-class collection built up by himself. His respect for artists of all kinds is serious, though his judgment is sharp. He is an informed student of day-by-day politics.

His attitude on all these subjects is liberal and unattached, save that he is fiercely mistrustful of any creed which gives a man a license to persecute his fellows. It is the attitude of a cosmopolitan.

His parents in Vienna were book lovers and believed in a life lived earnestly. He was educated at the university there and first came to the United States to lecture at the University of California at Berkeley.

The late Paul Bern, an MGM producer, heard Spiegel lecture at Berkeley and engaged him as a reader of original stories in French, German, Spanish, Italian and Polish. The world of films and filmmaking became Spiegel's passion and has been so ever since. Presently he was back in Europe, working for Carl Laemmle, re-filming Universal pictures for foreign distribution.

One of these pictures was the brilliant anti-militarist classic "All Quiet on the Western Front." The European versions were banned in many areas, largely because of the growing power of the Nazi party. But Spiegel felt committed to this film. He fought the ban on all fronts, in all languages, in all circles. And in part at least he won. "All Quiet" was shown abroad, and in 1932 he had the satisfaction of presenting it to the Disarmament Conference at Geneva.

Elia Kazan, Budd Schulberg, John Huston, Robert Bolt, David Lean, Joseph Mankiewicz -- these and more, writers and directors of the first rank, have joined with Sam Spiegel in forging the scripts and transferring to the screen some of the most notable pictures of our time. The actors and actresses who have starred in Spiegel films have achieved honor and fulfillment in their craft. Sixteen Academy Awards, literally hundreds of awards from his peers in other countries and other continents have honored films produced by this bold, venturesome man to whom the making of a motion picture represents the fulfillment of living.

A biographer of the motion picture industry would find it essential to include the productions of Sam Spiegel. From the early "Tales of Manhattan," the list would go on to "We Were Strangers," "The Prowler," "The African Queen," "On the Waterfront," "The Bridge on the River Kwai," "End As a Man," "Suddenly, Last Summer" and, now, "Lawrence of Arabia."

Some of the qualities which have secured this success have already been listed. One more may be emphasized. He can identify talent at a great distance. If it is in the marketplace, he can bargain for it boldly. If it is obscure, he can persuade it out of hiding. He can do this because he cares for it and because he can usually offer talent a project worth working on. He hopes and believes that "Lawrence of Arabia" has been another such.

(Sam Spiegel received the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award for 1963. Spiegel died in 1985.)


For "Lawrence of Arabia," Spiegel and Lean engaged not a blood-and-thunder writer but a young dramatist whose reputation rests more on the analysis of emotion and the confrontation of ideas. The occasion of the choice was Bolt's most recent play, "A Man for All Seasons," the subject of which is Thomas More, a 16th-century ascetic scholar. An odd occasion for an odd choice, it might seem.

But it had been clear to them from the outset that physical action, no matter how spectacular, was not sufficient to the telling of this story. A writer was wanted who could tell not only what Lawrence did but also, by sparely used dialogue and imaginative gesture, what he may have thought and felt in that perilous and lonely situation. This situation was the work of many pressures, racial, military and political. A writer was wanted who would take a disenchanted look at all this yet respond to colorful personality and great behavior wherever it was found. In Bolt they had felt that they had found a writer of this kind.

The former school teacher is a ruddy, thickset man with plenty of nervous energy who lives a determinedly private life on the outskirts of London. his recent successes in this order: He lists the rewards of time for his work; time for his family; relief from "chronic financial incompetence." He is anxiously aware of the atomic portent in the world but believes, "with an effort," that love of life will prevail.

This is his first work for the screen. He hopes to do more, but his first allegiance remains to the theater. He is currently working on a stage play. About "Lawrence of Arabia" he says: "When men go to war, their own best qualities are turned against them. Their virtues are made to serve the ends of destruction and waste. In time of war we need not look for a villain; the heroes are more than enough."

(Bolt is currently writing a screenplay, "Nostromo," for David Lean.)

One of the most imposing musical tasks in motion picture history went to Maurice Jarre, the Parisian composer signed by producer Spiegel after a long and arduous search for a man capable of creating the score for "Lawrence of Arabia."

Jarre was born in Lyon on Sept. 13, 1924. He studied composition and percussion at the Conservatoire with Jacques de la Presle, Louis Aubert and Honnegger. In 1944, he was called up into the navy for national service.

When Jean Louis Barrault formed his own theater company, he asked Jarre to become his orchestral conductor and arranger. Jarre stayed with the Barrault company for four years.

In 1951, he joined Jean Vilar, who had started a national theater company. For the first time, Jarre composed music for a wide range of plays Moliere, Eliot, Victor Hugo. Shakespeare,

In 1955 he was awarded the Zurich prize for a symphony and violin concerto. That same year he won the Italian Opere Radiofoniche prize for a radio opera, "Ruiselle." This year he interrupted his work on "Lawrence" to fly to Verona for a day, to collect the Radiofoniche prize for a TV opera, "Les Filles du Feu."

Jarre started writing music for films in 1952. His first feature-film assignment was Franju's "La tete contre les murs." In all, he has scored 15 films, including Darryl F. Zanuck's "The Longest Day" and the 1962 Venice award-winning "Le Dimanche de Ville D'Avray."

It was after producer Spiegel and Lean saw "Le Dimanche" in France that they considered Jarre as the composer of the score for "Lawrence of Arabia."

(Maurice Jarre earned an Academy Award for the music to "Lawrence of Arabia.")


To capture on the screen the magnificent natural backgrounds of "Lawrence of Arabia," director of photography Freddie Young worked in Super Panavision 70. Forty-five years ago, when Young began his career, hand-cranked cameras were in use.

But although his equipment and his medium were much advanced and highly perfected, Young's work in "Lawrence of Arabia" was even more rigorous than it was years ago. Once a flash flood threatened catastrophe to the camera crew. In the Jordanian desert locations, he worked in temperatures as high as 126 degrees in the shade, and the wind-whipped sand was a threat to every "take."

Young's first job was a laboratory assistant at the old glass-topped studios at Shepherds Bush, London, in 1917. A year later he was placed in charge of the department, where he developed and printed by hand the 6,000 feet of H.G. Wells' "First Man in the Moon." The studio was lit by a mixture of daylight and artificial light. To emphasize dramatic effects, film prints were often produced in various simple colors: blue for night shots, yellow for sunlight, amber for night interiors, red for fires and so on. Thus the future cinematographer acquired a considerable knowledge of color and chemistry.

On the eve of the talkies, Young became a lighting cameraman on the New Era production of "Victory." He photographed the Anna Neagle pictures "Good Night, Vienna," "Nell Gwynn," "Peg of Old Drury," "Victoria the Great" and "Sixty Glorious Years." He was in Hollywood but returned to Britain at the outbreak of the war to serve as captain of an army film unit.

Young's pictures include "Island in the Sun," made in the Caribbean; "The Inn of the Sixth Happiness," filmed largely in Wales; "The Little Hut," in Rome; "Bhowani Junction," in Pakistan; and "Solomon and Sheba," made in Spain.

Fellow professionals believe that in "Lawrence of Arabia," Young has composed some of the most eloquently powerful camera portraiture in the history of motion pictures.

(Freddie Young earned an Academy Award for cinematography for "Lawrence of Arabia.")

Much of the meaningful and eloquent mood and atmosphere of "Lawrence of Arabia" is the result of the work of production designer John Box.

"In order to understand Lawrence," says Box, "the audience must see what Lawrence saw." There is thus emotional meaning with reference to the central character in the use of backgrounds of the brilliant and towering red sand dunes of Jebel Tubeiq, the deathly gray-white mud flats of El Jafre, the wastelands strewn with black rock as if peppered by a giant, and the fantastically eroded sandstone skyscrapers of the Wadi Rhumm.

David Lean was never satisfied, Box recalls, to do a scene in a conventional way. The result is that scenic and sound effects are not only significant with reference to character and story, but exciting and provocative in themselves. A notable example of striking use of sight and sound, and of portentous silence, is the scene showing the pitiable tribesman, Gasim, lost and afoot in the desert, with the sun rising to pursue him like a merciless and almost personal adversary. Noteworthy are battle scenes shot in swirling dust clouds that part to reveal sudden and shocking glimpses of the horrors of war.

John Box was six years in military service with tanks in the Royal Armored Corps. Born in London, he was educated there and in Ceylon. He is a qualified architect, with five years of training in that profession. His recent credits as art director include "The Inn of the Sixth Happiness," "Our Man in Havana" and "The World of Suzie Wong."


Anne V. Coates, A.C.E., was the original editor of "Lawrence of Arabia," for which she earned the Academy Award. For this restoration, Coates served as editorial consultant and was instrumental in helping to re-create the original sequence of the restored scenes.

Coates received Academy Award nominations for her work on "Becket" and "The Elephant Man," the latter film also earning her Britain's BAFTA nomination. Another BAFTA nomination came for "Murder on the Orient Express."

Among her other credits are "The Horse's Mouth," "Tunes of Glory," "Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines," "The Bofors Gun," "The Adventurers," "The Nelson Affair," "Man Friday," "Aces High," "The Eagle Has Landed," "The Medusa Touch" (which she also produced), "The Legacy," "The Bushido Blade," "Ragtime," "The Pirates of Penzance," "Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes," "Lady Jane," "Raw Deal" and "Masters of the Universe."
Robert Harris (right) and James Katz (left) with 70mm cans for "Vertigo". Image source: Robert Harris. Picture credit: Laura Luongo


Robert A. Harris thought it would be "fun" to resurrect the complete version of "Lawrence of Arabia" and took on the task of reconstructing, restoring and joint producing the masterpiece with partner Jim Painten. The fun project turned into a two-year odyssey encompassing months of research, detective work, a touch of modern archaelogy, a worldwide search and inventory of surviving materials and the painstaking examination of over four tons of picture and sound elements.

"It was an extraordinary honor," Harris said, "to be joined in the final restoration process by, first, Anne Coates (who received the Academy Award for editing of 'Lawrence') and then by Sir David Lean, who, after directing the dubbing of some needed dialogue by Peter O'Toole and Sir Alec Guinness in London, flew to L.A. to not only oversee and approve the final form of the restoration but, after 27 years, to create the director's cut of his masterpiece."

Harris studied film at New York University and has a background in distribution and post-production. He was involved in the restoration of Abel Gance's “Napoleon" and was instrumental in its presentation in a joint effort with Zoetrope Studios. He has also restored other Gance films.


For the past two years, as Painten worked on the restoration of "Lawrence of Arabia," he has also been the ABC production executive in charge of "Moonlighting." Until 1985 Painten was an independent producer/director, making arts and entertainment-related documentaries for, among others, PBS, CBS Cable and Los Angeles' KTLA. In addition to being a producer and director, he has been a cameraman and editor. Early in his career he also taught filmmaking in New York at the Young Filmmakers' Foundation and then at the New School for Social Research/Parson's School of Design.

Painten and Robert A. Harris met in 1981 when Harris was producing the tour of the film "Napoleon" and Painten was directing and co-producing a cable special concerning the tour. The two became friends, formed Davnor Productions Ltd. in 1985 and began developing commercial feature projects. Among them is a joint production with Martin Scorsese, "The Grifters," to be directed by Stephen Frears in 1989.

Columbia Pictures presents the Sam Spiegel and David. Lean Production of "Lawrence of Arabia" starring Peter O'Toole, Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn, Jack Hawkins, Jose Ferrer, Anthony Quayle, Claude Rains, Arthur Kennedy and Omar Sharif. The film was directed by David Lean from a screenplay by Robert Bolt and produced by Sam Spiegel. "Lawrence of Arabia" was reconstructed and restored by Robert A. Harris. The restoration was produced by Robert A. Harris and Jim Painten. The film received 10 Academy Award nominations, winning Oscars for Best Picture, Director, Cinematography (color), Art Direction (color), Sound, Editing and Music.




With OMAR SHARIF as "Ali"

and introducing PETER O'TOOLE as "Lawrence"


Produced by SAM SPIEGEL
Directed by DAVID LEAN

Photographed in SUPER PANAVISION 70 (R)

A Horizon Picture in TECHNICOLOR (R)

Restoration Produced & Reconstructed by

*) In accordance with a 1995 decision by the Writers Guild of America to give Michael Wilson a co-writing credit (based on documentary evidence that he had been a major contributor to the script), newer copies such as the DVD and the prints made for the 40th anniversary re-release feature the altered credit: "Screenplay by Robert Bolt and Michael Wilson" (previously, only Bolt's name was listed).

The Cast

General Allenby JACK HAWKINS
Colonel Brighton ANTHONY QUAYLE
Jackson Bentley ARTHUR KENNEDY
General Murray DONALD WOLFIT
Gasim I. S. JOHAR
Club Secretary JACK GWILLIM


The Credits

Directed by DAVID LEAN
Produced by SAM SPIEGEL
Screenplay by ROBERT BOLT
Music Composed by MAURICE JARRE
Orchestrations by GERARD SCHURMANN
Photographed in SUPER-PANAVISION 70 (R)
Director of Photography F. A. YOUNG, B.S.C.
Production Designed by JOHN BOX
Art Director JOHN STOLL
Costume Designer PHYLLIS DALTON
Camera Operator ERNEST DAY
Assistant Director ROY STEVENS
Sound Dubbing JOHN COX
Hairdresser A. G. SCOTT
Construction Manager PETER DUKELOW
Construction Assistant FRED BENNETT
R.C.A. Sound Recording
Production Manager JOHN PALMER
Location Manager DOUGLAS TWIDDY
Casting Director MAUDE SPECTOR
Property Master EDDIE FOWLIE
Chief Electrician ARCHIE DANSIE
Produced by Horizon Pictures (G.B.) Ltd. , London, England

Released through Columbia Pictures Corporation
Photographed on overseas locations and completed at Shepperton Studios, Shepperton, England
The producers gratefully acknowledge the cooperation extended to them by the Royal Hashemite Government of Jordan and by the Royal Government of Morocco.

The Restoration

Reconstructed and Restored by ROBERT A. HARRIS
Restoration Produced by ROBERT A. HARRIS and JIM PAINTEN
Editorial Consultant ANNE V. COATES, A.C.E.
Sound Consultant RICHARD L. ANDERSON, M.P.S.E.
Spectral Recording Dolby (R) Stereo In Selected Theatres
Rerecorded in Dolby 6 Track SR at Goldwyn Sound Facilities
Rerecording Mixer GREGG LANDAKER

65mm Negative Restoration by Metrocolor (R) Laboratories
70mm Prints by Metrocolor (R) Laboratories
35mm Prints by Deluxe (R)


Special Thanks to
Restored Version Copyright 1988 Horizon Pictures (GB), Ltd.
All Rights Reserved

MPAA Rating: PG Running Time: 216 min. (plus overture, entr'acte and exit music)
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Updated 21-01-24