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  1. #41
    Senior Member Country: UK Wee Sonny MacGregor's Avatar
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    Feb 2006
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    Does anyone know what was David Lean's inspiration for the mirage scene where Omar Sharif appears across the desert? A pal who has seen the Harrison Marks 1961 film "Naked as Nature Intended" reckons that film opens with a similar long and dreamy opening sequence.

  2. #42
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Dec 2002
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    Does anyone know what was David Lean's inspiration for the mirage scene where Omar Sharif appears across the desert? A pal who has seen the Harrison Marks 1961 film "Naked as Nature Intended" reckons that film opens with a similar long and dreamy opening sequence.
    But luckily, Omar keeps his clothes on


  3. #43
    Senior Member Country: UK DB7's Avatar
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    Nov 2002
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    I thought it was a John Fcrd western.

  4. #44
    Super Moderator Country: UK christoph404's Avatar
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    Mar 2007
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    In his autobiography,"Seventy Light Years" cameraman Freddie Young reckons he was the first to film a mirage in the way that he did, he states that David Lean asked him to think about filming a mirage during pre-production meetings, that would have been late 1959 early 1960, Freddie Young worked on the film for two years, I do not beleive Lean or Young got the inspiration from another film. In his book Young says " David wanted me to use 65mm cameras instead of the normal 35mm, because the finer grain of the 70mm film would give the desert scenes superior definition.He also told me he wanted to photograph a mirage. At the time I had no idea how I was to do it"......."I found the solution when I went to Hollywood to select camera equipment. Robert Gottschalk, president of Panavision was showing me around his plant, when I noticed a long 500mm telephoto lens......telephoto lenses, although not as long as this one, have been around since the 1920's and many people have looked at a mirage through binoculars, but I believe this was the first time anyone had photographed one this way. Since then I've seen it done dozens of times...."

    Freddie Young "Seventy Light Years- A Life in the Movies"

  5. #45
    Senior Member
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    There's a very intersting account of the making of the film in Kevin Brownlow's biog of Lean. What a perfectionist.

    For some really interesting insight into Lean's perfectionism try and get a look at "David Lean: A Life In Film". Melvyn Bragg was allowed to be present for scenes in the shooting of "A Passage To India" and has included many scenes of him as he is actually directing the film (including a few facial expressions that suggest he might not be overly thrilled at having a camera pointed at him as he works). There is footage showing Lean's astonishing attention to detail as well as his own comments as to how he goes about the business of directing. This is one I regularly pull off the shelf.

  6. #46
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    OK, now THIS is perhaps one of the most definitive films ever made. I don't normally like really long films but LoA never fails to keep me riveted to my seat all the way through. The breathtaking landscapes, the majestic score, the extremely fascinating personality of T.E. Lawrence, the attacks on the trains, the deep and rich story and not to mention Peter O'Toole's grandoise and haunting personification of the great man ensure that I almost always manage to watch this film in one day.

    A terrific gem to have on DVD with surround sound and one to watch at a pretty loud volume.

    One thing I've always wondered about is :

    *spoilers below*

    After the first train attack Lawrence is parading around on the roof of one of the carriages when he is attacked by a badly burned Turkish officer. The dying man takes several (unsuccessful) more shots at him before he is mercifully sliced by Auda. I've always wondered who plays this small but by no means insignificant role (after all, Lawrence does carry the scar with him throughout the remainder of the film). Does anyone know?

  7. #47
    Senior Member Country: United States
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    Aug 2004
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    Back in February, using the screenplay, I posted several scenes to the "Lawrence" message board of the IMDB illustrating the differences that took place from the script to the screen and thought I would reproduce them here:

    A) The opening: Lawrence's Death. (The close-shot of the motor-cycle, right after the finish of the credits, was to be the title backgrounds. The high angle shot of the motor-cycle was an afterthought).

    1. As a background to the SCREEN CREDITS the following:

    CLOSE SHOT of the MOTOR BICYCLE. It is large, powerful and in beautiful condition. We can see that it is standing in some kind of country shed with a background of work-bench, petrol cans and so on. A few wild flowers, dandelions and such, are stuffed rather roughly in a jam jar on the work-bench. The shed is open-fronted and the motor bicycle and it's background are dappled with sunlight falling through nearby leaves. A MAN comes and stands between us and the machine with his back towards us. We can only see him from the buttocks down. He is wearing heavy motor-cycling boots and slaps onto the petrol tank a pair of gauntlet gloves. CAMERA stays on this while he prepares the machine - filling the tank, adjusting choke and mixture controls, ad lib as needed. He mounts and kicks the starter and moves off frame, with a roar.

    2. PANNING SHOT. The motor-cycle leaves the farmyard into the lane.

    As background to FINAL CREDITS, The peaceful farmyard; noise of motor-bike receding to silence. Then sharp cut to:

    3. EXTREME CLOSE SHOT. The MOTOR-CYCLIST. Head and shoulders. On SOUND TRACK engine roaring. He is so heavily begoggled and mufflered as to be anonymous but he wears no helmet and his bright hair is ruffled in the slipstream.

    4. MOVING SHOT of the road ahead. At a distance, the road is up. It is too early in the morning for the workers to be there; a NIGHT WATCHMAN yawns over his brazier. A notice says "WARNING. Drain laying. Roadworks ahead". We throttle down and pass the roadworks, still too fast and bank for a corner. Round the corner a similar roadworks and a similar notice which we see nearer than before, the word "WARNING" looming larger. Again we throttle down and pass the roadworks, again too fast, and are accelerating immediately towards a second corner.

    Coming out of the corner a third roadworks ahead. The same notice repeated, this time the word "WARNING" almost filling the screen.

    5. CLOSE SHOT of the MOTOR-CYCLIST. The scarf has slipped a little and we can see his mouth. It is neither smiling nor particularly determined but it set's into a sort of still calm as the CYCLIST accelerates:

    Through the roadworks far too fast. We swerve to the left, to the right, tilt, approach a blind bridge, are out of control, spin, crash.

    6. CLOSE SHOT. A piece of road. The goggles slither along it up to CAMERA.

    Note: The main title background was filmed in Almeria, Spain.

    Lawrence's death was filmed on two roads, Stone Hill Road and Staple Hill Road, in Chobham Common, Surrey, England. These scenes were among the last to be filmed in September, 1962, three months before the World Premiere!

    Map Room

    This brief dialog exchange, at the tail end of the scene, was deleted between the SERGEANT and the CORPORAL.

    18) contd. THE CAMERA IS PANNING with him (LAWRENCE) on the way to the door. He opens it and turns.

    LAWRENCE: Oh, if Captain Gibbon (he articulates the name with special politeness) should enquire for me, tell him I've gone for a chat with the General.

    He turns to go.


    SERGEANT: (not looking up) Right you are, tosh.

    CORPORAL: (with just a shade of resentment) He's barmy.

    SERGEANT: He's alright. (he slips from his stool and glances at the flimsy) Good Lord, he has too.

    CORPORAL: What?

    SERGEANT: Gone to see the General.

    C) General Murray's Office, Cairo.

    The difference between this scene and the way it finished up is at the very start. *The screen is filled with a huge three-dimensional map of Arabia. (This can now only be seen in the background).


    CLOSE SHOT. GENERAL MURRAY is one of those regulation officers whose pride is to appear more regulation than anyone can be. His face is hard and shrewd, his expression exasperated. He is seated at his desk. On the wall behind him is an "Illustrated London News" type pen and ink sketch of heavy artillery on the Western front. On the ledge under the picture is a collection of empty shell cases of varying sizes. GENERAL MURRAY is adressing DRYDEN, a donnish man with a pale, lined, lively face, wearing civilian clothes who at this moment has his back to us as he stands looking out of a window overlooking the gardens of the headquarters.*

    MURRAY: I smell an intrigue! An intrigue between the Arab Bureau and a junior officer of my staff! A very junior officer, an insubordinate junior officer, an officer who, so far as I can gather, has proved markedly incompetent in a very junior post.

    D) INT. CORRIDOR. A few lines of dialog were removed from the head of this scene.


    LAWRENCE: Oh shabash, Dryden!

    DRYDEN (avoids him and keeps walking).

    DRYDEN: (reproving) He's not a bad chap, Lawrence.

    LAWRENCE: No he's not a bad chap, he's a fool. (grins in anticipation) How did you do it?

    DRYDEN (again avoids him and goes on walking).

    DRYDEN: You might better ask me why I bothered to......

    E) INT. DRYDEN'S OFFICE / EXT. DESERT. The way this scene is written clearly demonstrates how a film is created in the editing room, particularly in this case as it turned out be one of the classic transitions of all time!


    49) MEDIUM SHOT. This is a room at once similar to but utterly different from GENERAL MURRAY'S. It is elegantly furnished and carpeted, the room of a cultivated xenophile. There are pictures of ancient desert monuments and fragments of carving.

    LAWRENCE: Good. And when I've found him?

    DRYDEN: Find out what kind of man he is. Find out - (his gaze wanders somewhat) - what his intentions are. I don't mean his immediate intentions - that's Colonel Brighton's business, not yours. I mean his intentions in Arabia altogether.

    LAWRENCE appreciates the significance of all this. He walks away a little and comes to rest with his hand on a fragment of stone.

    LAWRENCE: Oh that's nice...

    DRYDEN agrees. LAWRENCE puts down the piece of stone.

    LAWRENCE: Where are they now?

    DRYDEN: Anywhere within 300 miles of Medina. They're Hashemite Bedouins, thay can cross 60 miles of desert in a day.

    LAWRENCE throws back his head in silent rapture.

    LAWRENCE: Oh, thanks Dryden. This is going to be fun!

    DRYDEN: Lawrence, only two kinds of creature get 'fun' in the desert, Bedouins... and - (his gaze wanders round the photographs of silent sun-scorched figures and the fragments of stone) - gods. And you're neither. Take it from me for ordinary men it's a burning fiery furnace.

    DRYDEN is irritably tapping a black Russian cigarette for himself. LAWRENCE steps forward, takes a box of matches and lights it for him.

    LAWRENCE: (very quietly) No, Dryden, it's going to be fun.

    The set intensity of his expression is in utter contradiction to his words.

    50) CLOSE UP. DRYDEN. He looks from the burning match in LAWRENCE's fingers to LAWRENCE's face.

    DRYDEN: (rather sourly) It is recognized that you have a funny sense of fun.

    51) CLOSE UP. LAWRENCE. He smiles and raises the flame to his lips. He bows it out in the normal manner.



    A series of shots taken with an under-cranked camera so that the change from grey dawn to brilliant sunlight is speeded. The audience should be unaware of the trick process, but from the first appearance of the sun over the horizon and the casting of the first shadow there should be a constant sense of movement as the sun rises higher and higher and the shadows grow shorter and shorter. Prominent in the composition of almost every shot should be the footprints of two camels. We do not see the actual camels until the series of under-cranked shots are finished and we

    CUT TO

    53) THE SUN, now a searing white.

    54) LONG SHOT. A brilliantly lit desert vista of sand and rock. The tiny figures of two MEN on camels appear over a distant ridge.

    F) Lawrence and Tafas. The conclusion to the water-drinking dialog scene was filmed and deleted.

    57) CLOSE SHOT. LAWRENCE and TAFAS. Almost involuntarily LAWRENCE takes in a deep breath of air.

    TAFAS: Here you may drink, one cup.

    LAWRENCE unstraps a tin army mug and fills it from his water bottle. He is about to drink and then stops.

    LAWRENCE: You do not drink?

    TAFAS: No.

    LAWRENCE: I will drink when you do.

    LAWRENCE begins to return the water to the bottle.

    TAFAS: (grunts and shrugs) I am bedu.


    58) LONG SHOT. A MUD FLAT UNDER FLOATING DUST. (But the mud flat should be broken by rocks and not comparable to the Nefud mud flat later, and the dust does not comparable to either the opaque wall of the dust-storm nor the weird effect of Sinai. This is, as it were, a mere introduction to and explanation of the phenomenon.)

    59) MED. TRACKING SHOT. LAWRENCE and TAFAS emerge well powdered from one small cloud into clarity. TAFAS ties his headcloth round his mouth. LAWRENCE spits out dust while TAFAS is doing this and TAFAS looks at him. They are obscured again.

    60) MED. TRACKING SHOT. They emerge. TAFAS offers to LAWRENCE a bit of rag, intimating in mime that he should tie it over his mouth. LAWRENCE hesitates. They are obscured again.

    61) MED. TRACKING SHOT. They emerge, LAWRENCE with the rag tied over his mouth. CAMERA PANS with them.

    62) LONG SHOT. They ride away from us towards the next cloud which distantly drifts down towards them.


    63) MED. SHOT. It is evening and the two camels are approaching the long shadows of a circle of juniper bushes and high sheltering rocks which frame a secluded hollow of soft-coloured sands. The camels are brought to a halt.


    TAFAS: We will sleep here.

    The camels are made to kneel and TAFAS dismounts. For a moment LAWRENCE remains in the saddle easing his aching back, then, anxious to hide his discomfiture, he climbs stiffly out of the saddle only to find that standing is even more painful. TAFAS has untied his water skin and brings it to LAWRENCE.

    TAFAS: (smiling) And now we will both drink.

    LAWRENCE undoes his cup and holds it out.

    TAFAS: (pouring the water) You do well...Aurens.

    LAWRENCE: Lawrence.

    TAFAS: Aurens.

    LAWRENCE raises his cup to him. They both drink.

    65) CLOSE SHOT. A red sun low on the horizon.


    66) LONG SHOT. A huge cliff of dazzling white sand leading up to a ridge backed by deep blue sky. After a few moments the small figures of the two MOUNTED MEN appear over the crest.

    67) CLOSE SHOT. TAFAS signals a halt and both MEN stare down at the landscape below.

    68) LONG SHOT. A wide and empty plateau with mountains in the distance.

    69) CLOSE SHOT. TAFAS points out ahead, but seeing nothing, LAWRENCE unslings an old pair of binoculars and raises them to his eyes.....

    G) LAWRENCE and ALI - First Meeting At The Well. (Some lines were omitted. A piece of action not in the screenplay was filmed and deleted. ALI, mounted on his camel, in a playful manner races back and forth several times past LAWRENCE, barely missing him.)

    106) MED. SHOT. LAWRENCE stands with his back to CAMERA in the foreground of picture. In the background the STRANGER rides slowly towards him and finally comes to a halt on the other side of the dead man. After a glance to make sure that TAFAS is dead he thrusts his rifle into the saddle holster, unwinds his headcloth, and leaps gracefully to the ground. He is a handsome young man of about LAWRENCE's age; an impressive figure in both bearing and costume. He picks up the pistol. He examines it.

    ALI: Is this pistol yours, English?

    LAWRENCE: No, his.

    So ALI stuffs it complacently into his own waistband and approaches the well followed by his camel. He picks up the tin mug which is lying on the wall of the trough.

    ALI: His?

    LAWRENCE: Mine.

    ALI: (as one who confers a compliment) Then I will use it.

    He scoops a little water from the trough and does so, LAWRENCE turns TAFAS onto his back.

    ALI: He is dead.

    LAWRENCE leaves TAFAS and approaches ALI.

    LAWRENCE: Yes. Why?

    ALI: This is my well.

    LAWRENCE: I have drunk from it.

    ALI: (politely) You are welcome.

    They look at one another. Neither of them frightened but in mutual incomprehension.

    ALI: (comforting) He was nothing, English.

    LAWRENCE: Then why kill him?

    ALI: He was nothing. The well is everything. And it is mine. I am Sherif Ali Ibn El Kharish.

    LAWRENCE: (this is real news evidently, and makes LAWRENCE's mood more thoughtful) I have heard of you.

    ALI: (pleased) So?

    LAWRENCE: (indignation rising spontaneously) I had not heard you were a murderer.

    ALI: (after a little pause. Quietly) You are angry, English.

    LAWRENCE: He was my friend.

    ALI: (looks at TAFAS) That? (looks at LAWRENCE)

    LAWRENCE: Yes, that.

    ALI raises his fine eyebrows, but politely refrains from comment.

    LAWRENCE finds himself defending his humanitarian position, which makes him the more angry.

    LAWRENCE: He was taking me to help Prince Feisal!

    ALI: (mounts and calls back) He was a Hazami of the Beni Salem. The Beni Salem are blood enemies to the Harith. They may not drink at our wells. (shrugs) He knew that.

    ALI raises his head in salute and turns his camel back on to the mud flat.

    LAWRENCE: (calling after him) Sherif Ali! So long as the Arabs fight tribe against tribe, so long will they be a little people.

    107)CLOSE UP. LAWRENCE, emphasizing every word.

    LAWRENCE: A silly people! Greedy, barbarous and cruel - as you are!

    ALI rides out of picture, leaving the screen filled with blue sky......

    Note: Further dialog between LAWRENCE and ALI not in screenplay when LAWRENCE refuses ALI's offer to take him to Feisal's camp indicates that this may have been written on the location.

    H) LAWRENCE, FARRAJ and DAUD. Akaba - From The Land! (The latter part of this scene was filmed and deleted)

    176) MEDIUM SHOT. The stone lands at LAWRENCE's feet. At first he seems not to notice it, but then, without interrupting his concentration, he aimlessly picks up the stone, bounces it up and down in the palm of his hand, and walks slowly away. The IMPS get up and run out of picture.


    177) LONG SHOT. DAY. LAWRENCE is sitting under a stunted desert tree. One of the BOYS sits before him, the OTHER is busy behind him. Apart from this tiny group, the frame is completely empty, above, below, and to either side.

    178) MEDIUM SHOT: The SAME. FARRAJ is hanging an odd piece of cloth in the branches so that LAWRENCE's head is shaded. Three or four yards in front of LAWRENCE, with his back to camera, sits DAUD - also cross-legged - watching him as he continues playing with the stone. FARRAJ comes and sits near to DAUD, so that LAWRENCE is framed between the backs of the two BOYS. The CAMERA starts to creep in towards LAWRENCE. The music, which has never stopped, builds up and up. LAWRENCE begins to hold the stone so tightly that his fist vibrates with the unconscious effort. He looks directly up at the two BOYS, but his eyes are focused on the distance and he is not really seeing them.

    179) CLOSE UP. The IMPS stare back. They don't know why, but they are rather frightened.

    180) CLOSE UP: LAWRENCE. The music stops. There is a pause.

    LAWRENCE: (quietly) Akaba.

    181) CLOSE UP: The two BOYS don't understand.

    182) MEDIUM SHOT: LAWRENCE and the BOYS.

    183) LAWRENCE: Akaba - from the land!

    He comes to and chucks the stone at the BOYS. DAUD catches it, then looks up in surprise and points to LAWRENCE's hand. It is bleeding. LAWRENCE licks his palm mechanically, and above his hand we see his gaze is no longer inwards but outwards and actively excited. He gets to his feet. Exciting, whirling music begins. The CAMERA PANS and TRACKS with LAWRENCE as he walks away from the three. The two BOYS follow close behind. LAWRENCE walks faster and faster until he is running - as a man runs who has a specific destination. The music builds. The camp appears in the background and the run becomes a race. LAWRENCE disappears among the tents, and the BOYS put on a spurt but DAUD trips over a root and goes sprawling, and MUSIC stops when:

    CUT TO:

    184) CLOSE SHOT. ALI.

    ALI: You are mad. To come to Akaba by land we should have to cross the Nefud...


    102) CLOSE SHOT. LAWRENCE'S mask cracks. He turns to ALI and shouts:

    What would you recommend me to do, Ali?

    What would you recommend?


    103) MEDIUM SHOT. Interior ALLENBY's private apartment in Cairo. A spacious room with, at the far end, a working desk and chair, and nearer to the CAMERA a fireplace against which ALLENBY leans, and a few upholstered chairs in one of which BRIGHTON is sitting. It is night time and cosy lamps are lit. The fans are motionless (whereas before we have seen them spinning) and there is a fire in the grate. On the mantlepiece, by ALLENBY, the Country Life calendar proclaims December with an Olde English hunting scene. ALLENBY has a light plaid shawl thrown over his shoulders, and he swills a whisky and soda in a large tumbler. He is silently regarding BRIGHTON and although the professional mask is firmly in place he looks unusually thoughtful and a little triste. BRIGHTON, who has flung his Sam Browne on the back of his chair, and also has a glass of whiskey and soda at his elbow, is labouring through the last of a sheaf of official reports. When he concludes, he hands them to ALLENBY, with a grave face.

    BRIGHTON: He hasn't one-tenth so many men, sir.

    BRIGHTON: Well yes and no, sir ... He doesn't claim to have done anything he hasn't done.

    ALLENBY: Then there is an "Arab North Army".

    BRIGHTON: (considers) No sir. He has lied about that.

    ALLENBY: Any idea why?

    BRIGHTON: (with a half smile) It's his army, I suppose.

    ALLENBY: (shortly) It's Prince Feisal's army ... Think he's gone native Harry?

    BRIGHTON: (his brows puckered) N-n-n-o-o-o. (with a flash of inspiration) He would if he could. (with a flash of self-doubt) I think. (uncomfortably) Not my line of country this, sir.

    He is puzzled by the mood of his CHIEF.

    ALLENBY: (reassuring) Doesn't matter ... I'm just curious. What matters is: I believed it and the Turks believe it. They're offering twenty-thousand pounds for him.

    BRIGHTON: Good God.

    ALLENBY: (turns away - and CLOSE SHOT - prods idly at the fire with his toe) Yes. Shouldn't say he'd long to live would you?

    BRIGHTON: (impulsively) Whatever else sir, he ...!

    ALLENBY: (interrupting rather impatiently) Oh surely, surely ... If he's still going North, with fifty men, he doesn't lack guts ... (brooding) I wonder if they'd offer that much for me ...

    He turns briskly with the air, of one who breaks off an improper indulgence.

    Well, what about next year? Will they come back to him?

    BRIGHTON: Shouldn't be surprised, sir. They think he some kind of prophet.

    ALLENBY: (harshly) They do or he does?

    He walks away to the working desk taking the paper with him, calling back as he goes:

    They seem to think he's a kind of machine. Dryden had a letter from some old beggar behind Damascus; "Send us an Aurens and we will blow up trains with it". That's poetry, isn't it?

    And his voice has a harsh sounding crack in it.

    BRIGHTON: (on SOUND TRACK) (uneasy) I wouldn't know, sir.

    ALLENBY: And that's what these are (he wags the papers before throwing them down) Not lies, poems.

    BRIGHTON: Don't quite follow, sir.

    104)CLOSE SHOT. BRIGHTON, his care-worn, innocent face, creased with effort to be in time with his chief.

    ALLENBY: (with a sudden rush of affection for things familiar) You're a good chap, Harry.

    BRIGHTON: (a laugh is jerked out of him by the unexpectedness of it) Thank you, Sir!

    ALLENBY: (approaching) Nice to have a fire again.

    BRIGHTON: Yes, Sir.

    105)CLOSE SHOT. ALLENBY by the fire, and again we see the calendar.

    ALLENBY: Quite like home...


    106)EXTERIOR. Night. Ruins of EL-JAMAL.

    J) The complete 'TERRACE' scene.

    Part Two, pages 69 through 78:

    203: MEDIUM SHOT. THE TERRACE outside ALLENBY'S OFFICE. LAWRENCE is seated in a chair. ALLENBY leaning against a pillar, his bottom on the terrace railing.

    ALLENBY: ....Yes. Well you've had a glimpse of the pit.

    LAWRENCE: No, a glimpse of sanity. (hard) And I'm not going back.

    There is a short pause. LAWRENCE's eyes are on the General's epaulettes. ALLENBY notices the look, glances at his crown and crossed swords, and begins to unbutton his jacket.

    ALLENBY: You won't go mad, Lawrence. (quite indifferently) You've got an iron mind.

    LAWRENCE: (grimly) Oh no. (but he is pleased)

    ALLENBY: Oh yes. And here's another thing. When you ask for "common humanity" you're crying for the moon. Common humanity's the one thing you can't have.

    LAWRENCE: There's nothing else.

    ALLENBY: (mildly) There is, for one man every hundred years or so.

    LAWRENCE: (skeptical, but we can just see the poison beginning to work) Me?

    ALLENBY: (taking off his jacket) Yes, I think so. (Again he is careful to keep his voice matter-of-fact, as this were some small technical judgement he had just made.)

    ALLENBY puts his jacket over the back of an empty chair, and from this point on he adopts the tone used between equals and friends, and friends of such long standing that they can even afford to be brusque. He regards his jacket, chuckling a little ruefully.

    ALLENBY: Isn't that funny, I feel quite naked.

    He busies himself collecting cigar, cutter, matches from the table.

    ALLENBY: And that's the difference. I'm a leader because someone pins crowns on me. Your'e a leader, (shrugs) because God made you one I suppose. There's nothing you can do about it.

    ALLENBY sits and seems totally preoccupied with the condition of his cigar. LAWRENCE does nor answer but looks at him suspicious, flattered, comforted, above all longing to accept the paternal embrace that seems to be offered.

    ALLENBY: (quite idly) You write poems don't you?

    LAWRENCE: Yes.

    ALLENBY: Any good?

    LAWRENCE: No. Bad.

    ALLENBY: (nods sympathetically) Hard luck.

    LAWRENCE is a little amused and quite surprised by the degree of understanding ALLENBY assumes.

    LAWRENCE: It's not a matter of luck.

    ALLENBY: 'Course it is. (he settles back comfortably) I grow dahlias myself.

    Apparently on impulse he takes from the table a photo of his house and offspring. He peers at it, pointing out a patch of cabbagy flowers in the background.

    ALLENBY: There.

    Together they study the photo. ALLENBY never looks once at his victim, seems innocently absorbed in the subject of the conversation. He pauses as he replaces the photo, and smiles.

    ALLENBY: That's my lad. You must come and see us, afterwards.

    LAWRENCE: (he hesitates cautiously, but says) I'd like to.

    And it is almost like a physical object he has handed to ALLENBY -- the keys of his citadel.

    ALLENBY: I've got good soil, good compost, I buy good plants. And I'm a conscientous gardener. But I don't have the luck to be a good one. So (grins) I'm a gardening sort of general. Most generals are. But there have been poet generals. Xenophon was one. Hannibal ... Nelson was the last. I think you're another ...

    LAWRENCE: (his tone sceptical but his smile tremulous and reproachful) Nelson, and me?

    ALLENBY: Yes.

    LAWRENCE: That's an extraordinary thing to say to a man.

    ALLENBY: Not to an extraordinary man it isn't.

    LAWRENCE: (thrusting it away from him) No. No.

    ALLENBY: (remorselessly matter-of-fact) You must know it?

    LAWRENCE: (almost desperately) No!

    ALLENBY: (in his cunning adopts a tone of irritation) Look, Lawrence, I've taken those things off -- (rubs his shoulder) --and I don't feel happy without them. I believe your name will be a household word when you'd have to go to the War Museum to find who Allenby was.

    He makes this statement very deliberate. His voice now becomes low, confidential, but very steady; it is temptation incarnate.


    ALLENBY: (off) You are the most extraordinary man I ever met.

    LAWRENCE: (quick and low) -- leave ne alone --

    ALLENBY: (off) (quick and sharp) -- What?

    LAWRENCE: (quick and low) -- Leave me alone.

    205 CLOSE SHOT. ALLENBY over LAWRENCE. After a pause, ALLENBY shrugs, and the CAMERA PANS with him as he rises and moves away with feigned hostility, turning his back looking out over the garden, the very image of a disappointed father.

    ALLENBY: That's a feeble thing to say. No wonder you're poetry's bad.

    208 CLOSE UP. LAWRENCE looks at ALLENBY's back longingly. He hesitates and is lost. He prevaricates:

    LAWRENCE: I know I'm not ordinary ...

    ALLENBY: (off) (short) That's not what I'm saying.

    Suddenly LAWRENCE's immobility flies apart. He is thrown about in his chair by muscular stresses -- much as a man might respond to a thumbscrew -- and he cries out:

    LAWRENCE: All right I'm extraordinary! I'm extraordinary!

    His tone in saying this is as though he were saying, "All right I've got cancer!" A tone of desperate lament ... But then abruptly having accepted it, he freezes again and looking at ALLENBY he says in a very different tone quietly mocking, from a superior knowledge.

    LAWRENCE: What of it?

    207 CLOSE UP. ALLENBY. He is now looking at LAWRENCE, but has not yet caught the reversal of their positions.

    ALLENBY: (gravely and kindly) Not many people have a destiny. Lawrence. A terrible thing for a man, to funk it, if he has.

    208 MEDIUM SHOT. ALLENBY walks back towards his chair.

    LAWRENCE: (almost smiling with a little cold smile) Are you speaking from experience?

    ALLENBY: (caught in mid-air -- he sits) No.

    LAWRENCE: You're guessing then.

    ALLENBY is nonplussed and begins to be uneasy. LAWRENCE says in a deadly voice.

    LAWRENCE: Suppose you're wrong.

    ALLENBY: (briskly scrambles over his unease) Why suppose that? We both know I'm right.

    LAWRENCE: Yes.

    ALLENBY: After all it's --

    LAWRENCE interrupts him rising from his chair and walking a few paces along the terrace where he stands in an archway his back to the General.

    LAWRENCE: I said, yes.

    ALLENBY watches him, cautiously. He turns. He addresses ALLENBY quite politely but not looking at him, as though he were a subordinate.

    LAWRENCE: April the 16th.

    ALLENBY: Yes. Can you do it. I'll give you a lot of money.

    LAWRENCE: (still not looking) Artillery?

    ALLENBY: I can't.

    LAWRENCE: (now looking at him) They won't be coming for money, the best of them. They'll be coming for Damascus. (very steadily) Which I'm going to give them.

    209 CLOSE SHOT. ALLENBY looking up at LAWRENCE from his chair. He blinks, but recovers immediately.

    ALLENBY: That's all I want.


    LAWRENCE: All I want is someone holding down the Turkish Right. But I'm going to give them Damascus. We'll get there before you do. And when they've got it, they'll keep it.


    LAWRENCE: (off) You can tell the politicians to burn their bit of paper, now.

    ALLENBY: (spuriously) Fair enough!

    212 CLOSE SHOT. LAWRENCE. He looks away from ALLENBY and speaks almost idly, throwing his pearls for ALLENBY to pick up if he can.

    LAWRENCE: "Fair". What's "fair" got to do with it? It's going to happen ... (looking at him again, quite brisk and matter-of-fact) I shall want quite a lot of money.

    ALLENBY: All there is!

    LAWRENCE: Not that much.

    He leaves the courtyard and walks toward the CAMERA, looming up in the frame against the background of a fresco on the wall.

    LAWRENCE: The best of them won't come for money.

    He is now in BIG CLOSE UP. His lip quivers slightly and his eyes glow.

    LAWRENCE: They'll come for me ...

  8. #48
    Senior Member Country: UK homeguard's Avatar
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    I've always wondered why somebody didn't make President Bush watch this before he invaded Iraq. Of course, somebody would have had to explain that there are people on this earth who don't want our version of democracy. Would he have understood that point of view?

    Unique film, and nobody could have played Lawrence better.



  9. #49
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    One of my favourite films too. I've lost track of how many times I've seen it, but I've never caught it on a big screen, worse luck. *Envy*

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    Am I allowed to say that the film is pants?

    Lawrence freed the Arabs in order to free the young Arab whom he loved. Read the poem at the beginning of his Seven Pillars of Wisdom. That was his motivation. Lean gives us little or no indication of this and bumps off the young Arab in question about a quarter of the way into the film (whereas in fact he died in 1918 during the influenza epidemic).

    And also Peter O'Toole.....well...... he was much better in Murphy's War.

    I agree with you about the score, though.

  11. #51
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    Am I allowed to say that the film is pants?
    Well, you could say you don't like the film if you like.

    As for historical fact, the film certainly isn't but then neither at times is his book. The jury is still out there about the fellow's motives, I think; he wasn't always honest. As for Dahoum (the likely candidate for S.A.), he may have died of typhoid.

  12. #52
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    I'm surprised at the detail of the description of the opening credits (section A) I had always thought the Director, and or Cinematographer would have had more leeway or less instruction.

    Is this typical or is there large variations in screenplay details ?



  13. #53
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    Well, you could say you don't like the film if you like.

    As for historical fact, the film certainly isn't but then neither at times is his book. The jury is still out there about the fellow's motives, I think; he wasn't always honest. As for Dahoum (the likely candidate for S.A.), he may have died of typhoid.
    That's fair enough, Neil. It's a long time since I took an interest in Lawrence, but I do know that the youth in question died towards the end - or just after the end - of the war. And you may well be right that it was typhoid he died of and not influenza. But SA himself is actually quite well documented - not least because Lawrence took a number of photographs of him and even brought him over to England at one point, I believe. And it is definitely him to whom the poem at the beginning of Seven Pillars of Wisdom is directed. And that poem, in a sense, tells you everything you need to know about why the man did what he did.

    And you are right, I don't like the film. I don't think O'Toole was right for the part and nor do I think that he was good in it. Lawrence's homosexuality (or tortured sexuality - which I think might be the more accurate description in his case) is absolutely central to his motivation, for the reasons already stated, and so to leave it and his love for SA out of the film was to simply cast him adrift as a character - an utterly pointless thing to do. And that is probably why I think the film is such an empty and overblown exercise.

    In other words, I still think there is room for a better and more factually accurate film to be made about Lawrence and Arabia.

  14. #54
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    In other words, I still think there is room for a better and more factually accurate film to be made about Lawrence and Arabia.
    You're a bit harsh for me about the film, but fair enough too.

    As for a more factual film, I'd welcome it too, but I think we'd be more likely to see an in-depth docu-drama or mini-series and I'd cynically expect different television networks to cut different elements out of it.

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    You're a bit harsh for me about the film, but fair enough too.

    As for a more factual film, I'd welcome it too, but I think we'd be more likely to see an in-depth docu-drama or mini-series and I'd cynically expect different television networks to cut different elements out of it.
    Neil....I'm curious to know why you like the film....or what you see in it that makes you like it...What do you think it has?

  16. #56
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    Neil....I'm curious to know why you like the film....or what you see in it that makes you like it...What do you think it has?
    I like O'Toole’s exuberant approach to the role and I think he does well, though I’ll admit, in view of what I know of the real Lawrence, I can see why some people consider him miscast.

    The beauty of the filmed landscapes is often fairly jaw dropping, I find I immerse myself within the image, the sound and much of Robert Bolt’s dialogue, which is delivered with aplomb by the lead actors. Being a complicated soul, I'll admit there's no way most of those actors would be chosen to play the lead Arabians in films of more recent decades, but this was a common occurance on stage and screen back then.

    It is for me an emotionally moving romantic Boy’s Own adventure. I also have an interest in the history of warfare, so as it is along those lines, I have to admit my own tendency to be attracted to this sort of thing.

  17. #57
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    I was hoping Lawrence would have been re-released on Blue-Ray DVD to mark Lean's centenary.

    Have just heard that Columbia/Sony were all set to do it, in fact they put a trailer out last year on new Blue Ray discs...then discovered the restored master has gone missing!!!!

    What kind of company can lose its greatest film?

    Let's hope a retired ex cinema projectionist has a 70mm print hidden in his or hers loft!

    Film Man.

  18. #58
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    14 x 70mm cans in fact!!! 'Can' you believe it?

    Film Man.

  19. #59
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    I am long over due in watching it again,but it is getting the time. Watching Lawrence Of Arabia for me is an event to savour and not being disturbed.

    Ta Ta

    Marky B

  20. #60
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    "Lawrence" had it's World Premiere at the Odeon, Leicester Square, 47 years ago today.

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