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Vanessa McMahon

Vanessa is a novel writer, screenwriter, rep and a film producer. She shares her discoveries and film surprises. :-)





LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (1962) by British director David Lean is based on the autobiography of British Army officer Thomas Edward Lawrence called: ‘The Seven Pillars of Wisdom’. Lawrence became famous for his work with the Arab National Council and his time spent in the Middle East during the Sinai and Palestinian Campaign and the Arab Revolt against the Ottomans during WWI.

Born on 16 August in 1888 in Tremadog, Wales, Lawrence attained a degree in history at Jesus College, Oxford. In 1909, Lawrence took a three month 1,000 mile walking tour in Ottoman Syria. He later went on to attain a postgraduate degree at Magdalen College, Oxford and then became an archaeologist in the Middle East. He served the British Army and Royal Air Force from 1914 for almost 20 years and fought during WWI, winning multiple awards for his work abroad.

The film begins in Moreton, Dorset in Southwest England in 1935 when T.E. Lawrence was driving his motorcycle through winding English country roads where he crashed in a fatal accident at age 46. The film is told as flashback on Lawrence’s life in the Middle East filmed on location partly in Morocco and Jordan in expansive deserts under fiery unrelenting sun. In the film, when Lawrence is warned by British Army Officer Dryden that life in the Middle East will be tough and a challenge, the fearless soldier Lawrence replies boldly with a smile while staring into the flame of a candle: ‘No, Dryden, it’s going to be fun’.

Lawrence spent the majority of his adult life in the Middle East where he assimilated into local life and was even renamed by his Arab friends. He organized a guerilla army uniting previous warring Arab tribes against the Turks. After achieving fame as a distinguished soldier, he sought a quieter existence hoping to live his final years in anonymity in the Southwest English countryside, a plan which was cut short by his tragic motorcycle accident.

The film stars Peter O'Toole as T.E. Lawrence, Alec Guinness as Prince Feisal, Anthony Quinn as Auda Abu Tayi, Jack Hawkins as General Allenby, Omar Sharif as Sherif Ali, Jose Ferrer as The Turkish Bey, Anthony Quayle as Colonel Brighton and Claude Rains as Mr. Dryden with a musical score by Maurice Jarre. During the 35th Academy Awards, it won seven Academy Awards including: Best Picture (producer Sam Spiegel), Best Director (David Lean), Best Art Direction (John Box, John Stoll and Dario Simoni), Best Cinematography (Frederick A Young), Best Original Score (Maurice Jarre), Best Film Editing (Ann V. Coates) and Best Sound (John Cox).

Written by Vanessa McMahon


Comments (1)

One OF my top ten.

One OF my top ten. Definitely. 

Dear memories of organizing the cannes pre opening with the re issue with New footage.