Lawrence of Arabia/Trivia

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  • All-Star Cast: Besides O'Toole and Sharif, who became stars thanks to this movie, most of Lawrence's supporting cast were leading men in their own right (Alec Guinness, Jack Hawkins, Anthony Quinn) or veteran character actors (Arthur Kennedy, Anthony Quayle, Claude Rains). You even have Oscar-winner Jose Ferrer in a glorified cameo. O'Toole once commented on how intimidating it was to act opposite so many seasoned costars.
  • Banned in China: Most Middle Eastern countries banned Lawrence during its original release, finding its portrayal of Arabs offensive. One exception was Egypt: Gamal Abdel Nasser reportedly loved the movie and it subsequently became a hit in that country.
  • Deleted Scenes: Despite the extensive restoration done in 1989, the currently available cut of Lawrence (216 minutes without overture and intermission) still misses several sequences present in the original 1962 release. The most famous is a longer version of Lawrence's meeting with Allenby in Jerusalem towards the end, the so-called "balcony" or "seduction" scene. According to Robert Harris this scene couldn't be restored because of a poor audio match. It is included in the 2012 Blu-Ray release, with Charles Gray dubbing Jack Hawkins as Allenby.
  • Star-Making Role: Peter O'Toole and Omar Sharif. O'Toole was an acclaimed stage actor, but only had a few minor film roles beforehand: Lean reportedly spotted him in The Day They Robbed the Bank of England, playing a Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist. Sharif was already famous in Egypt, but this movie made him an international superstar.
  • Throw It In: Once Lawrence receives the white robes, he strolls off and tries to find a way to admire the new clothes. O'Toole didn't know how else to review himself, until he pulls out a knife and uses the steel as a mirror. As he tells it, Lean whispers off-camera "Clever lad."
  • Troubled Production: Check out the entry on the pertinent page. Along with Apocalypse Now and Heaven's Gate, Lawrence is pretty much a Trope Codifier.
  • What Could Have Been: Several actors were offered the leading role, including Marlon Brando, but Lean initially seemed set on Albert Finney, an unknown actor with few roles to his credit. Finney received an elaborate, four day screen test, performing scenes from early script drafts with several actors and reciting passages from Lawrence's Seven Pillars of Wisdom. Finney impressed Lean and producer Sam Spiegel, but Spiegel demanded Finney sign a multi-picture contract. Finney refused, instead performing his Star-Making Role in Saturday Night and Sunday Morning while Lawrence was still in production. Enter Peter O'Toole and the rest is history.
  • Word of Gay: David Lean on the film's homoerotic subtext: "Yes. Of course it is. Throughout. Lawrence was very, if not entirely, homosexual. We thought we were being very daring at the time: Lawrence and Omar, Lawrence and the Arab boys."
    • Except a lot of people wouldn't notice until they were told, which kind of takes away the "daring". After all, just from watching Lawrence and Omar could be just Heterosexual Life Partners and Lawrence and the Arab boys could be Parental Substitute.
      • Or unless they watch the scene where Lawrence is alone after he first puts on his white Arab clothes.
      • Still: "You love him!" "No, I fear him." "Then why do you weep?" "I love him, but fear him." Not to mention the fact that its 1962 and this film had to be approved by the censors