|Lawrence of Arabia, 1962 movie poster. Notice the credits at the bottom (enlarged at right). Peter O'Toole, in the title role, does not receive top billing (not even close, in fact).|
It's axiomatic with regard to filmmaking, that what you see on the screen is "art by committee." That's not to say that all the committee members are equal or contribute equally, but each are vital. This committee consisted of Sam Spiegel, the producer, David Lean, the director, Robert Bolt the screenwriter, and finally, Peter O'Toole the Lawrence. Take away any one of those four and the film would either never have existed or would have been a much lesser work. Most films are rated for their entertainment value, or their take at the box office, or the number of awards they win. Lawrence of Arabia has all that, but stands nearly alone, as Spielberg suggests, as one of only a handful of the most influential movies ever made.
|David Lean commanding his army of Bedouin extras.|
|David Lean with one of seven Academy|
Awards won by Lawrence of Arabia.
|O'Toole and Sharif, the acting axis around which Lawrence of Arabia rotated.|
|The resemblance of O'Toole to T.E. Lawrence was striking, except for the fact that O'Toole was several inches taller. British playwright, Noel Coward, complained that if O'Toole was any "prettier" they could have called it "Florence of Arabia."|
|Literally a cast of thousands. |
It would be fifty years before TV screens could handle an army like this.