David Lean’s most renowned film still sets the grand, gargantuan standard by which other screen epics are measured. Based on the memoirs of British officer and enigma T.E. Lawrence, Lean’s sun-drenched superproduction recounts the efforts to unite the Arab tribes against the Ottoman Turks during World War I. The film made an instant star of its striking lead, Peter O’Toole, then little known. (“If you’d been any prettier,” Noël Coward famously quipped to the actor, “it would have been ‘Florence of Arabia.’”) In one of the movie’s most celebrated scenes, Omar Sharif, as Sherif Ali, emerges on horseback out of the distant haze of the desert horizon, a tiny dot slowly growing into a man. The film’s seven Oscar wins included Best Picture, Director, Cinematography (Fred A. Young) and Score (Maurice Jarre). O’Toole, Sharif and screenwriter Robert Bolt received Oscar nominations. “One of the most literate and tasteful and exciting of expensive spectacles . . . played quite stunningly by O’Toole” (Pauline Kael). “More than any other film, Lawrence of Arabia represented Lean’s unique capacity to capture the exhilaration of physical adventure without sacrificing narrative elegance or abandoning the human scale” (Ephraim Katz). Colour, 35mm. 216 mins.
There will be an intermission.
PLEASE NOTE: Due to the extraordinary expense of this presentation, double bill prices in effect.