HIDDEN GEMS: 25. LAWRENCE OF ARABIA

Hidden Gems brings to light little known film gems which have somehow slipped through the collective cinematic consciousness. This week David Lean’s rarely seen Lawrence of Arabia. You’re welcome.

When David Lean’s adaptation of T.E.Lawrence’s Seven Pillars of Wisdom came out, no one went to see it. Everyone said: ‘why isn’t it called the Seven Pillars of Wisdom? That’s a doozy of a title!’ It isn’t like David Lean doesn’t know how to adapt books. He made Great Expectations.  Or Dickens of London to give the originally title. Set in Tatooine, Lawrence of Arabia stars Michael Fassbender’s android from Prometheus and Alien Covenant as Peter O’Toole as T.E. Lawrence. It shows how the young British officer managed to win the trust of the Bedouin tribes – led by the finest Arabic actors Anthony Quin and Alec Guinness, along with Egyptian Omar Sharif – to engage in a tribal war against the occupying Turks.

As the war progresses, Lawrence’s single-handed determination and ascetic self-sacrifice leads to a kind of megalomania and fanaticism. It is a cunning psychological study of a man who wishes to deny his own humanity and escape himself. Within lies also the glamour and the brutality of war. At once a stirring adventure film and a keenly observed study of how a powerful personality can manipulate history to his own ends for a limited period. The politics of the situation are also sadly relevant as superpowers use the middle east as nothing more than a conveniently distant battleground and then divide the spoils with scant attention to the locals.

The imagery is beautiful – never before or since have landscapes been imbued with such meaning, beauty and terror. And the score by Maurice Jarre is so good it’s become a cliché. But the film roots itself in the Peter O’Toole’s performance. Lawrence’s sexuality, vulnerability and almost otherworldly way of seeing things come over amazingly. Which could be why it was never heard of again. Until now.

For more Hidden Gems CLICK HERE.

5 FACTS YOU NEVER KNEW ABOUT PETER O’TOOLE

HOLLYWOOD – Peter O’Toole was one of the best actors of a brilliant generation. In honor of him and his passing, we’ve dusted off some FACTS from the Lawrence of FACT-abia.

1. Although Lawrence of Arabia is quite long at 228 minutes, it actually took longer to film. Almost a half day in fact.

2. Peter O’Toole is often seen as one of a generation of great drinkers who have sometimes been accused of wasting their talents by occasionally being distracted by acting jobs.

3. His most famous roles have been historical personages: Henry II in The Lion in Winter, Henry IV in Becket and Zaltar Supergirl.

4. When Wolfgang Petersen hired O’Toole to play Priam in Troy, the actor was so impressed by the script that he made the film for free. 

5.  Peter O’Toole made much of his Irish heritage, but he’s actually Swedish and his real name is Pol Heplestoom.

For more FACTS click here.  

BREAKFAST WITH ASSHOLES 4. WOODY ALLEN

HOLLYWOOD – For many the finest comedian cinema has known, Woody Allen today agreed to sit down and give an in-depth interview EXCLUSIVELY to the Studio Exec.

Woody Allen answers the door in his sweats.

‘Hey come in,’ he says. ‘I was just getting in a quick workout before breakfast.’ He leads me through to the gym. ‘Do you mind if I finish? I’m on sets of fifties so I don’t want to break my biorhythm. Just go through to the kitchen. Soon-Yi, get off the machine. It’s my turn. Come on let’s go.’

Half an hour later, Allen emerges, showered and ready for the world. The 77 year old actor, writer, director and comedian looks in great shape. He jogs on the spot before settling down to his breakfast: some toast, a power smoothie and yeast extract that he eats with a spoon.

‘I notice you’re not wearing glasses,’ I say. ‘Strange to see you without them. Are you wearing contacts?’

‘God no, I never needed them,’ Allen smiles broadly and slaps my shoulder. ‘Glasses I mean. It was just, you know, a gimmick, I suppose you could say. When I started in What’s Up Pussy Cat … which was what? 1965? Anyway Peter O’Toole says to Charlie Feldman, “Charlie get the kid some glasses. He’s an intellectual, he should be wearing glasses.” Jesus, those actors, they’re so insecure; just a bundle of neuroses really. But the look stuck, so you know… How’s your yoghurt? That’s goats yoghurt from Siberia.’

‘Your latest films have been mainly European affairs, what attracts you about working…?’

‘Sorry, I can’t help it,’ Allen laughs. ‘When you talk you remind me of, who was that guy Soon-Yi? The one in the stupid movie about the fucking tree? Yeah that’s it. You remind me of Brad Pitt.’

‘Really?’

‘Yeah, really. Brad Pitt. So yeah. Europe. Yeah. I don’t know. I like it I guess and they love my work even when I don’t. So it was a perfect fit. Look at me. I’m sitting with Brad Pitt.’

‘I look nothing like Brad Pitt.’

‘Yeah, you do. Next question.’

‘You have a keen interest in jazz.’

‘No.’

‘No?’

‘Used to. No longer.’

‘How come?’

‘Got bored. Next question, Brad.’

Allen stands up and starts doing star jumps. ‘Erm…?’

‘You want to ask me about that douche bag, Mel Gibson? Go ahead and ask.’

Woody Allen and Mel Gibson had a set to recently in a Hollywood restaurant. (Click here for a full report).

‘Would you like to give…’

‘I kicked that asshole’s ass. And Vin Diesel is there like “Go easy” and I’m like “back off Vin or do you want some as well?” Shit, that Fast and Furious motherfucker went pale and trembled like a plastic bag caught on a hurricane fence.’

‘Did you object to Mr Gibson because of his alleged anti-Semitism?’

‘Alleged my ass, they recorded him. Anyway that weren’t the reason. It was more to do with What Women Want. I can’t stand that film.’

‘And now the new Batman film?’

‘Great it’s been fantastic. Yeah dream project. Difficult to follow what Chris has done blah de blah you fill in the blanks. Gotta scoot me and Soon-Yi are running a half marathon Thursday so we got to get some training in. See you later, Brad.’

‘Chad.’

‘Yeah. Whatever.’

And with that Woody Allen runs into the street shouting, ‘It’s me Broadway Danny Rose the Zeligster himself, come on, who wants some?’

For more on the latest news of the Woody Allen Batman click here and for all the Breakfasts CLICK HERE.