Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Limited Edition SteelBook from director David Lean, Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment comes the stunning story of LAWRENCE OF ARABIA.

Lawrence (Peter O’Toole) is in the British Army in World war I and is sent by his reluctant superiors to serve in the Arab Bureau to learn about Prince Faisal’s revolt against the Turks. Upon arrival, he meets Col. Brighton (Anthony Quayle) who orders him to do his job and leave.

Yet when he meets Prince Faisal (Alec Guinness), he does not listen to orders and the royal is keen on Lt. Lawrence. He goes so far as to suggest that the Prince set up a surprise attack on the port of Aqaba which not only gives the Prince a strong-hold, but also gets the British their supplies.

The Prince gives Lawrence fifty men with Sherif Ali (Omar Sharif), and two servants to help. Crossing the Nefud Desert, a man goes missing in the night and Lawrence will go no further until he is found. This gets him the respect of the Arab men, but it turns quickly.

After the Turkish victory, Lawrence is promoted to Major and can now help the Arab, yet they are suspicious. The new Major knows that their suspicions have grounds. Yet, he goes full force against the Turks with Ali at his side helping him.

Lawrence also turns to Auda Tayi (Anthony Quinn) for help but finds he is in over his head with feuds. Yet when Lawrence is scouting, he is captured by the Turk Bey (Jose Ferrer) and their encounter leaves him physically and mentally devastated. Ali finds him and he returns to British Headquarters.

General Allenby calls Lawrence up again to help with a push on Damascus but he wants nothing to do with it. When he agrees, his army is not like his previous garrison who just fights for whoever has the money. Lawrence becomes a part of something regretful that has consequences.

Arriving in Damascus, a council is set up, but the British have other plans that bring the new Colonel back to Britain.

O’Toole as Lawrence is absolutely stunning in this role. The first time I saw this film I was struck by its scope of course but it was the performance of O’Toole that kept me riveted. A character that shows us the excess of power and the frailty of trying to rule over a people who do not want to be ruled. O’Toole gave those characterizations but also a performance that could never and should never be attempted again.

Sharif as Ali, what can I saw about the man who made me fall in love with DOCTOR ZHIVAGO. In this role he is daring and clings to the beliefs of his people and rightly so. He fights along side Lawrence because he sees something in him that can change the course of his country. Always leery, always watching and always amazing to watch him bring this character to life.

Guinness as Faisal is equally leery, but he does so in a completely different way than the character of Ali. Faisal dons his robes and uses his own brand of grace and elegance to watch and see what Lawrence can accomplish. It would be so many years later that I would see this actor’s reach as Obi-Wan Kenobi in the STAR WARS franchise. It is all the roles in between that I spent years catching up on everything he had done.

Quinn as Tayi is tough and does not like anyone telling him what to or what to think. Constantly going up against Lawrence, he still loves a good fight and just needs to be pointed in the right direction. Ferrer as Bey has a smaller role, but it is important in that it changes Lawrence a great deal.

Other cast include Donald Wolfit as General Murray, Henry Oscar as Silliam, Michel Ray as Farraj, John Dimech as Daud, Zia Mohyeddin as Tafas, Harry Fowler as Corp. Potter, Ian MacNaughton as Corp. Hartley, Gamil Ratib as Majid, Arthur Kennedy as Jackson Bentley, Claude Rains as Mr. Dryden

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On 4K Ultra HD is the Feature Presentation in 4K Resolution with Dolby Vision, Fully Restored from the Original Camera Negative with Special Features including – Peter O’Toole Revisits LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, Making of LAWRENCE OF ARABIA Documentary, Deleted Balcony Scene with Introduction by Anne V. Coates, and The Lure of the Desert: Martin Scorsese on LAWRENCE OF ARABIA.

Also, A Conversation with Steven Spielberg, Wind, Sand and Star: The Making of a Classic (1963 and 1970 Versions), Maan, Jordan: The Camels Are Cast, In Search of Lawrence, Romance of Arabia, King Hussein Visits LAWRENCE OF ARABIA Set, In Love with the Desert Documentary, and Lawrence at 50: A Classic Restored.

Finally, Archival Interviews, New York Premiere Footage, Advertising Campaigns and Vintage Trailers & TV Spots.

LAWRENCE OF ARABIA was nominated for ten Oscars in 1963. The film won seven including Best Pictures and Best Director. The music score was by Maurice-Alexis Jarre with cinematography by Freddie Young. In 1998, the American Film Institute put LAWRENCE OF ARABIA on their list of 100 of the Great Films listing it at number five.

It is with ease to understand why beginning with an amazing cast of actors that have left an indelible mark on filmmaking and LAWRENCE OF ARABIA shows us why. The cinematography is just breathtaking with the vastness of the desert which is punctuated with a score that makes the heartbeat loudly. The costuming is mesmerizing and when the wind is blowing and the costumes flow, it is captivating.

Director Lean has taken a story and given it simplicity and grandness at the same time. I have seen the film in a theatre and, now coming to SteelBook, my 73-inch television and sound bar is going to take me back into the theatre again to enjoy this epic creation.

In the end – the desert holds the history!



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About the Author

Jeri Jacquin

Jeri Jacquin covers film, television, DVD/Bluray releases, celebrity interviews, festivals and all things entertainment.