Lawrence of Arabia

N.p. N.p., Circa 1962. Substantial archive of material relating to the 1962 film "Lawrence of Arabia," belonging to production manager John Palmer, including 75 vintage black and white photographs taken by Palmer while on location in Jordan, and six film negative wallets containing over 180 negatives, some corresponding to the photographs, many containing unique images not present in the prints. Five marked in holograph ink and pencil annotation with Palmer's name.

From the collection of John Palmer.

Eleven photographs with the stamp of still photographer Albert Flouty (who worked as the royal photographer to King Hussein of Jordan) on the verso, and one with the stamp of Horizon Pictures. Many photographs with brief holograph ink annotations on the verso, identifying figures in the photograph.

Additionally included in the archive is a folder containing a considerable number of letters and telegraph cables relating to locations and accommodation during production, between Palmer, director David Lean, producer Sam Spiegel, and British Ambassador to Libya Anthony Nutting, as well as a typescript report titled "Brief Report on United Kingdom of Libya with Regard to Possible Locations for Lawrence of Arabia Film" (Libya was ultimately passed over for location shooting for the film). Notable among the letters is a sizable xerographically reproduced letter from Lean, detailing his rising anxieties over the cost of the film.

A few photographs show Lean and a camera crew at work, engaged in filming scenes, but the balance are candid shots of members of the cast and crew between takes, relaxing, laughing, talking, eating and drinking, and generally posing on the set, in Wadi Rum and Aqaba, Jordan. Multiple photographs document the airstrip and tents, as well as capturing Jordanian locals riding camels in various desert locations, allowing an unusually intimate glimpse of life and work on the camp. Lean, Spiegel, Palmer and his wife Grace, and cinematographer Freddie Young appear in multiple shots. Also notable in the collection is a striking photograph of actor Peter O'Toole sporting a keffiyeh.

The archive also includes multiple photographs of Lean, Palmer, and Spiegel meeting with King Hussein on the set and in Amman. Hussein, whose government provided frequent assistance with location scouting, transportation, and logistics during production, visited the set several times, and maintained cordial relationships with cast and crew members. While the film was originally intended to be shot in its entirety in Jordan, rising costs as well as an outbreak of illness among the cast and crew forced production to relocate to Spain and Morocco. As with most Arab nations at the time, the Jordanian government ultimately banned the film for what was felt to be a disparaging portrayal of Arab culture.

Based on T.E. Lawrence's 1926 autobiography "Seven Pillars of Wisdom." Opening in 1935 with the death of Lawrence (Peter O' Toole) in a motorcycle accident at the age of 46, we follow, in flashback, Lawrence as a young intelligence officer in 1916 Cairo, assigned to investigate the progress of the Arab revolt against the Turks. A landmark of British cinema, now considered one of the most influential adventure films ever made. Winner of seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

Shot on location in Jordan and Morocco, and in Almeria and Donana in Spain.

Photographs and negatives generally Very Good plus, several photographs lightly toned, a few with small tears, soil, and edgewear. Folder and contents with some faint age toning, else Near Fine overall.

National Film Registry. Ebert I.

[Book #151827]