During production,no one knew that this would be a bold or mad act of genius it would be to make Lawrence of Arabia,or even think that it could be made. In the words years later of one of it's stars,Omar Sharif: "If you are the man with the money and somebody comes to you and says he wants to make a film that's four hours long,with no stars,and no women,and no love story,and not much action either,and he wants to spend a huge amount of money to go film it in the desert-what would you say?" The impulse to make this movie was based,above all,on imagination. The story of Lawrence is not founded on violent battle scenes or cheap melodrama but on David Lean's ability to imagine what it would look like to see a spec appear on the horizon of the desert and slowly grow into a human being. There are severa moments in the film when the hero,the British eccentric soldier and author T.E. Lawrence has survived a suicidal trek across the desert and is within reach of shelter and water-and he turns around and goes back,to find a friend who has fallen behind. This sequence builds up to the shot in which the shimmering heat of the desert reluctantly yields the speck that becomes a man-a shot that is held for a long time. That is just the first of several scenes that stand out which includes the spectacular battle sequences and in the moment where Peter O'Toole's character does a victory dance on top of a Turkish train. For a movie that runs 216 minutes,plus intermission is one of cinema's great masterpieces and for it's 50th Anniversary it still stands throughout the test of time(originally the running time stands at 227 minutes which was the roadshow version complete with full entrance overture and intermission and exit music). When it came out in 1962,it became the highest grossing film in the history of Columbia Pictures,not to mentioning becoming the highest grossing picture that year. Nominated for an impressive 12 Oscars,it was victorious in winning 7 including the Best Picture of 1962. Lawrence of Arabia might have been lost forever if it hadn't been for the film's restorers Robert A. Harris and Jim Painten They discovered the original negative in Columbia's vaults,inside crushed,and rusting film cans,and also was missing about thirty-five minutes of footage that had been trimmed by distributors final Lean's final cut(when in the 1971 re-release was completely butchered). They painstakenly put it together again,sometimes by one crumbling frame at a time. But to see this in a movie theater is to basically appreciate the subtlety of Freddie Young's Oscar winning cinematography. Lawrence of Arabia was one of the last films to be actually photographed in 70mm(Super Panavision 70),and to see this in it's restored Technicolor format after it's glorious re-release in 1989 and to experienced this in full 6-channel Dobly Stereo Sound is something every filmgoer can appreciate. Lawrence of Arabia made Peter O'Toole an international icon and a major bonafide star along with Omar Sharif(who would go on to star in another David Lean epic "Doctor Zhivago" three years later). The cast itself is astounding ranging from Alec Guinness,Anthony Quinn,Claude Rains,Arthur Kennedy,Jack Hawkins,Anthony Quayle and Jose Ferrer. Please avoid the cable TV versions and it is worth seeing in a huge movie theater with 70mm projection.