Cinema: A Masterpiece Restored to the Screen: Lawrence of Arabia

Lawrence of Arabia shows how ravishing films used to be

It seemed a mad gamble: a $12 million epic about an eccentric English adventurer on the fringe of World War I, set in the sere deserts of the Middle East. It was hell to shoot: 18 months in the singeing sun of Jordan, Morocco and Spain. It had an obscure actor in the title role and no speaking parts for women. When it opened in New York City during the 1962 newspaper strike, one of the film's few reviewers, Andrew Sarris, called it "dull, overlong and coldly impersonal . . . hatefully calculating and condescending."

How sweet the balm of history....

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!