Really, half this business is putting a rectangle around things. Put a square around something someone is looking at and he’ll say in surprise, “Oh, how beautiful.” And I don’t think it’s the photographer who provides the square. I do. - David Lean
On the set of Lawrence of Arabia (1962).
One of the cleverest things in Lawrence I think - I’m not sure whose idea it was, probably John Box - as you know Peter is given these robes fairly early on when he’s accepted by the Arabs, and then the rot starts to set in. And what they did was they gradually changed the material of which his Arab clothes were made, and they made it thinner and thinner until it was just muslin. At the end, he looked almost ghost-like, because the clothes he was wearing were the exact copies of the rich silk he wore at the beginning but they were almost transparent. It gave a kind of faded look which worked a treat. Nobody ever spots it. - David Lean
I supposed you could say he was a bit of a college boy. But he was highly professional. Worked like hell, never late, knew his lines. Had I said, “We’ll start the day with you standing on your head under that tree,” he’d say, “Oh, I see. Okay.” And he’d do it. If you asked some of the English actors to do much less, they’d start to argue. Trouble was, he was the biggest box office star in the world when he did Kwai. He was so good-looking and so accomplished that people kind of smiled – “Dear old Bill Holden, yes, very good” - and dismissed his talent. He had a huge talent and because it was apparently effortless, Bill never got the credit he deserved. - David Lean
— Peter O’Toole, on the filming of Lawrence of Arabia (via greenkneehighs)
Peter O’Toole communes with his co-star on the set of Lawrence of Arabia (1962, dir. David Lean)
“[In Lawrence of Arabia,] there was a famous scene of a charge in which my face was described by Time magazine as with a look of ‘messianic determination’ as we charged.
…The day of the charge, we were given Moroccan plow camels, who had never had a human being on their hump. We were doing a mile down a shaley hill - 50 camels and 400 horses. It was going to be very dangerous indeed. So I went to the caravan which Omar [Sharif] and I were sharing. As you may know, Omar is a gambling man. He was looking very solemn.
He said, ‘I’m working up the odds, Peter….whether or not the camel will fall over, or whether I will fall off the camel. The odds on the camel falling over are 6:4 against, but the odds of me falling off the camel are even money.’ I saw the sense of that so I asked, ‘What do you intend to do?’ He said, ‘I’m going to tie myself onto the camel.’
I thought, well, I don’t really fancy being adhered to a camel. So I said, ‘I’m not going to do that, Omar. I’m going to get drunk.’ And Omar said, ‘Oh, I’m going to get drunk as well.’ So we got a bottle of brandy and two bottles of milk and we drank the brandy and the milk. And of course by this time we were supremely confident of doing anything. So he was tied to the camel. Off went the rockets - boom! - and of course the camels, out of sheer terror, bolted.
And this look of ‘messianic determination’ on my face was, in fact, a drunk actor.”