Running time for Lawrence of Arabia

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by JJR512, Jun 16, 2002.

  1. JJR512

    JJR512 Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 1999
    Messages:
    619
    Likes Received:
    0
    On the back of the Lawrence of Arabia DVD, the one with the canvas cover, it says the running time is 217 minutes. I've just watched all the special features, and somewhere in there (in a couple of places, actually), it mentions the original running time of the movie was 222 minutes. Then it mentions some cuts to placate movie theater owners, I believe 12 minutes cut by the director and 8 minutes cut by the producer, and then later, an additional amount (forget the exact length) was cut by Columbia. Then they talk about the restoration process, including how some of the actors had to re-record their lines because the audio was lost. What I'd like to know is if the DVD that I have is really missing five minutes. I'd also like to know how accurate to the original 222 minute release it really is, after all the cuts and restoration. Just tell me anything you know about the evolution of this film from the original cut to what we have today.
     
  2. John P Grosskopf

    John P Grosskopf Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2001
    Messages:
    313
    Likes Received:
    0
    The information below comes mostly from the liner notes for the first printing of the Criterion CAV Boxset of LOA released in 1989:

    LOA was first premeired at a Royal Command Performance in London. This cut was rushed in editing to meet that date, and was the first cut ever shown in theatrical release.

    David Lean than cut 10 minutes out at the order of Sam Spiegel, who later also cut out another 10 minutes without lean involved at all. The film now ran 202 minutes and was the cut that was sent out for worldwide distribution.

    When the film was sold for broadcast on TV, another 15 minutes were cut, and all theatrical reissues that followed were of this cut.

    When Robert Harris restored the film in 1986, the film now ran a little bit longer than the original 222 minutes length, as apparantly some footage that was shot but never edited into any other cut found its was into Harris' first assembly. Then working with David lean himself, Harris and his staff trimmed this version down to a definitve "Director's Cut" length of 217 minutes. Lean said he had originally intended to make these changes when first editing the film, but apparantly did not have the time to do the fine tuning he had intended due to the rushed release.

    The current restored 217 minute "Definitive Director's Cut" had its world premiere in New York City in February of 1989.
     
  3. JJR512

    JJR512 Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 1999
    Messages:
    619
    Likes Received:
    0
    OK, so what I have, the 217 minute cut, is basically a Director's Edition, that was restored by Robert Harris with David Lean? I guess this is the best version to have, then. Aside from the technical problems that I've seen mentioned in other threads recently.
     
  4. John P Grosskopf

    John P Grosskopf Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2001
    Messages:
    313
    Likes Received:
    0
     

Share This Page