By now I expect that most readers of this blog are aware of the fact that the actor Peter O'Toole passed away after a long illness on the Saturday just gone. He was a very fine actor appearing in both films and theatre (I really enjoyed Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell) and of course, came to world renown with his portrayal of Lawrence of Arabia in the 1962 David Lean film of the same name.
The film is one of my all-time favourites and from when I first saw it on video (sadly I have never seen it on the big screen although I was lucky enough to see my other film of the era - Zulu - at a cinema in the early 1970s) was enthralled by the whole Lawrence story. At the present time I have the film itself on Blu-Ray, the extended version of Maurice Jarre's superb soundtrack album, numerous Lawrence related books, have avidly read the Seven Pillars of Wisdom and planned numerous tabletop adventures set during the Arab Revolt.
The film was truly epic in scale and Peter O'Toole's performance was certainly worthy of an Oscar - he hold the record for the most nominations without actually winning one although did receive an honorary lifetime type one. Historically the film was all over the place and being described as 'based upon' is probably the most generous way to describe it - any film using Seven Pillars of Wisdom as a reference is always going to be on slightly wobbly ground - but, like Zulu, doe not in anyway detract from what was a towering cinematic achievement.
As Lawrence it is fair to say that he captures visually much of the complexity of the man and his many facets. It was a thought-provoking depiction although in reality he was around a foot too tall - Lawrence was quite short.
In closing I would say that the film Lawrence of Arabia, and the late, great Peter O'Toole's depiction of the man himself have been the main instigators of my lifelong interest in the Arab Revolt and have contributed, by extension to interests in many related areas.
R.I.P Peter O'Toole.