Chapter

Riding the Whirlwind

Steven C. Caton

in Lawrence of Arabia

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 1999 | ISBN: 9780520210820
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520919891 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520210820.003.0004
Riding the Whirlwind

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This chapter discusses how Lawrence of Arabia becomes implicated in a more significant story about Hollywood's embarrassing political history. It shows the changes Michael Wilson (one of the film's screenwriters) made on the script of Lawrence of Arabia, as well as the controversy that surrounded the Michael Wilson affair. It first provides some background information on Wilson and at the same time relates how he learns to become political in his art and the constraints placed upon him by government and industry censorship. It then studies the structure of the final screenplay and describes Lean's reservations about his treatment and Robert Bolt's innovations in dramatic form. The chapter also looks at some of Lean's dissatisfactions with Wilson's artistic treatment and the cuts made in the film that damaged it considerably.

Keywords: political history; Michael Wilson; controversy; censorship; final screenplay; structure; innovations; dramatic form; artistic treatment

Chapter.  17840 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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