Tag Archives: Columbia Pictures

Stunt Men of Lawrence of Arabia


Anytime a film is on location, everything gets more difficult. Lawrence of Arabia gets the nod for Best Movie Stunt for 1962 because it’s simply the longest on location film epic of all time. The film was shot over the course of a full year. Everything on the film is shot on location and for the most part in the harshest environment on Earth.Lawrence Of Arabia-21

During an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson in the 1970s, Peter O’Toole was describing just how long the movie took to make by referring to the scene when T.E. Lawrence and Gen. Allenby, after their meeting, continue talking while walking down a staircase. According to O’Toole, part of the scene had to be reshot much later, “so in the final print, when I get to the bottom of the stairs, I’m a year older than I was when I started walking down them.”

The film wasn’t without its peril, but no one died during the film shoot.  There was a scary moment although, when a gun (used to signal the beginning of the scene) went off prematurely, and O’Toole’s camel panicked, throwing him to the ground, while the extras on horseback began charging. Fortunately for O’Toole, his camel stayed still and stood over O’Toole, saving him from being trampled.Lawrence Of Arabia 3

The camels were definitely something to get used to, for the actors and the stunt men, but Peter O’Toole finally mastered his camel-riding technique by adding a layer of sponge rubber under the saddle to ease his bruised backside…a practical innovation quickly adopted by the actual Bedouin tribesmen acting as extras during the desert location filming.

Lawrence of Arabia was directed by David Lean for Columbia Pictures.lawrence

Things to look up (go to IMDB ):

  • Lawrence of Arabia
  • David Lean
  • Columbia Pictures
  • Peter O’Toole

Film Terms as described by Wikipedia: On Location – A filming location is a place where some or all of a film or television series is produced, in addition to or instead of using sets constructed on a movie studio backlot or soundstage. For example, the television series 24 is filmed primarily on location except for some scenes which are always filmed on the same sets.

In filmmaking, a location is any place where a film crew will be filming actors and recording their dialog. A location where dialog is not recorded may be considered as a second unit photography site. Filmmakers often choose to shoot on location because they believe that greater realism can be achieved in a “real” place, however location shooting is also often motivated by the film’s budget. For instance, the independent horror film Marianne was shot entirely on location in Sweden. However, many films shoot interior scenes on a sound stage and exterior scenes on location.

It is often mistakenly believed that filming “on location” takes place in the actual location in which its story is set, but this is not necessarily the case.

Check out our new Book, 100 Years of the Best Movie Stunts!

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Joe Powell and The Man Who Would Be King


Michael Caine wrote a very interesting account of this stunt on the fall off the rope bridge by Joe Powell in his autobiography, “The Elephant To Hollywood”. The stunt was a 100 foot drop in the ravine to an accumulation of cardboard boxes and mattresses below.man who would be king

The drop was so tight and set on the edge of the ravine that if the stuntman’s aim was off slightly or if the wind picked up, he would have fallen surely to his death. After Joe expertly dropped dead center on the boxes, the director John Huston turned to Michael and said, “That’s the damnest stunt I’ve ever seen.”

“The thing is,” explains Powell, “you don’t have time to be scared – if you stop to think about what you are doing you wouldn’t do it.

“These days you still see stuntmen falling off cliffs and going straight into a perfect dive. I didn’t have any training so when I performed a stunt the audience were literally seeing someone fall off a cliff – it made it more realistic.”

That is the great thing about Powell. Although his life-story reads like a Hollywood blockbuster you know it is a real-life story and that realism makes it all the more enthralling.

It’s very interesting to add that Joe’s brother Eddie was also an outstanding stuntman in his own right. He started out on the old Hammer Horror films doubling for Christopher Lee and was doing stunts into his late sixties. Stunt performers usually have family members that join the business as the stuntmen really feel like they have to have people they can really trust and count on to be on their crew.  There are a lot of stunt families where the children carry on the stunt tradition created by their parents. An example of this is with the Needham family, the Canutts, Armstrongs and many more of the movie stunt legends.  The Man Who Would Be King was directed by John Huston for Columbia Pictures.man who

Things to look up (go to IMDB):

Joe Powell
Eddie Powell
John Huston
The Man Who Would Be King
Columbia Picturesman who would be king2

Check out our new Book, 100 Years of the Best Movie Stunts!

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