On this Day in Movie History, April 8 1963: Lawrence of Arabia Grabs Eight Academy Awards

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It was on this day, April 8, 1963 “Lawrence of Arabia” won seven Oscars including the #1 award for Best Picture at the 35th Annual Academy Awards at Santa Monica s Civic Auditorium (Los Angeles). The epic production earned Oscars for David Lean (Best Director); Freddie Young (Best Cinematography/Color); John Box, John Stoll, & Dario Simoni (Best Art Direction/Set Decoration/Color); John Cox with Shepperton SSD (Best Sound); Anne V. Coates (Best Film Editing); Maurice Jarre (Best Music/Score – Substantially Original).

Based on the life of T. E. Lawrence, it was directed by David Lean and produced by Sam Spiegel through his British company, Horizon Pictures, with the screenplay by Robert Bolt and Michael Wilson. Starring Peter O’Toole in the title role, it is widely considered one of the greatest and most influential films in the history of cinema. The dramatic score by Maurice Jarre and the Super Panavision 70 cinematography by Freddie Young are also highly acclaimed.

The film depicts Lawrence’s experiences in Arabia during World War I, in particular his attacks on Aqaba and Damascus and his involvement in the Arab National Council. Its themes include Lawrence’s emotional struggles with the personal violence inherent in war, his personal identity, and his divided allegiance between his native Britain and its army and his newfound comrades within the Arabian desert tribes.

Ol’ Blue Eyes, Frank Sinatra, hosted the festivities honoring the films of 1962 (including the film Sinatra starred in, “The Manchurian
Candidate”.)

Other than “Lawrence of Arabia” the movies that won the top awards included “To Kill a Mockingbird” (Best Actor – Gregory Peck; Best Art Direction/Set Decoration/Black-and-White – Alexander Golitzen, Henry Bumstead, Oliver Emert; Best Writing/Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium – Horton Foote); “The Miracle Worker” (Best Actress – Anne Bancroft, Best Supporting Actress – Patty Duke); “Sweet Bird of Youth” (Best Supporting Actor – Ed Begley); and “Days of Wine and Roses” [title song] (Best Music/Song: – Henry Mancini (music), Johnny Mercer lyrics).

Other notable flicks of that year including some award winners, and some not: “Taras Bulba”, “Mutiny on the Bounty”, “Walk on the Wild Side”, “The Longest Day”, “The Music Man”, “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance”, “Birdman of Alcatraz”.

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