Regarding Charles Champlin's Dec. 31 article on director David Lean, in which he writes of "Lean's phenomenal persistence of vision in the pursuit of perfection":
This puff piece overlooked the worst example of casting in the history of film: Alec Guinness--Oxonian accent and all--as the Arab chieftain in "Lawrence of Arabia."
I shall never forget the audience's howls of laughter when this veddy British actor made his entrance. Couldn't Lean have selected a decent Arab actor for this role?
And, finally, how much more effective it would have been had the background music been authentically Middle Eastern instead of the overlarded "symphonic" cliche music that distracted from, rather than augmented, the action.
Ho-hum. Everybody's a genius today.
JACK CATRAN, Sepulveda