The Art of Film, By Ian Christie

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The Independent Culture

Though John Box may be unfamiliar, he was responsible for one of the most memorable scenes in British cinema. The slow, ominous approach of Omar Sharif in Lawrence of Arabia was largely his creation. So was the memorable sequence in Man for All Seasons of changing seasons viewed from a Tower of London cell.

From Our Man in Havana (1959) to A Passage to India (1984), Box was a maestro of film production design. Ian Christie reveals that his contribution went far beyond sets. Box was responsible for the deadly game in Rollerball (1975) and took the decision to build a fake Aqaba in Spain for Lawrence, much to the disgust of producer Sam Speigel.

For The Great Gatsby (1974), he created Wilson's Garage (based on a Hopper painting) and its seedy Long Island setting on the Pinewood lot. Box's addition of black smoke "banishes any thought of Buckinghamshire", Christie notes.