University of Texas, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

Irwin Margulies:

An Inventory of His Collection at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

Descriptive Summary

Creator Margulies, Irwin, 1907-1976
Title Irwin Margulies Collection
Dates: 1960-1972
Abstract: This collection consists mainly of correspondence, notes, and contracts Margulies either produced or received as courtesy copies while he was employed by Horizon Pictures. Most of the material in this collection is related to the 1962 production of Lawrence of Arabia.
RLIN Record # TXRC97-A4
Extent 2 boxes (.83 linear feet)
Language English.
Repository Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center University of Texas at Austin

Creator Sketch

Irwin Margulies was born in Austria on June 24, 1907, to a family who owned a chain of theaters in New York. He became involved in film exhibition as a small boy, managing the Regent Theatre, a vaudeville house, when he was only 19. Margulies received a B.A. degree from New York University in 1929 and a L.L.B. degree from the New York University Law School in 1931.

Margulies worked as counsel for many motion picture companies, producers, and distributors; radio and television producers, distributors, and personalities, and literary agencies. In 1930, while still a law student, Margulies began his career in the legal department at Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer (MGM), where he worked until 1942. He also held assistant secretary and counsel positions for MGM International Films, Inc. from 1945-47. In addition to the positions he held at MGM, Margulies was employed as general counsel for J. Robert Rubin from 1943-47. He retired from MGM to enter private practice in 1947, forming partnerships with Albert Heit and Stanley Rothenberg. Margulies joined the California Bar Association in 1948.

In 1954, Margulies started work as a vice-president with Horizon Pictures as a result of his representation of Sam Spiegel. He left his position at Horizon Pictures in 1967 to serve as a vice-president in charge of business affairs at Warner Brothers-Seven Arts. In the early 1970s, Margulies left to open his own law office in London returning a few years later to open offices in Los Angeles.

Margulies was the executive producer of the 1973 Walter Shenson Films release Digby--The Biggest Dog in The World.

Margulies died in Los Angeles following a stroke on May 5, 1979, at the age of 71.

Scope and Contents

The Irwin Margulies Collection consists mainly of correspondence, notes, and contracts Margulies either produced or received as courtesy copies while he was employed by Horizon Pictures. Most of the material in this collection is related to the 1962 production of Lawrence of Arabia. The papers are organized in two series: I. Horizon Pictures, 1960-1972 (1.75 boxes), which contains contracts, correspondence, revenue reports, memos, notes, and telegrams related to business conducted by or related to Horizon Pictures; and II. Other Business and Personal Papers, 1963-1971 (.25 box), which contains correspondence, financial statements, and contracts for business other than that related directly to Horizon Pictures, as well as material related to Irwin Margulies's personal affairs.

This collection documents the process Horizon Pictures went through in casting actors for parts in Lawrence of Arabia, the tribulations faced by a studio making a picture in remote locations and their dealings with a foreign government, the problems associated with writing the script for Lawrence of Arabia, as well as negotiations Horizon undertook with Columbia years after Lawrence of Arabia was released.

There are also materials related to business other than that of Horizon Pictures, generated mainly when Margulies was representing producer Sam Spiegel. In addition, there is correspondence directed to Margulies and related to his personal financial business.

The integrity of Margulies's filing system was maintained as closely as possible; groups of materials that were clipped together are filed together in their respective folders. This accounts for items appearing out of chronological order. Folder titles were based on those supplied by Margulies with more detailed information, for example the series title, supplied by the archivist.



Open for research

Index Terms

Bolt, Robert
Spiegel, Sam
Wilson, Michael
Horizon Pictures (G.B.) Ltd.
Lawrence of Arabia (Motion Picture)
Motion picture actors and acresses--Casting
Motion picture studios
Document Types
Legal documents

Administrative Information


Exchange, 1977

Processed by

Elizabeth A. Lanthier-Welch, 1997

Irwin Margulies Collection--Folder List

Series I. Horizon Pictures 1960-1972

This series contains files pertaining to production material for both cast and crew members with whom Horizon Pictures worked. The series has been subdivided into three subseries: Production Materials, Financial/Legal Material, and Miscellaneous. The Production Materials files are arranged alphabetically with cast members (actors) first, followed by crew members (this includes second-unit directors, a production manager, a director of photography, and a screenwriter). In most but not all cases, these files contain correspondence and contracts related to the production of Lawrence of Arabia. It should be noted that the files for cast member Omar Sharif and crew member Edward Chodorov do not contain materials related to the making of Lawrence of Arabia. While Sharif did appear in Lawrence of Arabia, the materials in his file refer to subsequent business dealings with Horizon Pictures.
The Financial/Legal Material subseries contains correspondence, contracts, and revenue reports related to a "June 15th 1964 memorandum." This memorandum deals with negotiations that Horizon Pictures entered into with Columbia regarding payment of moneys to Sam Spiegel and David Lean as determined by the gross receipts of Lawrence of Arabia. The title for the two folders in this series was supplied by Margulies, however, there are materials related to other Horizon Pictures/Columbia Pictures productions such as Suddenly Last Summer, Nicholas and Alexandra,and Bridge on the River Kwai. There is also an opinion about Peter O'Toole's breach of contract with Horizon Pictures during the period 1970-71 in folder 2.5.
The Miscellaneous subseries contains a report prepared in March 1963 by advertising company Arthur S. Dixon Ltd. Columbia Pictures asked Arthur S. Dixon Ltd. to conduct a small-scale survey in Manchester, England, to look at the background factors influencing the showing of Lawrence of Arabia and to research behavior, attitudes, and opinions of Mancunians with regard to the cinema in general and the film Lawrence of Arabia in particular. This subseries also includes materials related to the Sam Spiegel's investment in a play written by Garson Kanin called "Come on Strong" as well as a request for and synopsis of the screenplay "The Bait," written by Daniel Fuchs.
Subseries A. Production Material
box folder
1 1 Johar, I. S., 1961-63
2 Rains, Claude, 1961-63
3 Rossington, Norman, 1961-63
4 Saunders, Stuart, 1961-62
5 Sharif, Omar, 1961, 1967
6 Stuntmen, 1961-64
7 Taylor, Jeremy, 1961
8 Wolfit, Donald, 1961-62
9 Miscellaneous, 1961-63
box folder
1 10 Chodorov, Edward, 1961
11 de Toth, Andre, 1962-63
12 Howard, Noel, 1962-63
13 Palmer, John, 1961-62
box folder
2 1 Smagghe, André, 1962
2 Young, F. A., 1961-62
3 Wilson, Michael, 1960-63
Subseries B. Financial/Legal Material
box folder
2 4-5 re Lawrence of Arabia June 15th 1964 memorandum, 1960-64, 1966-68, 1970-72
Subseries C. Miscellaneous
box folder
2 6 Report on Survey Conducted in Manchester, Lawrence of Arabia, 1963
7 Other properties, 1962, 1964

Series II. Other Business and Personal Papers, 1963-1971

This series contains correspondence, contracts, and checks unrelated to Horizon Pictures business. Sam Spiegel's 1964 sale of oil and gas leases is documented in folder 2.8, Irwin Margulies's banking transactions with the International Credit Bank in Geneva are documented in folder 2.9, and a returned check made payable to the Society of Authors can be found in folder 2.10.
box folder
2 8 Hallgarten & Co., London Office, 1963-65
9 International Credit Bank, Geneva, 1970-71
10 Miscellaneous, 1965

Irwin Margulies Collection--Index of Correspondents

  • Academy Pictures Enterprises, A.G.--1.10, 2.3
  • Air Jordan--1.13
  • Albatros Enterprises Trust--2.8
  • Allday, Ron--See Horizon Pictures (G.B.) Ltd.
  • Atalla, F. B.--1.13
  • Biagioni, E.--See International Credit Bank Geneva
  • Benkaim, Ralph--See Jaffe Agency, Inc.
  • Bernheim, Alain--1.12, 2.1
  • Bernsen, Harry Jr.--See Jaffe Agency, Inc.
  • Birnbaum, Bernard--See Columbia Pictures Corporation
  • Bolt, Robert--2.3
  • Borrelli, Felicia--See Transocean Pictures, Inc.
  • British Actors' Equity Association--1.1, 1.6
  • Cardew-Smith & Holland--2.3
  • Cardew-Smith & Ross--1.1, 1.6, 1.9
  • Cassell, Duncan G.--See Columbia Pictures Corporation
  • Cattaneo, G.--See Horizon Pictures (G.B.) Ltd.
  • Christopher Mann Ltd.--1.1, 1.2, 2.5
  • Clelland, H. A.--1.1
  • Columbia Pictures Corporation--1.2, 1.5, 1.6, 1.11, 1.12, 2.2, 2.4, 2.5
  • Columbia Pictures International Corporation--See Columbia Pictures Corporation
  • Croasdell, Gerald-See British Actors' Equity Association
  • De Toth, Andre, 1910- --1.11
  • Donally, Andrew-See Columbia Pictures Corporation
  • Farrow, Bersey, Gain, Vincent & Co.--2.8
  • Feigenbaum, Jack--See Columbia Pictures Corporation
  • Findlay, John-See M.C.A. (England) Ltd.
  • Fullerton & Holdaway--1.6, 2.3
  • Fullerton, W.J.--See Cardew--Smith & Ross
  • Gencheff, Carmen--See Jaffe Agency, Inc.
  • George Marton Plays--2.7
  • GHQ Jordan Armed Forces--1.13
  • Graf, William N.--See Columbia Pictures Corporation
  • Hall, E. A.--See Pattinson & Brewer
  • Hallgarten & Co.--2.8
  • Handelsbank in Zürich--2.4
  • Harben, Roger--See British Actor's Equity Association
  • Heit, Albert--See Heit & Rothenberg and Margulies & Heit
  • Heit & Rothenberg--1.5, 2.5
  • Herms & Co. Bankgeschäft--2.8
  • Hess Segall Popkin & Guterman--1.5
  • Holdaway, Frederick--See Fullerton & Holdaway
  • Horizon Pictures (G.B.) Ltd.--1.1-1.13, 2.1-2.5, 2.7-2.8
  • Howard, Noel, 1920- --1.12
  • International Credit Bank Geneva--2.9
  • Jaffe Agency, Inc.--1.2
  • Johar, I. S.--1.1
  • Johnson, J. G.--2.3
  • Kanin, Garson, 1912- --2.7
  • Kwai, A. G.--2.1
  • Levine, E. A.--See Columbia Pictures Corporation
  • Maller, Brian--See Christopher Mann Ltd.
  • Mann, Christopher--See Christopher Mann Ltd.
  • Margulies & Heit--1.2, 1.11, 1.12
  • Margulies, Heit & Rothenberg--2.4, 2.8
  • M.C.A. (England) Ltd.--1.11, 2.2
  • Mitchell May, Jr. Company--1.12
  • Monley, Eva--See Horizon Pictures (G.B.) Ltd.
  • Moross, Irving--See Columbia Pictures Corporation
  • Ottoman Bank--1.13
  • Palmer, John--See Horizon Pictures (G.B.) Ltd.
  • Pattinson & Brewer--1.6
  • Perry, Rosina--See Christopher Mann Ltd.
  • Rheiner, Sam--See Horizon Pictures (G.B.) Ltd. and Transocean Pictures, Inc.
  • Rothenberg, Stanley--See Heit & Rothenberg and Margulies, Heit & Rothenberg, 1.2, 1.12
  • Screen Writers Guild--2.3
  • S. Howard Apfel & Co.--2.8
  • The Society of Authors (Great Britain)--2.10
  • Sommer, Seymour D.--See William Morris Agency
  • Spector, Maude--1.1-1.4, 1.8, 1.9
  • Spiegel, Sam--See Horizon Pictures (G.B.) Ltd.
  • Steiner, Lee N.--See Hess Segall Popkin & Guterman
  • Tapper, Melbourne--See Columbia Pictures Corporation
  • Thompson, Leslie--See Horizon Pictures (G.B.) Ltd.
  • Thornburn, Lew--See Horizon Pictures (G.B.) Ltd.
  • Twohigg, David--2.2
  • Transocean Pictures, Inc.--1.2, 1.11-1.13, 2.8
  • White, David--See Horizon Pictures (G.B.) Ltd.
  • William Morris Agency--1.5
  • Willkie Farr Gallagher Walton & Fitzgibbon--2.8
  • Wilson, Michael--2.3
  • Woolfenden, John--See Horizon Pictures (G.B.) Ltd.