"We wanted to return this film to as pristine a condition as possible to honour its anniversary release," says Grover Crisp, EVP of Asset Management, Film Restoration and Digital Mastering for SPE. The original camera negative was scanned at 8K and the film went through a painstaking process of repairing problems inherent to the 50-year old film elements. Using the latest digital imaging technology, the colour grading and re-mastering was completed in 4K at Colorworks, Sony Pictures Entertainments' digital intermediate facility. "The original negative was seriously damaged in a number of ways, some problems dating from the original release and some accumulated over the years." says Crisp. "But, until now, we did not have the tools available to address these issues. We think fans of the film will be as amazed as we are at the detail and resolution in the imagery captured by cinematographer Freddie Young to compliment David Lean's immaculate direction." How true!!
Lawrence of Arabia arrives at blu ray with MPEG-4 AVC 1080p 2.19:1 encode. Now through the high scrutiny lens of blu ray comes an image of the greatness in the look back at Lawrence of Arabia that today requires only the gift of sight to see in all of its filmic glory. Sony's meticulous 4K restoration is not just a treat, it's a revelation and perhaps the definitive blu ray catalogue release, if not the format's finest presentation. It is a beautiful picture, to say the least, every frame lovingly cared for and displayed on blu-ray with the sort of attention to detail and, indeed, flawlessness that a film of this magnitude commands. Sony's picture dazzles from the opening shots of Lawrence speeding down very well-defined pavement and past sharp and accurate foliage. Detail remains exacting throughout the film; whether fine grains of sand, sweeping desert vistas, intricate clothing lines, or complex facial textures, there's never a frame in which the picture doesn't dazzle with its perfect film-like elements. The image is absolutely clean, showing no signs of wear and succumbing to no unwanted artifacts or digital tinkering. Colours are equally resplendent. Gold trim, bright reds, lush natural greens, and all variety of colours simply dazzle in every scene. Black levels are perfect, as is shadow detail. It is the sort of timeless image that transfixes and immerses, one that is so precise that viewers will become absolutely lost in the beauty of the film. One should watch it twice in succession, once for the transfer and once for the movie. (5/5)
Lawrence of Arabia makes its long-anticipated blu-ray debut with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless soundtrack that's up to the task of sonically carrying the film and supporting its splendid visuals. The prologue music plays with superb clarity, excellent separation and distinctive notes, natural heft, effortless balance, and fine spacing, including a prominent but natural surround element. Music is certainly the sonic highlight throughout the film and a necessary ingredient in dramatically shaping the Lawrence of Arabia experience. Maurice Jarre's stunning score has never sounded better on a home video release. This is a high quality vintage soundtrack that's the perfect compliment to a classic film and its first-class video transfer. (5/5)
Academy Award Winner (1963):
Best Picture (Sam Spiegel)
Best Director (David Lean)
Best Original Music Score (Maurice Jarre)
Best Cinematography (Freddie Young)
Best Sound (John Cox)
Best Editing (Anne V. Coates)
Best Set Direction, Colour
Academy Award Nominations:
Best Actor (Peter O’Toole)
Best Supporting Actor (Omar Sharif)
Best Writing, Screenplay
Did you notice that almost all movement in the film goes from left to right? David Lean said he did this to emphasize that the film was a journey.
While filming, Peter O'Toole referred to co-star Omar Sharif as "Fred," stating that "no one in the world is called Omar Sharif. Your name must be Fred."
The film missed out on a 11th Oscar nomination - for Best Costume Design - because someone forgot to submit Phyllis Dalton's name for consideration.
This Limited Edition box set is quite large, measuring 12” x 12”, larger than regular box sets like The Sound of Music, Singin’ In The Rain, etc. This huge box really reminded me of those huge laser disc box sets from the days gone by. The white box is sheathed in a clear plastic slide-on cover that lists specs and supplement info. Inside, there is a fantastic 88-page coffee table book of the same size, with rare behind-the-scenes photos. There is an individually numbered 70 mm mounted film frame.
There are 4 discs: disc 1: Feature Film with secrets of Arabia: Picture-in-Graphics Track; disc 2: Special Features; disc 3 (gift set exclusive disc), containing never-before-released deleted scenes, the lure of the desert: Martin Scorsese on Lawrence of Arabia, Lawrence at 50: a classic restored; In love with desert; King Hussein visits Lawrence of Arabia set; Wind, Sand and Star (Original 1963 version); archival interviews with William Friedkin, Sydney Pollack and Steven Spielberg; trailer & TV spots; disc 4: Soundtrack CD with original score from the film, with 2 previously unreleased tracks.
2012 is a very good year for vintage catalogue blu ray releases. Thankfully, they all had careful and detailed restoration. Thus, we are blessed with the best editions on blu ray in our collection, including E.T., Jaws, Indiana Jones, Cinderella, etc. And we end the year with the ultimate release of Lawrence of Arabia. Thanks to Sony for doing such a magnificent job in restoring this vintage classics to its original glory. This large box set is priceless, and will be displayed next to my other blu ray box sets, like Singin’ In The Rain, The Sound of Music, The Ten Commandments, The Wizard of Oz, Gone With The Wind and Ben Hur. This is indeed a special treat for all the Lawrence of Arabia fans. There are two blu ray discs of Special Features, and I shall take my time to slowly go through and enjoy each section. The song listing for the original score CD is found on the page within the case. There are two previously unreleased tracks: Entracte and Exit Music. The sound of the CD is very well remastered.
All in all, this box set has so many goodies: restored film with tons of Special Features in HD, large book with gorgeous pictures and information about All You Want To Know About Lawrence of Arabia, the well-remastered soundtrack CD with bonus tracks, plus the authentic film frame (70mm film print)…my conclusion: priceless! Naturally, this box set is very highly recommended! The 2-disc movie only edition is of course also highly recommended, but you will be missing out on a lot of bonus features, plus all the goodies stated above. Personally, I find the higher cost for the box set is definitely worthwhile, and just opening the box set to discover all the different goodies is already a gratifying experience, like a child again looking for all the goodies.
I hope the above review is helpful to you.
on September 1, 2002
It's a wonder this film was made at all. As Omar Sharif famously said (I'm quoting from memory, but this is close): "Say you are the man with the money at the studio. Someone comes to you and says he wants to make a film that's four hours long, with no action, no love story, no women at all, very little dialog, and no stars in the lead roles, and you want to go to one of the most remote places in the world to film it. What would you say?"
Fortunately, it was made, and stands to this day as the greatest epic ever filmed. The dialog is indeed sparse, but memorable. There's not a wasted word in this movie. There is action, but it's not the focus of the film, this isn't an "action" movie. O'Toole and Sharif were relative unknowns at the time, but this film made them international stars. There is indeed no love story. Lawrence is believed to have been homosexual, and that aspect of his character is hinted at in the film, but not really addressed (this was 1962, after all). They did in fact film it in the vast, remote Jordanian desert, and that desert is as much a character in the film as any of the actors. If there was ever a more beautifully filmed movie, I haven't seen it. To say the cinematography is breathtaking is to fail to do it justice. The DVD looks spectacular, you have to remind yourself constantly that you're looking at a movie filmed over 40 years ago. The sound has also been remastered, and Maurice Jarre's score sounds glorious. Don't listen to those who say Lawrence of Arabia is overrated. It's impossible to overrate this movie.
on May 5, 2002
The Lawrence of Arabia boxed set released by Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment is based on a 1988 restoration of the film. This version omits some of the very best scenes from the original picture; specifically, the long, tense, horse & camel charge on Akabar. The "1988" version only has about a 30 second mish-mash of footage from the original picture. There are also other shorter, less dramatic, but "arguably" important scenes missing from this version.
I only saw the movie for the first time in 1991. A restored version was being played in Austin, TX and a friend insisted that we simply had to go see it on the big screen. Needless to say, I loved it. But, my absolute favorite part was the charge on Akabar. When I bought the video, I actually fast-forwarded through to see the "charge"?! Imagine my suprise when it was not there. If you can find a more complete version than the one TriStar currently has available, I heartily recommend buying it instead of this current release. I wish I had.
on July 12, 2004
LAWRENCE OF ARABIA is, without a doubt, the greatest historical epic ever filmed and the crowning achievement of David Lean's career. It's also the film that makes best use of the majestic desert landscape with shots of extraordinary rock formations, dunes, shimmering "mirages," and caravans making their way across seemingly endless sands.
LAWRENCE OF ARABIA tells the story of T.E. Lawrence and his adventures in the Middle East during World War I as he led the Arab revolt against the Turks. It is loosely based on Lawrence's book, THE SEVEN PILLARS OF WISDOM.
Even though there are battle scenes in LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, this film is, first and foremost, a character study of Lawrence who was, by anyone's account, a fascinating figure. Even the battle scenes serve to enhance the character of Lawrence rather than detailing the horrors of war and we see Lawrence's dark, embittered side as well as his heroic one.
Although Peter O'Toole wasn't David Lean's first choice to play Lawrence (both Marlon Brando and Albert Finney were offered the part), I can't imagine anyone else in the title role.
Omar Sharif is impressive as Sherif Ali Ibn El Kharish. Prior to this film, he was a virtual unknown, but LAWRENCE OF ARABIA launched Sharif on a long career that made him instantly recognizable the world over.
Even though O'Toole and Sharif weren't well-known when they starred in LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, the film's supporting case is certainly stellar: Alec Guiness, Anthony Quinn, Jose Ferrer and Claude Raines.
Although I think LAWRENCE OF ARABIA is best viewed on a large theatrical screen, this doesn't mean anyone should pass up the DVD. It's just too good for that, especially the Director's Cut (but do make sure you get the widescreen edition; this film demands it).
Don't watch LAWRENCE OF ARABIA expecting to get a history lesson. Watch it to learn more about the fascinating man who was T.E.Lawrence. If you do, I can't see any way you'll be disappointed.
on July 1, 2004
This is simply , a towering movie. Just a few films show with so splendor the epical sense as this one. Not only it established a standard as the best work filmed in the desert: the kinetic existence of this well educated man who fights in a conflict absolutely out his concerns . It's impossible not remind to Lord Byron when he died in Greece , fighting by a noble cause.
All the cast was incredible. Alec Guiness , Omar Shariff, Anthony Quinn , Jack Hawkins and Claude Rains and obviously this legendary actor Peter O'Toole who lost the prize as best actor in 1962 with Gregory Peck in To kill a mockingbird.
David Lean adapted the book the seven pillars of wisdom with overwhelming results.
Lensed in Jordan and Spain , the film has countless astonishing sequences , but I 'd really wanted to underline , just ywo of them.
When the army has crossed the Akaba desert , there's a man who apparently fell from the camel. Lawrence decides go bacj for him : and then he listen the warning : you won't get back from the journey don't challenge the destiny . Obviously Lawrence ignores the warning and goes for him . When he arrives with the half dead man , he states those brilliant lines: the destiny is just right here and he touches his head.
The other scene is just the opening sequence when he crashs his motocycle and dies in an absurd accident.
The hero's life doesn't have any sense after the the triumph of the last battle. Something similar happens with Gladiator >
I can't imagine the hero thinking in quiet life or a normal life as the rest of the human being . The hero has completed his mission , has completed his own cycle and the time comes for him to fade . This mythical cycle makes the death of Lawrence,has been more than casual .
This work is much more than simply an extarordinary film ; it's a real triumph of the western world ; an artistic treasure ; a timeless picture!