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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lawrence of Arabia Collector’s Edition box set (blu ray)…perfect video/audio transfer with a priceless box set!
RESTORATION:

"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...
Published 17 months ago by Dr. Joseph Lee

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Columbia really botched this one bad. It needs a recall.
First of all, Columbia did not even ask Robert Harris, the person who knows this film the best, to participate in the mastering of this title because he was too much of a "perfectionist." That is a crime in and of itself. Lawrence is a piece of film history, some consider it the greatest film of all time. Secondly, the colors are wrong in many spots. Music...
Published on April 10 2001 by P. Cotham


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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lawrence of Arabia Collector’s Edition box set (blu ray)…perfect video/audio transfer with a priceless box set!, Nov. 14 2012
By 
Dr. Joseph Lee (Toronto, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 10 REVIEWER)    (#1 HALL OF FAME)    (REAL NAME)   
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RESTORATION:

"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!!

VIDEO:

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)

AUDIO:

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)

AWARDS:

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

TRIVA:

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.

PACKAGING:

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.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

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.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magical Lawrence, Aug. 22 2012
By 
Argus - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Praise is often lavished too readily but for "Lawrence of Arabia" all the accolades are justified. This film owes its place among cinema's greatest achievements because of a quality which occasionally emerges when talent combines to create something special.

It's impossible not to admire the grandeur of the sweeping desert scenes, photographed by Freddie Young in Super Panavision 70 (no CGI here!), blending with Maurice Jarre's majestic soundtrack; the imaginative transitional editing which so inspired the likes of Steven Spielberg; Robert Bolt's provocative screenplay with its ironic twists and character complexities; the spectacular battle sequences full of swirling colour; and not least the mesmerising Peter O'Toole as Lawrence, superbly supported by Omar Sharif, Anthony Quinn, Jack Hawkins and the rest.

All these elements were moulded under the hands of director David Lean into a film that has become an enduring masterpiece. His vision, understanding of the subject matter, mastery of technique, eye for detail and uncompromising standards present us with a riveting desert saga based on the exploits of enigmatic British army officer, T.E. Lawrence, during the Arab Revolt in the First World War. Lean's work is now restored to its original pristine state, the transfer to blu-ray injecting it with a refreshing vitality.

Some find it difficult to accept western actors in Arab roles and the film is indeed a product of the early 'sixties, when such things were common practice. But it should be remembered that Alec Guinness as Faisal was mistaken for the Prince on the set by people who knew him, and that Lean himself did not recognize Anthony Quinn when he first arrived made up in Arab costume. To my mind both actors appear perfectly natural alongside Omar Sharif, an ethnic Arab, in their scenes together.

O'Toole's portrayal of Lawrence has drawn criticism also as too egotistical. The truth is that T.E. Lawrence was a difficult man to understand and that cinema by its nature must distort to some extent in order to create the illusion of reality. Where the film unquestionably succeeds is in its depiction of a character with divided loyalties struggling to reconcile personal demons amid the horrors of war. Although the real Lawrence comes across as a more subdued personality in his book "Seven Pillars of Wisdom"--which Bolt studied for his script--it's clear that he was a tortured soul.

Such issues are, anyway, superfluous because this is not an historical documentary. It is an epic adventure story staged in a landscape of austere and perilous beauty. For newcomers to the film I should do no better than to quote the Lawrence character: "It's going to be fun." To say they don't make films like this anymore may be a cliche but in the case of "Lawrence of Arabia" they really don't.Lawrence of Arabia Giftset (Restored Version) [Blu-ray]
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Columbia really botched this one bad. It needs a recall., April 10 2001
By 
P. Cotham "badlieut" (MI United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
First of all, Columbia did not even ask Robert Harris, the person who knows this film the best, to participate in the mastering of this title because he was too much of a "perfectionist." That is a crime in and of itself. Lawrence is a piece of film history, some consider it the greatest film of all time. Secondly, the colors are wrong in many spots. Music cues are terribly wrong on the second disc in the 5.1 soundtrack. But, if you switch to the other language tracks it is fine. Lastly, there are many "jump" cuts that were not present in other formats version of the film. This DVD is a bunch of errors. For the music screwups alone, the disc should be recalled. You are making a mistake ordering it if you care about the film at all.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars STEREO USERS STAY AWAY, Sept. 20 2003
By 
H S Marks (Manchester UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
WARNING this disc is only good for people with DTS or AC3 amplifiers. If your are a two channel STEREO sound system person like me you will discover that the AC3 track is out of phase. They spent NO time to ensure proper stereo channel balance for two channel users.
They should have done a DTS for multi-channel people and then either a PCM or 2:0 AC3 for Stereo playback.
I am sick and tired of the fact that proper stereo is being compromised for shallow 5:1 marketing gimmicks.
In 20 years of the superior sounding 12inch Laserdisc format we never had to put up with compromised stereo. Providing the film to tape master was good the LD disc was good. In DVD a superb film to tape master can be ruined by the middle man Digital Authoring.
Howard S Marks
Manchester UK
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Greatest Historical Epic Ever, 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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lawrence of Arabia (50th Anniversary Collector's Edition) [Blu-ray], Nov. 25 2012
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All I can say is WOW. This blu-ray is absloutely astounding. What a great gob in video quality for a blu-ray disc. The transfer to Blu-ray is from a 4K source. The box set is of great quality and measures about 12 inches x 12 inches x 1.75 inches and must weigh at least 4 Pounds. It even comes with a music soundtrack CD. You get 3 Blu-ray discs and 1 CD. The box is very sturdy and comes with a protective plastic cover. A 70mm film frame and a book. And, of course, the story of Lawrence in Arabia. The desert scenes alone are breathtaking on blu-ray. An excellent restoration job. You'd swear you had sand in your shoes after watching this one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chef d`oeuvre!, Feb. 17 2013
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Ce film a bénéficié de la meilleure restauration que j`ai vu.Je possède plusieurs films restaurés mais celui-là m`a sidéré.Les images du désert à elles seules valent le coup d`oeil mais les images du film au complet sont superbes.Il faut dire que cette restauration s`est faite sous la supervision de Spielberg et Scorsese avec une nouvelle technologie et je le répète:"Superbe"!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like seeing the movie for the first time., Dec 19 2012
By 
Ronald Shields (Hamilton, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Lawrence of Arabia (Restored Version) / Lawrence d'Arabie (Bilingual [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
This is movie is one of my top 10 favourites. Watched it both in a widescreen theatre screening and on my HDTV. The clarity and resolution are phenomenal. It is story of how one man can change the world. T. E. Lawrence, a minor officer at British Army HQ in Cairo during WW I, gets assigned to the Arab Bureau as military liaison to Prince Faisal, leader of the Arab Revolt against the Turkish Ottoman Empire. Lawrence inspires the Arabs to victory in a guerrilla war against the Turks. Under Lawrence's leadership, the Arabs are united into one army, who along with the British drive the Turks not only out of Arabia but out of the city of Damascus, the Ottoman Empire's gateway to the Middle East.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars DISMAL, DISMAL, DISMAL - TRANSFER QUALITY CONTINUES TO LACK, Sept. 10 2003
By 
Nix Pix (Windsor, Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
"Lawrence of Arabia" is the sweeping, grand and brilliantly conceived fictional account of the life of T.E. Lawrence. The plot follows Lawrence from his modest beginnings as a somewhat backward British officer, to his rise as a cult figure and finally, his downward spiral and death. In his debut film, Peter O'Toole delivers a tour de force performance. Omar Shariff is ideally cast as Ali. The evergreen chameleon, Alec Guinness is marvelous. Claude Raines and Jack Hawkins are their usual stellar best.
THE TRANSFER: Film restorer, Robert A. Harris was called back in to color correct the original restoration negative he had previously worked on. The result is a much smoother, more vibrant print of this immortal classic that truly exhibits the film's rich texture.
Unfortunately, Columbia (after promising that they would remove it) has left in all of the previous edge enhancement that was contained on the orginal DVD transfer. Fine details shimmer excessively. Much of the latter half of the film is plagued by an incredibly large amount of edge enhancement that creates harsh halo effects around much of the background information. These effects are terribly distracting.
Despite Superbit's claim to offer the best picture quality available to the home consumer - this disc simply does not hold up! Also, the break in the film DOES NOT come at the intermission, where one might expect it. While the Superbit doctrine claims this is in order to preserve the integrity of the image quality, it's really hard to take them serious when DVD transfers like "Hello Dolly!" have their full 144 min. running time crammed onto one side of a disc with no discernable traces of edge enhancement or shimmering included!
The audio has been corrected and, for the most part, sounds wonderful - but, on occasion - particularly during the duped segments - where before the over all characteristic was strident, it is now muffled instead (improvement? - you decide).
Extras: Nothing of course - this is Superbit, what did you expect?
BOTTOM LINE: Mr. Harris has my deepest admiration for his restorative efforts on this disc. However, the edge enhancement on "Lawrence" is a visual blemish I am not willing to overlook, precisely because it is NOT limited to a few scenes but plagues the transfer throughout and distracts from all the hard efforts Mr. Harris has put forth on this disc. Columbia has my greatest disdain!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing Digital Transfer Ruins An American Classic, Feb. 28 2003
By 
Nix Pix (Windsor, Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
Lawrence of Arabia is the thinking man's epic, a brilliant adaptation of the life of an English patriot and the Arab revolt captured brilliantly by director David Lean. Peter O'Toole is marvelous. Alec Guinness superb. Omar Shariff, enigmatic and compelling. This film really represents a high point in 60's American cinema and film in general.
That Columbia Home Video chose to restore the film to its original length and Technicolor glory back in the 1980's is commendable. That they mucked up the DVD transfer is irreprehensive.
Although color fidelity is stunning, edge enhancement, aliasing and shimmering fine details plague this transfer throughout. It's frustrating to try and indulge in a story when the whole background surrounding the characters is in a constant state of motion. There are many scenes free from these annoying problems but just as many ravaged by them.
Extras, a documentary, featurette, trailers and more are ample but presented with a considerable degree of edge enhancement as well. Also, the collector's keep case has trouble closing. Overall, this two disc set could have been a much more stirring visual experience. What a shame!
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Lawrence of Arabia (Restored Version) / Lawrence d'Arabie (Bilingual [Blu-ray]
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