Lawrence of Arabia (4k Restored Version 2012) (PG)
Directed by: David Lean
Starring: Peter O’Toole, Alec Guinness and Anthony Quinn
Running time: 216mins
Epic rumination on a flamboyant and controversial British military figure and his conflicted loyalties during wartime service.
Director David Lean’s biopic of one of the most celebrated and controversial figures of the 20th Century is brought back to the silver screen for its 5oth Anniversary. With digitally restored and now enhanced visuals and audio, a new audience may now experience what generations before had seen only on televisions and other home viewings.
Lawrence of Arabia is the story of one Britain’s most celebrated soldiers and adventurers of World War 1, T.E. Lawernce, a Lieutenant in the British Army was stationed at Cairo when he is issued orders to make contact with Prince Feisal who is waging a war with the Turks in the Arabian desert.
In the months that followed, T. E. Lawrence rose from Lieutenant to Colonel thanks to his most daring campaign, highlights’ of which include the taking of Aquaba (which involved the crossing of a great dessert) and the liberation of Damascus.
Winner of 7 Academy Awards, including Best Picture 1962, Lawrence of Arabia is quite rightly regarded as one of the greatest motion pictures ever made. Filmed mostly in the Jordan Desert and then later in Spain, this film, upon its original release, contained some of the greatest acting performances ever assembled, matched only by the most visually stunning images ever created on film.
With the main character of T.E. Lawernce portrayed by the then relatively unknown Peter O’Toole, supported by Alec Guinness, Omar Sharif, José Ferrer, Jack Hawkins, Anthony Quayle and Anthony Quinn, this film alone is a study in acting master class.
Now re-released to celebrate its 50th Anniversary, Columbia Pictures have restored the film using state of the art technology to exactly the way David Lean originally directed it. The colour is now totally perfect.
I have seen this film many times, from the television versions, through to restored DVD special edition, and as a fan, I have been totally blown away by the colour on the screen. There is no doubt that the photography restoration time and effort used to make this print has been a true labour of love.
From the golden sands of the desert, to the crystal blue waters of the ocean; from the chocking black smoke of derailed trains to the blood that drips from the knives and swords of the combatants, this is now more visually stunning than ever before. The colours now simply jump right out of the screen.
Also improved is the “reversed” reel that was well known to viewers of repeated viewings as was the audio in some scenes in previous versions that just wasn’t quite in sync. Everything about this film is truly epic, just as David Lean had originally wanted it.
Though the film’s running time is quite long by today’s standards (over 3 ½ hrs), the time simply flies in as the original music from the entrée and intermission have also been restored.
Put simply, if you want to see a master class in true film making (remember that what is shown on screen was shot entirely on film with NO CGI) with greatly improved colour and sound restorations backed by world class acting and a score that is instantly recognisable, then simply grab a large popcorn and soft drink and sit back and enjoy one of the greatest films ever made.