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Once and for all..which Lawrence of Arabia has best picture and sound?


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#1 of 64 OFFLINE   Chris PC

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Posted September 18 2004 - 01:22 PM

Which version of this movie has the best picture and sound? Which one should I buy? Is there a newer one coming out? How many times can they re-master or re-do this one and release new dvd versions?
Going from projector to flatscreen for a while.... :P

#2 of 64 OFFLINE   Patrick McCart

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Posted September 18 2004 - 01:46 PM

Superbit for a fantastic video master and fantastic 5.1. Both are vastly improved from the next edition...

2-disc LE for some excellent extras and a demonstration of how to make a restored 70mm film look wrong.

1-disc bare-bones edition if you need an expensive coaster.

#3 of 64 OFFLINE   GlennH

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Posted September 18 2004 - 02:06 PM

And I guess we wait for an eventual Blu-ray release to finally REALLY get it right, with HD picture and extras all in one package.

#4 of 64 OFFLINE   Haggai

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Posted September 18 2004 - 02:21 PM

Off topic, but Patrick, what's up with the picture in your signature? What is it?

#5 of 64 OFFLINE   ChristopherDAC

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Posted September 18 2004 - 02:28 PM

Don't be so sure that a HD version would necessarily be good. The Japanese Columbia-Tristar High Definition Laserdisc release was reportedly something less less than perfect, although admittedly restoration techniques and encoding have come a long way since then. The point is, if it's not done right the format is immaterial -- High Definition is no insurance against something looking like trash. We can only hope [and work] for a competent job of mastering to be done on all films, particularly those with the potential to look spectacular.

#6 of 64 OFFLINE   Shane Martin

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Posted September 18 2004 - 04:17 PM

I don't think that an HD version would look much better than the Superbit. There is some EE there but it IIRC is on the source and can't be removed unless they go back and restore it again.(one of the LOA geeks can correct me if I'm wrong but I'm positive I'm correct).

Anyway the DTS sound + the amazing superbit quality makes this the one to buy.

#7 of 64 OFFLINE   Ricardo C

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Posted September 18 2004 - 04:58 PM

Quote:
I don't think that an HD version would look much better than the Superbit.


I heard Sony used a split-screen LoA comparison to show off its Qualia projector at CEDIA. One side showed the DVD upconverted to 1920x1080, while the other half showed a BluRay version. Supposedly the DVD, while "the best upconverted DVD ever", still couldn't hold a candle to the BR version. So let's hope Posted Image

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#8 of 64 OFFLINE   Darren Gross

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Posted September 18 2004 - 07:15 PM

There are HD laserdiscs?

Of what, since when?!

#9 of 64 OFFLINE   andrew markworthy

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Posted September 18 2004 - 09:47 PM

To return to the original question, the Superbit version is so much better it's no contest. If you're nuts on the movie, you might want the other versions for the extras, I guess, since the Superbit is bare bones.

Question - why couldn't they bring out Superbits with just the picture on one disc and all the extras on another? Surely allowing for royalties, etc, they could produce such packages (call them Superbit Plus?) for far less than it'd cost to buy Superbit *and* the conventional disc with extras?

#10 of 64 OFFLINE   James David Walley

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Posted September 18 2004 - 10:28 PM

FWIW, I bought the Superbit after reading some positive reviews, but was quite disappointed to find out, when I first watched it, that the disc change was not at the intermission, but in the middle of the first "act." For the record, I hate stopping to change discs in mid-film, so I was predisposed to dislike it for that reason entirely. As the film drew to a close, I told myself that I would probably give the Superbit version away and keep the LE, which at least put the disc change at the right place. After all, I thought to myself, the Superbit transfer wasn't all that much better than the LE, now, was it? As a final check before setting the Superbit version aside, I pulled out the LE to look at a few scenes from what I remembered to be a pretty good transfer.

Wrong...compared to the Superbit, the LE looked like it had been sourced from VHS! O.K., that's a little strong, but the Superbit version was so much better, it wasn't funny.

I guess I'm going to have to get used to making quick manual disc swaps...
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#11 of 64 OFFLINE   MarcoBiscotti

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Posted September 18 2004 - 10:34 PM

I just bought the Superbit and the seperate "Making-Of" documentary disc from Koch Entertainment (otherwise featured on the 2-disc LE set) and then purchased a regular sized triple-disc amaray case to house both Superbit DVD's and the bonus disc as though it were initially sold as a 3-disc package. Looks great and is definitely worth the purchase for the enhanced a/v quality over the Special Edition. Plus you only miss out on a couple of minor 4 Min. featurettes. I'm considering picking up the highly-acclaimed "Lawrence Of Arabia: The Battle For The Arab World" PBS documentary as well to compliment this set and make for a deluxe 4-disc package. When the studios don't deliver, get creative!

Posted Image


PS - Can anyone tell me if there's such thing as a 4-disc amaray holder in which the width of the keepcase is identical to that of any other regular single disc amaray? I'm sure you're all aware of the extra floating trays that have been popular among studios recently (i.e. Goodfellas S.E.) but I've managed to track down similair sets with an extra third disc tray that doesn't manipulate the dimensions of the package which is important for accurately fitting the cover art in place. I'd like to know if there is somewhere where I can purchase something similair, only to house 4 discs - so that I can make my "Ultimate Edition" Lawrence Of Arabia set!

Any ideas?

#12 of 64 OFFLINE   MarcoBiscotti

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Posted September 18 2004 - 11:08 PM

WHOA..

Can someone please help me out here...

I just checked out Video Universe's listing for the specs on the PBS disc "Lawrence of Arabia: The Battle For The Arab World", and apparently the "Making Of Lawrence Of Arabia" documentary seems to be featured as a supplement!

Can anyone confirm if this is the EXACT SAME, COMPLETE 85 Min. documentary that is presented on the Koch Entertainment release?

The run time seems to be 120 Min. which has me skeptical considering that would only leave an additional 40 Min. to present the new PBS documentary, unless of course the supplemental features are not included in that listing for the overall run time.

Also, I believe this was initially shot in 1:33:1 aspect ration for television but I've read a posting on Amazon's website indicating that it appears to be presented in a fake widescreen making the images appear stretched... Can anyone confirm or deny this as well?

Finally and most importantly, I would like to know if the "Making Of" documentary featured as a bonus on this PBS disc is in fact, the complete program?


PPS - For some odd reason, Video Universe indicates that the run time for the Koch disc is only 30 Min. I don't have the disc on hand and have not yet watched it myself but the IMDB indicates that the actual making-of should have been a full 85 Min. Amazon.com lists an 80 Min. run time. Can anyone tell me the exact specs so I can compare the documentaries featured on the two discs (PBS & KOCH)?

Thanks a lot!!!

#13 of 64 ONLINE   Robert Harris

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Posted September 19 2004 - 01:00 AM

I'm unaware of the Koch "making of," but have had a copy of the Passport "making of," which is made up of trailers and poor, faded and scratched 16mm copies of the documentaries offered on the LoA SE.

The Passport disc went into the garbarge.

"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence


#14 of 64 OFFLINE   MarcoBiscotti

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Posted September 19 2004 - 01:05 AM

Wow... that bad?

Was it the exact same length/content as featured on the LOA: LE set though?


Here's the cover art:


Posted Image

Did your copy look like that?


I'm really anxious to find out about this PBS disc because I'd imagine that if the making-of bonus is featured, it would be presented in a clean and restored transfer.

Lastly, do you recall the running time on your previous Passport release Rob?

Thanks!

#15 of 64 OFFLINE   Chris PC

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Posted September 19 2004 - 01:13 AM

Interesting. Ok, that tells me what I need to know. I'll grab the superbit and get a used copy of the discs with the extra's. Incidentally, the disc break wouldn't make a difference to me in any way, and it doesn't matter as much when you have a 5 disc carousel, precisely the reason why I own such a beast. I can have both dvd's in the player, and a disc with the extra's all at the touch of my remote Posted Image
Going from projector to flatscreen for a while.... :P

#16 of 64 OFFLINE   MarcoBiscotti

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Posted September 19 2004 - 01:19 AM

PS - Rob, could you please confirm the a.r. for that Passport release, was it a mock widescreen or fullframe issue?

Thanks.

#17 of 64 ONLINE   Robert Harris

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Posted September 19 2004 - 01:46 AM

The discs being discussed seem to be as enigmatic as their subject.

What precisely does "The Making of Lawrence of Arabia" mean?

Apparently different things to different entities.

To Columbia Pictures (Sony), it refers to the production of a certain motion picture produced during 1961 -62, and encompasses a certain number of promotional documentaries, now in the public domain which were used on television, and part of theartrical news of the week to promote the film.

Columbia holds the original material for these films, which looks as it should on their releases.

The original footage from which these documentaries were created resides at the UCLA Film & Television Archive - some 64,000 16mm feet of it, which has also been protected by Columbia.

To Passport (Koch) it appears to be a reason to make a few dollars from a point of purchase item using Columibia's original Lawrence one sheet artwork for its cover, and appearing to all as if were some authorized release.

What it contains are faded, scratched (PD) copies of Columbia's documentaries, along with bios of Mr. O'Toole and Mr. Sharif derived from trailers and held together by narration and intoduction by a tuxedoed presenter. In addition are more trailers from other of David Lean's films - all of which are "public domain" quality.

My opinion?

Garbage.

To PBS "The Making of Lawrence of Arabia" refers not to the Columbia production, but rather to a quality documentary produced by UK's Lion Television about the production of their documentary, which tells the Lawrence tale from a slightly different angle. Literally, a documentary about the production of a documentary. Well researched and produced on location, the PBS documentary is a worthy addition to Lawrenciana. Those with wide screen displays will be pleased to find it released in anamorphic 16:9 format.

Hopefully this will be helpful.

RAH

"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence


#18 of 64 ONLINE   Robert Harris

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Posted September 19 2004 - 01:54 AM

Shane Martin wrote:

"I don't think that an HD version would look much better than the Superbit. There is some EE there but it IIRC is on the source and can't be removed unless they go back and restore it again.(one of the LOA geeks can correct me if I'm wrong but I'm positive I'm correct)."

As "one of the LOA geeks," the HD version appears as if viewing the film through an open window. The quality is glorious.

There was a bit of EE added during the original transfer process from a 65mm interpositive which cannot be removed. The film would have to be re-transferred. That said, and having seen the film in HD, I did not notice the EE, which may only appear as problematic in down-conversions. This remains to be seen.

Should this prove to be a problem in the future, it would have nothing to do with restoration, merely transfer. Nothing needs to be "restored again."

RAH

"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence


#19 of 64 ONLINE   Colin Jacobson

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Posted September 19 2004 - 02:41 AM

Quote:
Question - why couldn't they bring out Superbits with just the picture on one disc and all the extras on another? Surely allowing for royalties, etc, they could produce such packages (call them Superbit Plus?) for far less than it'd cost to buy Superbit *and* the conventional disc with extras?


They've already done this a few times and called the results "Superbit Deluxe". They put out at least four of them: The Patriot, Charlie's Angels, Hollow Man and The Mask of Zorro. (Might be more, but those are the only four I reviewed.) They include all the original supplements minus audio commentaries.
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#20 of 64 OFFLINE   DanRevill

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Posted September 19 2004 - 03:03 AM

At this point there is no plans to redo LoA until HD if I'm reading correctly?
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