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Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Jan 23, 2011.
Reply to JParker #1971:
Korda's book, IMHO, is wonderful. One of the very best bios out there.
Well, the same restrained technology did not allow to fix the baked in cracks problem. The film was locked with them as well. And still they were digitally reduced. Apparently they were no artistic reasons to leave them alone, although the film always had them and they defined part of its 'look'.
Lean's edit is locked for artistic reasons, e.g. selection and order of shots/takes and their length so pacing/performances etc. is what he wants it to be. So the question arises if never intended jump cuts due to missing frames are not more harmful to the intended pacing and Lean's intentions than fixing them, because back then Lean preferred having them to lose the missing footage or do more recutting of sequences (probably including alternative takes)? And that were Lean's alternatives, were they not?
Was Lean ever asked if he would like to have the missing frames added back once technology allowed it in a seamless manner? I guess not. If so, was it considered not doable for a long, long time? Or probably for a short enough time that he would likely be alive to authorize it then? Or was the issue simply not on people's minds and discussed because a lot of other far more pressing issues had to be dealt with day in and day out?
Whatever the legal situation, I hope permission can be obtained one day from his heirs or whoever has the authority since I see only legal reasons and no others not to add the missing frames.
Are these cracks in the same state as when you did the 1989 restoration, or have they become progressively worse in the intervening couple of decades? I would imagine that an extra 20 or so years would have made the OCN even drier and more brittle, making the problem worse than what DL saw in the original restoration.
No, the balcony scene is not restored. Saw the 4k premiere at the Academy thursday night. It was pretty amazing. Also the missing frames from the recut neg aren't stitched in as well. Good looking DCP .
Michel Hafner mentions how new digitally interpolated frames would be "seamless" when viewed in motion at 24 FPS. If the last couple years of on-line anal-retentive HD-movie pixel-peeping has taught us anything, it's that the folks who want (or need) to complain about these things apparently don't watch movies in motion! They rather seem to go through discs frame-by-frame looking for the any and all "digital" flaws, and God-forbid the powers-that-be HAD decided to interpolate the missing frames and- if looking at said "recreated" frames as single entities- they showed some sort of "digital flaw" that was "unnatural" when viewed as a still frame. Sony, Grover Crisp, Robert Harris, etc., would then be taken to task for THAT. It's a no-win situation, and I think the decision to leave the cut of the film "as is" was the right choice since nobody- even the many, MANY folks who have viewed Robert's restoration on huge screen projected in 70mm- has ever complained about the occasional slight jumps until now.
To paraphrase Mr. Molloy, things are indeed looking up on the docks! Having Mr. Raskin on here completes, with Mr. Harris and Mr. Turner, a hat-trick for me. The astonishing treasures within the pages of Lawrence Raskin and L. Robert Morris's 30th anniversary(!) pictorial history of LOA, and Adrian Turner's bio of Robert Bolt are a huge source of pleasure for me and a must for any fan of the movie. (Among those strange 'coincidences' one experiences occasionally was a phone call from the Book of the Month Club - at the very instant I was reading the Raskin/Morris book's section describing that publisher's edition of Seven Pillars. I hadn't heard from them, bought anything from them, nor been a member for at least 10 years at the time).
Regarding the cover art, I agree. I'm hoping that the angles the boxes were photographed at are distorting the image. Ol' TEL looks somewhat stunted. Also not crazy about the heavy-handed shadings of the keffiyeh. If it ain't broke...
Still, at least it's closer to the gorgeous original than the dreadful academy awards versions that attempted to 'caucasionize' what some philistines at the time mistook to be a 'black' Lawrence.
With the exception of the negative having been printed once, there should not be a great deal of difference. It is the 8k scan that digs deep into the emulsion, and takes no prisoners.
The negative, at least in the last 15 years or so, should have been stored correctly. I presume that it was returned to LIC after we used it, and there is would continue to deteriorate. But I'm certain that Mr. Crisp moved it out at his first chance, and he's now been there awhile.
The balcony scene was restored, albeit with imperfect Allenby dialogue, in 1988. As to the missing frames, and far too much is being made of them, as most people don't notice them, they are precisely as they were in 1988.
People are discussing them for precisely the reason you note. In most cases, they play transparently, and always have. There are five or six in the entire 217 minutes that some people may notice.
I find missing frames charming in a way. They remind one of the fragility of the medium. That and I adore the visual "pop" you see in films where fades and dissolves are several generations removed from the rest, and you see the change in grain and resolution. Someday I'm going to make a film, and do every dissolve in an optical printer like that, so the final film can have the same effect!
I have been reading this forum for the last few days now. I didn't even know it existed. I participated at a "Vertigo" forum a while ago. At any rate, this is great. And I'm glad that Mr. Harris is here, so helpful with his insights, as always.
welcome aboard Lorenzo, hope you enjoy your stay.
The Michael Korda book is absolutely worth the read. Maybe I was reading into it however, particularly in the early part of the book, I felt that Mr. Korda was, if not paraphrasing the Lawrence script intentionally, paraphrasing it subconsciously. He says he is a fan of the film and I believe that has translated into his book. I took it everywhere with me for a long time and re-read sections I found it so engrossing. One can only say that for those with interest in TE Lawrence and the film it is a must read. Enjoy!
I knew about your restoration work on some Hitchcock's movies by listening to your commentaries on them. But after reading about what you did on Lawrence of Arabia, I have to congratulate you. I know many people have done this, but it doesn't matter: CONGRATULATIONS, and THANKS for everything you have done.
Well, you can do that digitally too, without an optical printer
True but it's not nearly as much fun
modern film stocks would probably not yield the same level of "pop" change of grain and resolution as the legacy stocks that create that particular look. at least, not without going many more generations away than they did back in the day. you might get a closer approximation if you printed down to 16, did the dissolves in 16 on an optical printer and then blew the result up to 35.
Andrew — Thanks for your kind words.
The "Caucasianizing" of the "dark head" poster, to which Andrew refers, was a desperate effort to prevent Lawrence from
being taken for a 'black'. This was done in early 1963 and resulted in a lame, short-lived version in which the face was
very 'white' and the lips were very thin. (See page 180 in our book)
All the 'head' posters were soon dumped though, in favor of a new, more militant image of Lawrence waving a curved sword —
which NEVER happens in the film!!! A point of interest — To create the 'sword' image, an artist took a still of TE initiating the charge
on the first dynamited train ("Come on, then!") and replaced his flare gun with the sword. This 'sword' image remained the principal
Lawrence artwork for several years.
In other news, I just today received my copy of the newish LoA complete musical score CD, and can report (as numerous others have
stated) that it's sensational! I believe that — unlike the original soundtrack recording — ALL the music from the film is there, and
in the right order, too. And the sound is impeccable. Order it.
Amazon has it in stock now (they don't always) — It's the 2010, 2-disc release, with the silhouetted camel rider against a yellow &
orange sky on the cover.