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A Few Words About While we wait for A few words about...™ Lawrence of Arabia -- in 4k/UHD Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Jan 23, 2011.

  1. Brianruns10

    Brianruns10 Second Unit

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    Lotta rumblings that an announcement will be forthcoming very soon, almost surely before the big Academy screening on the 19th. My gut instinct says tomorrow morning we may wake up to good news.
    Anyone care to speculate on features or contents?
    I'm really hoping it'll be spanned across two blu-s to maximize bitrates.
    I believe it's been mooted that all the features from the old DVD will be ported over, as well as a new making of featurette. RAH has in his spynx-like way alluded to the presence of some of those trimmed bits like the much discussed balcony scene on the disc. I for one would really, really love some kind of featurette on the restoration.
    RAH and Mr. Crisp and everyone involved just can't get enough praise. They really do need a piece about themselves and their hard work.
     
  2. lukejosephchung

    lukejosephchung Screenwriter

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    As I stated on Saturday on this thread, Bill Hunt of The Digital Bits posted on his website that Sony will be making the definite street date announcement NO LATER THAN this coming Thursday, July 19th, the day of the 50th Anniversary AMPAS screening in Hollywood!!! I hope everyone can maintain their patience until then...anxious about this as we ALL are!!!
     
  3. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    Forgive me for possibly reposting something old, but
    are all of you aware of this?....

    [​IMG]
    Apparently, an overseas release
     
  4. ahollis

    ahollis Lead Actor
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    Thank you Mr. Harris for your account of the the massive job you and so many other talented people accomplished to bring Sir David's original vision back. I cannot tell you how exciting and fun the journey you lead us on has been. A real true-life adventure.
     
  5. lukejosephchung

    lukejosephchung Screenwriter

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    I believe it's a pre-order page from one of Amazon's European websites, Ron...if THAT'S what we've got to look forward to, I'll be beside myself with joy for waiting so long!!!
     
  6. Mark Anthony

    Mark Anthony Second Unit

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    Thank you once again for your hard work Mr Harris.
    I'm intrigued, as the studio junked the DME tracks / sound recordings back in 1970 has every LP / Cd release of the sound track release since then come from a vintage LP master?
    M
     
  7. Jonathan Perregaux

    Jonathan Perregaux Screenwriter

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    For all the deserved accolades this film has received over the years, here is an interesting BAD review of Lawrence of Arabia by The New York Times from late '62. Seems that this Bosley fellow's heart just wasn't in it. In his review, he generally dismisses this hallowed epic as nothing more than glorified camel hoarding and pointless spectacle. I guess some people's taste lies solely in their mouth?
    Movie Review
    Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
    By BOSLEY CROWTHER Special to The New York Times.
    Published: December 17, 1962
    Like the desert itself, in which most of the action in "Lawrence of Arabia" takes place, this much-heralded film about the famous British soldier-adventurer, which opened last night at the Criterion, is vast, awe-inspiring, beautiful with ever-changing hues, exhausting and barren of humanity.
    It is such a laboriously large conveyance of eye-filling outdoor spectacle—such as brilliant display of endless desert and camels and Arabs and sheiks and skirmishes with Turks and explosions and arguments with British military men—that the possibly human, moving T. E. Lawrence is lost in it. We know little more about this strange man when it is over than we did when it begins.
    Sure, a lean, eager, diffident sort of fellow, played by blue-eyed Peter O'Toole, a handsome new British actor, goes methodically over the ground of Lawrence's major exploits as a guerrilla leader of Arab tribesmen during World War I. He earnestly enters the desert, organizes the tribes as a force against the Turks for the British, envisions Arab unity and then becomes oddly disillusioned as the politicians move in.
    Why Lawrence had a disposition to join the Arab tribes, and what caused his streak sadism, is barely hinted in the film. The inner mystery of the man remains lodged behind the splendid burnoosed figure and the wistful blue eyes of Mr. O'Toole.
    The fault seems to lie, first in the concept of telling the story of this self-tortured man against a background of action that has the characteristic of a mammoth Western film. The nature of Lawrence cannot be captured in grand Super-Panavision shots of sunrise on the desert or in scenes of him arguing with a shrewd old British general in a massive Moorish hall.
    The fault is also in the lengthy but surprisingly lusterless dialogue of Robert Bolt's over-written screenplay. Seldom has so little been said in so many words.
    There are some great things in the picture—which runs, incidentally, for 3 hours and 40 minutes, not counting intermission. There is some magnificent scenery, barbaric fights, a mirage in the desert that is superb (the one episode in the picture that conveys a sense of mystery). And there are some impressive presentations of historic characters.
    Alex Guinness as the cagey Prince Feisal, Anthony Quinn as a fierce chief, Omar Sharif as a handsome Arab fighter and Jack Hawkins as General Allenby stand out in a large east that is ordered into sturdy masculine ranks by David Lean.
    But, sadly, this bold Sam Spiegel picture lacks the personal magnetism, the haunting strain of mysticism and poetry that we've been thinking all these years would be dominant when a film about Lawrence the mystic and the poet was made. It reduces a legendary figure to conventional movie-hero size amidst magnificent and exotic scenery but a conventional lot of action-film cliches.
    It is, in the last analysis, just a hugo, thundering camel-opera that tends to run down rather badly as it rolls on into its third hour and gets involved with sullen disillusion and political deceit.
     
  8. Adam_S

    Adam_S Producer

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    What sort of film out was done for Lawrence after the scan or after all this digital restoration?
     
  9. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Apparently, or re-recorded music.
     
  10. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

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  11. owen35

    owen35 Stunt Coordinator

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    Absolutely riveting story and I just LOVED all the little anecdotes, especially the credit card that said "Sir David Lean." Priceless.
    But I am curious, as someone who has scene every frame of this films countless times, is there a personal favorite shot or moment that always impressed you? When I speak to film students about film editing I always point to David Lean as the unappreciated master. For me, the rescue of Gasim in the desert is a flawless scene in both its structure and pacing*. I'm curious, do you have such a moment?
    (*I don't mean to dismiss the amazing contributions of Ms. Coates with this comment. Her work on other productions demonstrates she is of equal skill & talent to Mr. Lean.)
     
  12. Robin9

    Robin9 Producer

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    I am aware and I have pre-ordered. I'm not taking any chances.
     
  13. Brianruns10

    Brianruns10 Second Unit

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    My favorite shot immediately follows the scene where Lawrence give Tafas his gun, and Tafas offers him food, ending with the line, "More?" Scene fade to a marvelous shot of two camel riders moving toward the crest of a sand dune, as the wind is blowing the sand around them. It has an utterly magical feel to it, and it is truly a courageous bit of editorial decisionmaking on the part of Lean and Coates.
    Why?
    Because if you'll look closely, you can spot tread marks from the camels, hastily covered up. It is obviously a second take. Lesser editors would no doubt have looked at the obvious marks, and say, "No good, can't use it."
    But Lean and Coates had the courage to recognize the magic of the scene, and know that what it contained, that moment where nature itself conspired to give the the shot the otherworldly feel it needed, that that impact outweighed a minor production "goof."
     
  14. bryan4999

    bryan4999 Supporting Actor

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    Mr. Harris - Thank you for taking the time to recount the saga. Just wonderful to read. Like everyone else, I can't wait to own this blu-ray.

    I can not resist saying that it is a shame that CBS did not give MY FAIR LADY the same courtesy; or Universal with SPARTACUS.
     
  15. Dr Griffin

    Dr Griffin Cinematographer

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    This reminds me of the shot in El Cid on the beach. The camera is mounted on a vehicle driving in front of the charging horsemen and you can see the tire tracks of the vehicle in the sand as they speed down the beach.
     
  16. rsmithjr

    rsmithjr Screenwriter

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    Bosley Crowther was a highly respected reviewer for the NYT for decades. According to some, he lost his ability to connect with new films during the '60's and was eased out in the late 60's. But his earlier reviews were highly respected and still very worth reading.
    Reading the review of Lawrence again, I suppose I can see how he might have believed some of these things, but still think he really missed what the movie was about. Certainly his comments about Robert Bolt's screenplay are very far off of the mark.
    We do need to remember that Lawrence is a film that has increased in stature since 1962. Bolt, for example, did NOT win an Oscar for the screenplay of Lawrence, although he did for Zhivago. (Horton Foote won for To Kill a Mockingbird).
    At the time, there was some feeling that Lawrence had a pretentious, overly intellectualized quality that left it bereft of emotion. Ben-hur and Spartacus had started the "literate epic" trend, and some felt that Lawrence was trying too hard. One friend of mine in particular argued at great length that Mutiny on the Bounty (unfairly under-rated BTW) was a better film; he agrees now that Lawrence was the better film.
    I remember being so taken with it that I read The Seven Pillars of Wisdom just to try to understand TEL some more and to try to figure him out, seeing him as enigmatic and "mystical", to use Crowther's word. Oddly enough, I now find that I understood the philosophical and psychological issues very well back then, but knew nothing about the history or geography. TEL himself knew a huge amount about Arabia to begin with. He was clearly able to "actionize" his immense knowledge as well as anyone in history. I missed this the first time around. Each new viewing is a new revelation.
    It has taken some time for Lawrence to work its way into our culture in the way that it has (and always deserved).
     
  17. Kosty

    Kosty Supporting Actor

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    LOL
    I have to look at that again.
    Back in the days before home video made possible viewers pausing rewinding and replaying scenes over and over again or the Internet telling you what to look for.
    You would never notice those things in the theater watching it live.
     
  18. rich_d

    rich_d Cinematographer

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    Nor should you. A first-run film should be allowed to sweep over you like a dream you enter. You should immerse yourself in the dream, not deconstruct it. That said, one result of the video age is that we DO watch and re-watch scenes and films and therefore see continuity errors that weren't first apparent. More than that, it would be fair to say that we catch on to the editor's magician-like tricks-of-the trade. The misdirection of trying to disguise a continuity error by showing Shot 1 going to Shot 2 to come back to Shot 1 with a change doesn't work as well because more are now wise to the technique.
     
  19. sharkshark

    sharkshark Stunt Coordinator

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    This is the best ironic misspelling/pun in history
     
  20. sharkshark

    sharkshark Stunt Coordinator

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    Couple things:
    - You skipped over the timing differences between the regular DVD and the Superbit, mind expanding on that story?
    - You had talked about doing loops of the hiss/noise from the various audio elements so that the new ADR could be mixed in - I assume, in terms of resources, that Mr. Crisp and co. have access to the unmodified new-ish recordings, without this hiss, so that digital tools can better integrate them into the vintage soundtrack. Is this the case?
    bravo, sir. A joy to read.
     

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