4K digital restoration of "Lawrence of Arabia" in theaters October 4
September 28, 2012 3:10 PM   Subscribe

On October 4 you will have the cinematic opportunity of a lifetime to see David Lean's Lawrence of Arabia on the big screen in a new 4K digital restoration.
posted by Egg Shen (123 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite

 
Of all the world masterpieces of cinema, none is more dependent on theater-scale projection for an appreciation of its true greatness than Lawrence of Arabia. It will be many years before you have another chance like this. Play hooky or stay up late, but I beg you: do not miss this.
posted by Egg Shen at 3:10 PM on September 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


Wait, will it be playing in NYC outside of the festival?
posted by griphus at 3:16 PM on September 28, 2012


Now in 3D!!!!!!!

(not really)
(this is gonna be great)
posted by Artw at 3:16 PM on September 28, 2012


It was stunning when I saw it in the theater even before the restoration - I'm all agog to see how much better it looks now.
posted by winna at 3:17 PM on September 28, 2012


What do you think this is, the new print of Dial "M" for Murder I'm seeing next week?
posted by griphus at 3:18 PM on September 28, 2012


I have never seen this movie. I guess October 4 would be a good time to change that.
posted by aubilenon at 3:18 PM on September 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


will it be playing in NYC outside of the festival?

1. Union Square Stadium 14 - 850 Broadway

2. AMC Village 7 - 66 3rd Ave

3. AMC Kips Bay 15 with IMAX - 570 2nd Ave

4. AMC Empire 25 - 234 W 42nd St
posted by Egg Shen at 3:20 PM on September 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


DAMMIT! Is it only in NYC?! I cannot RTFA....
posted by tzikeh at 3:21 PM on September 28, 2012


Thanks!

No, it is playing across the country. The article just wasn't clear whether it would play outside of the film festival in NYC.
posted by griphus at 3:23 PM on September 28, 2012


Go to the first link and enter yer ZIP code to find the local showings.
posted by Egg Shen at 3:25 PM on September 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


I cannot wait

Cannot. Wait.

To see the capture of Aqaba on the big screen.
posted by voltairemodern at 3:26 PM on September 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Kips Bay IMAX is not a real IMAX, alas.

Also they should digitally add David 8 into the movie for maximum awesomeness.
posted by elizardbits at 3:30 PM on September 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


US only, apparently? Sigh. I can't drive down to Seattle on a Thursday.
posted by junco at 3:30 PM on September 28, 2012


AMC has been restoring and re-releasing a lot of old movies recently for 1-day runs. I saw Raiders of the Lost Ark a few weekends ago. I was going to go see Dr. No this past Monday but didn't make it. It's really great to see some of these on the big screen.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 3:33 PM on September 28, 2012


Oh god, oh god, oh god! I am so there.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 3:36 PM on September 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


US only, apparently? Sigh. I can't drive down to Seattle on a Thursday.
That's nothing, I'd have to get a flight from Australia.
posted by unliteral at 3:36 PM on September 28, 2012


What do you think this is, the new print of Dial "M" for Murder I'm seeing next week?

Depends. Is it in its original 3D? Cuz that's MAGNIFICENT.

Hokey and pointless, but MAGNIFICENT.
posted by Capt. Renault at 3:41 PM on September 28, 2012


My parents saw this when it first came out. They said that during the intermission, the film score was piped into the bathrooms.
posted by kyrademon at 3:42 PM on September 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Doh, how did Seattle Cinerama miss out on this screening? The theater was built for this restoration.
posted by prinado at 3:42 PM on September 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


In Canada, Cineplex *seems* to be showing this 4K restoration on Remembrance Day. Don't forget!

And don't take my spot.
posted by Capt. Renault at 3:44 PM on September 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


While this is fantastically awesome news, I do have to take issue with the line from the Times article asserting that Film degrades; digital files of 0’s and 1’s do not.

Someone's never tried to access a years old backup of their documents folder I see...
posted by davros42 at 3:50 PM on September 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Depends. Is it in its original 3D? Cuz that's MAGNIFICENT

AFAIK, they converted the original 3D print to modern 3D.
posted by griphus at 3:59 PM on September 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


I hope they had the good sense to change some of the rifles and sabres to walkie-talkies so they can bring in more of the PG crowd.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 4:06 PM on September 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


a new 4K digital restoration

I read that as a 4D digital restoration.

Disappointed!

Seriously though, brilliant!
posted by dabug at 4:06 PM on September 28, 2012


From Roger Ebert's Review:


There is a moment in the film when the hero, the British eccentric soldier and author T.E. Lawrence, has survived a suicidal trek across the desert and is within reach of shelter and water--and he turns around and goes back, to find a friend who has fallen behind. This sequence builds up to the shot in which the shimmering heat of the desert reluctantly yields the speck that becomes a man--a shot that is held for a long time before we can even begin to see the tiny figure. On television, this shot doesn't work at all--nothing can be seen. In a movie theater, looking at the stark clarity of a 70mm print, we lean forward and strain to bring a detail out of the waves of heat, and for a moment we experience some of the actual vastness of the desert, and its unforgiving harshness.

...

As for ''Lawrence,'' after its glorious re-release in 70mm in 1989, it has returned again to video, where it crouches inside its box like a tall man in a low room. You can view it on video and get an idea of its story and a hint of its majesty, but to get the feeling of Lean's masterpiece you need to somehow, somewhere, see it in 70mm on a big screen. This experience is on the short list of things that must be done during the lifetime of every lover of film.

posted by MrFTBN at 4:09 PM on September 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


Anyone know if there's a Toronto screening happening?
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 4:09 PM on September 28, 2012


This is awesome, and I'm pretty much planning on going even though it is a weeknight.

How can this possibly be a US-only event? Mr hippybear is in Montreal and he would love to see this if at all possible. He may well kill me if he finds out I went and he couldn't go because he's living in Canada for a while.
posted by hippybear at 4:09 PM on September 28, 2012


Saw this in 70mm almost 20 years ago. Totally different film. Same story with The Wild Bunch.
posted by Chuffy at 4:12 PM on September 28, 2012


I will have to go see this with my mother. It's her favorite-ever movie. It came out when she was 13 and she promptly sewed herself a doll of a camel (this is what one did, apparently, in the days before fanfiction).

Honestly, I've only ever fallen asleep while watching it with her at home.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 4:13 PM on September 28, 2012 [10 favorites]


Ah, thanks Capt. Renault for pointing out the Canadian showings on a completely different date. (Dates, actually, two of them).

I've already forwarded that info to Mr hippybear. He will be Well Pleased.
posted by hippybear at 4:15 PM on September 28, 2012


Wow, okay, just called her up and it made her cry that I thought of her (apparently she had a bad day). Buying tickets now. Thanks, Egg Shen!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 4:17 PM on September 28, 2012 [10 favorites]


I have seen this on the big screen... three times, I think. I will gladly go see it a fourth. Especially since Prometheus made it relevant again.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:23 PM on September 28, 2012


So here's a question: Will the film look as good or better than it did when it was originally shown in 1960?
posted by Rashomon at 4:27 PM on September 28, 2012


I meant 1962....
posted by Rashomon at 4:28 PM on September 28, 2012


Tickets bought. Thank you.
posted by small_ruminant at 4:30 PM on September 28, 2012


Will the film look as good or better than it did when it was originally shown in 1962?

Sez the Grey Lady:

In one sense, this restored “Lawrence” might look better than the original. Because of the film stock’s exposure to the desert’s heat, some of its photochemical emulsion dried and cracked, resulting in vertical fissures. “Some were just a few pixels wide,” Mr. Crisp said, “but some scenes had hundreds of them, filling as much as one-eighth of the frame.”

I'd also bet on the accuracy of digital projection over the manual twiddling necessary in '62.
posted by Egg Shen at 4:31 PM on September 28, 2012


Will the film look as good or better than it did when it was originally shown

Depends on what you mean by that... It will probably have better color balance and stability of image than it did when shown via film, even on a virgin print struck from fresh negatives. It also won't have that "viewing a film" quality which a lot of purists claim is necessary for such things... But for modern eyes, it will probably meet the "as good or better" criteria.
posted by hippybear at 4:33 PM on September 28, 2012


@Rashomon

The article says it will look better than in 1962, because the film was shot in the desert and some of the film stock was degraded by the heat. That has now been fixed. Though one might argue that degrading due to being IN THE ACTUAL DESERT gives it an immediacy that no post processing can ever match.
posted by EnterTheStory at 4:34 PM on September 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Didn't it turn out that much of that movie was based on fiction/exaggeration?
posted by Afroblanco at 4:49 PM on September 28, 2012


That's nothing, I'd have to get a flight from Australia

Australian theatrical release was Monday 23 September. Not sure where it's playing except Melbourne.
posted by howfar at 4:50 PM on September 28, 2012


It's showing at my local theater in fake IMAX. A couple of weeks ago, I walked out after 10 minutes of the "Raiders" showing on that same screen because it looked like hell.

Can anyone weigh in on whether the "Lawrence" restoration will fare any better on a fake IMAX screen? I refuse to see that picture desecrated in any way. I guess I can always ask for my money back but I'd rather not waste my time.
posted by Currer Belfry at 4:52 PM on September 28, 2012


Didn't it turn out that much of that movie was based on fiction/exaggeration?

In other shocking news Richard II never said "A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse!".
posted by howfar at 4:54 PM on September 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Or even Richard III.
posted by howfar at 4:54 PM on September 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Personally, if it were showing on a FauxMAX screen only, I wouldn't go. I'm boycotting any and all FauxMAX anything.

(Now, if it were at the actual IMAX here, I'd be there in a heartbeat, but I don't think they have a digital projector.)
posted by hippybear at 4:55 PM on September 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


BTW, Egg Shen, thanks so much for posting this, whether or not I go to the FauxMax presentation. "The Master" is showing near me in 70mm (film projection, thank you very much) and I was thinking how great it would be to see "Lawrence" on the big screen.
posted by Currer Belfry at 4:58 PM on September 28, 2012


...the new restoration has no prints. The film’s digital data are stored on a hard drive, about the size of an old videocassette, which is inserted into a 4K digital projector.

It was written then.
posted by hal9k at 4:59 PM on September 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Huh, and it's only $12.50. That's half the price of the Casablanca showing I attended a while back. And isn't that much more than a regular movie showing. Awesome!
posted by hippybear at 5:00 PM on September 28, 2012


Didn't it turn out that much of that movie was based on fiction/exaggeration?

Someone described Lawrence's Seven Pillars of Wisdom account of the council meeting as greatly exaggerated and Lean's presentation of the scene as a great exaggeration of the book. So, yeah, if you want facts, read the Korda biography or something. The magnificence of the film has nothing to do with its historical accuracy.

thanks so much for posting this

I am a river to my people!
posted by Egg Shen at 5:05 PM on September 28, 2012 [8 favorites]


The magnificence of the film has nothing to do with its historical accuracy.

This times a thousand.
posted by hippybear at 5:06 PM on September 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


As history it is terrible, as cinema it is magnificent. As myth it's complicated.
posted by humanfont at 5:21 PM on September 28, 2012 [8 favorites]


So here's a question: Will the film look as good or better than it did when it was originally shown in 1960?

According to that A/B restored frame, this is not remastered. That defect appears to be a tape splice on a theatrical release print. I'm guessing it's restored from a damaged projection print.

I'd still like to see it, though.
posted by StickyCarpet at 5:24 PM on September 28, 2012


(glue splice)
posted by StickyCarpet at 5:28 PM on September 28, 2012


I'm guessing it's restored from a damaged projection print.

It's been done from the original 65mm camera negative, scanned at what is regarded as 4K resolution (but called 8K because of the large format of the original negative compared to 35mm), and then processed to removed inconsistencies and damage between individual frames, plus color correction and other processing.

Not quite sure what you're referring to, but you're wrong about the original source.
posted by hippybear at 5:33 PM on September 28, 2012


Shit, thanks for the heads up. I'll be at the LA Live screening.
posted by phaedon at 5:36 PM on September 28, 2012


Film degrades; digital files of 0’s and 1’s do not.

All digital data is stored in an analog world, and appreciated with analog senses.

Good/bad, up/down, light/dark, pleasure/pain, 0/1 ... all pretend.
posted by Twang at 5:41 PM on September 28, 2012


I'm still dealing with the fact that I missed the run of Raiders on the big screen. This almost makes up for it.
posted by middleclasstool at 5:45 PM on September 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Already have my tickets and told work I'm leaving early that day.
posted by radwolf76 at 5:51 PM on September 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Imagica EX does not scan 70 mm, which is what the film was shot on. The Imagica EX can do 8 perf 35mm, in which case the camera would have had to be mounted sideways, but that's not the case. The 35mm print they are scanning must have been one of the 35 mm reductions. And that image in the NY Times article sure looks like a glue splice. While not unheard of for a glue splice or two to occur in a master, it's an everyday occurrence in projected prints.
posted by StickyCarpet at 5:59 PM on September 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Or they scanned each frame of the negative four times, once for each quadrant, and spliced them together to create an 8K scan.

Or they got a special unit built to do this particular job, which wouldn't be surprising because it's one of the more important films in global cinema history.

Or, as you suggest, they're lying to us all about the restoration process and used a damaged projection print and everything else they've told us about the restoration is just smoke and mirrors in order to deceive not only the causal movie-going public but also multiple generations of film historians into believing they did something they actually didn't do.

I'm not sure which of these is true, but somehow the deception seems to be the least likely of these choices.
posted by hippybear at 6:07 PM on September 28, 2012


Darn, I think I have something to do that night. My mother mated with a scorpion.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 6:09 PM on September 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Or, as you suggest, they're lying to us all about the restoration process and used a damaged projection print and everything else they've told us about the restoration is just smoke and mirrors.

Yeah, that would be standard operating procedure. I've built a film scanner similar to that, and there's no way that a 70 mm transport could just be dropped in. As you can see from their web site, the precision usage of the English language is not a specialty, and this may have worked to the advantage of eager publicists.

Between claiming to have done something uniquely difficult, and actually having done so, sadly, the first case is probably more likely.
posted by StickyCarpet at 6:16 PM on September 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, I misspoke when I said projection print. It would more likely be a 35 mm reduction inter-negative. Many prints would have been struck off that, so it would be exposed to breaks, and splices.
posted by StickyCarpet at 6:21 PM on September 28, 2012


Or... it's possible that Sony has developed a scanner which could handle this kind of project. Seeing as how Sony has a big connection with this project.

I don't see where it's said that the Imagica unit was actually used on this project. It's held up as an example of how things work with typical 35mm film stock.

I can't find any reference to what equipment was actually used on this project anywhere online. If you can find any reference to the Imagica unit having actually been used, rather than being mentioned briefly as an aside in a NYT article, I'll happily concede that the entire world is being lied to.
posted by hippybear at 6:23 PM on September 28, 2012


claiming to have done something uniquely difficult

FWIW, the NYT article specifically mentions the 65mm negative being scanned one frame at a time.

This doesn't seem like it would require any dramatic technological advance.
posted by Egg Shen at 6:25 PM on September 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's an interesting coincidence, I suppose, that it's playing just as the 65/70mm-shot "The Master" is playing in theaters as this comes out, since that newer film has a great big, obvious homage to "Lawrence ..." right in the heart of it.
posted by raysmj at 6:25 PM on September 28, 2012


This is really exciting. I love actual film an all...but it's worth the digital-ness to let a wider audience see great movies. I hope my kid can see 7 Samurai or Bridge on the River Kwai in their full glory.

Please say someone is doing this for The Good the Bad and the Ugly.
posted by hot_monster at 6:40 PM on September 28, 2012


Fandango says the running time is 4 hours 20 minutes. Unless they crammed in 30 extra minutes of desert trekking, how is that possible???
posted by Bromius at 6:43 PM on September 28, 2012


15 minutes of it is intermission.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:47 PM on September 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah, it's "plus interviews, behind-the-scenes footage and more", too. according to my local theater.
Regardless of the technology involved it's worth seeing if you've never seen it.
posted by DaddyNewt at 6:52 PM on September 28, 2012


I thought this movie was severely boring, I can't honestly say I remember any single scene from it, despite trying quite hard to give it a fair viewing due to the overwhelmingly good reviews.
posted by odinsdream at 6:52 PM on September 28, 2012


Oh god thank you I am SO THERE

("THERE"=Albany matinee)
posted by shiny blue object at 6:57 PM on September 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


It is a film that suffers greatly in a "pan and scan" version. If that's what you've seen you haven't really seen it.
posted by DaddyNewt at 7:02 PM on September 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh man, I saw this restoration at the Academy theater in LA a month or so ago, and it was an amazing theater-going experience. The restoration was amazing, yes, but it was also great to see the film with so many other people who truly wanted to see it, in such a respectful presentation. It makes me want to never go to the multiplex again.

There is a moment in the film when the hero, the British eccentric soldier and author T.E. Lawrence, has survived a suicidal trek across the desert and is within reach of shelter and water--and he turns around and goes back, to find a friend who has fallen behind. This sequence builds up to the shot in which the shimmering heat of the desert reluctantly yields the speck that becomes a man--a shot that is held for a long time before we can even begin to see the tiny figure. On television, this shot doesn't work at all--nothing can be seen. In a movie theater, looking at the stark clarity of a 70mm print, we lean forward and strain to bring a detail out of the waves of heat, and for a moment we experience some of the actual vastness of the desert, and its unforgiving harshness.

It's funny, this was totally the shot that I was going to comment on in this thread. The first time I saw Lawrence of Arabia was on DVD on a 27" tube TV. Even then, I couldn't believe a movie from 1962 could look so good. I hadn't yet heard of 70mm film, or really knew anything about cinematography. But I do not remember this shot from that viewing. In the theater, on the other hand, that shot placed me in the desert, watching a person materialize out of the haze of mirage, and it felt like the kind of thing that you could only see in person, and yet there I was.

Man, if you guys like this movie at all, go see it in theaters. This is really the best possible presentation of it.
posted by malapropist at 7:04 PM on September 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


tickets purchased. thanks for the heads up! this is one of my favorite films ever and to be able to see it on the big screen (in this crazy digital restored version) is amazing.
posted by djseafood at 7:05 PM on September 28, 2012


Huh. So I'm up in somewhat northern Ontario and bemoaning the lack of cool cultural events. I happen to be in Toronto for an exam on the 13th of November; due to work-related scheduling I'm spending the weekend in the city.

Fuck studying; I'm seeing Lawrence of Arabia!
posted by Lemurrhea at 7:08 PM on September 28, 2012


The first time I saw Lawrence of Arabia was at a special 70mm showing on the biggest screen at the then-new Cineplex at Universal Studios. I sat in the front row of the balcony. Even though I was ~12 years old at the time and it was 3+ hours not including intermission, it held my attention, and has been one of all time favorite films ever since.

I wouldn't call it a slow-paced film, but it is indeed epic in scope and scale. There is a ton of great action and drama, but there is an equal amount of languorous pans across the rocks and dunes. The deliberate pacing does a great job of conveying the vastness and emptiness of the desert landscape, and provides a great counterpoint to the explosive violence of the action scenes.

None of this translates to the small screen, IMO. I really don't recommend watching it unless you are in a long-attention span mood, and definitely not on a small TV or laptop, a brightly lit room, or with any other distractions. If you get a chance to see it in a theater, I strongly recommend you go.
posted by Anoplura at 7:12 PM on September 28, 2012


The long-awaited Blu-Ray will be released in mid-November. And it is now on my Amazon wish list.

First time I saw it was when I was in college and every Sunday there was a movie with a buck admission. Even with the print that the campus activities board managed to get their hands on it was utterly magnificent.
posted by Ber at 7:19 PM on September 28, 2012


Sony Colorworks, where this was done uses a SCANITY film transfer device. The technical spec (pdf) says 35 mm and 16 mm.

the NYT article specifically mentions the 65mm negative being scanned one frame at a time.

The SCANITY that was used has a linear sensor, and it seems to scan the film continuously with a horizontal slice of 4300 x 96 swiping data as the film is smoothly scrolled by vertically. Sounds like there is no intermittent frame by frame advance. It would be a notable advance to modify all of the optics for 70 mm. The imaging strip area is probably pressed up close to the film surface, with minimal 1D linear optics. Moving that sensor back and introducing additional 2D magnifying optics would be a redesign worth bragging about, a very complex achievement. These devices have evolved by tiny increments over decades, there is no such thing as a small engineering change.

I'm sticking with 35 mm inter-neg reduction. I can find out for sure by Monday or Tuesday, so check back perhaps.

I still want to see it.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:22 PM on September 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Thanks for the heads-up - got my favorite seats (last row center)!
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:32 PM on September 28, 2012


Introducing the restoration at an Italian screening this summer, Grover Crisp - whom the Times identifies as "Sony’s executive vice president for asset management and film restoration" - said "the movie was scanned from the original negatives in 8K to be mastered in 4K".

Maybe he was lying. But that's what he said.
posted by Egg Shen at 7:53 PM on September 28, 2012


In smellovision?
posted by blue_beetle at 7:58 PM on September 28, 2012


No, it used the competing technology, Odorama.
posted by hippybear at 8:15 PM on September 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Glad to hear about this in time! Traded shifts at work to get the evening off, bought a ticket. Have seen the movie on DVD at home, but it cries out for big screen viewing.
posted by dorey_oh at 8:24 PM on September 28, 2012


Potter: Ow! It damn well hurts.

Lawrence: Certainly, it hurts!

Potter: Well, what's the trick then?

Lawrence: The trick, William Potter, is not minding that you've missed seeing this epic.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 9:17 PM on September 28, 2012


"He likes your lemonade"
posted by Bighappyfunhouse at 10:22 PM on September 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I didn't know about this until I spotted a poster for it when Mrs Biscuit and I were at the local cinema for something else. I expressed my interest in going (despite decades of devoted moviegoing and even managing art house, I have still somehow never seen Lawrence of Arabia). Mrs Biscuit said, "Oh, my mom has it on video.". Knowing her mom -- who is otherwise the sort of delightful grandmotherly lady everyone should have around -- this means a 24" screen and a twenty-year-old VHS copy, which I feel may somehow not do it justice.

I think I will go to the theatre that day.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:45 PM on September 28, 2012


Earworm warning. Now don't come crying to me if you can't get the music out of your head. I warned you.
posted by Cranberry at 12:33 AM on September 29, 2012


Ah ha!
On at the London Imax on the 16th of November it looks like.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 3:05 AM on September 29, 2012


Maybe he was lying. But that's what he said.
posted by Egg Shen


I do know one thing, that I learned as an expert witness on two separate cases involving Major Motion Pictures. The judges ruled that there is no legal obligation for the information in the "Making Of" DVD, or in the interviews given to trade magazines, to accurately represent the actual techniques used.

On the plus side, I guess, is the SMPTE paper on film-gate jitter that presents their findings that in real world film projection the temporal integration of the jittery image limits perceivable resolution to just over 2K. So a 4K digital projection should have more detail than a 35 mm projected film.
posted by StickyCarpet at 3:32 AM on September 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Not for nothing, but the only thing really being presented here as reasoning why we should believe this was done from a 35mm source is someone's semi-vague hunch.

Not that there's a truckload of DNA evidence in the other direction either (I'm the last person to trust a quote on technical specs from a studio suit-type), but it's a strange impulse to come in here and shit all over everyone's cereal like that.
posted by dogwalker at 3:50 AM on September 29, 2012


it's a strange impulse to come in here and shit all over everyone's cereal like that

Well, StickyCarpet clearly knows a lot about this stuff. If I had some technical expertise that gave me a strong suspicion that someone was putting something over on us, I would probably argue it passionately as well. And goodness knows Sony is no stranger to fucking over consumers.

But it's not an issue that should (or will, I think) dampen anyone's enthusiasm. As Ber mentions, even the crummiest print is a magical experience in theaters. And we have malapropist's testimony - as well as the film blogger I linked to earlier - that the print is very far from crummy.

So all should go and enjoy. Then it will be said of them too: There is only the desert for you now.
posted by Egg Shen at 6:26 AM on September 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Earworm warning

If anyone ends up wanting the soundtrack, avoid the amputated original recording you'll find in record stores. The complete score is the one you want.

I have it in 320 mp3. I'm not stingy with it.
posted by Egg Shen at 6:49 AM on September 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think this restored edition was already shown back in June at the Edinburgh Film Festival.
posted by sudasana at 7:10 AM on September 29, 2012


why we should believe this was done from a 35mm source is someone's semi-vague hunch.


Sorry for the derail, just mainly that the before and after in the Times article doesn't look right to me. A much more disturbing troll would have been to go into the biographical details not covered in the film. There is perhaps some thematic continuity in how both history and technical specs can be distorted according to agendas.

But don't get me wrong, he was a great man that deserves admiration, and this is sure to be a fantastic film-going experience. And back on the topic of the actual film, the reason the cropped versions seem to be paced slowly is that in the wide screen there are things near and far, left and right, and the "action" is provided by the viewer's attention exploring the shot. This film is a masterpiece.

It would be great if wide screen majestic projections could join 3D as a way to lure audiences back into the theaters.
posted by StickyCarpet at 8:03 AM on September 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Seattle area viewers have had the opportunity to see Lawrence at the Cinerama in a restored 70mm several times over the past decade. I would assume that this version will arrive in due time as well; they absolutely have the gear.

I also note that this is a Fathom event; I don't think the Cinerama has ever participated in one. Fathom can both stream or deliver local-copy assets and it does not appear to be possible to determine which method of delivery will be deployed on a theater-by-theater basis.

A narrative of the 1989 restoration (the 2002-3 release and subsequent circulating prints were preshly struck from this material, iirc). The story notes that the original 65mm production negative was damaged, specifically around splices, when it came out of the can and then began to disintegrate when further duping began.

In looking around, it seems that Harris has been involved in getting the HD version ready. Additionally, there is consistent speculation on various boards that a new round of 70mm will be struck from the material prepared for the HD release, which appears to include cleanup on the emulsion cracks.
posted by mwhybark at 11:33 AM on September 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


My all time best first date ever was taking the object of my affection to see a 70 mm print of Lawrence of Arabia at the newly opened Caprice on Granville in Vancouver. The theatre was gorgeous, the film was spellbinding, the boy was lovely. Truth be told, though, the relationship never really lived up to the first date.
posted by looli at 12:01 PM on September 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


wide screen majestic projections

Part of the 'movie-as-experience' that people simply can't recreate at home. A good idea, and why I was happy to see Prometheus and Avatar in the movie theater.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:00 PM on September 29, 2012


Let's hear it for community organizers who blow up trains!
posted by warbaby at 1:06 PM on September 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Part of the 'movie-as-experience' that people simply can't recreate at home.

The super wide screen projections, at the proper scale, are true interactive cinema. The viewer has to actively decide what he selects to look at.
posted by StickyCarpet at 11:24 AM on September 30, 2012


Play hooky

Done!
posted by snottydick at 7:48 AM on October 1, 2012


This (very interesting and detailed) article about LAWRENCE OF ARABIA's restoration says the scanning work was done at FotoKem, and according to a quote from Andrew Oran of FotoKem in this excerpt from Digital & 65mm: Today's Technology for Tomorrow's Cinema, FotoKem has the only two film scanners in the world able to scan 65mm at 8k:
Digitizing 65mm classics at FotoKem occurs on one of our two matched IMAGICA XE 65mm scanners, nicknamed ‘Big Foot’ and ‘Yeti’ due to their sizable footprint. Armed with 11K sensors, they are the world’s only film scanners able to sample 65mm negative at 8K resolution ‘perf to perf’, and have been used in this capacity on many 65mm classics, including ‘South Pacific’, ‘It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World’ and others. While the sampling of the negative element occurs at 8K (wide) resolution, digital mastering – which moves us from preservation into the realm of restoration – occurs at either 4K, 2K or HD resolution, depending on the deliverable requirements and budgetary realities of each project.
(Bonus interesting link about how the different release versions (70mm, 35mm produced from negative, 35mm produced from digital intermediate, and DCP) of P.T. Anderson's THE MASTER were produced by FotoKem.)
posted by orthicon halo at 9:04 AM on October 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


There's something funny going on in the A/B wide shot frame of the camp, the one with the dust cloud and the huge scratches. Open the images in two tabs at the same rez so you can switch back and forth.

on the left of the frame, under a blue flag, there is a horse and rider caught in full gallop.

on the right of the frame, in the dust cloud, there are several figures, riderless horses and mounted horsemen. Find the (Jordanian?) flag illuminated against a dark patch in the dust cloud. sight down from that to the first horse you come to.

Now flip back and forth. The horse on the left is still. The horse on the right is clearly in motion. The figures in the dust originate in two original frames of photography; the horse on the left does not. The cleaned-up frame is clearly montaged from two separate frames even in areas of the image that are not obviously damaged.

Which, whatever, it's a marketing image, not necessarily an actual frame from the final product. But one would think they would have used frame-to-frame comparisons. Maybe there's a good reason to provide this comparison that I am missing.
posted by mwhybark at 10:24 AM on October 3, 2012


I'm at intermission now.

I don't care if they struck it from Super 8. The print is beautiful.
posted by Egg Shen at 3:41 PM on October 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Just saw this myself, thanks to MeFi for the heads up. It was as good as expected, though I was surprised at how few people were there. I bought my ticket in advance assuming they would sell out. Maybe it will be a little fuller for the evening show.

In the "making of" featurette there was some ambiguity about whether they were able to use the original camera negatives for the whole film. It sounded like they were in rough shape and they may have used other prints some parts. They did talk a lot about working in 4K for all the restoration work, and they did lots of before-and-afters with live film and not just stills.
posted by stopgap at 3:59 PM on October 4, 2012


Ha! stopgap, I bought four tickets and only two have been claimed. Anyone coming to Emeryville to watch it tonight? It doesn't seem to have sold out, shockingly enough.
posted by small_ruminant at 4:35 PM on October 4, 2012


Just got back from my screening. As small a mid-weekday audience as I'd expect for any other movie playing now - maybe smaller. Most of them could have seen the original release. As I was leaving, I overheard two women discussing having done so.

I too was feeling the years rushing away like the tide sucking out the sand from beneath one's feet - after seeing the "1988 restoration" end credits I remembered from my first viewing followed by "2012 restoration" credits. I wondered what my 1988 self would think about my having been admitted today by a clerk who scanned my e-ticket's QR code from my iPhone.

So magnificent a film - such a heroic accomplishment on Lean's part. And so sad. The story of two great disappointed loves: Lawrence's for Arabia and Ali's for Lawrence.
posted by Egg Shen at 5:49 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just got back from my own non-FauxMax screening. Probably the most beautiful, powerful film I've ever seen, and both restoration and projection were excellent. I shed actual tears of joy to have the opportunity to see this wonderful film as it should be seen, in large part because I know I may not have the chance to see it again properly during my lifetime. Thanks again for the tip, Egg Shen.
posted by Currer Belfry at 8:11 PM on October 4, 2012


Just saw it in Boston on a non-IMAX screen. Absolutely gorgeous.
posted by Spatch at 9:29 PM on October 4, 2012


That was absolutely gorgeous (loved how you could even see the fly crawling around on the chair in the Arab Council scene). Also much more complex than I'd always assumed--the second half is a powerful answer to "dances with wolves" white savior of native type narratives. Really, really glad I saw it.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:36 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


At intermission now. Bought my ticket ahead, expecting crowds. Only 16 people here. Wonder how much advertising was done. I only heard about it here, no one I mentioned it to had heard.
posted by dorey_oh at 9:47 PM on October 4, 2012


Oh, and - such an amazing experience to see the movie properly, in full screen! Holds the attention in a way it doesn't on TV.
posted by dorey_oh at 9:49 PM on October 4, 2012


Oh, I have to say, though, that this restoration does make Anthony Quinn's nose look unfortunate. I've noticed that with restorations of SF series, too--Star Trek: TNG, notably. The makeup wasn't designed for such scrutiny, really.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:50 PM on October 4, 2012


Thanks to Egg Shen for bringing this to our attention. It became my favorite movie on my shitty analog tv but to see it oin theatres was amazing.
posted by khaibit at 9:52 PM on October 4, 2012


Thanks for the thread. We wouldn't have heard of it otherwise. I enjoyed seeing it on a large screen enormously as did my wife who had not seen it before. There were about 10 people present (evening) including one woman whose brother was named after Lawrence. I also appreciated the extended intermission length as it gave us time to leave the theater and find better coffee that didn't cost $3.50 per cup.
posted by michaelh at 10:35 PM on October 4, 2012


I came in to say what PhoBWanKenobi said. That nose was completely distracting.
posted by small_ruminant at 11:55 PM on October 4, 2012


I attended the screening at my local cinema, and by chance was seated behind a fellow who swam across the Suez Canal (and was escorted back to Egypt at gunpoint). Just -- wow.

They certainly don't make movies like that anymore. No CGI bedouins -- hundreds of actual extras.

EDIT: the nose was not only very hooky, but also grey, like it was about to fall off due to lack of circulation.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 12:00 AM on October 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Came back from seeing it--just utterly, utterly gorgeous. I knew of it as a well-shot film, and saw a few clips here and there, but I'm so glad my first time was this time: EPIC. The panoramic shots of the desert landscape were absolutely breathtaking.
posted by ilicet at 12:00 AM on October 5, 2012


[Just a note about the "EDIT" thing: We're trying to avoid having a ton of comments with distracting "Edit:" or "Edited to add:" etc. remarks. Please just fix typos in your comments, and post a new comment if you have another thought you'd like to add. Thanks.]
posted by taz at 12:33 AM on October 5, 2012


Aside from everyone's completely accurate comments about the make-up (I feel the same way about HDTV in that regard), I thought it was gorgeous. The sunrise, the shot of Ali arriving through the desert haze, Lawrence's dreamy blue eyes...

Thanks, Egg Shen
posted by snottydick at 7:10 AM on October 5, 2012


the 2048 restoration will fix Quinn's nose, at glorious 32k.
posted by mwhybark at 8:21 AM on October 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


That was a fantastic restoration! Spectacular! My only qualm is the venue selection here in NYC. It should have been shown at the Ziegfeld, where I happened to catch the last theatrical re-release. The theater (Union Square) was practically standing room only, between 200 and 300.

This movie never gets old for me. It's a triumph of movie making: acting and direction and writing. Claude Reins is probably my favorite presence in a curb-to-curb peerless cast. He lends grace and humor to every scene he is in.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 9:06 AM on October 5, 2012


I went to see this and the restoration was simply astounding. Every frame was perfectly sharp and there was barely any film grain, which felt uncanny for a film made in the 60s. I was happy to see half the theater full at the 7pm showing. More like this, please.
posted by archagon at 11:02 AM on October 5, 2012


I ended up seeing an evening showing in Chicago and really enjoyed it. It was my first time seeing the movie, and I'm glad I saw this post so that my first viewing could be in a proper theater instead of in my living room.

I was surprised that the event wasn't better attended -- only a dozen or so people in the audience -- but I agree that part of that is probably that it didn't seem to be extraordinarily well advertised: I wouldn't've known about it without seeing it pop up here. On the upside, it looks like the company that distributed this has a number of other neat upcoming events and now I know where I can keep an eye out for them.
posted by jdherg at 2:54 PM on October 5, 2012


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