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post #1 of 15 Old 11-17-12, 02:48 PM Thread Starter
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Lawrence of Arabia - Blu-ray Review

Title: Lawrence of Arabia
Starring: Peter O'Toole, Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn, Omar Sharif
Directed by: David Lean
Written by: Robert Bolt (Screenplay), T.E. Lawrence (writings)
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainmnet
Rated: PG
Runtime: 227 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: October 13th, 2012

Movie:
Video:
Audio:
Extras:

HTS Overall Score:98




Summary
“Lawrence of Arabia” has been one of THE most anticipated Blu-ray releases of all times. Sony has teased us with hints and previews ever since the creation of the format. Unfortunately, it was always delayed, or rumors would surface that it was “coming soon” only to be dashed apart later. When I heard that Sony officially announced a release date, I trembled in anticipation. “Lawrence of Arabia" is by far one of the most beloved epics of all time, and for very good reason: it has an all-star cast, fantastic acting, and one of the best written scripts of all time. Many classic movies fail to live up to the hype, but “Lawrence” is one that has stood the test of time only to come out stronger.

Thomas Lawrence (Peter O’Toole) is a socially inept intelligence officer for the British military during the throws of World War I; due to his social ineptness, and seeming disrespect for authority, he is thrust off in an obscure assignment to assess the Arabic situation during the Turkish invasion of the Arab nations. Prince Feisal (Alec Guinness) is the Bedouin leader of the Arabic resistance and Lawrence is sent to help assess the situation and report back. Instead of reporting back, Lawrence begs fifty men of Prince Feisal in an effort to capture a port city that holds the key to the Arabic defense. Given permission, Lawrence and his men set off across the desert in a trip that no one thinks they can survive. Not only do they survive, but they succeed marvelously. After such a crushing victory, Lawrence has built himself a new resolve - instead of returning to his post as the mild-mannered lackey he once was, he sets out to acquire more British weapons and equipment to help aid the Arabic resistance. At this point, he has become a legend among the Bedouins and has gained an almost godlike status. He continues to wage guerrilla warfare against the Turks in a heroic effort to liberate Arabia.

As with many men who gain such fame and power so quickly, it sours for Lawrence. He begins to believe his press releases, so to speak, and the belief that he is the TRUE force that can rid Arabia of its invaders. Great pride cometh before a fall; Lawrence lands himself in a situation where he finds the limits of his “powers” and as a result, falls into bitter disillusionment. From there, it only spirals downward. Gaining a new resolve, he comes back in a grand effort to deliver the city of Damascus to the Resistance, the only problem being that he is no longer the soft spoken hero that he once was. In his place is a twisted and angry man, willing to do the unthinkable to accomplish his goals.


“Lawrence of Arabia” is not a war story, or even a story about the Arabic desert. It is, at its core, a look into the journey of a man’s life, a look at T.E. Lawrence’s rise from innocence, ascendance to power, and ultimately his decline into his worst fears. Lawrence himself was a two-edged sword in this film: not only was he a weapon to be used against the Turkish invaders, but he became a liability to the Arabic people once his goals were accomplished. “Lawrence of Arabia” has always been beloved due to having of the most brilliant scripts and performances of all time. Peter O’Toole does an incredible job at portraying the mild-mannered T.E. Lawrence, bumbling when he needed to be and harshly loyal to his principals at the same time. Lawrence was a man of action, though not one of wild physical action. Instead, his convictions and his emotional strength are what empowered everyone around him, something that just emanated from him. Alec Guinness played the aging Prince to a T (even though it was interesting to see a famous British actor playing an Arab).

Musically, “Lawrence of Arabia” has been given a myriad of awards for best score. The music just binds the film together; where there are scenes that lack vocals, the music tells the story, completely arousing emotions of intense excitement, sadness, and even pain. Match that with the incredible acting and the sweeping and sumptuous visuals that can only be done with real life locations, and you have a recipe for excellence. At 3 hours and 47 minutes some might think that it would overstay its welcome, but “Lawrence” is a unique film so grandiose and so enthralling that one feels as if it was only a fraction of the length. Overall a film that no one should miss, even if they are not a fan of long movies or even of the genre, “Lawrence of Arabia” is truly one of a kind.

Rating:

Rated PG for violence and language



Video

Wow! That’s all I can say after watching “Lawrence of Arabia.” This is by far THE most stunning catalog title that I have ever seen. Catalog titles are a bit hit or miss in just about any home media format. Some titles get the treatment they deserve, and others get mediocre or sub-par transfers that were made years ago and just slapped on disc. I’m here to say that “Lawrence of Arabia” did not get the transfer it deserved. Instead, Sony pictures went above and beyond the call of duty, going back to the original film elements and painstakingly restoring the film to the best it’s ever looked. The film was remastered and restored using a 4K line of resolution master and touched up fantastically. The film itself wasn’t tampered with, no pesky DNR or digital tampering is present; a fine layer of film grain coats the image, looking as natural as could be. The image is crystal clear; facial detail and other fine detail is absolutely astounding. Every line and crease on Peter O’Toole’s face is elegantly reproduced, and the lush Arabic scenery is crystal clear and clean as if it was shot yesterday. Of course, there are old school optical effects in use, such as copious amounts of “day for night” shots and the use of some exquisite matte paintings; however, that is not the fault of the transfer for those of us who are not familiar with the techniques, but rather a technique of the times. Black levels are beautiful, dark scenes are detailed and crisp without crushing of blacks and the colors, oh my, the colors. Rich reds, greens and blues mixed in with the sandy texture of a desert film all blend together seamlessly to paint a masterful visual picture. I cannot praise the work that Sony and company did bringing this masterpiece to us. Clearly a work of loving care and devotion.






Audio

As with the video, the audio for “Lawrence of Arabia” is another home run. The film sports a 5.1 DTS-HD MA lossless audio track that is more than capable of holding up the film’s epic feel. Dialogue is masterfully done, evenly centered and crisp as can be. Dynamic range is very smooth, all the effects and the score are kept balanced without any need for the remote to be touched during the viewing experience. The effects and the music flow naturally from one speaker to the next, giving great separation allowing the viewer to be completely enveloped in the movie, whether that be in a rousing speech or amidst the thundering hooves of an Arab raiding party. LFE is excellent, clean and deep, not overly bloated as some actioneers tend to be, but rather balanced and doesn’t over stay its welcome. During action scenes, the gunshots and horse hooves rattle the walls, and during musical accompaniments it flows seamlessly into the music enhancing, while not becoming overbearing or nonexistent. The main winner in the audio track happens to be the music - instead of a typical soundtrack we are regaled with an old fashioned orchestral track. There are many times during the film that the music itself carries the pace, drawing us in and focusing our attention on whatever it points itself at, whether it’s Lawrence contemplatively figuring out what he must do or the rousing crescendo of an attack against the Turks, it sets the pace, the mood and draws the listener into a world where words are not the only way to tell a story.


Extras:
• Secrets of Arabia: A Picture-in-Graphic Track
• Peter O'Toole Revisits "Lawrence of Arabia"
• Making of
• A Conversation with Steven Spielberg
• Maan, Jordan: The Camels Are Cast
• In Search of Lawrence
• Romance of Arabia
• Wind, Sand and Star: The Making of a Classic
• New York Premiere
• Advertising Campaigns



Overall:

“Lawrence of Arabia” has been the crown jewel of many a cinemaphile’s collection over the decades, and this iteration of the classic film is sure to stay that way. Many classic films and epics have a great deal of hype, but fall short once one realizes that nostalgia plays a large part of that opinion. “Lawrence” is one of the few films that not only meets up to the expectations, but surpasses it. Every time I view this film, I gain a new appreciation for the art of creating a film, for the effort and masterful performances that have been captured for modern audience. Whether you’re young and have never heard of “Lawrence of Arabia,” or are a longtime fan, this Blu-ray is THE definitive version to date and is a must see by everyone at least once in their life. Again, I cannot recommend this movie highly enough on both a film lovers’ standpoint AND as lover of fantastically done transfers. A+ all the way..

Buy Lawrence of Arabia on Blu-ray at Amazon

Recommendation: Buy It!

Last edited by Mike Edwards; 11-18-12 at 12:15 AM.
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post #2 of 15 Old 11-17-12, 02:55 PM
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Re: Lawrence of Arabia - Blu-ray Review

'Lawrence. Lawrence of Arabia. He's the kind of guy. That came to fight the turkish.'

Ok all kidding aside. I am now jonesin to see the restoration based on your review Mike!

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post #3 of 15 Old 11-17-12, 02:56 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Lawrence of Arabia - Blu-ray Review

Quote:
Dale Rasco wrote: View Post
'Lawrence. Lawrence of Arabia. He's the kind of guy. That came to fight the turkish.'

Ok all kidding aside. I am now jonesin to see the restoration based on your review Mike!
it needs to be seen to understand just how amazing the transfer is. I thought the Ben Hur and Blade runner remasters were fantastic. this one blows them out of the water without even breaking a sweat.
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post #4 of 15 Old 11-17-12, 02:59 PM
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Re: Lawrence of Arabia - Blu-ray Review

Those be pretty strong words there Mike. Better than Blade Runner and Ben-Hur? Really?

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post #5 of 15 Old 11-17-12, 02:59 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Lawrence of Arabia - Blu-ray Review

I kid you not. I was stunned. Ben Hur was amazing but being that Lawrence was shot on 70mm film it has a LOT of detail to work with
they used an 8K scan and a 4K intermediary and it shows!!
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post #6 of 15 Old 11-17-12, 03:58 PM
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Re: Lawrence of Arabia - Blu-ray Review

Mike, from blu-ray.com:

"Sony's meticulous 4K restoration is not just a treat, it's a revelation and perhaps the definitive Blu-ray catalogue release, if not the format's finest presentation."

I'm sticking this one on the BUY list based on your review. And the hits just keep on comin'!
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post #7 of 15 Old 11-17-12, 09:28 PM
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Re: Lawrence of Arabia - Blu-ray Review

Thanks for the review. Lawrence of Arabia is one of my all time classics that I have enjoyed on dvd. On Blu this will be even better. Thanks once again!
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post #8 of 15 Old 11-17-12, 10:08 PM
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Re: Lawrence of Arabia - Blu-ray Review

Thanks for the review Mike!

I am ashamed to admit that I have never seen this film - which will be changing VERY soon!
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post #9 of 15 Old 11-18-12, 05:35 AM
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Re: Lawrence of Arabia - Blu-ray Review

I recently read a biography of Lawrence, "Hero", and he was in all respects, a very complicated man. Socially inept? I'm not sure I would have described him that way. He certainly didn't kowtow to authority, in the manner of the day, but he had a very fine-tuned ability to "read" people and assess their true character. Back in England, after the war, he gained friends in very high places and could have "written his own check", so to speak. However, being such a complicated man, he never seemed to find his place in the world and never really lived up to his potential.

At the treaty talks in Paris, he did his best to represent the Arabic peoples and his ideas on how the Middle East should have been carved up after the demise of the Ottoman Empire put the needs of the people at the forefront. Instead, the current mess we have can be traced to the selfishness and shortsightedness of the Allies. I ordered this BD last week and I can't wait for it to arrive. This review has only ramped up my eagerness! Thanks!
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post #10 of 15 Old 11-18-12, 08:44 AM
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Re: Lawrence of Arabia - Blu-ray Review

As usual, Thank You Mike, disc has been ordered.

Good Listening

Jack

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