LAWRENCE OF ARABIA 50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION Winner of 7 Academy Awards® including Best Picture of 1962, LAWRENCE OF ARABIA stands as one of the most timeless and essential motion picture masterpieces. The greatest achievement of its legendary, Oscar®-winning director, David Lean (1962, Lawrence of Arabia: 1957 the Bridge on the River Kwai), the film stars Peter O’Toole — in his career-making performance — as T.E. Lawrence, the audacious World War I British army officer who heroically united rival Arab desert tribes and led them to war against the mighty Turkish Empire. Newly restored and re-mastered at 4K resolution, the massive scope and epic action of the Director’s Cut of LAWRENCE OF ARABIA can now be experienced like never before in this landmark 50th Anniversary Edition.
This vast movie is spread leisurely across two discs, with Maurice Jarre's overture standing in as intermission music for the first track of the second disc. But the clarity of the anamorphic widescreen picture and Dolby 5.1 soundtrack justify the decision not to cram the whole thing onto one side of a disc. The movie has never looked nor sounded better: the desert landscapes are incredibly detailed, with the tiny nomadic figures in the far distance clearly visible on the small screen; the remastered soundtrack, too, is a joy. Thanks are due to Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg, who supervised (and financed) the restoration of the picture in 1989; on the second disc Spielberg chats about why David Lean is his favorite director and why Lawrence
had such a profound influence on him both as a child and as a filmmaker (he says he rewatches the movie before starting any new project). Other features include an excellent and exhaustive "making of" documentary with contributions from surviving cast and crew (an avuncular Omar Sharif is particularly entertaining as he reminisces about meeting the hawk-like Lean for the first time), some contemporary featurettes designed to promote the movie, and a DVD-ROM facility. The extra features, especially the documentary, are good, but the breathtaking quality of both anamorphic picture and digital sound is what makes this DVD package a triumph. --Mark Walker