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.
Much has been made about the wealth of extras found on the four-disc 50th-anniversary collector's edition Blu-ray, but this two-disc edition also offers an exceptional array of supplemental features devoted to the making of Lawrence. However, buyers should note that most of the extras consist of the same material found on the 2008 collector's edition DVD, including the hour-plus "Making of Lawrence of Arabia," a nine-minute conversation with Steven Spielberg about the impact of the film on his career, and four short vintage documentary featurettes about the rigors of location shooting; one of the shorter items, Wind, Sand and Star: The Making of a Classic, from 1970, is featured in a slightly shorter presentation than on the 50th-anniversary collector's edition. A newsreel from the film's premiere and a gallery of promotional material from the picture's original release and subsequent reissues round out the set, while three minor extras from the collector's edition DVD--a handful of theatrical trailers, talent files, and the DVD-ROM feature "Archives of Arabia: Historic Photographs Take You Behind the Scenes"--have not been included. In their stead are two new HD features created exclusively for the Blu-ray release: "Secrets of Arabia: A Picture-in-Graphic Track" presents an array of textual information on the film and the historical events that inspired it, including excerpts from T.E. Lawrence's own writing, maps, and still photographs that can be viewed along with the film, while "Peter O'Toole Revisits Lawrence of Arabia" is a 20-plus-minute interview with the actor, who recalls his career-changing work on the film through typically charming and informative anecdotes. For buyers wishing to have the best Blu-ray presentation possible of Lawrence of Arabia, but are unwilling or unable to pay for the 50th-anniversary collector's edition, the restored version is a fine compilation of some of the best extras available from both past and present for this extraordinary film. --Paul Gaita