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My favorite film of all time is playing theaters Thursday night, and if you've never seen it, or if you've never seen it theatrically, now's your chance.
I know that many people view "Lawrence Of Arabia" as something that sounds like it's going to be homework. I try to go see the film every time it plays LA in 70MM, and last time I went, I was joined by a friend who had never seen it. He confessed that he was worried about the homework issue and that the film's length intimidated him. "Tell you what," I said, "if you still think this is homework by the time the intermission rolls around, you should feel free to leave." When we reached the intermission, he looked over at me, wide-eyed, and I could tell he wasn't going anywhere.
"Lawrence" is as theatrical a film experience as I can imagine, huge and epic, with scenes that I find almost impossible to imagine anyone actually staging and shooting. It is a tremendous film both as entertainment and art, and with the Blu-ray arriving in stores on November 13, Sony decided to show off the new restoration, an update on the amazing work done by Robert Harris and his team in 1989, something you need a theatre screen to fully appreciate.
Here's the press release they sent over with details of what you can expect and where you can see the event:
One of the most popular and influential films in the history of cinema returns to the silver screen with “Lawrence of Arabia 50 Anniversary Event: Digitally Restored” on Thursday, October 4 at 7:00 p.m. local time, with special matinees in select theaters. Presented by NCM Fathom Events and Sony Pictures Entertainment, the film was meticulously restored by Sony Pictures Entertainment in 4K at Sony Pictures’ Colorworks from the original 65mm negative. This special event features an exclusive introduction from “Lawrence of Arabia” star and Academy Award nominee Omar Sharif. The event will include newsreel footage of the New York premiere as stars arrive on the red carpet, as well as footage of King Hussein visiting the film set in Aqaba where he met David Lean, Sam Spiegel and Peter O’Toole. Academy Award-winning Director Martin Scorsese (Best Director, “The Departed,” 2006) will also discuss the overarching themes of “Lawrence of Arabia” and its influence on other iconic films.
Tickets for “Lawrence of Arabia 50 Anniversary Event: Digitally Restored” are available at participating theater box offices and online at www.FathomEvents.com. The event will be presented using new digital cinema projection systems in more than 630 select movie theaters around the country. For a complete list of theater locations and prices, visit the NCM Fathom Events website (theaters and participants are subject to change).
Winner of seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture of 1962, “Lawrence of Arabia” is considered one of the most timeless and essential motion picture masterpieces. The greatest achievement of its legendary, Oscar-winning director David Lean (“Lawrence of Arabia,” “The Bridge on the River Kwai”), the film has been honored as the No. 7 film on the American Film Institute’s (AFI) list of the “100 Greatest Movies of All Time.”
“Lawrence of Arabia” stars Peter O’Toole in his career-making performance as T.E. Lawrence. A young, idealistic British officer in WWI, Lawrence is assigned to the camp of Prince Feisal, an Arab tribal chieftain and leader in a revolt against the Turks. In a series of brilliant tactical maneuvers, Lawrence leads 50 of Feisal's men in a tortured three-week crossing of the Nefud Desert to attack the strategic Turkish-held port of Aqaba. Following his successful raids against Turkish troops and trains, Lawrence’s triumphant leadership and unyielding courage gain him nearly god-like status among his Arab brothers.
“’Lawrence of Arabia’ deserves a spectacular golden anniversary celebration on the silver screen,” said Shelly Maxwell, executive vice president of Fathom Events. “This epic film starring Peter O’Toole and Omar Sharif is one of the greatest films in the history of cinema with special footage that fans won’t want to miss.”
The “Lawrence of Arabia” limited-edition, four-disc collector’s Gift Set will be available on November 13 in a fully-restored Blu-ray with UltraViolet. The four-disc set includes three Blu-ray discs, plus a CD of the original soundtrack featuring previously unreleased tracks. Other special items include an authentic 70mm film frame (newly printed and numbered) and an 88-page hard-bound coffee table book that features rarely seen photos, the film’s history and significance and insight into the making of the film.
If you do attend and it's your first time seeing the movie, drop me a line afterwards and tell me what you thought of it. I'll be bringing you a look at the Blu-ray once it's sent out for review, and I think it's safe to say there is no title I am more excited about this year.