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Visit biografmuseet.dk about Danish cinemas


June 1990, Restored "Lawrence of Arabia" premieres in Copenhagen, Denmark

The 70mm Newsletter
Written by: Thomas Hauerslev Date: 14.06.2015
13 transport containers for "Lawrence of Arabia" lined up in Imperial Bio's projection room

The restored "Lawrence of Arabia" opened in 70mm and six-track Dolby Stereo SR at the prestigious Imperial Bio in Copenhagen (Denmark), 31. May 1990 27 years after it's Danish premiere in October 1963, at the 3 Falke Bio.

Much to the surprise of everyone - not least the distribution company, "Lawrence" played extremely well for 4 weeks, with two shows a day. "Lawrence" opened with a gala performance for an invited audience, including French actor Jean-Marc Barr (of "The Big Blue" fame), who was in town to work on "Europa", by Lars von Trier.

After 4 weeks, "Lawrence" was replaced by the excellent "The Music Box" with Jessica Lange in 35mm.

The premiere of "Lawrence" also marked the premiere of 70mm Dolby Stereo in Denmark, which at that point didn't have the premiere 70mm format installed in any cinema at all. Even the the Imperial Bio had to do with it's 30 year old Bang and Olufsen valve amplifiers for 70mm. Dansk Biograf Teknik installed this Dolby CP200 processor prior to the opening of "Lawrence". Nordisk Film bought magnetic preamplifiers for one machine, and if it was a SR print, two SR cards had to be borrowed from nearby Palace Theatre.
More in 70mm reading:

“Lawrence of Arabia: The Director’s Cut” — The 70mm Engagements

Gallery: "Lawrence of Arabia" in 70MM Dolby Stereo on DP70 #1644, Imperial Bio, Copenhagen, Denmark, 31. May 1990 - 28. june 1990

Imperial Bio, Copenhagen, Denmark

Restoration of "Lawrence of Arabia"

3 Falke Bio

Internet link:

"Lawrence of Arabia" on the Kinoton ST270 non-rewind in 70mm. Very gentle to film, easy to work with, and one flawless performance after another. DP70s #1644 and #1640 in the back ground.

Thanks to a very intensive advert campaign and news coverage about the restoration of this film, the audience were very interested to see what the fuss was all about. On the premiere night the projection room and the spinnign70mm print ended up in national TV news.

This 70mm print #24 came directly from it's London run at the ABC Shaftbury Avenue 1+2. The print was not subtitled, which is the common practice in Denmark. The distributor did not want to pay for the subtitles, as they didn't think the film would be any success, and thus, subtitles would be too expensive. Luckily, the audience felt the pretty images were even prettier without subtitles.

There were two shows a day, for a price of DKK 40/45 pr. ticket. "Lawrence" became a colossal hit compared to expectations. The gross was DKK 853.000 in 29 days and 58 performances. The absolutely last show was a near sell-out with only 10 tickets left in this cinema with 1179 seats. 1169 people wanted to see it one more time before it was too late.
DP70 film gate with 70mm film illuminated. Auda Abu Tayi: I carry twenty-three great wounds, all got in battle. Seventy-five men have I killed with my own hands in battle. I scatter, I burn my enemies' tents. I take away their flocks and herds. The Turks pay me a golden treasure, yet I am poor! Because *I* am a river to my people!

When "Lawrence" moved across the street to screen 9 at the Palace theatre, it dropped DKK 100.000 pr. week. The audience does not always follow the film. It's a question of atmosphere, grandeur and spectacle which adds to a film success. At least in this case with "Lawrence".

"Biffen" in Aalborg, "Bio" in Malling and "Biografen" in Slagelse all asked to show "Lawrence" in 70mm following it's successful Copenhagen run, but, alas, the 70mm print was returned to London following it's Palace Theatre run. A new 70mm print returned 18 years later for one show during the 8 Great films - 1 Great Cinema 70mm Film Festival. The one-off show was a big success and was appreciated by a huge audience.
Per Jacobsen's beautiful "Lawrence" display with the re-release poster, and imported Swedish posters. These beautifully designed and illuminated classic poster display cabinets have all been thrown out in the name of progress.

I was working as a projectionist at Imperial Bio at that time in 1990, and ran it 12 times during 4 weeks. "Lawrence of Arabia" is my absolute favourite film of all time, and have seen it countless times (never in 35mm!!). I was really pleased to show that in my "own" cinema. It was a walk-in-the-park to run this new 70mm 6-track mag print on my beloved DP70s and the Kinoton non-rewind. Easy to focus, easy to laze up and basically easy to show. This is what the DP70 was born to do, and it hardly made any noise. Very quirt to work with. Curtains, horizontal and vertical adjustable masking on the curved screen made this one a high-point in my 11-year stint as a projectionist. Something I will remember for many years.

• Go to the gallery: "Lawrence of Arabia" in 70MM Dolby Stereo on DP70 #1644, Imperial Bio, Copenhagen, Denmark, 31. May 1990 - 28. june 1990
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Updated 07-01-23