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"Lawrence of Arabia", 50th Anniversary Limited Collector's Blu-Ray Edition - A Review

The 70mm Newsletter
Written by: Gerhard Witte, Berlin, GermanyDate: 19.11.2012
Blu-ray, hardcover coffee-table book and an authentic 70mm film frame

Of course, the Blu-Ray Box Set Edition is an eye-catcher and deserves a special place in your living room. Howard Terpning's poster-artwork for this cinematic masterpiece is impressive seeing the drawing of Lawrence through the die-cut window on the front side of the box. The box is enclosed in a clear plastic outer sleeve with some writing on it. It weighs 1,9 kg (4,2 lbs) – unfortunately currently a very expensive collectible for movie enthusiasts.

I paid for it 95 EUR (76 GBP / 121 USD) – perhaps another weak moment in my life.

The included book written by Jeremy Arnold with a preface by Leonard Maltin is a unique collectable with a lot of large, hitherto never seen wonderful colour and black & white photos. It is lovingly compiled with much interesting information. I was astonished that it is even written in German language.

I also own the 1992 Lawrence 30th Anniversary Pictorial History Book by L. Robert Morris and Lawrence Raskin (preface by Martin Scorsese). Of course, its 238 pages give much more information about the film compared to the J. Arnold book. It also has numerous interesting pictures.

The authentic 70mm film frame in a white piece of cardboard has nice colours an shows a scene of the film in which Lawrence (Peter O'Toole) and Prince Feisal (Alec Guinness) are together in Feisal's tent. It must be taken from a newly created 70mm print. The film frame is numbered – also a collectible.

“Lawrence of Arabia” is one of the crown jewels in the legacy of Columbia Pictures – “they found a goldmine under all that sand”. The Los Angeles Times called it: “One of the seven wonders of the cinematic world”.

The film has been painstakingly restored and remastered. “We wanted to return this film to as pristine a condition as possible to honour its anniversary release”, said Grover Crisp, Executive Vice President (EVP) of Asset Management, Film Restoration and Digital Mastering for Sony Pictures Entertainment, Inc (SPE).
More in 70mm reading:

Restoration of "Lawrence of Arabia"

The Shoes Of The Fisherman

Internet link:


The original camera negative was scanned at 8K and the film went through a painstaking process of repairing problems. Finally, newly restored and remastered at 4K resolution, the film is available on Blu-ray disc from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 1080p / AVC (Advanced Video Coding) - encoded video and a lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound.

In my mind's eye they did a really good job. I am pleased with all: The video presentation is at its best, delivering incredible depth and dimension, e.g., the desert panoramas are looking overwhelming (almost 3-dimensional). Pictures are sharp, contrast and brightness are blameless.

The high resolution DTS-HD MA 5.1 channel mix of the sound is convincing. The film's Overture elicits goose bumps due to powerful dynamics and bass - Maurice Jarre's score has been given a wide and dynamic soundstage. The dialogues are nicely clear and natural. The surround channels are working here and there, e.g., when you hear gunfire and explosions during a Turkish air attack. The sound in the German version of the film comes in Dolby Digital 5.1, it's also impressing.

Dear readers, I must say, I'm no expert in this field. Compared with the time of analogue Video-Cassettes, dreams have come true. High quality films from the 3-strip and 70mm era also with an enveloping soundstage in your living room – wow.

The Blu-ray discs contain a plethora of extras. Sink into your armchair and enjoy everything.

50th Anniversary Limited Collector's Blu-Ray Edition

"Lawrence of Arabia", 50th Anniversary Limited Collector's Blu-Ray Edition has been published with an impressive hardcover coffee-table book and also with an authentic 70mm film frame.

The German version of the Limited Edition - all images are taken by the author. The box has a size of 30,6 x 30,6 x 4,2 cm (12,0 x 12,0 x 1,7 inches). That is nearly the size of a LP album cover - of course not in height.

The contents of the box. The hardcover book, the blu-ray discs (+CD) and the authentic 70mm film frame (limited edition numbered).

Here are some impressions of the book. The German Collector's Blu-Ray Edition Box includes a book written in German language. It has 94 pages (numbered internally 88) and a size of 29,7 x 29,3 cm (11,7 x 11,5 inches).

Supplements of the Collector's Blu-Ray Edition (3 Blu-Rays)

• Secrets of Arabia: Picture-in-Graphic-Track
• Advertising Campaigns
• "Peter O'Toole revisits Lawrence of Arabia", All-New Interview
• "The Making of Lawrence of Arabia", Documentary
• "A Conversation with Steven Spielberg"
• Maan, Jordanien: "The Camels are Cast"
• "In Search of Lawrence"
• "Wind, Sand and Star: The Making of a Classic" (1970 version)
• "Romance of Arabia"
• Newsreel Footage of the New York Premiere
Features on Blu-Ray Disc No 3 – only available in the Collector´s Box Edition:

• Never-Before-Released Deleted Scene with Introduction by Anne Coates
• "The Lure of the Desert: Martin Scorsese on Lawrence of Arabia", All-New Interview with Martin Scorsese
• Lawrence at 50: A Classic Restored
• "In Love with the Desert"
• King Hussein visits Lawrence of Arabia scene
• "Wind, Sand and Star", (original version from 1963)
• Archival Interviews with William Friedkin, Sydney Pollack and Steven Spielberg
• Trailers/TV Spots

Program Length of the Main Feature (Lawrence of Arabia): 227 minutes, Aspect Ratio: 2.20:1, 1920 x 1080p

The box additionally includes a CD with the film's score (16 tracks, 41:59 min).

It is the very first original LP version from 1962/63 (Colpix Records, 12 tracks) plus two new previously unreleased tracks (track 4 and 16 on CD) which were not on the Colpix album.

Track 5 on the Colpix LP has been divided into 2 tracks on CD (Rescue of Gasim / Bringing Gasim into Camp)

The CD also contains the film's Overture twice (track 1 and track 12 here used as Intermission music).
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Updated 21-01-24