1960s Lawrence of Arabia (1962, Blu Ray)

Published on November 26th, 2012 | by Chris


Lawrence of Arabia (1962, Blu Ray)

Movie by :
David Lean

Reviewed by:
On November 26, 2012
Last modified:November 26, 2012


The definitive epic war movie just got even more epic in Blu Ray.

Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

If you look up the word "epic" in the dictionary, I imagine one of the definitions would be 1952's Lawrence of Arabia.

In case you've not read my original review of Lawrence of Arabia, I suggest you do so.  Everything I said there still stands.  I will focus this review on the Blu Ray presentation, I have in my hands the 2-disc edition, not the collector's box set.

To begin, the first thing you are greeted with is the picture-less introduction, with several minutes of the soundtrack in order to implant it firmly in your mind.  Brilliant.  The full 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio is immediately evident.  I can't recall exactly what the DVD sounded like, but it is definitely a step up.  However, once the film starts, the 5.1 mix at first (at least to me) sounded a bit out of place, maybe "artificial" would be a better word, especially in the dialogue.  That feeling soon disappeared, though, as my ears became accustomed to the clarity and scope of it.  It was never, that I can tell, "over produced" to include lots of back channel or LFE effects.

And the picture.  The immaculate 4K restoration (which essentially involves scanning the film at 2x the target resolution of HD...  i.e. oversampling) provides probably the best reproduction of a 50-year old film onto home video I think I've ever witnessed.  It's like viewing a brand new print.  This, also, is not without its caveats.  The amount of film grain visible varies from almost none at times, to being highly evident, depending on the complexity and darkness of the scene.  Whether or not this is an artifact of the restoration process or a true representation of the source, I can't say, but it is noticable.  It is also a very minor nitpick in what is overall a fantastic visual feast.  The colors also make the DVD pale in comparison.  (This is especially noticable on the Special Features Disc, where the menus have the same "color" as the film, but the features are left alone.)

On the film's disc is also a highly enlightening "Secrets of Arabia" mode, in which you can view the entire film with periodic tidbits of trivia about Mr. Lawrence, calling out various facts of the filming process, or where the film follows, or differs from, the history of T. E. Lawrence.  You can also just skip through this mode and just view the trivia bits, which I did.

The second disc is entirely special features, including several period pieces about the promotion and production of the movie, on the DVD-era restoration, and most interesting (and it really is) an in-depth recent visit with Peter O'Toole on his experience making the film, and in the restoration process.

The Collector's Edition Box Set also includes another Blu Ray disc chock full of more documentaries, a CD with the soundtrack, a coffee-table book, and an actual 70mm film cel.

Even if you already have the restoration DVD, I HIGHLY recommend you upgrade your copy of Lawrence of Arabia to Blu Ray immediately!

Lawrence of Arabia (Restored Version)

Lawrence of Arabia (50th Anniversary Collector’s Edition) [Blu-ray] Lawrence of Arabia (50th Anniversary Collector’s Edition) [Blu-ray]
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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...

DVD Information

Binding: Blu-ray
Aspect Ratio: 2.20:1
Audience Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Manufacturer: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Original Release Date:
  • Peter O'Toole


Customer reviews
Average Customer Review

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LEAN'S BREATHTAKING MASTERPIECE ON BLU RAY, November 20, 2012
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I first remember seeing "Lawrence of Arabia" in 1971 when a bunch of us college students went to see the cut-up(actually butchered) version of it in a small theater. I may have seen it when it first came out because I still have the movie program but I don't remember(I was 11 or 12). I was more into James Bond and Ray Harryhausen films than three hour epics. However, I do remember going with some people that I worked with to see the restored version in 1989 at the Cinema 21 in Mission Valley. We were spoiled in San Diego because we had not one, but six stand-alone movie theatres that could show 70mm films like "Lawrence". Sadly, four have been torn down while the other two were turned into a Staples and Bookstar(respectively). I mention this because you don't get to experience the real impact of "Lawrence" unless you see it in a theatre that can handle 70mm films. In fact, the last 70mm film I saw was Kenneth Branagh's version of "Hamlet"(1996) and prior to that was Ron Howard's "Far... Read more
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54 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blu-ray Lawrence of Arabia, September 22, 2012
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The Blu-ray edition of Lawrence of Arabia is spectacular in every way. The first impression is sonic, with the overture by French composer Maurice Jarre played over a blank screen, soon followed by truly astounding images from the deserts of Arabia (actually Jordan and Morocco). The clarity, minute detail and brilliant color of the picture made it difficult to believe I was watching a fifty-year-old film. Every facet of the filmmaker's art is showcased here at an extreme level of competence and inspiration. Lawrence of Arabia's revered status with film fans can only be further enhanced by this high definition re-mastering.

British director David Lean had long wanted to do a production based on T.E. Lawrence's autobiography, The Seven Pillars of Wisdom, but the anticipated scope and consequent cost of the film were prohibitive. With the success of his 1957 Bridge On the River Kwai (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor Alec Guinness) the necessary funding became available... Read more
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent restoration of a famous film., October 9, 2016
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Of all epic films by David Lean this is the best. It has wonderful actors, wonderful photography with amazing shots of the desert, all put together in a mastery way by David Lean. Peter O’Toole was simply an incarnation of T.E. Lawrence. I cannot imagine anyone portraying Lawrence more convincingly. Alec Guinness is simply superb as he invariably is in any film I have seen him. He portrays the Saudi prince and then King with amazing insight, imitating an Arab aristocrat’s English accent and manners down to a t. Omar Sharif acts one of his best roles, so does Antony Quinn. The rest of the cast are also beyond reproach. The digital restoration in this Bly-ray version of the film is simply outstanding, both in terms of sharpness and of colour. The extras on this package are also very well done. The only insignificant complain I may voice is the misspelling of the Greek name on the little van that runs along the camels in the desert with the American journalist inside, just before... Read more
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Lawrence of Arabia (1962, Blu Ray) Chris

Summary: The definitive epic war movie just got even more epic in Blu Ray.


User Rating: 3.6 (1 votes)

About the Author

I've been watching war movies for probably 25 years now. Since December 2006 I've been sharing my habit and passion for these movies here on this site.

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