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50th Anniversary Digital Restoration of 'Lawrence of Arabia' Comes to the Academy, National Release October 4, Blu-ray November 13 UPDATED

by Beth Hanna
July 18, 2012 4:01 PM
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Sony celebrates the 50th anniversary of David Lean's 1962 epic masterpiece "Lawrence of Arabia" with a glorious new 4K digital restoration of the director's cut, set to be released in theaters October 4, and having its stateside premiere at the Academy July 19. As Peter O'Toole announces his retirement from acting, this is the Oscar-nominated role for which he will always be remembered. Even Michael Fassbender's "Prometheus" robot models his look on O'Toole in "Lawrence of Arabia."

After its October rollout, the new restoration will be featured for one night only on TCM November 16. UPDATE: And Sony confirms a Blu-ray release for November 13.

Sony's preeminent film preservationist Grover Crisp says of the difficult preservation process, and the amazing results due to digital restoration tools:

"We wanted to return this film to as pristine a condition as possible to honor its anniversary release. The original negative was seriously damaged in a number of ways, some problems dating from the original release and some accumulated over the years. Until now, we did not have the tools available to address these issues.  We think fans of the film will be as amazed as we are at the detail and resolution in the imagery captured by cinematographer Freddie Young to compliment David Lean’s immaculate direction.”

"Lawrence of Arabia" was nominated for a staggering 10 Oscars, and won seven, including Best Picture and Best Director. O'Toole received a nomination for the platinum-haired title role, and Omar Sharif received a Supporting nomination in his first English-language performance. Sharif will give a special video message prior to the screening at the Academy.

The new restoration had its international debut at Cannes in May.


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