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Lawrence of Arabia

4K Ultra HD

Blu Ray

  • Score
    from 5 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • Lawrence of Arabia: A timeless, visually magnificent epic enhanced in 4K UHD.

    Lawrence of Arabia 4K UHD Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
  • Lawrence of Arabia's 4K UHD release dazzles with unparalleled image clarity, vibrant colors, and meticulous restoration, making it a landmark in visual excellence.

  • Audio
  • The Dolby Atmos soundtrack enchants with depth, clarity, bass, and 3D immersion, amplifying visuals with precise, powerful effects and Maurice Jarre's engaging score.

  • Extra
  • Sony's Lawrence of Arabia release boasts a visually striking steelbook and an expansive set of special features, including unique extras and a disc replacement program for complete content.

  • Movie
  • Exploring the grandeur of 'Seven Samurai' and 'Lawrence of Arabia,' their emotional depth, epic storytelling, while also unveiling Sony's UHD release of Lawrence, highlighting its cinematic significance.

    Video: 96

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray release of "Lawrence of Arabia" presents a masterclass in video quality, directly benefiting from an extensive restoration and an 8K scan of the original 65mm film negatives. This native 4K (3840 x 2160p) transfer, encoded using the HEVC (H.265) codec with HDR10, imparts an unparalleled viewing experience on a human scale - capturing minute details such as individual sand grains glinting in the sunlight, the intricate weaves of clothing, and the facial textures that convey the harshness of the desert environment. The film's iconic cinematography, captured using Mitchell BFC 65mm cameras, shines through with renewed vigor, thanks to Dolby Vision which enriches colors and enhances contrast, making the vast desert scenes and character costumes come alive with realism.

    Colors in this presentation are more vibrant and nuanced than ever before; the deep blues of the sky contrast starkly against the fiery orange of the desert sands, while costume details and skin tones display a lifelike richness. The Dolby Vision grading accentuates these elements, rendering them with precision to maintain authenticity to F.A. Young's original cinematographic vision. HDR10 coding ensures that whites are blindingly pure and blacks profoundly deep, allowing for an image with exceptional dynamic range that retains detail even in the darkest shadows or the brightest sunlit scenes.

    The technical marvel of this release is also evident in its handling of film grain - a very fine layer that adds a textural quality to the image without compromising clarity or detail. Despite being split across two discs to maximize compression efficiency, the presentation does not falter, seamlessly maintaining its quality throughout. Natural hues, from sands to skies, are displayed with an accuracy that almost surpasses reality, bolstered by an enhanced contrast that reveals even the subtlest features in rock formations, architectural details, and facial expressions. This UHD version of "Lawrence of Arabia" not only pays homage to the original film but elevates it into a visual feast for both new audiences and lifelong fans, capturing the vastness and beauty of the desert as never before.

    Audio: 94

    The Dolby Atmos track of "Lawrence of Arabia" on the 4K UHD Blu-Ray is a testament to the power and finesse of contemporary audio technology, masterfully applied to this classic film. The mix commences with an awe-inspiring depth that is immediately noticeable during the musical overture, where the orchestra's bass lays a profound foundation beneath the ethereal strings, crafting a magical auditory experience. Such separation throughout the track offers immense space, allowing for a vivid natural-sounding dialogue that benefits from precise directionality. The hefty cannon bass and foundation-rocking explosions demonstrate the track's dynamic range, with effects from trains, horse hooves, and the whispers of windstorms being remarkably realized through both surround and overhead channels, enriching the film's many battle scenes and heightening its atmospheric tension.

    In terms of technical composition, this audio presentation includes both the seasoned 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio version from the 50th Anniversary release and an enriched 7.1 Dolby TrueHD compatible Dolby Atmos mix. The Atmos version elegantly expands the soundscape, offering a smoother, broader, and more majestic stage courtesy of its height channels. Furthermore, Maurice Jarre's compelling score is extended into all channels, creating an immersive hemispheric soundfield that is as enchanting during quiet moments as it is during explosive action sequences. Notably, the low-end response is robust, adding a tangible impact to the cinematic experience.

    While fidelity occasionally betrays a mildly digital tinge in dialogue, this slight imperfection does little to detract from the overall auditory spectacle. The audio mix represents a significant step forward from its DTS-HD MA predecessor, granting extra breathing room that allows sound effects a nuanced traversal into the surround channels. This crystalline clarity, combined with a surprisingly powerful low-end and discrete channel engagement even in background activity, rounds off an atmospherically rich and deeply engaging audio experience that significantly enhances the visual splendor of "Lawrence of Arabia.

    Extra: 92

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray release of "Lawrence of Arabia" stands as a monumental achievement in home cinema, bringing an unprecedented level of detail and clarity to this classic film. As remarkable as the visual upgrade is, the collection of extras provided across the discs offers a similarly unparalleled deep dive into the making and legacy of this epic. The diverse assortment of special features, from a previously unused international prologue offering historical context, to in-depth documentaries and contemporary reflections from industry legends like Steven Spielberg, enriches the appreciation for the film's sprawling desert vistas and intricate character studies. Notably, the set includes both new and previously available content, spanning insightful interviews, making-of featurettes, and promotional materials. A notable highlight is the inclusion of "In Love with the Desert," a feature-length documentary that delves into the film's profound connection to its setting. Additionally, the correction of previously missing content through Sony's disc replacement program underscores their commitment to delivering a definitive viewing experience. The physical presentation, with sleek steelbook packaging and carefully arranged discs, further solidifies this release as a must-have for cinephiles and collectors alike.

    Extras included in this disc:

    • Unused International Prologue: A text introduction providing historical background.
    • Secrets of Arabia: A Picture-in-Graphic Track offering insights synced to the film.
    • Peter O'Toole Revisits Lawrence of Arabia: A reflective 20-minute feature by Peter O'Toole.
    • Making of Lawrence of Arabia: Comprehensive 1-hour documentary on the film's production.
    • Deleted Balcony Scene: With introduction by Anne V. Coates.
    • The Lure of the Desert: Martin Scorsese’s insights on the film.
    • A Conversation with Steven Spielberg: Spielberg's perspective on Lawrence of Arabia.
    • Maan, Jordan: The Camels Are Cast: Short feature on casting the camels.
    • In Search of Lawrence: Exploration of T.E. Lawrence’s life.
    • Romance of Arabia: Feature on the film's romanticized portrayal of Arabia.
    • Wind, Sand and Star: Making-of featurette focusing on various aspects of production.
    • King Hussein Visits Lawrence of Arabia Set: Brief look at King Hussein’s set visit.
    • In Love with the Desert: Feature-length documentary on the film's desert setting.
    • Lawrence at 50: Celebrating the 50th anniversary restoration.
    • Archival Interviews: With Steven Spielberg, William Friedkin, and Sydney Pollack.
    • New York Premiere: Footage from the premiere.
    • Advertising Campaigns: Collection of vintage trailers and TV spots.
    • Excerpts from Columbia 50 year Anniversary TV Special: Hosted by Orson Welles.

    Movie: 97

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray presentation of David Lean's "Lawrence of Arabia" is a technical marvel, faithfully transferring the majesty and intricate detail of this epic film onto the ultra-high definition format. Spanning a pair of Ultra HD discs, the 228-minute movie benefits enormously from the increased resolution and HDR color grading, which bring out the nuanced textures of the desert landscapes and the fabric of period costumes with unprecedented clarity. The desert's vast, empty spaces and the crowded scenes of Arab council gatherings are rendered with such depth and sharpness that they arguably offer a viewing experience surpassing that of the original theatrical presentation. This release, housed in a steelbook packaging variant for collectors, not only celebrates the film’s visual artistry but also corrects previous omissions by including missing bonus features, making it an essential addition to any cinephile's library.

    David Lean's mastery of scale and storytelling is on full display in "Lawrence of Arabia," with Peter O'Toole delivering an unforgettable performance as T.E. Lawrence. The narrative, rich in political intrigue and cultural exploration, benefits from the leisurely pace afforded by its runtime, allowing audiences to become deeply invested in the complexities of Lawrence's character and the panoramic beauty of the Arabian landscapes. The script, a collaborative effort between Robert Bolt and Michael Wilson, delves deep into Lawrence’s psyche, balancing his commitment to the Arab cause with his loyalty to his native Britain. The depth of character exploration, combined with the movie’s expansive production scope—filmed across Morocco, Spain, and Jordan—underscores Lean’s ambition to not just entertain but provoke thought regarding colonialism and identity.

    The significance of "Lawrence of Arabia" extends beyond its narrative and historical context to a demonstration of the power of cinema to capture the grandeur of real-world landscapes and complex human emotions. Its restoration for the 4K UHD format is a testament to the film's enduring legacy, ensuring that Lean’s vision continues to inspire awe with its sweeping desert vistas and richly layered storytelling. The meticulous transfer underscores Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s dedication to preserving cinematic history, offering both new audiences and longtime fans an opportunity to experience one of the greatest films ever made in unmatched quality.

    Total: 97

    David Lean's "Lawrence of Arabia" is an epic in the truest sense, a cinematic masterpiece that continues to captivate audiences with its grand narrative and stunning visual presentation. Its transition to 4K UHD Blu-Ray as part of the Columbia Classics Box Set is nothing short of spectacular, utilizing the 50th Anniversary restoration as a base and enhancing it with additional clean-up and HDR. This results in a picture quality that boasts incredible detail, vibrant colors, tremendous blacks, and outstanding whites. Complemented by a Dolby Atmos surround track, the sound environment is equally impressive, featuring wide separation and impactful bass. The set's allure is further magnified by a plethora of extras across the UHD and two included Blu-rays, ensuring that this edition is a veritable treasure trove for cinephiles.

    This release not only honors the film’s visual splendor and magnificent craftsmanship but also its intricate storytelling and historical complexity. T.E. Lawrence's portrayal as an enigmatic figure caught between cultures and his own ambitions is presented with all its nuances intact, making the film an engaging exploration of character against the backdrop of the vast Arabian desert. The performances of Peter O'Toole, Anthony Quinn, and Omar Sharif are memorable highlights, integrating seamlessly into the film’s sumptuous portrayal of its setting and narrative depth. The SteelBook packaging adds to the collectibility of this edition, making it a must-own for enthusiasts of film history and epic cinema.

    In conclusion, this 4K UHD Blu-Ray release of "Lawrence of Arabia" sets a new standard for home video presentations of classic films. Its unparalleled picture quality and sound design, combined with the comprehensive array of special features and exquisite packaging, make it a definitive edition for both long-time fans and new viewers alike. The meticulous restoration and modern enhancements breathe new life into David Lean’s masterpiece, ensuring that its epic scale and intricate storytelling are preserved for future generations. While currently exclusive to the Columbia Classics Box Set, its eventual standalone release will undoubtedly be a landmark moment for collectors and cinephiles.