Peter O’Toole pauses for tea during the filming of Lawrence of Arabia.
TCM Commentary by Peter O’Toole.
Peter O’Toole was nearly killed during the first take of the Aqaba scene. A gun (used to signal the beginning of the scene) went off prematurely, and O’Toole’s camel panicked, throwing him to the ground, while the extras on horseback began charging. Fortunately for O’Toole, his camel stayed still and stood over O’Toole, saving him from being trampled.Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
Director David Lean’s sweeping tale of the life of British intelligence officer T.E. Lawrence is one of the most beloved films of all time. Lawrence of Arabia is packed full of iconic images, unforgettable performances, instantly recognizable music, and it just may be the greatest epic that Hollywood ever produced. But, unfortunately, many of us have only had the opportunity to watch it on our little TVs at home, and not projected up on the big screen like God (Lean) intended. The last time the film saw a big re-release, it was for the debut of the director’s cut, and that was all the way back in 1989.
We’ve all got another chance to change that coming up, however, as a 4K digital restoration of the film has been done to commemorate its 50th anniversary, and this fall Sony Pictures will not only be putting the restored version out on Blu-ray, but they’re also going to be giving it a run in theaters. Which, finally, gives those of us too young to see it on the big screen either the first or second time around the opportunity to take in the Arabian desert in all its glory.
If you’re not quite sold that a digital restoration of a movie that looks so great on film is a good idea, Empire has posted a trailer for the new restoration to give you an idea of the quality of the work that’s been done. Apparently they’ve done quite a bit of work fixing things on the original negative that were thought to be permanently damaged and yadda, yadda, yadda… just watch it and start planning your trip to the theater already.
According to Empire, the restored version of the film seems to be hitting UK theaters on November 16, with the Blu-ray being available on September 10. Here in the U.S. the theatrical re-release is taking place on October 4, with the Blu-ray being released on November 13. Why those dates are different is a question that’s beyond my ability to answer. The studios move in mysterious ways.
Watch The New Trailer For The Lawrence Of Arabia 4K Restoration.
The American WideScreen Museum presents a Gallery of 70mm Frames from The Sam Spiegel / David Lean Production of Lawrence Of Arabia.