It's hard to explain exactly why Lawrence of Arabia is our favorite movie of all time. It's surely the most visually stunning of all the big-screen epics, and there's no question it tells a huge story with impeccable style and grace. But what keeps us coming back for more is that Lawrence fulfills the promise of film like nothing else we know. It transports viewers completely to another, more exotic time and place, and connects the rousing adventure tales of early Hollywood with the social and psychological realism of the modern era. It couldn't have been made — not like this — at any time other than 1962.
Lawrence of Arabia has just undergone a two-year state-of-the-art digital restoration that reportedly addresses problems with the original camera negative that date all the way back to the desert heat in Morocco, Jordan and other shooting locations. Lawrence of Arabia 50th Anniversary Event: Digitally Restored (that's the actual title) will be shown in theaters across the country on Thursday, Oct. 4 — and that's it. Locally, you can choose between the Elmwood Palace in Harahan and the Westbank Palace in Harvey, at 1 p.m. or 7 p.m. Both theaters will show the film using a 4K digital projection system.
Yes, there will be an intermission as originally intended, and no, the second half still won't be perfect like the first. A special introduction that includes some new interview footage with Martin Scorsese explaining the significance of the film will start the proceedings, and will push the entire experience into the four-hours-plus range. The whole thing will be released on Blu-ray in November. But we wouldn't miss seeing the restoration in full quality on the big screen for anything in the world.