If it seems like an annual tradition to see a Lawrence of Arabia post here on the KAMAD site, well I think you are pretty perceptive. This is a film, much like "Jaws" which we will go out of our way to see on the big screen, and it so happens that Southern California audiences are hungry for Lawrence on a regular basis.
Last night we had the premier of a new 70mm print, created from a restored negative, that has been in the works since 2009. Grover Crisp was introduced by the chief programming guru of the American Cinematique. He was in charge of the restoration for the 50th Anniversary restoration that arrived in 2012. He talked about how they knew it would be a long process so they actually started three years ahead of time. They created a negative print to keep in the archives, while the digital materials were distributed for the anniversary edition. They ended up having many requests for a print version to use in repertoire screenings, and he said they created six. The North American print is now in the possession of the Cinematique and will be available regularly. Our screening was the first time this print was run for an audience in North America.
Mr. Crisp gave us a brief but detailed explanation of the process that was used to create this print. There were technical elements that are beyond my ability to explain, and to some degree even understand. The visual demonstration of the defects created by the cracks in the emulsion on the original negative prints was effective at showing why the work needed to be done. Seeing the scenes back to back and side by side shows how extensive and impressive the work done by the experts was. Thank goodness someone can still do these things and that people want to make sure they get done.
For a video blog on a previous Lawrence screening, you can click HERE .
The last blog post on a Lawrence screening is HERE.
The link to the Lawrence-a-palooza post is HERE.
The print was magnificent and the crowd was equally appreciative. There were three young guys sitting behind us who were clearly film fans from the conversation I overheard. I asked them and they told me this was the first time they were seeing the movie. I told them they were really lucky to get the experience in this format, and that I was jealous because the first time experience with a film like this is always terrific. Even though this is the sixth time I've seen the movie in the last few years on the big screen, my face still hurts from smiling for three and a half hours.
Film fans may be distracted by "Star Wars" this week and next, but if you are in the Southern California area, you owe yourself a trip to Hollywood for these special screenings. Tonight and Sunday are still available to you this weekend, and there are three nights next week when you can do this as well. Here's a link th help you get there: American Cinematique.
If you do make one of these shows, please come back and let me know what you thought.