Renew Theaters is excited to be screening the new 4k restoration of David Lean’s masterpiece Lawrence of Arabia as the conclusion of our This is Digital Cinema series. It can be said without hesitation that of all films to see on the big screen, Lawrence is near the top. What follows are the notes on the three years of work it took to restore the film to its new digital glory.
Before-and-After comparison of a reconstructed scene from Lawrence of Arabia.LAWRENCE OF ARABIA -
LAWRENCE OF ARABIA – Digital Restoration Notes
Executive Vice President, Asset Management, Film Restoration & Digital Mastering, Sony Pictures Entertainment
The second film directed by David Lean to be released by Columbia Pictures, preceded by The Bridge on the River Kwai in 1957 and followed by A Passage to India in 1984, LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, Lean’s masterpiece from 1962, stands not only as one of the great films in the Columbia Pictures library, but one of the greatest films ever made. In preparation for its 50th anniversary release on Blu-ray Disc and in theaters, the film has undergone an extensive, fully 4K digital restoration. Having been edited and shortened in the years following its release, the film was subject to an extensive reconstruction and restoration completed in 1988, initiated and overseen by renowned film restorer Robert A. Harris and co-produced by Jim Painten. It was near the end of Harris’ reconstruction of the original theatrical version that director Lean and his editor, Anne V. Coates, diligently went through the film to fine tune it into the Director’s Cut. This version of the film, as it exists in the restored 65mm original negative, was the basis of the new restoration work.
The National Theatre’s production of THIS HOUSE is a fantastically witty, energetic, and moving show which we are excited to present on-screen at the Ambler and County Theaters. But what, you might ask yourself, do you really know about parliamentary politics, especially from the 1970s? We have some new and exciting information to share with you which fills in the background on this British hit.
We have two interesting films at our theaters this week: Blancanieves (Snow White), a 2012 silent film from Spain at the County, and The Great Gatsby in 3D, the new Baz Luhrmann film at the Ambler. Both push the cinema medium and our expectations of it.
Blancanieves is visual delight. Silent film is limiting, but that limitation can be liberating. This film is alive with movement. The visual impact is further heightened by the use of black and white cinematography, accentuating light and shadow. Blancanieves is particularly distinctive in the way it uses silent period ”European Cinema” technique, including odd German Expressionist angles and Soviet-style montage. Film scholar Kristin Thompson does a great job discussing silent movie-making technique in her article Silent films, old and new. And then there’s the music, which is so important in a “silent” movie: here it gloriously combines lush orchestral pieces and driving flamenco. Highly recommended.
At the other extreme is The Great Gatsby in 3D. Yes, this is a Baz Luhrmann film with all the filmmaking excesses and overblown art direction that implies. But as Scott Foundas of Variety has said: ”To accuse Luhrmann of overkill is a bit like faulting a leopard for his spots.” Yes. Nonetheless, Luhrmann uses 3D very effectively in the film, heightening the reality and adding a creative dimension. It’s use is in the service of his artistic vision and is not gratuitous flash. That and the film’s audacious ambition make it a worthwhile and recommended movie-going experience.
We are showing Gatsby in both 3D and 2D, so it’s your choice. And some critics prefer it in 2D, such as Christopher Rosen, who reviewed the film for the Huffington Post. But in our opinion, go for the funny 3D glasses!
- John Toner, Director, County and Ambler Theaters
Today is legendary title designer Saul Bass‘ 93rd birthday. Even if you don’t know the name you will recognize the iconic opening titles for films such as North by Northwest, Vertigo, West Side Story, Spartacus, Anatomy of a Murder, and the original Ocean’s Eleven. As a tribute to this great designer, Google made a special Saul Bass-theme doodle for today’s logo. Check it out:
Warner Brothers posted this video of the cast and crew of The Great Gatsby sharing why to see the film in 3D. (Even though Mr. Lurhmann doesn’t seem to know that Dial M For Murder was released in 1954, not the Sixties.)
Baz Lurhmann’s The Great Gatsby will be opening at the Ambler Theater on Friday, May 10th. It will be presented in both 2D and 3D. Showtimes are available at AmblerTheater.org.
Screenwriter and director Keir Politz will be presenting his film Detonatorat the Ambler Theater this Wednesday, May 8th.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Keir Politz completed an MFA at Columbia University where he was a recipient of the John and Jane Smith Fellowship for excellence in screenwriting and one of five film department fellowships. His short film, A PIECE OF AMERICA, won the Audience Choice award at the 2007 Columbia University Film Festival and was selected as one of only four U.S. films to be screened at the prestigious 2008 Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival in France. Keir teaches screenwriting at the University of Pennsylvania Department of Cinema Studies and Temple University, and is currently working on his second feature.
I recently had the opportunity to talk with Keir about the film and the challenges of making an independent feature film.
Cast and Crew of The North Star in front of the County before the premiere screening.
A nervous crowd stood in front of The County Theater last night, trying to enjoy the red carpet celebration for the premiere of The North Star, but distractedly checking twitter to see if the screening would even happen. An injunction against the film had been filed and the case, in court since early morning, had not yet been decided. As hundreds of people lined up on the red carpet, the fate of the screening remained unknown.
At 6:49pm, 11 minutes before the doors opened, we got the good news. Laurie Mason Schroeder, Bucks County Court reporter for the Intelligencer, announced the injunction had been denied, sending a ring of cheers throughout the crowd and a huge sigh of relief from the cast and crew.
Packed audiences at two screenings of Buster Keaton shorts this week enjoyed the silent star’s antics with new musical scores provided by Brendan Cooney and his “Not So Silent Cinema” musicians. Walter King of Phillyburbs.com was on hand to talk to Brendan and video some of the show at the County Theater. Here is his report.