Last night I persuaded Tatyana to attend a 70mm screening of Lawrence of Arabia at the American Cinematheque Egyptian. She had never once seen it and was barely familiar with T.E. Lawrence, and I figured that despite the Egyptian’s so-so presentation it would be worthwhile for her to see it on a monster-sized screen with a big crowd of fans. I wasn’t delighted with the lack of truly sharp focus and that punch-through, extra-knockout quality that 70mm used to signify (but signifies no longer), but I didn’t mind it.
Posted roughly a year go: “I shelled out $20 bills in order to watch Amazon’s 4K streaming version of Lawrence of Arabia, and I was really, seriously stunned by the miraculous detail.
“I’ve seen the restored, 8K-scanned Lawrence digitally projected via DCP under high-end conditions and at home via 1080p Bluray, and there’s no denying that the 4K streamed version (which is not real-deal 4K due to intense compressing, but somewhere between 2K and 4K) is really a cut above.
“Every now and then the digital cache-ing would slow down and the 4K sharpness would fuzz out, but for the first time in my life I was noticing textures (wood, sand, wardrobe threads, even the subtle composition of fine cement in the opening credits sequence) that I’d literally never seen before, not with this degree of crispness and clarity, and that’s saying something.
“I’m told that as good as this version of Lawrence may have appeared to my bespectacled eyes, the 4K Bluray will look even better.”