Bridge on the River Kwai & Lawrence of Arabia

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thebedbreakinkid
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Bridge on the River Kwai & Lawrence of Arabia

#1 Post by thebedbreakinkid » Mon Jan 15, 2007 9:57 am

I hear news of new collectors editions coming out in march... does anyone have any specs on it? I have the collectors editions they released a few years ago, and hopefully I don't have to pawn in my editions for new ones if they have something more to offer. The supplements are great on the DVDs I have, what else could they add?

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tryavna
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#2 Post by tryavna » Mon Jan 15, 2007 6:06 pm

The only reason I see to upgrade either is if/when they're released on HD. Perhaps that's what these new editions will be.

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#3 Post by Feast on me » Mon Jan 15, 2007 7:39 pm

I don't think there is anything substantial that can be added to those DVDs, even if they add a commentary it would have huge overlaps with the great documentaries that the disks already have. I agree that the only reason to upgrade is if they will release them in Hi Def.

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#4 Post by manicsounds » Mon Jan 15, 2007 9:03 pm

I heard Lawrence will be released on BR sometime soon, and I saw these 2 up for pre-order on some sites. no specs at all yet.

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#5 Post by rwaits » Sat Feb 24, 2007 3:54 pm

How does the transfer of the 2000 edition of Kwai look? I've been meaning to pick the disc up for a while, but after looking over the materials on the upcoming release, I'm not too impressed, and can get the older edition for much less than the new one. I guess I'm just wondering if these new editions have received any restoration work.

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#6 Post by tryavna » Sat Feb 24, 2007 5:55 pm

rwaits wrote:How does the transfer of the 2000 edition of Kwai look? I've been meaning to pick the disc up for a while, but after looking over the materials on the upcoming release, I'm not too impressed, and can get the older edition for much less than the new one. I guess I'm just wondering if these new editions have received any restoration work.
Is the DVD of Kwai really seven years old? It's held up remarkably well. So to answer your question: The old transfer is absolutely fine. The only major problem with it is an unnecessarily long layer change.

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#7 Post by Person » Sun Mar 02, 2008 1:20 pm

manicsounds wrote:I heard Lawrence will be released on BR sometime soon, and I saw these 2 up for pre-order on some sites. no specs at all yet.
The Digital Bits are reporting that a Blu-Ray of Lawrence is planned for 2009 with new extras, perhaps. The documentary on the original set was great though - Norman Spencer's anecdote about O'Toole loudly announcing at the wrap-party: "THE FUCKING PICTURE'S FINISHED!" is one of my favourite moments in a DVD extra ever.

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#8 Post by exte » Sun Mar 02, 2008 8:02 pm

I'd be interested in knowing how they scanned it. Hopefully it's not the same master used for the superbit because while that was an improvement at the time, it's far behind masters like that of Shawshank Redemption, which is perhaps the cleanest transfer I've seen for a dvd... I would think 8K would be wise, considering... plus dirt and scratch removal, if possible...

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#9 Post by Person » Sun Mar 02, 2008 9:07 pm

exte wrote:I'd be interested in knowing how they scanned it. Hopefully it's not the same master used for the superbit because while that was an improvement at the time, it's far behind masters like that of Shawshank Redemption, which is perhaps the cleanest transfer I've seen for a dvd... I would think 8K would be wise, considering... plus dirt and scratch removal, if possible...
I agree. I think that Sony ought to do as high a scan of the 65mm neg as possible - 8K would be great, though it would take about three weeks to scan all 22 reels (no, I'm not kidding). Robert Harris should be fully involved, of course.

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#10 Post by david hare » Sun Mar 02, 2008 10:13 pm

Robert Harris should be fully involved, of course.
Are you sure about that, Gordon?

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Darth Lavender
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#11 Post by Darth Lavender » Mon Mar 03, 2008 2:24 am

Beyond archival purposes (ie. if we're worried about the original film decaying) I think 8k sounds pretty pointless.

It'll be long enough before everyone's watching 2k (1080p) on Bluray, HDTV, digital downloads, etc.
I'm thinking at least a decade or two before that whole "ultra high definition" thing comes out.


As for the movie itself; this (along with Dark Knight and Ben-Hur already announced) could be the movie that finally prompts me to buy a bluray drive.

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#12 Post by david hare » Mon Mar 03, 2008 3:48 am

I'm far fussier., Nothing less than La Petite Lise for me.

Never mind this David Lean crap.

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#13 Post by Stefan Andersson » Mon Mar 03, 2008 5:08 am

A new DVD of LAWRENCE OF ARABIA might profitably include scenes not yet restored (part of the balcony scene, T.E.´s line about being "extra-extraordinary") and the whole screenplay. The balcony scene is missing from the director´s cut because of missing audio elements. Charles Gray tried to dub Jack Hawkins. Didn´t work out.

And of course commentaries by Robert A. Harris and Kevin Brownlow.

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#14 Post by Person » Mon Mar 03, 2008 6:49 pm

Darth Lavender wrote:Beyond archival purposes (ie. if we're worried about the original film decaying) I think 8k sounds pretty pointless.
Oh, I myself had a (at the very least least) 150-year preservation digital master in mind when I endorsed an 8K scan. This would also facilitate more large-screen public screeings of Lawrence. Getting a pristine 70mm print is very, very hard now, apparently. I think that all 70mm prints of the restored version are from 1989-1991. It costs obscene amounts of money to strike a 22-reel 70mm print of a 65mm neg. I believe it's $15,000 per reel (that includes the soundtrack). It used to be cheaper, of course, but so little 70mm is manufactured these days, it is a speciality procedure. An ultra-HD projection format would be the way forward for 65mm origination films.

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#15 Post by jaredsap » Mon Mar 03, 2008 7:44 pm

Person wrote:Getting a pristine 70mm print is very, very hard now, apparently.
I work for Sony Pictures Repertory so I can tell you without question that (domestically) booking a pristine 70mm print of LAWRENCE is not that hard. All someone has to do is call me.

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#16 Post by Person » Tue Mar 04, 2008 12:07 pm

jaredsap wrote:
Person wrote:Getting a pristine 70mm print is very, very hard now, apparently.
I work for Sony Pictures Repertory so I can tell you without question that (domestically) booking a pristine 70mm print of LAWRENCE is not that hard. All someone has to do is call me.
Small world, ain't it! Glad to heat that supply is meeting demand in the 70mm market!

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#17 Post by Stefan Andersson » Wed Mar 05, 2008 10:48 am

Here´s some stuff from the Net on the missing part of the balcony scene I mentioned in an earlier post. Really seems to be worth reinstating, maybe in a future Blu-Ray DVD.
Robert A. Harris wrote:When we were completing the cut, we attempted to put together a balcony scene in reel 11B, in which Allenby works to get Lawrence to go back to Arabia. The scene had been hacked in the shorter version. David wanted it in. Bob Bolt felt it was the finest scene he had ever written, which is saying a great deal. David directed the looping of dialogue in London with Peter and, lending his voice to the Jack Hawkins character, Charles Gray. We had requested that the studio check the voices on a few actors and select the best for the roll. They simply took the first on the list, which was Gray -- a fine actor-but sounded nothing like Hawkins.

When we put together the scene, it was obvious that Gray's voice didn't work. At precisely this time, David had to leave for the Cannes Film Fest, Dawn Steel wanted to see the film before he left and we went about recutting the scene once again for a special screening. It was a horrific decision and something that I should have fought at the time, but didn't. David wanted the Allenby lines revoiced and put back at some time in the future. Days after he left town, over cutting room was shut down-and it never happened. I've been trying to get the extended scene reinstated ever since. It adds layers to the film which are unbelievably rich. Their feeling, and one cannot find ultimate fault with their position, is that David allowed the film to be screened in 1989 without the additional footage, thereby accepting it as "his" cut. What they don't understand is that at that time, his mind was no longer on LOA, but very much on "Nostromo," his next project, which unfortunately was never to be.
And Jeffrey Wells, including dialogue from the unrestored scene:
The Missing Sequence

Sony Pictures has withdrawn all prints of Lawrence of Arabia so as to prepare a 40th anniversary re-release in 2002. Sony restoration VP Grover Crisp says they'll be adding a DTS stereo sound track and fine-tuning the color. If I were behind this re-release, I'd want to put something else in.
Like, for example, the missing "balcony scene" between Lawrence (Peter O'Toole) and General Allenby (Jack Hawkins). An abbreviated version of this scene is included in the current restored version, which hit theaters in 1989.

But there's a longer version that was shot. Lawrence restorer Robert Harris wants to rebuild this scene and insert it into the film. But Crisp believes that if Lean (who died in '91) had wanted the scene in the final film, he would have put it in. There's also a technical hurdle, he says, because the sound elements from the scene are missing.

Here, in any event, is how the scene plays. The dialogue in normal type covers the portion of the scene currently viewable in the 1980 restored version; the unseen portion of the scene appears in boldface.

My coverage begins with Allenby noticing that Col. Lawrence is bleeding on his back. He asks Lawrence, "Do you want a doctor?" and Lawrence says no.

Allenby then says, "Tell me what happened." Here's how screenwriter Robert Bolt's scene plays from this point on:

MEDIUM SHOT: The terrace outside Allenby's office. Lawrence is seated in a chair. Allenby's leaning against a pillow, his bottom on the terrace railing.

ALLENBY : … Yes. Well, you've had a glimpse of the pit.
LAWRENCE: No, a glimpse of sanity. [Hard.] And I'm not going back.
[There is a short pause. Lawrence's eyes are on the general's epaulettes. Allenby notices and begins to unbutton his jacket.]
ALLENBY: You won't go mad, Lawrence. [Quite indifferently] You've got an iron mind.
LAWRENCE: Oh, no. [But he is pleased]
ALLENBY: Oh, yes. And here's another thing. When you ask for your "common humanity" you're crying for the moon. Common humanity's the one thing you can't have.
LAWRENCE: There's nothing else.
ALLENBY: There is, for one man every hundred years or so.
LAWRENCE: [Skeptical, but we can just see the poison starting to work] Me?
ALLENBY: [Taking off his jacket] Yes, I think so. [Regarding himself with the jacket] Isn't that funny? I feel quite naked. And that's the difference. I'm a leader because someone pins crowns on me. You're a leader … [Shrugs] … because God made you one, I suppose. There's nothing you can do about it.
[Allenby sits. Lawrence looks at him suspiciously, but feeling flattered and longing to accept the paternal embrace that seems to be offered.]
ALLENBY: You write poems, don't you?
LAWRENCE: Yes.
ALLENBY: Any good?
LAWRENCE: No. Bad.
ALLENBY: [Sympathetically] Hard luck.
LAWRENCE: It's not a matter of luck.
ALLENBY: 'Course it is. I grow dahlias myself.
[Allenby takes out photo of his house and his son. He peers at it, pointing to a patch of cabbage-like flowers in the background.]
ALLENBY: I've got good soil, good compost. I buy good plants. And I'm a conscientious gardener. But I don't have the luck to be a good one. So … [Grinning] I'm a gardening sort of general. Most generals are. But there have been poet generals. Xenophon was one. Hannibal … Nelson was the last. I think you're another.
LAWRENCE: [Skeptical, wearing a tremulous smile] Nelson and me? [He is asking Allenby to be merciful.]
ALLENBY: Yes.
LAWRENCE: That's an extraordinary thing to say to a man.
ALLENBY: Not to an extraordinary man it isn't.
LAWRENCE: [Thrusting it away] No, no.
ALLENBY: [Matter-of-fact] You must know it.
LAWRENCE: [Almost desperately] No!

And then the script goes into Allenby's line that currently exists in the 1989 restored version, where he says, "I believe your name will be a household word when you'll have to go to the War Museum to find who Allenby was." The scene then plays out as restored.

And that's it. We may never see this scene put into Lawrence. Being the freak that I am for extras and deleted scenes, I would love to see it included someday, but I'm not holding my breath.

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#18 Post by tryavna » Wed Mar 05, 2008 5:55 pm

Many thanks for all the info Stefan. It is most interesting.

However, it's worth pointing out that Harris is probably being a bit unfair to the studio when he wrote:
Robert A. Harris wrote:We had requested that the studio check the voices on a few actors and select the best for the roll. They simply took the first on the list, which was Gray -- a fine actor-but sounded nothing like Hawkins.
In fact, Charles Gray provided voice-over work for Hawkins while Hawkins was still alive. (Hawkins, of course, lost his voice due to throat cancer around 1966-67.) You can hear Gray's voice on Shalako, Young Winston, Nicholas and Alexandra, etc. So it was not an arbitrary decision. Gray would have been the go-to guy in the mind of the studio executives. And while there would have been an obvious difference between Gray's and Hawkins' voices, one could argue that, since he had worked with Hawkins, Gray probably would have been Hawkins' own choice.

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#19 Post by Stefan Andersson » Thu Mar 06, 2008 4:01 am

Yes, I know Gray dubbed Hawkins in several films.

My point is, fans of LOA should very much want the missing sequences reinstated, if only as an extra. If I understand Robert A. Harris correctly, O´Toole re-recorded his lines, so why not add the scene with O´Toole´s voice and subtitles for Allenby´s dialogue as a "missing scene" featurette?
Or are there sound elements for Charles Gray in Sony´s vaults?

Lawrence´s "I´m extra-extraordinary" line I remember well from TV and VHS viewings of LOA.

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#20 Post by tryavna » Thu Mar 06, 2008 5:31 pm

Oh, I agree entirely with you, Stefan, and I was thanking you for the info you've provided. My reproach -- if indeed it was a reproach -- was directed at Harris for slightly misrepresenting or passing too lightly over Sony's logic.

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#21 Post by ellipsis7 » Thu Mar 06, 2008 5:58 pm

Maybe a bit of trivia... LAWRENCE distinguishes itself in that there is no female speaking part in the entire and lengthy film, and I can't think of one either in KWAI (but stand to be corrected).... Nevertheless both are fine films, and Lean obviously a preeminent director... Contraindicating are his other epics RYAN'S DAUGHTER, DOCTOR ZHIVAGO & PASSAGE TO INDIA where women play central role, but are set outside British military society - Russia & colonial Ireland & India.... Interesting for students of colonialism, post-colonialism and beyond (thank God)!...

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#22 Post by Belmondo » Thu Mar 06, 2008 6:51 pm

I'm sure I remember a woman in "Kwai" - maybe a nurse in the scenes in Siam after Holden escapes and before he goes back. And, after that, as they are parachuted back in, isn't one of the native team a woman?

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#23 Post by MichaelB » Thu Mar 06, 2008 6:52 pm

jaredsap wrote:
Person wrote:Getting a pristine 70mm print is very, very hard now, apparently.
I work for Sony Pictures Repertory so I can tell you without question that (domestically) booking a pristine 70mm print of LAWRENCE is not that hard. All someone has to do is call me.
This reminds me of the time when Empire magazine claimed in the mid-1990s that Barry Lyndon was virtually impossible to see. I rang Warner Bros UK to ask if this was true, and the booking guy said "not at all, but you're the only cinema that's booked it for at least the past few years!"

So we scheduled another screening and told Empire that we'd let the first ten readers in free if they had a copy of the relevant mag - and I think maybe two people took up the offer. Which is pretty pathetic considering that free big-screen showings of Barry Lyndon (at a time when it wasn't out on any video format) weren't exactly frequent!

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#24 Post by starmanof51 » Thu Mar 06, 2008 6:54 pm

ellipsis7 wrote:and I can't think of one either in KWAI (but stand to be corrected)....
There's definitely at least one in Kwai, the nurse in the early stuff with Holden on R&R. Can't remember if Jack Hawkins' "bearers" get in any lines later or not.

Edit: Ah, you beat me by a couple minutes Belmondo.

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#25 Post by tryavna » Thu Mar 06, 2008 8:16 pm

starmanof51 wrote:Can't remember if Jack Hawkins' "bearers" get in any lines later or not.
Yes, one of the female bearers learns the English word "lovely" from Joyce and repeats it once or twice as Joyce and Holden's character swim off to set explosives.

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