‘Lawrence of Arabia’

50th anniversary screenings of the 1962 classic are taking place Thursday around the country, with two of them in the Inland Valley. You can see it at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the AMC 30 Ontario Mills and the AMC 12 at Victoria Gardens. More information about the screenings is here and a list of theaters is here. You can buy tickets here; price is $12.50 for either show.

I expect to attend one of these, schedule permitting. “Lawrence” is among my favorite movies. I’ve seen it twice before, both times at the Cinerama Dome/ArcLight, so seeing the movie has “event” status for me.

The movie lasts 216 minutes, or 3 hours, 36 minutes. Above is the trailer, and at 4:43, even it’s long.

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  • Bob House

    David, thanks for the heads up! I was unaware of this, but wouldn’t want to miss it. Got my ticket, so I’ll be watching it “with” you here in Phoenix.

    [Even with the hour time difference, we'll be watching most of it together. I found out about the screening by happenstance and decided I had to share it here. -- DA]

  • shirley wofford

    I saw the movie in 1962 — either in Upland or Pomona — can’t remember. I think I was too young at the time to involve myself in the story — I was too busy looking at Peter O’Toole and Omar Sharif. I remember the desert warriors riding camels accompanied by music, and it was loooooooooooooooong. I would like to view it again sometime when I am in the mood — I’m sure that I would appreciate it more now, than I did then.

    [Maybe you can get in the mood by Thursday? It's a rare thing to be able to see this wide-screen movie in a theater rather than at home. -- DA]

  • shirley wofford

    I did go on both the ticket sites–FYI the AMC is charging $15.

  • shirley wofford

    I am a neophyte when it comes to some computer things. I see where I have to have an account to purchase on Fandango. I would bet that it will be sold out that way. Well, they say you never miss what you didn’t see. I do hope you report on whether it moves you the same way it did when you first saw it, and get some critiques from some reader/viewers after they see it.

    [Not trying to twist your arm, Shirley, but you can set up an account in about one minute, or I'm pretty sure you could go old-school and simply buy a ticket at the box office. -- DA]

  • shirley wofford

    No. It wasn’t necessary to have an account, but a password. I hope it is worth missing my line dance class; hope I can stay awake for four hours. I will have an extra cup of coffee after breakfast.

    [That's the spirit. You'll have to let us know what you thought. -- DA]

  • Doug Evans

    I saw this on the big screen in the 1989 re-release at a Cinerama Dome (I think) theater in Anaheim… details may be shaky; it was a while ago… What I remember is that I was suffering from a terribly stiff neck that made it painful to move my head to the left or the right. So I was forced to sit ramrod straight while the movie played around me. On a screen that big, there was lots happening on the sides that I could only see by moving my eyes. Anyway, with all of that, I remember loving the movie. I haven’t seen it again in the twenty-three years since… If only I wasn’t teaching Thursday, I’d be there! Have fun on my behalf!

    [Will do. I should point out that there's only one Cinerama Dome, and it's in Hollywood, so I can't guess where you saw "Lawrence." But you saw it more than a decade before I did, so props for that. On the other hand, I was able to swivel my head and see the entirety of the picture, so props to me for that. -- DA]

  • shirley wofford

    About fifteen years ago, I went to an IMAX film (about whales) at a Cinerama Dome, in Orange County with a colleague–I think it was in Irvine. There probably isn’t one there anymore, because so many changes have been made in the interim. Montclair used to be the indoor theater-leader in this West End area, with 16 screens at three different locations–now there is not one indoor movie theater in Montclair. Same thing probably happened to the theater where I saw that IMAX film.

    [I'm going to remain skeptical unless someone can find evidence of this online. The Cinerama Dome is a specific building (built in the shape of a geodesic dome in the '60s) at Sunset and Vine rather than a chain. -- DA]

  • shirley wofford

    I bet that your other readers are going, “Oh no”, but I can’t help it–I have to tell–it cost me $17, for my LOA ticket from Fandango–but what the heck–I paid $105 to see a live musical in Hollywood last week.

  • shirley wofford

    You are probably right, David. I just know it was an IMAX theater and I thought the whales were all around. I will try to find out what theater I went to–I don’t expect it is a Cinerama Dome, evidently. I am remembering right now, that I was at the Irvine Spectrum–that will narrow it down.

  • shirley wofford

    Hi again,

    The IMAX at the Irvine Spectrum is an Edwards–most likely where I was–sorry for the miscomparison with a Cinerama Dome.

    People can see LOA on IMAX at the Irvine Spectrum for $12.50. Tomorrow will be my first visit to the AMC in Rancho–and probably the last. They charge an arm and a leg for regular movies–$9.50 for a senior!

  • shirley wofford

    Well, I rushed up to the AMC in Rancho this afternoon, to be sure that I got a good seat. There were exactly eight of us there. The theater complex is quite plush–their confection prices are out of this world–so I decided it would not hurt me to starve for four hours.

    The film? Oh, the film! David, I have no idea why this film was not on my personal list of the greatest films of my life. I guess I wasn’t ready for that type of story when I was 26.

    O’Toole and Shariff were both as breathtakingly, handsome as I remembered. The desert scenes and the crowd scenes were astounding; the music was beautiful. There was a short film previous to the main about the restoration process and the logistics of making the film, at the time–the weather, the crowd scenes, the harsh desert environment, and the actors, etc. The film is absolutely MAGNIFICENT!!!!!!!!!!

    I understand that the theater shows a restoration of an old famous film every month. The other attendees mentioned that, “Singing in the Rain”, showed there recently. I did not know about that one, and it is on my personal all-time list–go figure.

    Your blog announcment availed me of the opportunity to see the film–I never would have known. Thank you, David!

    [You're welcome, Shirley. You might try keeping up with the Fathom Entertainment website, as that's the agency that schedules these special screenings. I should do that myself. You could also scour the movie listings in our Friday paper for the AMC theaters, which includes their schedule for the coming week. That's how I happened upon the "Lawrence" info. -- DA]

  • Bob House

    Amazing movie experience! Fewer than 20 people in the theater in Phoenix. I sat in the center of the last row of the front section in a “stadium” theater (5 rows from screen). Everyone else sat in the rear section, so with no one in my line of sight, I felt like Harry Cohn, alone in my studio screening room. While it did not take away from my enjoyment, I think they oversold the “digitally re-mastered” better-than-HD-ness of the film. I guess there’s only so much you can do with a 50-year-old negative.

    [There were under 20 at the AMC 30 Ontario Mills where I saw it. I took an eye-level seat but wondered if I should sit lower. The film looked fine to me. The sound for the dialogue varied now and then, but perhaps that had to do with dubbed lines in the original. Amazing movie. I checked my records and found that I'd seen it in 1999 at the Cinerama Dome and in 2002 at the (adjacent) ArcLight. On the third viewing, the movie's plot was a bit easier to grasp but still full of surprises. -- DA]

  • shirley wofford

    I wonder if Bob and I saw different re-mastered copies. I thought it was a beautiful restoration–it was as if new, except we know they don’t make movies like that anymore. They explained in the pre-show about the process they went through to remove every little nick and line that was on the original, due to the aging.

    [Since it was a digital copy beamed to all the theaters, we all saw the same movie, only through different eyes. -- DA]

  • Bob House

    Hi Shirley – It was an excellent restoration; clean and without blemishes. My point is that both the (limited) advertising and the “process preview” implied that it was now modern HD quality, with contemporary technical clarity and resolution. I didn’t find that to be the case. But, as I said, it didn’t detract from my enjoyment.

    [I noticed the credits at the end were for a 1989 restoration. I guess it's been spiffed up in some way for Blu-ray release, although I didn't pay attention to the details. Perhaps that aspect was oversold, as is often the case when it comes to remasterings of products (CDs, DVDs) we've already purchased that they want us to purchase again. I appreciate upgraded packaging but usually can't tell the sonic or visual difference. -- DA]

  • Bob House

    Perhaps I protest too much — in one of the train sequences, I noticed a bandage on O’Toole’s finger. After getting home, I read that it was due to O’Toole having been drunk off-set a day or two previously and severely injuring his hand by punching something.

    My favorite line about the movie, which I heard years ago — after the premiere, Noel Coward told O’Toole, “If you had been any prettier, they would have had to call the film Florence of Arabia.”