In celebration of the film’s 50th anniversary, this new digital print from the original 70mm negative allows us a fresh look at the most intelligent epic ever to grace the screen. You can’t help but marvel that a 227-minute film about a far-off corner of 20th-century history starring an Anglo-Irish bit-player no-one had ever heard of ever got made in the first place. But it did, and David Lean’s amalgam of visionary spectacle, intoxication with the complex creation myths of nationhood, and Peter O’Toole’s utterly commanding performance as cartographer turned anti-colonialist firebrand T.E. Lawrence has justly become the stuff of legend.
Experiencing it in the cinema offers a whole new level of immersive intensity – from the shimmering heat-haze of the desert, to the sweeping assault on Aqabar, and the piercing intent of O’Toole’s azure-blue gaze, it continues to cast an enveloping spell, borne along by Maurice Jarre’s swooning strings. (Notes by Trevor Johnston.)