The newly-restored, 50th Anniversary Director’s Cut of David Lean’s 1962 Lawrence of Arabia took home the award for “Best Archive Restoration/Preservation Title” at the 10th FOCAL International Awards held May 2 in London. The 4K restoration of the film was completed last year by Sony Pictures Entertainment under the direction of Grover Crisp, EVP of asset management, film restoration and digital mastering for SPE. Crisp also received a special, individual award for outstanding achievement in the field of film restoration and preservation.
The FOCAL Awards honor producers, filmmakers and other creative professionals who have used library footage in a documentary, feature film or any other form of production, as well as those with the skills to restore and preserve it.
Winner of seven Academy Awards, including best picture and best director, and starring nominee Peter O’Toole and Omar Sharif, Lawrence of Arabia is a monument in the legacy of Sony Pictures’ Columbia Pictures label. For the new restoration, the original camera negative was scanned at 8K and the film was processed to repair problems inherent to the 50-year old film elements. Using the latest digital imaging technology, the color grading and re-mastering was completed in 4K at Colorworks, Sony Pictures Entertainments’ digital intermediate facility.
“We wanted to return this film to as pristine a condition as possible to honor its anniversary release,” Crisp said. “The original negative was seriously damaged in a number of ways, some problems dating from the original release and some accumulated over the years. But, until now, we did not have the tools available to address these issues. We think fans of the film will be as amazed as we are at the detail and resolution in the imagery captured by cinematographer Freddie Young to compliment David Lean’s immaculate direction.”