BEOWULF 3D, LAWRENCE OF ARABIA 70MM, SUPERMAN(1978)

Recently saw BEOWULF in the cinema, in 3D of course. 3D effects are phenomenal and worth the price of admission. The story itself isn’t that great, and without the 3D effect would not be worth seeing in the theater. But with the effects… it’s great fun.

Another movie I recently saw was LAWRENCE OF ARABIA on the big screen in a pretty impressive 70MM print! WOW!


Having only previously seen LAWRENCE OF ARABIA on the small screen, seeing it on the huge screen of the SENATOR (a local historic theater in Baltimore, MD) was something of a revelation.

I’ve always been a fan of this movie from catching it on TV or DVD, but neither prepares you for what this film is like in all its big screen glory.

What hits you is the sumptuousness of the picture, the richness. How full every frame is. There’s an immediacy to everything you see, a depth, that while not 3D, is not unlike 3D.

There’s a sense of concreteness and reality to the images, hyper reality if you will, that is pretty darn jaw dropping.

Unlike DVD, where things are lost, that range is lost, compressed down. In 70mm you’re flooded with all that info that DVD and even HDTV by necessity must discard.

It’s a noticeable difference.

There’s a sense of Grandeur in this movie in the big screen format, that is far beyond the TV or DVD experience.

Such as the opening scene, that I have seen so many times, but never really seen evidently. Because now on the big screen that throwaway scene… is riveting. Is sumptuous and decadent… with detail.

I almost didn’t attend this showing, and that would have been a huge mistake.

It really is a revelatory, “you-are-there” experience, and much credit must be given to the films director David Lean, because the movie is shot, to make each frame drip with beauty. Shot with a mythic scope, completely deserving of the rarely used 70mm format.

The greatest compliment I can give this 40 year old film, is that this week BEOWULF in 3D came out, and clearly that movie cannot touch Lawrence of Arabia in terms of story or content, however its 3D effects are state of the art, and mind bogglingly good, so visually… a normal 40year old 2D movie like LAWRENCE OF ARABIA shouldn’t be able to touch it.

However LAWRENCE OF ARABIA in this format keeps you completely enrapt in the beauty and immediacy of the picture. It has the compelling and engrossing nature of BEOWULF IN 3D, however while adding a brilliant film to back up those looks.

I definitely intend to spread the word in hopes that the Senator will show many more such films.

In an age where everyone including movie theaters are in a mad dash to go digital, it’s very important to have a place like the Historic Senator Theater (www.senator.com) where people can come and see films in all their original, uncompressed glory.

We need perhaps less multiplexes and more FILM venues, like THE SENATOR. Bottom line: LAWRENCE OF ARABIA in an astonishing 70MM print, shown at an astonishing theater, is something to search out. Highly Recommended. :).

***********

Superman (1978)

Richard Donner’s Finest Hour!, 15 January 2005

10/10

Richard Donner, after a beginning directing TV shows has made several fine movies, The Lethal Weapon Series, Omen, Toy, etc.

Without doubt this is his finest film, the film where it all jelled, all worked. A witty, funny, and oddly adult script, manages to continuously amuse and endear kids and adults of all ages. And of course a brilliant cast of newcomers and veterans, breathe life into this tale… of a Super Man.

First seen when it came out, when I was a wee kid, I remember it well. The first viewing. I remember, there with my family, Ma and Pa, and baby sis making noises somewhere, I remember loving it.

Being blown away by it.

I didn’t know Glenn Ford or Trevor Howard or Jackie Cooper, I’d seen Brando on TV in old black and white movies, Reeves and Kidder were newcomers, all I really knew back then… was this movie was FUN. It was Superman… done right.

Nearly 3 decades later, and it is still… Superman done right. Knowledge and ever greater special effects does not dim my love for this film, it enhances it.

Now I do know who Jackie Cooper is, and Trevor Howard, and Glenn Ford, now I see how rich this movie is with a celebration and a respect of those who have come before. The original Lois Lane on the Train, Noel Neill.

There’s a loving generational message here in the casting, that complements the generational message of the story. It also happens to have perhaps my favorite scene, visual scene, ever, the one I remember seeing ,in that theater of long ago, and thinking “Wow”.

Photographed by the great Geoffrey Unsworth, who the film is dedicated to, the scene I’m referring to is the one with Clark and his mom in the cornfield, and the camera finally panning up, up, and away.

Thirty years later…. and it still takes my breath away. That and of course the now classic flight of Lois and Clark, around New York. To a preteen kid it felt like magic. And to an adult, far removed from that kid,it still feels… like magic.

It is easily… in a world that now has made a routine of Comic Book movies… the best of its genre. But it is not just a great “comic book” movie, it is a great… movie. And that’s why it was a box office hit, and that’s why it remains, a perennial favorite. Like Peter Pan it speaks to us… of stars to reach for.

There’s something absurdly hopeful; something tender and beautiful and endearing and hopeful about this film. Something ineffable that becomes, daily, ever more valuable… in a world that increasingly destroys all those things.

A brilliant film, with a compromised sequel that’s almost as good (and two other sequels that you should avoid like the plague). A film that celebrates the medium and the myth, and that part in all of us… that dreams of flying. ****.

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1 Comment

  1. Agree with everything you said about SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE. Even after all these years, I still consider it the best superhero movie ever made. Sure, we’ve had superhero movies with better special effects, better acting, better production values. But none of them have ever been able to duplicate the spirit that SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE has or the best special effect it could ever have: the acting talent of Christopher Reeve. More than making us believe that a man could fly, Christopher Reeve made us believe in Superman.

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