Why isn't Lawrence of Arabia out on Blu-Ray yet?

CNET had an interesting article on The Top 30 Films That Aren’t On Blu-Ray, and I have to say I agree with nearly all the movies on the list (including the original Indiana Jones Trilogy), but the one that I agree with the most strongly is Lawrence of Arabia.

Despite being advertised as “Coming Soon on Blu Ray” pretty much since the format’s inception, not only is Lawrence of Arabia still not on out on Blu-Ray yet (and let’s face it, if there’s a movie that deserves the Blu-Ray treatment, it’s Lawrence of Arabia, there’s no ETA at all for it.

Yet I’ve seen snippets of the film remastered in HD, so I know that there’s a suitable print somewhere… But, in the absence of an official answer, would anyone like to speculate on why there’s such a delay getting a Blu-Ray release of the film?

WAG: the studio is gearing up for a 50th anniversary release in 2012, in whatever HD formats exist at that moment. Sony made a big deal out of re-releasing the film into the art film circuit and releasing a DVD for its 40th anniversary, so I expect them to do it again.

This is the rare film that needs the resolution of BluRay.

There is a scene of an endless desert vista, and a tiny dot appears in the middle of it, slowly getting bigger. My wife and I saw this in the theater, in a 70mm print, in the front row, watching that tiny dot slowly grow bigger. BluRay is the only home video format that has the slightest hope of conveying the impact of that tiny dot.

No, this is not the sort of film that you should watch in segments on YouTube.

Since it wasn’t originally shot in HD, I thought the difference between up-converting a DVD (which many Blu-Ray players can do) and playing it on native Blu-Ray disc would be comparable. No?

Shooting something on film is well beyond what an upconverted DVD or Blu-ray can display:

Now bear in mind that Lawrence of Arabia was shot on 70mm film.

That said, there’s a very simple reason why a lot of movies haven’t been released on Blu-ray yet. The film companies don’t want to flood the market with every movie ever made and have consumers choose. A slow trickle will encourage them to buy something every week (or at the very least, more often than if every movie was released on the same day).

I was a big collector of DVDs when this question was “Why isn’t [some classic movie] on DVD?” and the exact same thing happened. Message boards would be devoted to the Tuesday new releases and that would include discussion of the latest blockbuster and the 20, 30, 40 year old movies that were getting the DVD treatment for the first time.

No, it was shot in 70mm film. The resolution of a 70mm negative arguably exceeds HD resolution.

Major theatrical-release movies are often shot on 35mm film that has higher resolution than 1080p HD. Think about it–when you watch a movie in a theater, you are seeing it on a giant screen and it looks nice and sharp.

Lawrence of Arabia was shot on 70mm film, so it’s native resolution is even higher than the typical 35mm movie, and much greater than 1080p HD.

I stand…-counts- *triply *corrected. Thanks!

There are arguments on both sides whether or not 1080P and 35mm are equal, but 70mm is unquestionably better.