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Widescreen Weekend 2007 - Reviews
National Media Museum, Bradford, England

This article first appeared on
in70mm.com
The 70mm Newsletter

 

March 2007
The "widescreen family" met again - and again it was an enjoyable and most interesting weekend for me!

This time it all started already on Thursday evening with an onstage interview with film composer David Arnold who revealed some interesting details about his career and his way of "writing" a film score. I did not stay to see the "Casino Royale" presentation since my hunger for good Indian food had a slightly higher priority after an exhausting travel :-)

On Friday, the "big" films were all old well-known friends: "This is Cinerama" still is worth seeing - especially the opening sequence - although I wished that Bradford could afford some day to get the restored version from the USA. Next was "Cleopatra" which still is a film ONLY to be seen in its 70mm version. And it still is very, very long and exhausting...

Finally, to see "Indy 3" again in its 70mm version was a good thing (the last time for me was on its original release at the Empire, London). This film is really highly entertaining, with lots of good dialogue, great action scenes, a superb Connery and a breathtaking cinematography by Douglas Slocombe - not to mention the good score by John Williams. I admit that I would have loved to see that on the curve!

At the reception for weekenders you could meet and talk to old friends again.

Also very interesting was Darren Briggs' lecture on "Digital Projection" with some really good clips.

Saturday opened with "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" which again was nice to see. After this we were surprised to learn that Dave Strohmaier was present (like in 2002). Together with his producer Randy Gitsch he presented a highly entertaining "Making Of Cinerama Adventure", followed by the 35mm version of this documentary.

We saw the rough cut presented from a video source in 2002 already, but this time it was the finished film. And again: it is really wonderfully made, and told from the heart of an enthusiast. I believe that everyone in the audience had a great time with it! Thanks very much to these excellent documentary makers!

The next presentation was done by Richard Gray from the "Cinema Theatre Association", also quiet interesting. He gave an inside look into the work of this organisation which tries to save old movie palaces. They are absolutely right: they have to be saved!!!

Then came one of my all time favourites: "How The West Was Won" presented on the curve in original 3-strip Cinerama and 7 track stereo sound. For me, this is always the highlight of the festival! The vintage print they have in Bradford is really quiet good. Very unfortunately, this time there was a problem with the sound. Indeed, this time it was highly disappointing for me. Having seen this film at Bradford several times before, I know what it really sounds like! I hope that next year we will have again the quality from the years before - maybe we even can see one day the restored version they did a couple of years ago in the USA!

As the grand finale "Titanic" sank again on Saturday evening in a very good 70mm blowup print. Many people hate this film, I love it - especially in this roadshow version!

Sunday morning started with the traditional "Cineramacana" show which included a lot of different things. From DVD through 70mm till Cinerama - every format was well represented here.

Dave Strohmaier showed us some more 3-strip stuff (very rare material) and we got also digital projection on the curve - which really looked good.

A new reel of 70mm demo was shown, featuring some busty blondes in real nature. Well, to be honest, I personally thought that I did see better 70mm quality before.... And we welcomed a new member to the "Academy clan": Dave Strohmaier. "Cineramacana" ended as usual with the audience on stage picture taken by Thomas Hauerslev. This is always great fun!

Then Grant Lobban gave a lecture about "70mm Blowups" in which he did not forget to congratulate his favorite movie format Technirama for its 50th birthday.

The next film on the programme was "Shalako" - presented in its 70mm version! The film's producer Euan Lloyd was present and gave a short introduction. After the screening he was interviewed on stage. That was amusing and interesting! But: the film itself was a real piece of crap. Indeed, I think that this might have been one of the worst movies I ever saw. Nevertheless, Brigitte Bardot showed some skin :-) The 70mm print was already faded to brown/red, but the picture quality wasn' too bad. To my great surprise, the soundtrack was 6 track MONO!

Obviously, it was the only 70mm print in existence and was especially made for its premiere.

The day continued with another absolutely rare 70mm print: Terence Young's ballet film "Black Tights". This print was color faded also, but did have a full 6 track stereo mix. Also, it had an intermission.

Sunday evening closed with the presentation of the newly restored 70mm Todd AO print of "Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines". As always, a highly entertaining film for the whole family, for all generations. It's a classic and it was good to see it again in the best possible way.

On Monday morning then the last screening: a 70mm print of "Mayerling". Faded, of course, but the picture nevertheless looked clear and sharp. BUT: again we only heard a 6 track MONO mix! Scandal! What did they do in the late sixties??? And it was not only mono, but the frequency range of the soundtrack was limited to an optical track and did not make use of the possibilities of the magnet tracks. The film also had an intermission and an almost 7 minutes long intermezzo - poorly compiled from the movies score.

Well, despite some frustrating moments this year, it was another worthwhile weekend! I really enjoyed it and would like to thank all the people involved in it. Keep this good work going on! We'll meet again!

Volker Hannemann, Kornwestheim, Germany
 
Further in 70mm reading:

Widescreen Weekend

The 2007 Program

Audience on Stage

Reviews

Galleriers: Hotel, Cinema, Reception, Projection

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