|Nov 24, 2015|
Mr. Whitney, I just read your article on the 70MM site about the reissue of "Oklahoma!" on the big screen. I was fortunate enough to see "Oklahoma!" in its original release in 1955 on the curved TODD-AO screen at the Hollywood Egyptian theater. As a 5 year-old it was an unforgettable experience and has since been one of my favourite movies. At that time, we had to dress up in uncomfortable suits, ties, and hats (even for a 5 year-old) for the reserved seat matinee, but the movie was worth it.
I was also fortunate enough to see "Oklahoma!" in its 1982 70MM re-release, again on the Egyptian's TODD-AO screen. This when I noticed the differences between the TODD-AO and the more commonly seen CinemaScope versions. Seeing it on the big screen was amazing--like seeing a completely different film. The six-track sound was also truly amazing, much better than the 4-track CinemaScope prints. Unfortunately, the Egyptian's Todd-AO screen is long gone.
Earlier this year, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences showed the restored digital print (which had already been released on DVD) at its theatre in Beverly Hills in 4K on a large and slightly curved screen. At that presentation, archivists from 20th Century Fox explained the difficulties they had in restoring the very deteriorated film which until recent digital technology was impossible to fix. The results were amazing, considering you can still see the unrestored print in an earlier 20th/Fox 50th anniversary DVD release. The restoration was particularly difficult as the archivists related that apparently there were no internegatives made for the original 70MM prints and that each finished print was one-of-a-kind directly from the camera negative. During the intermission the Academy also showed behind-the scenes silent B/W films from its archives made during the filming which had never before been shown publicly. The Academy audience gave the film a standing ovation, with particular applause when the TODD-AO credit was shown.
Due to other commitments, I haven't been able to see the several recent screenings in the LA area (it was even shown once at the Chinese). I did appreciate your article and the connection you have with the film and American Optical and that you were finally able to see it in it's big screen magnificence. It's a film that has been part of my life since I was little and continues to entertain as one of the greatest movie musicals.
Elliot Fisch, Los Angeles, CA, USA
I was a projectionist from 1974 through to 2012. Like many projectionists around the world during and after the era of the Reserved Seating Engagement, I was also fascinated by the 70mm presentation. As a child, my father Warren Louden and his brothers Norm and Clem Louden who also worked in the cinema industry, would often discuss the key city theatres in Sydney and the Roadshow engagements of the 70mm attraction.
So there was no surprise I entered the projection room after leaving school and so fortunate to have spent some time at the end of the key city theatres presence in Sydney, presented 70mm for Hoyts Theatres and being mentored by a number of wonderful women and men in the Sydney cinema industry …
I hope my collation of 70mm in Sydney assists in your own research fascination. I intend to collate Todd-AO and Super Technirama 70 which I will forward to you once completed:
• 70mm Release Summary Sydney
• Super Panavision 70 in Sydney
• Ultra Panavision 70 in Sydney
• Todd-AO in Sydney
• 70mm Blow Up in Sydney – VistaVision
• Super Technirama 70 in Sydney
• 70mm Blow-up in Sydney - Spherical
70mm Films in Sydney by Mr. Peter Fraser
Doug Louden, Australia
Hi, I am really excited about Quentin Tarantino’s decision to do the first true Super 70MM movie in a really long time.
What I would like to ask you, is this: Hollywood has its Cinerama Dome, Seattle has a Cinerama Theatre, but ever since the Northpoint Theatre in San Francisco closed in 1997, Northern California hasn’t had much of any place to show a Super 70 movie, and (apart from the true IMAX Theatre, where such a thing would be very, very Letterbox) Sacramento is one of the worst cities anywhere for having mostly small screens.
But, Sacramento has its original huge Cinerama Dome (at the Century on Arden and Ethan), except that it was cut in half by a wall in the 1970s to add one screen to the complex, which made both screens in that dome rather small ones in lop sided auditoriums (which I wouldn’t set foot in). And, considering the fact that they added several screens during their big remodel in the late 1990s, that one additional screen was simply not needed, so...
Update already: Well how about that? While I was looking up facts for this eMail I found out that they are tearing down the domes on Arden and Ethan. And I don’t know if the campaign to save the domes by the Winchester House in San Jose is going well or not.
I was going to ask: Who do I write to at this perfect time, to ask someone to sponsor a restoration of the Cinerama Dome in Sacramento by tearing down that wall and installing a huge screen where it belongs? But now, I’m just wondering if any Theatre in Northern California can really show a Super 70MM on a truly huge wide screen. Most “large” and “giant” screens in San Jose, San Francisco, and Sacramento are tall screens, but the auditoriums themselves are not wide enough in the first place, and then, due to poorly designed Theatres, the Exit Doors actually get in the way in most of them.
I have been thinking of this quite a bit recently. So I’d really like to know what can be done now that this Tarantino film has been announced.
If I really want to get sad, nostalgic, and frustrated, all I need to do is look at a list of former Cinerama Theatres in Northern California that were divided up or torn down before I was old enough to drive myself to any of them. There were a surprisingly large number.
Thanks so much,
Hello to all,
I was fortunate enough to catch "2OO1" when it was first playing in the gorgeous, huge, tall, 70 mm Cinerama screen of the ROXY. No cinematic experience has ever surpassed that. And I vividly remember when the scene where the astronauts were trying to take a picture of the monolith a blast of a mid-frequency tone coming from all speakers, surround included, made most of the audience cover their ears.
In subsequent occasions I saw the movie in 70mm flat screen and 35mm mono, neither had the same visual or audio impact. I also owned the Laserdisc and DVD versions but the sound mixing is not the same. Sadly, in the Blu-Ray version nothing has changed in this regard. Sometimes I feel that preservationists and film restorators are not fully aware of the original theatrical film presentations in the wide gauge format. In West Side Story, for example there are two sequences, one with a sound of a whistle in the beginning of the film and another when Tony sings "Maria", that were mixed for surround. That surround mixing was present in both the CinemaScope and 70 mm versions. In all of the home video versions the surround on those scenes is missing!
Anyway, back in the 1960's I was a high school student, whose Biology teacher had coincidentally been trying to explain one so called Cosmogonic Theory, which suggests that life travels from planet to planet, giving birth to other species. The final sequence of 2001 suggests that too.
However, although I had already been exposed to cryptic, documentary-styled, nouvelle vague, flickers of the mid-60's I had a tremendous difficulty to elucidate most of the 2OO1 scenes. And, quite frankly, until today I am still to elucidate some more. If what Arthur Clarke said about the monolith is true, that it is a teaching machine, then who built it?
I remember coming out of the theater with a feeling of awe and depression. It seems to me that 2OO1 was never meant to be an optimistic piece of film by its film makers: apes learn to kill and dominate other apes in the dawn of men, and in the end you get to know that secrets continue to exist between countries, because the human race never managed to be sincerely united.
Still, it is a magnificent, state of the art, masterpiece, designed, so to speak, to last for centuries to come as the reference in science fiction films, and to endure the test of being exhibited and examined by younger audiences.
I was once asked by some of my readers to write a personal appreciation of 2OO1. Sorry that it was written in Portuguese, who is probably hard to read. It was easier to do that now, after reading so many reviews and learning about suffering myself on a daily basis. It was a pleasure anyhow to write about 2OO1. It reminded me about those pleasant moments in life that will stay in our minds forever.
Paulo Roberto, Brazil.
Dear Thomas !
I am very glad that a restored version of the “55 Days at Peking” movie has been produced. Obviously it was possible to produce a transfer from the original 35mm Technirama negative – very very good !!
How much would I wish that the same process happened to the almost lost negatives of “EL CID” and “FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE” !!! It would be worth to see the “Roman Forum” as restored by Samuel Bronston in 1964 in Las Matas (Madrid) in full sharp glory and colours! This even more since the temples from 1964 do not exist in reality any more…
Please find enclosed a photo from the "55 days" advertising in “our” old cinema (of my parents) in Austria, Leobersdorf (eldest cinema of Lower Austria, since 1898). It is closed since 1984.
Fascinating articles that I've not yet had time to read properly.
A minor detail is that not all the apes were dancers. I knew an actor who played one of them and he wasn't a dancer - just quite small. Kubrick had no sympathy with the need to ration the 'head on' time as they were extremely uncomfortable. The major fear during production was that the head designs would be stolen by "PLANET OF THE APES" which was filming at the same time in another studio. One of the 2001 heads went missing and everyone was sure where it had gone but when PLANET came out, with its inferior cartoon toy heads, they'd been wrong. There was a rumour that the missing head turned up at a party some time later.
At the start of 1975 I worked at The Vienna English Theatre with David Charkham, the ex-ape in question, and was taken to meet the very great Charles Parker who was in Vienna working on a film with Ava Gardener. Charles was a key person in the final design of the heads, alongside Stuart Freeborn.
Late nights with David, after enough Austrian wine, were likely to end with ape antics, to the peril of furniture and fittings.
I worked for some while with an ex Borehamwood electician. Jack had been lighting console operator during 2001 production and, despite its present classic status, to the crew it was merely a picture that remained in production for an eternity. This was during the period when the studios had permanent staff and the unions had power. One Friday Kubrick showed no signs of stopping, however many times he was reminded about the time. The head LX came to Jack and told him to switch off the board on his cue. So Kubrick was given one more chance to finish properly and then all the power was cut.
The following morning Jack, with his shopping trolley, was pursued around the local supermarket by Kubrick with his, whilst being assailed with angry insults for stopping the filming.
Thank you for your excellent "in70mm.com". I was Tuesday in Paris in a very interesting event (IDIFF) about new cinema and TV technologies and specialists informed us about the new project of a PANAVISION 70mm DIGITAL camera with a special range of new 70mm prime lenses. It seems that it’s not only a dream for 70mm fanatics (like me) but a real project which is already in development with NASA engineers. If you have more information about this project and also about the Sony new digital F65 with a big size sensor, that could make a good item for “in70mm.com”. It’s very funny to imagine that digital cinema will not kill definitely 70mm but will use it as a future, updated, technology.
Thank you for listening and thanks again for your fantastic job. I’m an old French stills photographer fanatic of 70mm movies specially “Lawrence of Arabia” and if think it’s a pity to deplore that’s there’s no more 70mm screenings in France (except “The Master” last year)
Thank you for your report on the Amsterdam screening of "War and Peace". Unfortunately this time I could not join in although for me Amsterdam is much easier to reach than Helsingør - only about 2 1/2 hours by car.
And thank you for your statement on 70mm vs digital projection. Whenever I applaude in a cinema during the end title - what is it good for? Neither the actors nor the director would take any notice - I do it for the projection team.
"War and Peace" was at least the reason for my addictions to 70mm movies. In 2009 I went to the Berlin Film Festival to watch particularily this film at the "International" cinema. The print we saw was shipped from the archives of the American Film Acadamy I think. It was struck for a film festival at San Francisco in the early seventies and was only performed very few times. So it was in an outstanding good condition with almost no dust and scratches and full colour (I do not use the word "brilliant" because does not fit the ORWO-colour style). Brilliant instead was the sound. Do you remember the scene with that kind of indoor fountain. These "pling" sounds of the falling dropplets were crystal clear and were located exactly where the drops hit the water surface. I had no such sound experience in a motion picture theatre ever since. And the projection team did a perfect job, not using a platter system but handeling two 70 mm projectors.
It would be a thrill if we once could get this print (Russian with English subtitles) for Bradford although it would be really heavy stuff with twice the running time of ”Hamlet”. But - as mentioned before - we don't go there for fun.
Greetings from Germany,
You can add the following "War and Peace" 70mm prints:
• Mosfilm/NikFi - One Svema 70mm print (out of circuit but in perfect shape)
• Gosfilmofond - two complete prints and a few "more or less" complete. One could be exhibited, but mostly it's the new 35mm DD print Kiev -
• One ORWO print and a partial reprint was there in 1991 Japan - One print for a festival - stored at the Japan Film-institute France -
• One "Gaumont Palace" print very edited - Eastman - many parts missing (Bois d'Arcy, but I have seen some stills- not a good sign) - Dubbed France -
• One Kinopanorama reprint on Orwo in 1975-76 - Dubbed - Still owned by Arkeion and stored at Bois d'arcy France -
• Backup Kinopanorama original SVEMA print (1966-1968) - OV - Privately owned France - At least one real has been tested at the French Film Institute in 2012 - The original and current print used at the Kinopanorama for the first release - OV but not complete - Reported to me as privately owned - Last projection at the Cosmos in 1978.
Your site is really great. I check it often for news and shows, but there is one correction I would like to suggest. I noticed that on this page, you listed The Castro Theatre as regularly showing 70MM Films...
The fact is that The Castro Theatre in San Francisco rarely shows 70MM films. The best thing they did in the past several years, in fact, was to show "Brainstorm" in true 70MM during an actual 70MM Film Festival they had, but that was in July 2008!! Since then, they advertised once that they would be showing "Vertigo" in 70MM and when I drove the 90 miles to see it, I found it was most definitely not 70MM, with a small grainy picture and almost mono sound.
Truth be told, they very rarely show films in 70MM, because as they told me once in an email, it’s very time consuming to set up the projectors to show a 70MM Film, so they only do it once a year – if that! Here is a quote from an email reply I once received from The Castro Theatre...
“Glad you enjoyed "Brainstorm", there's always a chance we might bring it back for a third annual screening next year if we do another 70mm series.”
See what I mean??? Here is their current Schedule. Do a search for the number 70 on this page. It’s not there. Thank You for your time.
I sent you a letter late last year. Well it seems 70mm is all but gone here in BC Canada. The last old palace theaters here in Vancouver that could show 70mm have closed down, and now all IMAX theaters here in BC have converted to 2K DLP digital cinema projectors. This is sad news. I went to Star Trek Into Darkness to watch the 30 minutes they shot in IMAX, and I was expecting to see it on a film print. To my dismay, it was shown digitally. I have contacted Cineplex and confirmed IMAX here is no longer using their film projectors and I believe they were removed. So the Dark Knight Rises was the last film I saw in film projection at this theater. I will not be going back to an IMAX theater until they remove their 2K projectors and install an 8K projector. 8K is the only thing that comes close to the resolution of IMAX. I find it sad IMAX has accepted 2K as their standard for their theaters, as it isn’t much of a difference between what we have in other digital cinemas, other then the brightness factor being better in IMAX. I was hoping to see Nolan’s next IMAX feature, since it was confirmed he will be again using IMAX cameras. But now- it seems pointless to go to IMAX now. I can’t understand why the huge rush to get rid of their film projectors. Certainly with the money they charge on an IMAX ticket, they can afford to ship in the prints needed to show it on film.
Hi, I came across this rare "Battlestar Galactica" TV trailer with the Sensurround logo on it on You Tube. I can give you a brief account of my memory of "BATTLESTAR GALACTICA" here:
"It was in February of 1979 during a screening of "SUPERMAN THE MOVIE", playing on it's initial theatrical run at the ABC New Street in Birmingham, UK that I first became aware of "BATTLESTAR GALACTICA" and it's imminent screening in Sensurround. There were probably about only two screens in Birmingham at the time that were able to play Sensurround and the ABC was one of them.
Anyway, for this 9-year old, the trailer sufficiently prompted my family to travel to the cinema again on Easter Sunday 1979 (I can remember the date, as "JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR" was playing on BBC1 at the time when we returned after the 6.30pm screening, which ended around 9.45pm. There was a short on with it called CALL OUT, about military manouveres or something. It is a great shame that the idea of a programme with a short and then a main feature has been abandoned in today's multiplexes, not to mention the many pre-PC cinema adverts (THINK BEFORE YOU DRINK, KIA ORA and what have you) that are not bound today by Government legislation when things like alcohol and smoking are such an effect on today's cinema commercials (remember the PERNOD and LEE COOPER ads, anyone?). Performances were limited to two on Sunday's back then in the days of Separate and Complete Performances. The one thing I also remember about this was the cinema had no kids prices (it was about £2.40 for adults back then at this cinema)
It might be hard to believe now, but "BATTLESTAR GALACTICA" was the number one film in the UK in 1979, albeit for about a week, but along with the theatrical version of "BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25TH CENTURY", which played in a double bill a year later after that film's UK summer release in 1979 was a very popular film. The spin-off GALACTICA 1980 movie, "CONQUEST OF THE EARTH", that interestingly used some footage from another Sensurround offering, "EARTHQUAKE", came and went without much success in 1981.
Anyway, the adverts and trailers had passed and I can distinctly remember a roll-up narrated by Lorne Greene describing the imminent experience of watching "BATTLESTAR GALACTICA" in Sensurround with accompanying text. (It might be worth looking into whether the distributor still has that somewhere in an archive). The film started and Stu Phillips great score greeted the audience. Audio wise, the mix was pretty impressive for it's time, particularly during the Cylon attack on the Battlestar fleet, the attack on Caprica and the Nova of Madagon sequences.
The practice of Sensurround, like so many places mentioned in the in70mm article, was abandoned when it was clear that the foundations of the cinema were being affected.
"MISSION GALACTICA - THE CYLON ATTACK", the last feature to play in Sensurround, which also featured in the Germany Sensurround Festival in 2010, played in normal Stereo at the ABC New Street in 1980."
Hello, I love the site. Ever since I discovered Ron Fricke's films, I've been a fan of 70mm. However, I am a young filmmaker and have a lot to learn. "Samsara" was shot for $4,000,000 - and even though "Samsara" was more so a film collage than a narrative film with full scenes, that number seems rather affordable, no?
What is your professional opinion on the future of 70mm? If you don't have time to answer this email in detail, I understand.
I personally think HD looks hyperreal and turns me off. There's still that film, almost surreal quality, that belongs to 70mm.
Randall Elizabeth Wilson
my enthusiasm for 70mm dates back to my teens in the 70s when I would roam around the Midlands (we lived in Solihull, having moved from Eseex when I was 13) to see films in 70mm. I was lucky enough to see "Towering Inferno" in 70mm on the biggest screen in Europe (at the time) Birmingham's long since defunct Gaumont. I even worked there later as a doorman/usher between 6th Form and Uni and in the holidays. It was an astonishing experience - I must have been in the 10th or 12th row stalls and I remember the curtains pulling back - and back - and back until they seemed almost level with me. The picture was amazing. The sound was incredible too. A totally immersive experience. Sad end to the Gaumont story was that it was owned by Rank, who, according to staff legend, also bought up the company which made the screens and promptly discontinued them. A few years after my time there it was sold off and demolished although the brick facade was taken down to be preserved. (At a tangent, as a doorman I had keys to all the backstage areas behind the screen and curtianed walls of the auditorium. An experience in itself).
I saw 70mm at a variety of other (sometimes unlikely) venues - Birmingham Queensway (Close Encounters in a multplex so not quite the same size-wise as The Gaumont), Birmingham International's Metropole for The Hindenburg (a hotel - go figure) and Poseidon Adventure at a cinema in Coventry whose name escapes me.
My particular obsession is Sensurround and I'm eager to hear of revivals of this in 70mm. I had to hike out to Quinton for Earthquake in Sensurround but i don't think it was 70mm and whilst it was incredibly loud for those days, I can't say, hand-on-heart that the earth moved! I feel short-changed by some of the accounts I've read at in70mm.com.
Sorry, long fan-blather but please sign me up for the newsletter so I can keep my eyes peeled for 70mm revivals generally and Sensurround in particular. With Earthquake's 40th Anniversary next year and given it's largely uncredited but undeniably huge contribution to cinema sound (it prompted development of the THX standard, Dolby 5.1 format and at home even sub-woofers in gaming chairs...) it would be great to see it celebrated.
Brian Keeping, UK
I often view your site to see what is new with 70mm. Just wondering if you have considered doing an article on what will come of shooting in 70mm when Kodak stops making film in the next 3 or so years? Kodak has been contracted to produce film up till 2015, and after that- its anyone’s guess what will come of shooting on film. Being movie studios are shifting focus to present movies digitally and not shown on film, I suspect this transition will speed up productions using digital capture and not film. What do you think will happen with IMAX if film is no longer available to use? I did present that question to them and they mentioned they are working on a 4K or 8K laser projector, plus working on a high resolution digital camera. I think this transition will be inevitable in the next few years, and we are obviously in the last days of film use. Might make an interesting article on your part for the readers. Plus it seems all the 5 perf 70mm theaters in Vancouver BC have dried up and closed down. All we have here now it seems is IMAX theaters.
Love your site, been visiting regularly for a few years now. Two things if I may,
1) Under the "Now Showing link, you have under Canada "FIFF", this should be TIFF which is the Toronto International Film Festival's permanent new theatre (5 cinemas), teaching facility and film museum complex
2) At this year's Toronto International Film Festival "The Master" is being premiered at the 2,000 seat Princess of Wales Theatre in 70MM on Friday Sept. 7th and will repeat in 70MM at the TIFF Bell Lightbox Cinema #1 on September 8th and 16th. Here is the link to the screenings for your consideration.
Keep up the great work! I started in the theatre business in 1980 as an usher at a beautiful single 900 seat art deco cinema in midtown Toronto called The Eglinton Theatre which had a Cinamiracle screen around when I was born! We played all the big 70MM exclusives when I worked there, "Fame", "Raiders" (with 4 other Toronto cinemas in 70MM), "Pink Floyd The Wall", "Poltergeist" (with one other 70MM cinema), "Brainstorm" (with three other 70MM cinemas) plus around '82 or '83 we had a 70MM film festival with Dr. Zhivago, 2001, Dirty Dozen, Poseidon Adventure & three 70MM double bills and a few others. My biggest memory was carrying all those 70MM cans way up to the projection booth each week! The Eglinton is now a special event venue and completely intact, no longer a cinema but at least it wasn't bulldozed. I dream that when the new 20 mile subway line is completed along that street that it could be a cinema again once it's connected into the main subway lines as it was previously only accessed by bus or car.
Anyway, I ramble. Thanks for your time.
A fun thing to try while the 60th Anniversary Celebration at the Cinerama Dome draws closer.
Google Street View now lets you "walk around" virtually inside the Cinerama Dome. Locate the Cinerama Dome on Google Maps. It's at 6360 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, California. Drop the pegman on the street outside and adjust your position so that you're right outside the Cinerama Dome, facing its entrance. (The location will actually be shown as 6369 Sunset Boulevard.) When in the right spot, you'll see three arrows in the street, one of which is a double arrow pointing at the Dome's entrance. Click on the double arrow (or use the up arrow key on your keyboard) and you're on your way in.
While inside, you may notice the two display cabinets at each side of the lobby filled with Cinerama artefacts and posters for the 60th Anniversary.
Anders M Olsson, Lund, Sweden
We love your site and have found it very helpful in our research into widescreen format motion pictures and the cameras that shot them. We own a Mitchell Fox Grandeur 70mm camera, serial #8. We believe this camera worked on several important Fox Film Corp. movies and featurettes shot in the 70mm Grandeur Wide Screen system. Our research also shows that MGM borrowed several Grandeur camera from Fox to shoot 2 films in their own 70mm process called Realife. We are hoping that your contributors will have any information relating to Fox Grandeur cameras and the movie they worked on. If they have access to any production stills, including behind the scenes and publicity stills, that might show camera equipment, this would help us establish the history of our camera. We could also trace this camera to specific productions through assistant cameramen's reports, editorial logs, sound recording engineer's logs, or other written documents that might contain serial numbers of cameras that might have been used on any of these shows. We are particularly interested in any material related to "The Big Trail" (1930) which was directed by Raoul Walsh and photographed by Arthur Edeson. The 70mm Grandeur cameramen, including Edeson, were: Sol Halprin, Dave Ragin, Kurt Fetter, Max Cohn, Harry Smith, L. Kunkel, and Harry Dawe. The Film Editor was Jack Dennis and the recording engineer was George Leverett. Assistant recording engineers were W. D. Flick, William Brent, and Paul Heinly. Our research showed that Fox Film Corp. loaned MGM their Grandeur cameras to shoot "Billy the Kid" (1930) and "The Great Meadow" (1931). If you need further information or names, we have a little bit more that we can send to you. Any information you or your contributors have on this would be greatly appreciated. We have photographs of the camera if they are of any help to you. Looking forward to hearing from you.
I just read your new Super Panavision 70 web-site. I was at the world premiere of "McKenna's Gold" which was on 20.03.1969 at the City-Filmtheater on Steindamm 9 in Hamburg.
Maybe there was a preview in Munich on 18.03.1969, but the official world premiere of the film was on 20.03.1969 in Hamburg. Especially for this world premiere nearly all stars of the film were in Hamburg: Omar Sharif, Telly Savalas, Ted Cassidy and even Eli Wallach (Gregory Peck unfortunately wasn`t there) - a great experience for me at the time.
Cheers Gerhard Witte, Berlin
I just wanted to say thank you for writing such a wonderful article. Your experience as a projectionist was heartfelt. Some of the best 70mm (and occasional 35mm) presentations I have experienced were a result of the showmanship of excellent projectionists. Bravo for letting the world know about your work in cinema, Thomas.
Bill Kallay with his book about "TRON", filmed in Super Panavision 70.
New Book: "The Making of Tron"
Some of the best presentations I experienced were in large theaters with 70mm running through the projector. I loved walking into a theater with cinematic music playing behind the curtains covering the screen. As a child, I wondered what kind of movie I would experience once the projectionist opened those curtains and light streamed from the booth onto the large screen. There was a sense of suspense and magic in that projected light coming from up on high.
Sadly those days are mostly over, as cinema has become too automated and extremely predictable. Indeed, I have seen some digital presentations that are very good. But like the experience of listening to a vinyl record as opposed to an MP3 file, there are no goosebumps. Thankfully some theaters in Southern California still do nice presentations, such as El Capitan, the Samuel Goldwyn Theater, and the American Cinematheque.
Presentations of 70mm prints like "Die Hard" at the Avco Center Cinema, "Star Wars" at the Plitt Orange City Center Theater, "The Empire Strikes Back" at the Cinedome in Orange, "Apocalypse Now" at the Cinerama Dome, "Lawrence of Arabia" at the Cineplex-Odeon Century Plaza, were augmented by fine projectionists who cared what the audience would experience. Your writing about "Fatal Attraction" totally reminded me of how 800 people in the audience at the Cinedome screamed and JUMPED out of their seats when Glenn Close rose from the bathtub! There is no replacing that communal feeling of experiencing a film with hundreds of people. Home theater, as great as it as become, can't replace the theater experience. People make movies come alive. Projectionists help take audiences to places they've never been before.
Thank you, Thomas, for a great story.
Bill Kallay, Los Angeles, California, USA
I am a big fan of 65/70mm (I live in Lyon where there was the PALAIS DES CONGRES, which was for years the biggest screen in Europe up until the mid-eighties, and the Comoedia which was set up for Todd-AO's "Around the World in 80 days") and have been an avid reader for years. Here's the reason of this letter. I don't know if someone told you this about the film "The Hunt for Red October": I've known since the film was released that one sequence was shot in 65mm; the last sequence where Connery and Baldwin talk on the tower od the submarine (it's blue screen, but both plate shot and studio shot were photographed in 65mm with the CP-65, the camera that was conceived for SHOWSCAN). But today I was watching the making of on Blu-ray and suddenly it popped! Another (part of a) sequence shot in 65mm: the scene where Baldwin visits the character played by Jeffrey Jones. On the documentary you clearly see a 65mm camera (it seems to be an AP-65, because of the belt drive) filming the part where a smaller vehicule is adapted for submarines. I don't know if it's because originaly the visual effects were to be done by Boss Film (this company was doing their effects work in 65mm) before being replaced by ILM, but the fact is that this part of the sequence is in 65mm.
Hope that you'll find this info interesting... if someone did not told you about it before of course.
Sincerely, Patrick Moha, from Lyon
Todd-AO in 8-track
Hi Bill, I remember going to see "Airport" in Todd AO at the old Warner (Cinerama) in Los Angeles, California. It was advertised as being presented in 8 track stereophonic sound. Never heard of 8 track other than the old car stereo system. Was that a one time thing?
Thanks Don McCauig, Journey Films, USA
A Disgraceful Performance
Hi Thomas, A short trip to Paris yesterday with my wife Nadine, by TGV of course! At the La Géode [IMAX Dome] we saw "Journey to Mecca" in IMAX. Probably one of the best IMAX films followed by "TAHITI 3D: Destination Surf" in 3D digital (Xpand system). A scandalous system. A scandalous presentation. An 1.85 image with a lot of distortion and 75% of the light missing, due to the 3D system and glasses. And they present the performance as "An epic visual experience...". That's disgraceful for widescreen cinema!!!
François CARRIN, Widescreen Academy Member, France
"Lawrence" in 70mm wanted
Dear Editor of in70mm,
I am a young aspiring filmmaker from Hungary. I love classic, traditional and quality moviemaking rather than the 21st centurys digital technologies, thus I am a longtime reader of your site. One of my greatest desire is to see my most beloved movie of all time "Lawrence of Arabia" in 70mm. However I can't find any place in Europe where it is screened nowadays. I check your website "Now showing" listings regularly but i can't find a single location in Europe where I could watch this classic on a huge screen in high-def 70mm exhibition.
Could you help me and advise me with some information whether the movie will be screened nowadays in continental Europe? I would travel by car or plane, no mather how, just to see this masterpiece on a huge screen in 70mm!
I am looking forward to any kind of information!
Gabor Domok, Hungary
Thanks for your message about the arrival of the "El Cid" programme. You'd be very upset if I told you how many others my mother threw away forty years ago!
A few weeks ago the NFT were showing "The Wind And The Lion" and, remembering how much I love this film and what a wonderful experience it was originally in 70mm on the very large screen at The Dominion (now home to We Will Rock You) I bought a ticket.
I don't know if you've been to NFT3 but the projection room has a large window and, before going in, I was trying to decide whether the reels on the machines were 70mm. It was difficult to see so I asked the attendant.
He had no idea what I meant but just then a man passed us and the attendant suggested I asked him as he was the projectionist.
'Is it in 70mm?'
'No - 35mm'
'Is it stereo?'
'No - but it's very pink.......'
The pre-picture caption was 'A Print From The BFI Archive'
It was utterly appalling and even, considering how stunning I knew the film to be, quite tragic. Very very pink and dreadful mono optical sound played way too loud.
I left after fifteen minutes and discovered later that the reels had been wrongly numbered and they added a further showing (there had been two scheduled) to compensate for the performance I'd left being out of sequence.
I don't see the point of the BFI archive keeping a print that so badly represents the picture's potential.
I live in hope of one day seeing this marvellous film properly, even at NFT3 because it's terrific for 70mm.
70mm films in Yugoslavia
I do read you're web a lot and often, specially things about Schauburg 70mm festival, looking dataes and so, and waiting chance to come there and see, as I'm from Croatia is not so far away.
Now to get back on things why I want to contact you, is to let you know some information about 70mm here, actually in ex. Yugoslavia, since now there is no 70mm working around here, except one which, sadly to say newer screened 70mm film.
So, as I'm born in 1984, I only have information I hear and read. There were a couple of 70mm installation:
- Cinema Zagreb, Zagreb Cinemeccanica Victoria 10
- Lisinski Concert Hall, Zagreb, Cinemeccanica Victoria 8r 70/35mm installed 1973
- Cinema Partizan (now Teatro Fenice), Rijeka, Meopta UM70/35 installed 1970
- Cinema Odeon, Belgrade, Philips DP70
There are a couple of them I know, and I will try to get more info if I could and then will forward it to you. As for now you can find in attachment V8 70/35 in Lisinski Concert Hall, they are still running, but I think they newer screened 70mm film there. Also, one more trivia about 70mm here, a friend of mine is working on subtitling of 35mm prints now, in past they did subtitle also some 70mm prints, as 70mm was kinda rare they did made subtitling machine by itself, it was quite manual but it did work well.
Once again, I would like to visit 70mm festival there, and else where normally, specially now when I saw which movies will be screened in Oslo, Norway.....
To bad there are no 70mm prints here, even I have couple of meters, but no projectors.....as my friend in Germany, Stefan Scholz did let me know I come to take one of he's Bauer U2, quite heavy isn't it :D
best regards, Marin Zorica
I just came across your website! I'm sure you hear this all the time, but it has brought back so many memories of movie going years ago. I used to wonder if I went to see these films because of the film, or because of the way they were presented. I used to go to The Warner Cinerama, The Capitol, The Rivoli, The DeMille ,Loew's State, The Criterion, all of which ,among others, presented the films in roadshow format.
I loved to walk in the theatre and purchase a program, see the auditorium with the red curtain wall to wall and ceiling to floor, The lights would dim and the overture would play. The lights would fade to dark and the curtain would open. There would be the film on a screen the was larger than a city block. Whether it be Cinerama or 70MM or even D-150 I was simply awestruck!
The kids today have no idea what it was like to see a film "back in the day."
The thing that I really don't understand, is that why in New York City we don't have a single theatre that can present films in this manner. All we have is The Ziegfeld and that diesn't leave much to be desired.
I have to thank you for your website. It is so amazing that someone can look at all of this information and be transported back to a time when it was so thrilling to see a movie!
|30 August 2009|
Thank huge for inserting the information from Russia on your Website.
I am very glad, that I have brought even in small part to your research of 70 mm cinema.
On yours site I have found a lot of interesting information for myself. For the first time I have found out that, at last, after a very long break, in global cinematograph the motions to return to shooting on 70mm of the film-chamber have appeared. Let though and partially, but that fact, that for a short interval of time many authors of cinema again started to use 70mm format at shootings, in such films as "The New World", "The Prestige", "Sunshine", "The International", "The Dark Knight", "The Tree of Life", "Inception", "Shutter Island", "The Young Black Stallion", "Transformers-2". It speaks that the format of 70mm can again return in complete volume. I consider, that shooting on 70mm a negative and demonstration of such films at cinemas in 70mm it some kind of HI-END in the world cinematograph. On my deep belief, use of digital chambers can spoil cinematograph. You on your site make great job for preservation fundamental principles of cinematograph.
Unfortunately, I do not have any boards of 70mm films, I never was engaged in a collecting. As to DVD of the editions, on their covers in our country never it is underlined, that this film was shot or was demonstrated in 70mm. As I already spoke you in one of the letters, for us 70mm format was advertised as «the large format». If on the poster of a cinema or in the film-rolling edition was written, that film is «wide-frame film», it officially meant, that it will be demonstrated in 70mm. As far as I have understood from yours website, in other world was not so, and if the film demonstrated in 70mm, and on the poster “70mm” were written.
Dmitry Silyanov, Moscow, Russia
I am a retired university professor and also a film lover. I have been writing about film, home theater and audio in a small column, hosted in a site owned by journalists.
Lately I decided to undertake a research of the remainings of not less than 33 theaters in the district where I grew up, namely the Tijuca district in Rio de Janeiro. I have been overwhelmed by all sorts of difficulties, including photographs from the demolished installations, and information concerning the make and models of the 35 and 70mm projectors used in these theaters.
A couple of days ago I had a breakthrough, because I managed to talk to one of the main cinema operators in the area, who is currently working in a government facility. We have been talking since them and he too has made a great effort to recover the information regarding the projectors used in some of the most recent and demolished theaters.
In these conversations I stumbled upon the information that at least one of the theaters was apparently equipped with an Incol 35/70mm projectors (I will have this confirmed next monday), but both this man and another projector operator told me that these Incol projectors were quite unreliable, and it was not unusual to have film damaged by the projectors.
Because of my previous academic work, I have been away from such matters, and in fact the last time I projected a 16mm film I was still in college. From your site, I got to know that Incol was a Brazilian manufacturer of 70mm projectors. In fact, these are the only photographs that I ever managed to see with the projectors in detail.
From what I could recollect, Brazilian exhibitors used a variety of projectors, including Simplex, Century, Westrex, Incol, Triumpho (another Brazilian make) and Cinemecannica (for Dimension 150). Incredible as it may seen, there is no database that I know of, of the models and installation data of any of these projectors. Apparently, there was a Philips DP70 installed in the Pax theater, but I cannot confirm it with anyone.
I have recently met a man called Joelson Estevão, who was one of the former presidents of the projectionists union in Rio. And he acknowledge that in the distant past nobody bothered to create an inventory or database of the projectors used in theater installations throughout the
whole city. And what a shame that is. Because now he had to ask former projectionists about the projectors they used.
But talking to several people who were in the business I also got to know a guy called Milton, who dealt with 70mm projectors. He too wouldn't know about many of the projectors used by exhibitors, with one or two exceptions. One of these is the Incol 35/70, which almost got fire in the Cine Veneza, decades ago, on account of a projectionist forgetting to turn on the water pump that acted as cooler in the projector intermitent, or something to that effect.
It is funny that my article about disappearing theaters, which was published last Thursday has triggered a desire to dig out that kind of information.
It is also curious that Mr. Estevão, who is in charge of projectors in a governmental institution called CTAv, has had the need to install new projectors, and found out that there were two "brand new" Cinemecannica V-10 in Brasilia, and nobody using them. Needless to say, they were dismantled and sent to Rio (I saw the cases) where Mr. Estevão will be building a new projection room, fitted with 35/70mm and full 5.1 sound.
I am now expecting to visit the warehouse site of one of the main local exhibitors, that is supposedly containing all the projectors that were withdrawn from theaters before they were demolished or transformed into churches. It is widely know that this particular exhibitor installed all his theaters with Simplex X-L projectors but apparently he did not install any Simplex for 70mm.
If I am granted the chance to visit and photograph, or at least talk to people at the exhibitor warehouse, I will be pleased to send you any info or picture concerning 70mm projectors that you might be interested in.
I am nevertheless grateful to you for posting the photos of the projectors. Thanks for sharing those with us.
Paolo Roberto P. Elias,
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The news article for the "Porgy & Bess" screening actually relates to a screening that was held nearly two years ago (which I attended). The article is credited to Turner Classic Movies, but if you check the TCM web site, you will not find this article on the news page. In addition, the article says that tickets are currently on sale, but if you check the Clearview Cinemas web site, you will not find any information on a "Porgy & Bess" screening.
I think it was the same print that was screened at the Egyptian several years ago. It was a 35mm dye transfer Technicolor print (thus no fading) and featured a magnetic stereo soundtrack. I think there were some complaints about the soundtrack -- apparently the projector didn't have a filter for the control tone for the surround channel, so some people reporting hearing a high pitched noise. Overall, the print appeared to be in very good shape. The only other print that I'm familiar with was the faded and subtitled 70mm print that was screened at the Berlin Film Festival years ago as part of an Otto Preminger restrospective. I don't recall whether this print was ever shown at Bradford, but I believe it was screened at the Seattle Film Festival.
The screening at the Ziegfeld wasn't very well publicized, and the auditorium wasn't very full. The screening coincided with the release of a biography on Otto Preminger, and I believe his widow was in attendance. I recall there being a Q&A either before or after the screening, and I think there was a question asked about whether there would be a DVD release or some kind of restoration, but there didn't appear to be anything in the works. It is my understanding that the Gershwin estate has always been pretty hostile to the film (which took substantial liberties with both the score and the libretto) and is responsible for having the film withdrawn from distribution after its initial run. Presumably the Gershwin estate would need to sign off of any DVD release, which seems unlikely. Even if the estate were willing to do this, it isn't clear whether enough money could be made off the DVD to justify the restoration costs.
By the way, the situation for 70mm is looking pretty bleak in New York City. I contacted the Film Society at Lincoln Center when I heard that they would be screening a new 35mm print of West Wide Story instead of the new 70mm print that has been shown at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood, and was told that the film society's Walter Reade Theater wasn't equipped with a 70mm-compatible projector. The last time they showed a film in 70mm (Jacques Tati's Playtime), they had to rent one. The Museum of Modern Art no longer has 70mm-compatible projectors either. I was assured that the theater at the Museum of the Moving Image, which is being renovated, would still be able to screen 70mm prints, but I believe it when I see it. As for commercial venues, the only ones that I remember screening 70mm prints are the Ziegfeld, the Beekman (which I think has since been subdivided into two theaters), and the Paris. But it's been years since we've had any commercial exhibition of 70mm prints (Lawrence of Arabia was the last), and who knows whether any of these theaters are still equipped to show 70mm.
I heard that the Friends of the Loews Jersey theater (a movie palace in Jersey City that is gradually being restored to its former glory) were trying to get a pair of DP70s (possibly from the Uptown Theater in DC), but I don't know what happened with that.
David C. Olstein, New York
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Hi My name is TJ Hopland. I am a second generation cinema technician. I am the technician that does the work at the Heights that is listed on your site.
The Heights does have one of the Glenwood machines running along with the one from Shelard. In the basement we have the other Glenwood machine and the one from St Anthony. The names came about because we originally refered to the projectors by make, it was the Brenkert and then the Noreclo. This got confusing when we got the Noreclo FP16 and even worse when we got the second AA2. We then named them to what theatre they came from. Glen was from the Glenwood. Shelly was from the Shelard. Woody is Glens mate from the Glenwood in the basement. And Tony is the one from St Anthony. The FP16 came from the Franklin so that one is Frank.
Mann Academy was a Vaudeville house called the Schubert. This was Ted Mann's first roadshow house. It had 2 balconies. When Ted converted it to Todd-AO the projection booth was moved to the lower balcony and the auditorium was draped floor to ceiling, wall to wall. I dont think they ever sold tickets to the upper balcony for the roadshow films. I remember people saying it was converted to run "Around the World in 80 Days". I also remember people saying that there was something special about it when it was done and Mike Todd and wife Liz actually came to town to see it at some point. If I remember the story correctly it was not long before Todd's death, perhaps even a few weeks? I have never looked at the dates to see if that was even possible, its just a story I remember the 'old timers' talk about in town. When Ted Mann left MN for CA in the early 70's most of his theatres went to General Cinema including this one. It closed in the early 80's. When it closed it still had the AA2's with Ashcraft lamps and the original tube sound system. The projectors were removed and shipped to the Chinese theatre in Hollywood. I do not know if they were installed there or just stored there for some time. The Ashcrafts and sound system are still in the projection booth to this day. This theatre was moved about 3 blocks by the city in the late 90's. At the time it was the largest object to be moved on pneumatic tires. As of today it sits boarded up in its new location awaiting funds to repair and restore. The main floor and stage portion were not moved.
The Mann was also a Vaudeville era house that was converted and renamed by Ted Mann. Theatre was still owned by Ted and housed the offices of his brothers theatre circuit (Mann Theatres of MN) until it was purchased and restored by the city in the early 2000's. It went to General Cinema when he moved to CA and closed in the early 80's. It also closed with both projectors and its original sound system. Just like the Academy the AA2's went to the Chinese, the lamps and sound remained until the restoration. Last 70mm that I know of was a 'premiere' of "Annie".
The Terrace never had 70mm. It was built in the late 40's by the Volk brothers. Was operated by Plitt theatres in the late 70's or early 80's when a larger screen and Dolby system were installed. Super Man was film if I am not mistaken. It was sold to Midcontinent Theatres (a regional circuit) in the mid-late 80's. That was where there theatre division offices were. They split the stadium portion into 2 side by side screens keeping the original simplex XL projectors with a 5 tier platter. The sloped floor / front portion remained unchanged with the Dolby system and got a Noreclo FP20 projector. The FP20 was removed due to high maintenance costs in the earlier 90's and replaced with a Century SA. The circuit was sold to Carmike and closed shortly there after. Equipment was removed and sent to Carmike storage in GA. Buidling remains vacant. I have no idea where Steve got the name Terry other than it fits the naming convention we were using.
Shelard Park was a General Cinema theatre that opened in the 70s and was added on to and remodeled several times over its life. The AA2 was installed in #2 in the early 80's when 70mm made its comeback. All I remember about where the projector came from was that it was another General Cinema house that put in a platter somewhere east. It was removed around '90 because of maintenance issues and replaced with a Century JJ that was also removed a few years later again due to maintenance issues. Theatre closed just before the AMC buyout and was finally torn down about 3 years ago.
St Anthony Main was built by the local circuit Engler Theatres. They did not operate it very long before filing for bankruptcy. UA took it over at that time. They were short on money during construction so most of the equipment was moved over from another theater in town. The idea was after the new theatre got going they would buy the missing pieces needed to run 70 like a CP200. It never happened and UA must not have felt it was worth the trouble. It was removed like steve said because of maintenance and abuse issues. Its name is Tony and it does live in the basement at the heights. I dont know where it originally came from. It was purchased around 1980 from Charlie Wolk (a big cinema dealer) in Chicago.
The Century was the first 3 strip Cinerama venue in the area. I believe it was also a Vaudeville era house the was converted. Around 62 the Cooper foundation built a Cooper cinerama theatre in town and the 3 strip equipment was moved there. The AA2's were installed at that time. They were very early dual motor machines so they must have been used at that time. The theatre did not remain open for very long after cinerama left. The projectors were moved to the newly remodeled Northstar theatre in St Paul that was operated by ABC at the time. The theatre was originally a Paramount that was taken over by Minnesota Amusement. Minnesota Amusement was purchased by ABC in the mid 60's. ABC was purchased by Plitt around 70. Mid 80's was purchased by Cineplex Odeon. Plitt closed the theatre in the late 70's and moved the projectors to the #1 screen in their Skyway theatre which I think was built on the approximate site of the Century. In the early 80's they installed a platter and moved one machine to the #1 screen of a new theatre called the Ridge Square 3. It remained there till it closed in the earlier 90's when it was moved into storage in the Skyway building The Skyway #1 was split front to back int the mid 80's but the projector was moved to stay on the original screen. It ran there till that closed in the later 90's. Im not sure where they ended up. I was told that all the equipment was bought by a dealer that took what he wanted and then sold the rest to who ever showed up with cash and a truck.
Other AA2 equipped theatres were:
Built by Ted Mann in the mid 60's. Became General Cinema. Split into 2 theatres but the AA2's remained running with platters till the early-mid 90's when it closed. Only one side of the split was set up to run 70. Last 70 that I know of was "Gettysburg".
Mann France Avenue Drive In
Built by Ted Mann in the 60's. Story goes that he got it past the City planning board that did not want another drive in in their city because he told them it would be the 'worlds first cinerama drive in'. It certainly had a very large curved screen. When it opened it had the Strong Jet Arc lamps that i am told would burn up a 20" carbon in 20 minutes. I was also told that when you made a change over from 35mm to 70mm (which they did because the ran at least double features) that the projectionist would be blinded from the glare off the cars licence plates. They added 2 screens to the drive in at some point but left the Noreclos up front til the end in the mid 80's. I believe they had the first two star wars movies in 70. Those projectors got shipped to Mann theatres in Hollywood.
I am fairly certain those were all the AA2's in this area.
Other roadshow era houses in the area were:
Made into a roadshow house by Ted Mann. Had Cinemeccanica projectors. Became General Cinema. Bought by Landmark around 80. Cinemeccanicas removed sometime in the 80's. Still operated by Landmark today.
St Louis Park
I believe was also converted to roadshow by Ted Man. Had a cinerama strip screen and Century JJ projectors. Became General Cinema. Took over during the star wars run by Engler theatres who installed a Dolby system and got a 70mm print. Closed shortly after that.
Was built as a 3 strip house then converted to 70mm. Had Century JJ2's. Ran carbon arc and on the strip screen till the mid 80's. Closed early 90's. Ran most of the re issues in 70mm and many of the big titles right up till it closed.
The Maple Leaf Drive In
opened in the 60's. Had Century JJ's that were removed in the 80's and sold to somewhere in CA. Closed in the 90's.
The 100 twin drive in
had JJ's on one side that were removed when they built an indoor in 67
The Apache Chief
Opened in 67 with the century projectors from one of their drive ins. Last 70mm was "The Empire Strikes Back". One projector remained till it closed around 03.
Built late 60's by ABC that became Plitt. Had Century JJ's. Closed mid-late 80's.
There were several multiplex theatres that were built or put in 70mm in the 80's but none other than the ones mentioned with AA2's.
Let me know if you want or need any more info
I have some of the lenses from some of the Mann theatres. Im not sure if you have pictures of stuff like that or not.
Heights has "Lawrence of Arabia" and "West Side Story" on the schedule now. "Lawrence of Arabia" is mag. "West Side Story" is DTS. At first quick glance the "Lawrence of Arabia" print looks good. "West Side Story" appears to have the typical scuffs and scratches so common in 70mm prints but we have not had time to give them a close inspection or project them yet.
If you ever get over in our part of the world let us know and we will give you the full tour and maybe dig into our private stash of film and other bits.
T J Hopland
BTW, nice story and photos about "Zoot Suit", I have a question about Megasound. I lived in Hollywood in 1981 and a good handfull of the theatres around had installed Megasound along with their Dolby. I saw "Altered States" at the Chinese, (70MM 6-track Dolby Stereo), midnight showings at the Fairfax of Janis A Film, and Jimi Plays Berkeley (that were not originally stereo movies), and I think the Vista had it installed also, I saw quite a few films around Hollywood in the theatres featuring Megasound, both 70 MM and 35 MM, It was almost concert level sound, (quite loud, and I never say that). When I returned to Michigan (Kalamazoo) in 1983, Megasound was not heard of,( but a few theatres DID have Dolby Stereo, but no 70MM, LOL) and I never saw any listing for it in any larger city paper (Chicago and Detroit).
I guess my question about it is did the Megasound system morph into today's THX sound systems? Megasound was system installed in the theatres, the movies did not need to be produced in stereo, Dolby, or otherwise to use this, I do not know where it came from or who designed it, I know THX is Lucasfilm Company, but I never heard where Megasound came from. I worked at the Holly Cinema on Hollywood Boulevard,(1981) famous for running "Caligula" for 2 years, I came in on the end of the Caligula run, I asked our projectionist, who was union, all kinds of questions about Megasound,( it was new to me) Dolby, 70 MM, etc, I asked more than he could answer, he could not shed any light, to me, about Megasound.
Or was this just a fly by night sound thing that died rather quickly? I dont remember seeing on the film credits "Megasound" along with the Dolby Stereo, DTS, etc, I think it was just a theatre sound thing,, but any info you can share is totally appreciated!
Cheers, thanks again, Brad Adams
I attended the Bradford film festival for the past three years now. To help you remember who I am, I won this year's "Cineramacana" Quiz and you took my picture with François Carrin!
To give you an idea of why I'm involved in the Widescreen format: I live very near a theatre in Paris that used to play practically only 70mm films (former "KinoPanorama" theatre that used to be equipped to play the russian KinoPanorama format and also Cinerama, with a deep curved screen and is now closed. So I was accustomed to see original 65mm shoot and blow ups for many years.
Meanwhile that I became quite a movie goer, I was attending French Cinematheque, and I've seen a great number a films in the theatre. By that time most of my friends where students in Cinema. (I wasn't I studied science...) I was involved shortly with the university Cinemathéque in Paris. We had hundreds of 35mm prints there. Then I decided that just watching film was not enough, so I decided to work as a production sound mixer after having completed a specific training. That's what I am doing now so I also have knowledge from "inside" the film business now. I'm very much aware of film degradation, sound quality and many technical aspects.
I often thought that the new prints I've seen in Bradford where not as pristine as the old pink ones that I saw in Paris. (for example the new "Carousel" print we saw this year is not what 55mm even reduced to 35 should look like, I've seen "Carousel" on a vintage 35mm with 4 track magnetic sound, it was practically as transparent as 70mm, but it was also very pink! This new print has colour but was obviously just made in the process of releasing BlueRay and DVD and was just stuck from average HD to film but with no intention of getting the best of what it should look like on film, same thing for "The King and I" that I have not seen before but that should definitely look better.
So I have a few memories, a little time, so if I can help you in anyway I would be happy to. I can at least give a few information about what's happening in Paris. There is not much happening actually! Apart from "Faubourg 36" ("Paris 36") that was released so quietly that I missed it here! We have not seen any 70mm for 10 years, amongst the last one where probably "Far and Away", "Little Budda", "Baraka", "Hamlet" and may be a few blow ups...
I have also a good knowledge of film music (mostly American films) from around the 50's up to now days (I have a collection over a thousand titles including music for some wide screen films and probably a few rare ones too)
I know that François Carrin went to the Czech Republic in Krnov to "Kino Mir 70" maybe you went there too, I wanted to go to but couldn't...
I attend the Cannes Film fetival also practically every year and I generally see most of the "Un Certain Regard" and "Director's Fortnight" and some of the "Official Selection" too.
I also own a copy of: Wide Screen Movies: A History and Filmography of Wide Gauge Filmmaking by Robert E. Carr and R. M. Hayes It's really full of information about the widescreen formats I suppose that
you probably have it also!
I would be happy if we kept in touch. Thanks for the great job you are doing with your site.
Jean-Luc Peart, Paris, France
Hello, I just discover your website about 70mm movies. I don't known if there is a place for my comment on your site. Excuse me if there are some faults in my text ; I'm French.
In the early 1980's, I was operator for cinemas in Le Havre (France, Normandy). First, let me tell you about this fantastic experience that showing and seeing 70mm is...
The cinema was called "Concorde" (like the French supersonic airplane). It had a screen sized 14m x 6m, curved, protected by curtains like in old cinemas or theatres. The projector was a Philips DP70 refreshed by water, with a 4000W xenon lamp. The sound was delivered through a CP200 Dolby processor and amplificatory racks which amplified separately basses and trebles. In the theatre, there was three big baffles and a subwoofer one behind the screen, ambiance baffles on each side of the theatre and on the wall opposite to the screen, and also in the ceiling onto the last rows which were under the cabin.
Every time we had a 70mm film, we (the two operators) projected it for only ourselves on Wednesday morning before the first public show, in order to be sure that all was ok to give the best to the audience.
I remember particularly two of these private screenings, while I sat at the first row (imagine I was at a few meters from the great screen !) :
- "Ben Hur", during the race of tanks ;
- "Star Wars - The return of the Jedi", during the race in the Endor forest with flying motos.
I remember too:
- One "Star Wars night" when we have shown the episodes 4 to 6.
- A special screening of the "Walkyrie assault" of "Apocalypse Now" when a baffle in the ceiling under the cabin fell because of the vibration caused by the too high sound !
- The panic when we tested "Star Wars episode 4" with a reel without sound!
We projected too :
- "55 days in Peking"
- "Bridge on the river Kwai"
- "Dersou Ouzala" (Akira Kurosawa)
- "Brainstorm" (the only way to really appreciate this film is to see it in70mm)
- and others I don't remember now...
It was great...
In Le Havre, there is another theatre with a Cinemeccanica 70 mm projector :"Le Volcan" (it's the house of culture theatre) but I don't know if they project 70 mm films yet.
As a spectator, I remember the Paris theatre "Kinopanorama". I specially have discovered "West Side Story" there. A great moment ! 70mm film is used in special theatres now like in the park called "Futuroscope" in Poitiers (you can find information on their website) or in the Paris theatre called "La Geode" near the "Parc de la Villette". Great sensations in these theatres too !
Thank you for the remember of this !
Philippe Leménager, Le Havre, France
Au début des années 1980, j’étais projectionniste pour les cinémas du Havre (France, Normandie).
D’abord, laissez-moi vous parler de la fantastique expérience qu’est de montrer et de voir des films en 70 mm…
Le cinéma s’appelait «Concorde» (comme l’avion supersonique Français). Il avait un écran de 14 m par 6 m, incurvé, protégé par des rideaux comme dans les anciens cinémas ou théâtres. Le projecteur était un Philips DP70 refroidi par eau, avec une lampe au xénon de 4000 W. Le son était délivré via un processeur Dolby CP200 et des racks d’amplis qui amplifiaient séparément les graves et les aigus. Dans la salle, il y avait 3 grandes enceintes et un caisson de renfort de basses derrière l’écran, des enceintes d’ambiance de chaque côté de la salle et sur le mur du fond, et aussi dans le plafond au dessus des derniers rangs qui étaient sous la cabine de projection.
Chaque fois que nous avions un film en 70 mm, nous (les deux projectionnistes) nous projetions le film avant la première séance afin de s’assurer que nous pourrions donner le meilleur aux spectateurs.
Je me souviens particulièrement de deux de ces séances privées, los desquelles je m’étais installé tout spécialement au premier rang de la salle:
- "Ben Hur", pendant la célèbre course de chars ;
- "La guerre des étoiles – Le retour du Jedi", pendant la poursuite en motos volantes dans la forêt d’Endor.
Je me souviens aussi:
- d’une « nuit La guerre des étoiles » au cours de laquelle nous avions projeté les épisodes 4 à 6 à la suite durant toute la nuit ;
- une projection spéciale de l’assaut sur la musique de la chevauchée des Walkyrie dans "Apocalypse Now", quand un haut-parleur d’ambiance sous le plafond de la cabine s’est décroché à cause des vibrations provoquées par le son trop fort !
- la panique que nous avions ressentie quand nous avons testé l’épisode 4 de La guerre des étoiles avec une bobine sans son !
Nous avons projeté aussi :
- "Les 55 jours de Pékin";
- "Le pont de la rivière Kwai" ;
- "Dersou Ouzala" (Akira Kurosawa) ;
- "Alien" ;
- "Brainstorm" (la seule manière d’apprécier vraiment ce film est de le voir en 70 mm) ;
- et d’autres dont je ne me souviens plus…
C’était géant !
Au Havre, il y a un autre cinéma avec un projecteur 70mm Cinemeccanica : «Le Volcan» (c’est la Maison de la Culture du Havre), mais je ne sais pas s’ils projettent encore des films en 70mm.
En tant que spectateur, je me souviens du cinéma parisien « Kinopanorama ». Tout spécialement, j’y ai découvert "West Side Story". Un grand moment !
La pellicule 70mm est maintenant utilisée dans des salles spéciales comme au parc du «Futuroscope» à Poitiers (vous pouvez trouver des informations sur leur site web) ou au cinéma parisien appelé « La Géode », à côté du «Parc de la Villette». De grandes sensations dans ces cinémas également !
Merci de m’avoir remémoré tout ça !
Philippe Leménager, Le Havre, France
Your site is fantastic! After 13+ years of searching, I finally found some mention of the Simplex/Norelco XL2O optical sound system in your treatise of Sensurround.
I have a pair of the Simplex/Norelco amplifiers from a theater in Eatontown, New Jersey (USA), where I saw the movie "Earthquake" about 33 years ago. The theater was demolished in 1996. There was an auction of the contents which I missed due to a terrible divorce I was going through at the time. The court date was the day of the auction! I was so depressed after court that I drove to the theator to see if I might catch the end of the auction. It was long over when I arrived, but the auctioneer was just locking up the building. When I explained why I'd missed the auction he was kind enough to let me look through the theater. To my surprise, mounted on the wall of the projection booth were two Norelco/Simplex amplifiers! They had some extra switches installed with masking tape under them marked "Normal/Sensurround". The auctioneer had no idea what Sensurround was and after I explained what it was and that I'd seen the Earthquake so many years prior at that very theater, and that it was my first date with my now, by only an hour, ex-wife, he sold me the pair for $50.00
I've always wanted to restore them but have never been able to find a schematic for them, which is one of the reasons I've written to you. Do you have, or would you be so kind to direct me to, any technical data or just a schematic for these amps? I'm an electronic engineer and I build and collect vacuum-tube based amplifiers as a hobby.
Any help or advise you can provide me would be very greatly appreciated!
Thank you in advance,
Southern California 70mm
To Whom This May Concern:
I read with great interest your webzine, particularly the the San Diego, CA listings of 70mm engagements. I've a very long-term memory and having worked in movie houses there during the 1980s and 90s, found it amazingly accurate. You even included studio previews and invitational screenings. By the way, one of the engagements I worked was "The Black Cauldron" and you may find of interest the fact that the original theatrical version (with cool Bakshi-style rotoscoping) has been altered for the DVD release (the villain is now presented in traditional animation--looks totally lame now).
Your site indicates that these listings are based on newspaper ads. I'm assuming this refers to the San Diego Union-Tribune, but I was wondering if you might have access to two other area newspaper archives. Firstly, I'm looking for articles in The San Diego Reader on technical problems that occurred with "Aliens" at two United Artists theatres, the UA Glasshouse 6 and UA Horton Plaza 7. UA theatres then (and now) were manager-operator houses. An unfavorable piece about me and follow up letter-to-the-editor from an IATSE projectionist in The Reader during that summer addresses the controversy of this system. These are both Summer/Fall 1986 issues that are I'm looking for, if you might have any suggestions as to how to find them. Also, I'm looking for a copy of the Daily Californian from June or July of 1990 that covers the opening of the Krikorian El Cajon, which I managed. I've tried the paper itself but it's changed owners, morphed into another publication, and has been of no help.
Lastly, do you know if the Cinerama, Hollywood is running "How Was the West Was Won" in 3-strip 35mm again this Fall? I must say also, it's a sad state of affairs at how few 70mm engagements are scheduled in Los Angeles, the film capital, and where I happen to live now. That we're outdone by The Castro, San Francisco, Austin, TX and some theatre in Germany...oye.
Anyway, thanks for the information, if you have it. If not, thanks anyway and keep up the good work.
|12 March 2006|
Subject : HAIR in 70mm?
Congratulations on the site. Love its nostalgic feel.
I'd like to ask if you have any information on 70mm prints struck for Milos Forman's HAIR. I haven't found anything on the web about these prints, but this film became an isolated phenomenon in 1980, when it played at the now defunct Veneza cinema, here in Recife, Brazil (equipped for 70mm until 1983, the last film to play in the format was RETURN OF THE JEDI).
HAIR played for 7 months straight and, at that time, it became one of the biggest ever box office draws in the history of the city, and if you ask any 40 something who knows little about film projection, they will certainly mention the aural and visual experience it was seeing the
film at the Veneza. Although I was underage at the time (film rated 18 by the then military government), I still have newspaper ads with the film and the logo "In 70mm, six track magnetic sound"). The film was definetely shown in 70mm, I even have a stolen frame from that print, given to me by a senior projectionist who kept some.
The reason I write is that, it seems, outside this historic thing around HAIR, in Recife, there is no evidence the film was shown in 70mm anywhere else. The Veneza did show other widely ackowledged 70mm films ("RYAN'S DAUGHTER", "AIRPORT", "ANNE OF A THOUSAND DAYS", "WEST SIDE STORY"), but as a kid, I also remember seeing other films which do not appear to have been shown in the format anywhere else (Steve McQueen's "THE HUNTER", the infamous double bill "CAN'T STOP THE MUSIC" and "XANADU"). In fact, it was "XANADU", of all films, that first drew my attention to film sound.
Anyway, if you have any information, please let me know. All
the best, Kleber
KLEBER MENDONçA FILHO, Recife, Brazil
I came across your interesting site and thought you might like to know, there is a purpose built 70mm theatre in Portsmouth England. It's part of a maritime attraction called Action Stations and belongs to the Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust. I directed an action movie "Command Approved" cert PG for it's main attraction, sourced on 35mm anamorphic, it's exhibition print is 70mm and the theatre was built/opened in 2001. The projector is not however a Todd AO to which your web-site appears to be dedicated but I thought the information may be of some interest to you.
with kind regards, Graham Moore, Director
|12 September 2006 |
Hi Thomas Hauerslev,
My name is Marcus Macann, former projectionist at the old Embassy theatre Invercargill (35mm), and currently studying film making at a technical college.
Congratulations on your fabulous website, and on your entire rationale about 70mm films. Having seen many great classic 65mm orginated 70mm prints in Auckland (years ago), I agree whole heartedly that 70mm is simply the only way for film makers to compete properly with digital home systems. In fact, what is wrong with the film making companies? For how long must we endure the curse of super thirty five? It's great to be able to get in touch with you at any rate, so perhaps my enthusiasm spills over somewhat. My favourite movie camera is the fearless 1929 model 65mm (the same year my mother was born.) Todd-ao is my favourite movie system, from 1955 (the same year I was born.) The world is a flat place without new examples of appropriately scripted 70mm presentations. What we need, in my view, is another Mike Todd.
Nothing less, someone who has a pssion to produce, and make healthy profits too. After all, the film production industry is the second most profitable business in the world, isn't it?
At least various enthusiasts can have some sort of forum about 70mm, and my hope is that everyone so involved will be mightily encouraged, and that the movement will grow as time goes on. I would love for my six year old son Stephen, to some day see 70mm (5 pf) films at least once or twice a year. 70mm used to be shown in Dunedin (about three hours drive away.) However, as a pure flight of fancy; just imagine if film companies, motivated as much by thoughts of wealth as by anything else; decided to stage such a revival of 70mm projects, that most population centers could see such films on a regular basis? Back to the "real" world. But what is "real"? Guess it takes a Mike Todd type, but the vision can be there.
Keep up the good work Thomas. Your website and your efforts are valuable, long live 70mm.
Kind regards, Marcus Macann
Many...many...many thanks for the picture of the projector at the Kallet Shoppingtown Theater in DeWitt, NY USA. I found your site doing a Google search on the history of Shoppintown.
I grew up in DeWitt NY back in the 1950s' and 1960's and went to this theater many times to see the big epic films such as Mutiny on the Bounty, King of Kings, Around the World in 80 Days, all in 70mm.
This was a "high-end" theater in that they would not allow you to take food or drinks into the theater. (Imagine that now!) Instead, we would go to the lobby during the intermission of the movie, (they had them then) and would eat and drink our food then. We usually had about 15 minutes to eat and get back to our seats for the second half of the movie. It was a wonderful experience to see these movies in 70mm and multi-channel sound. I miss those days!
Again, thanks for your nice website.
Woodbury, Minnesota USA
|12 December 2005 |
I note that your list of 70mm films does not include any of the productions of the several Mutoscope & Biograph companies made between 1896 and the early 1900's. Though short, and not specifically 70mm (usually called 68mm today, but not so in 1896), the company used the large screen format for their American, British, French and German made films which were projected in major variety theaters in the North Armerica and Europe (Palace Theatre of Varieties in London; Folies Bergere in Paris, Wintergarten in Berlin and Keith's Union Square in New York). They were also shown in large format in Mutoscope (peep show) machines. They were almost universally judge to be the best and most spectacular of the early projections and were imitated by wide screen copies made by Edison, the Lumieres and others. There's a production log at the Museum of Modern Art that lists more than 2500 title made before the company began a switch to 35mm in 1903 (they continued to make large format productions until c. 1907) There is a reconstructed list of the British productions made by Barry Anthony in "A Victorian Film Enterprise" the book he co-wrote with Richard Brown.
17 Valley View Trail
Fairfield, PA 17320
|11 November 2005|
Do you happen to know what the control track was for in the original Todd-AO? It was referred to in the Around the World in 80 Days souvenir program, and mentioned in several books. The wording was often something like: "There is a control track to control the other six sound tracks."
As one who saw both "80 Days" and "Oklahoma!" repeatedly in Todd-A0, I've always wondered if the control track turned the sound up and down, to achieve a dynamic range far greater than the unaided medium could produce. Either that, or the projectionists were turning it up and down. The 70mm projectionists screening "Paint Your Wagon" in the 1960s told me they were asked by the studio to sneak up the volume during the opening credits, as the audience adapted to it, then punch it up (to a predetermined setting) when the wagon careens down the hill near the beginning of the film (a place where the audience would accept a lot of clatter) and then leave it up for the rest of the film. It seems to me that this kind of thing could be handled better if automated, so I'm thinking that for at least some films in Todd-AO, it may have been the job of the control track. Two examples: 1) The music just before the intermission in 80 Days gets gloriously loud, then just when you think it go no louder, it really rips the air (trombones and tuba leading a big brass sound) at the very end. I can't imagine any unaided soundtrack -- then or now -- doing that with great warmth and without over-recording distortion, unless it was turned up on playback in the booth by man, woman, or the control track. 2) Ditto for "The Farmer and the Cowman" stomping, clapping, big brass, again especially tuba (or even Sousaphone) and trombones in "Oklahoma!" The sound is limp, by comparison, in both DVDs even on a great sound system.
|31 July 2005|
ERNEMANN PROJECTORS FOR TODD-AO?
Around 1969/70 when I was working with two Zeiss Erneman installation engineers (the British agents in fact) who where installing five Erneman projectors (3x35mm & 2x16mm) at Associated Television Centre in Birmingham were I was working as a projectionist following the closure of the cinema. I remarked to one engineer that "The projector base looked very similar to that on the Philips DP70" which I had just recently finished working with at Coleshill St; ABC. His reply astounded me, and to this day I still wonder if it was true or not. He commented that Mike Todd had originally approached ERNEMAN to make his DP70 projector, and which they had agreed to do, and so carried out the initial design work, which, when it was completed, they then asked Mike Todd "How many machines do you want us to build?". The reply astounded them, since they did not consider it was worth all the effort to set up the tools for a such a small order. The design plans (or perhaps part) were then taken to Philips who did not mind in the least a small order, and they then built the DP70 as it was eventually called.
Perhaps the historical record can confirm or otherwise this (now) rather old story, but I thought it should be mentioned just in case since the Erneman mounting base was exactly the same (though smaller) than that fitted to the DP 70's
Regards, John Duddy
|1 April 2005 |
Wow ! fancy discovering this website. I was an assistant projectionist with Greater Union, Hoyts and as a projectionist with Village during the seventies and early eighties. I remember running "Earthquake" at the Forum.
Earlier then that they were doing re-runs of the great 70mm musicals at the Mayfair, not to mention the infamous "Rollerball". I found it interesting regarding the 70mm running of "Titanic". I was under the impression that 70mm was no longer needed due to all the new 35mm sound formats etc we now have.
I am still in the industry up in Queensland and when over the years I have trained some one up, I must admit I reminisce about the good old days, to try to give them some insight into the industry. The one thing I vividly remember as it was like yesterday is walking into the box and smelling the magnetic oxide of a 70mm print and the click of the water jackets for cooled jaws on an Ashcraft or Cinemeccanica carbon arc. Now what brings me to write to you is that I ran in Village Cinema City 1 around mid 1982, I think? a 70mm print of "Blade Runner" starring Harrison Ford. Cinema 1, despite all the trends for platters etc was equipped with 2 Bauer A3 dual 35/70 projectors and would have been one of the last existing plants running spool to spool 70mm during that era. I can't recall seeing this one on your list.
Thanks once again for a moment of memories.
This is one of the best designed websites I've seen! My name is Joseph Boczki and I'm a technician and former projectionist in Portland. I would love to visit the Bob Leader screening room but I can't find any information on it on the website. There used to be a couple of DP70's at Portland's Eastgate theater which sadly closed in 2000. There was also one at the Broadway metroplex downtown. I was actually able to save a couple of dp70's from the Music Box downtown before the theater came down with the Fox. Unfortunately the projectors had been canablized for intermittents and basically all the important stuff. I still hauled them out though even though the roof of the building was alreadey collapsed by the demolishion crew. It came in handy when a friend of mine Bob Mcrae needed the case from one of them. I also remember seeing a dp70 in the Seattle Cinerama when I was working on the install there. I worked on the restoration of the cinerama projectors and install, but my part was truly small. I never got to run a dp70 as a projectionist but I've seen them run and discussed their design at great lengths, don't open the gate while the projector is running-- the gate opens backwards into the shutter path. I also remember seeing 2 dp70's at the Chinese in Hollywood when I went down there to watch "Titanic" in 70mm, which I also had a modest part in doing a special screening of the unmarried print before it had been edited down. I was invited into the projection booth and was delighted to see two dp70's -- it's the only way to watch a 70mm print. It would be great if Bob Leader could get a copy of this email.
I am delighted to find your website, with its encyclopedic discussion of the history and technical features of this legendary projector. As a youngster growing up in 1950's NYC, I had the benefit of viewing films at nearly every DP 70 installation. I can attest to the truly magnificent images this projector provided for the top run films of that era, including "Ben Hur", "Oklahoma!", "Porgy and Bess", and "Lawrence of Arabia".
Aside from IMAX, the conventional movie multiplex "experience" of today is simply pathetic, digital surround sound notwithstanding. The pitiful remant of a screen, devoid of curvature, appropriate size or even a dignified curtain makes the theatre going experience practically irrelevant. At least in my own home theatre, we properly dim the lights as the film begins, especially in the old "roadshow" spetacles that have "overtures"-e.g. "Ben Hur" and "Lawrence".
I am really glad to learn that Bob Harris has two DP 70's to view the marvelous results of his restoration efforts.
Keep up the fine work.
Jonathan and Sharon Kleefield
I´ve been the projectionist at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, GA for the past 28 years, starting when the Fox was saved from the wrecking ball, through the installation of the projectors brought over from the Loews Grand until the current day, and have projected all of the 70mm films in that time span. We don't actually have Todd-AO DP70 projectors; the ones from the Grand that we still use today are Century JJ's.
We have shown "Oklahoma!" a time or two in Todd-AO (and I believe "Around the World in 80 Days", if my memory serves me right) by switching to a 30 fps motor pulley. At that time we showed it reel-to-reel and converted both projs. to 30 fps.
We still have the 2 JJ's, but have also added a platter about 8 or 9 years ago, and converted from carbon arc to xenon lamphouses at that time. When we show 70mm now, as in "Titanic" and "Vertigo" that you listed, we dedicate one JJ to 70mm that's fed from the platter. This JJ also has a dual-reader, dual-player DTS installation for the current digital soundtracks. I can also still use the mag head for older 70mms, as I did recently for a Rolling Stones concert film (the exact title escapes me.)
In addition, I've converted this projector to a variable-speed DC motor drive, with programmable speed memories. It would be a simple matter to dial up a 30 fps speed for Todd-AO in the future, if needed. There would be no changing of motors or pulleys required. The main reason for the variable speed is to play old silent 35mm films accompanied by pipe organ at the slower speeds they were filmed at: 18 fps, 20 fps, etc. But since the DC motor will only max out at the same 1725 rpm that the old AC motor did, I couldn't increase the speed to show 30 fps. But I thought, ...hey, why not leave the 30 fps pulley on all the time, that way it can top out at 30 fps, and the rest of the time I can run films at the reduced speed of 24 fps, or whatever. But to avoid strain on the motor I installed a DC motor with more torque than the AC motor I replaced (1/2 hp as opposed to 1/3 hp.)
I haven't had much time to peruse your sight but it looks very interesting and informative.
Dear Mr. Hauerslev,
I just wanted to pass along thoughts and well wishes for your excellent web site. It's an excellent compendium for people like me who love movies and great theatre experiences. Sadly, even though I live in arguably one of the top film restoration cities in the world (being a resident of Rochester, NY), I can't say that I have ever had such an experience here in Rochester. (While the Eastman House's Dryden Theatre now has 70mm projectors, I believe they only recently showed their first 70mm print - a restored "2001". Sadly, I was working that night and missed out.)
Being a film fan from birth, I was always fascinated whenever the newspaper advertised a film as being in 70mm. (It's equally as fascinating when you read that a place you knew as a XXX-rated theatre once showed 70mm prints. Weird.) I can still remember trying to talk my parents into taking my siblings and I to see "Dick Tracy" when it played one of Rochester's suburban theaters in 70mm.
Ironically, the one time I did see a 70mm film in college, I didn't realize that it was 70mm until I noticed the screen was really wide when I sat down in my balcony seat. It was one of the restored prints of "Vertigo" at Shea's Theatre in Buffalo, NY (they didn't advertise the film as being in 70mm). Shea's is a beautifully converted movie palace which is now a performing arts center. They still show free films once a month. (It blows the water out of a normal multiplex experience.)
Anyway, enough rambling by me. Once again, good job, Mr. Hauerslev. Thanks for reading, and keep up the excellent work.
|14 Apr 2004 |
Subject: 70MM fullcoat
We are a transfer and restoration house down the street from what was once known as Todd/AO-GlenGlenn Studios. We have what we understand to be somewhat of a propreitary format that apparrently was supposed to get picked up and used widely---but did not.
The process used 70MM fullcoat mag film of heretofore unknown origin, the only thing we know about it is that there are 14-track 18-track and 26-track versions of the recordings on the reels.
When sprayed with MagnaView, either 12 tracks across the center and one each between the edge and holes shows up---or either 16 and one on each edge or either 24 and one on each edge. Film speed varies from 108 feet/min to 112.5 feet/min to 135 feet/min depending on the reel
A man by the name of Manley who once lived here in Santa Monica gave us the impression it might have been a Bob Leonard invention sometime in the middle 50's. We have no clue what the proigram material might be, and if we can find head(s) to use on a 70MM dubber transport we already have, we are guaranteed hundreds upon hundreds of multitrack music masters for what appear to be early stereophonic experiments on various scoring stages in Hollywood.
So, as I said, if we could find some information---as well as the appropriate heads with which to perform a playback we would be most grateful.
>Is it soundtracks for music (audio) or film soundtrack you have on 70mm full coat?
Depends on the reel. Some things are clearly labeled as `14/18/26 track music elements' meaning they belong to a picture, and other things say they are the multitrack master to an LP cut in the late 50's or early 60's.
PS---I LIVE and work in Hollywood, and so I've already contacted people like Kenny the chief of the Chinese, Al the chief of what was once the Cineplex Odeon, various chiefs of arthouses around town who are used to strange formats----and hundreds of guys in what remains of Local 150 without much success.
70MM guru Manley (British feller) who as I said lived once upon a time here in Santa Monica had no inkling of information other than what I told you---that it could possibly be a Universal/Bob Leonard invention proprietary for what was once known as Todd/AO-Glen Glenn. Even THEIR current and two retired chiefs of operations were clueless. The new people don't know or care about anything over twenty-four hours old and the vintage people had never worked around this particular format before.
And what about 108 feet/min or 135 feet/min? And should we find out further information, what about head availability for which to perform a playback?
NDM&E Transfer and Restoration
sorry for the dealy in letting you know the latest news regarding 70mm in the CINEPLEX Frankfurt, but had to focus on some other quiet important things in our cinema, which kept me busy.
BUT let me tell you one thing .... 70mm will for sure continue very very soon!!!
the 70mm projector (BAUER U2) we used last year was a loan machine, which we loaned from our service company to start and test the possibilities of doing 70mm in our biggest theatre (450 seats, 20 x 9 meter screen)
As you may have heard the results were very good, we did almost 20 shows and we had a growing audience.
So we took decission to buy us an own 70mm machine. Unfortunately the "loan machine" was not available to buy.
We bought now a DP70 (which formely did their work in the legendary MGM-theatre Berlin) and are currently in the process to build up the machine in our theatre. There are some slight modifications necessary, which slow down the process of installement. The machine got new electronic cables totally, we have to install the 70mm dts reader and to find a way to get the film from the platter through the machine without destroying the original design. this will keep us busy the next 2 - 3 weeks.
Then we will do a major upgrade to the sound. An optimized MPU-1 will be installed, with professional delay facility to give old conventional magentic sound some delay, because these roadshow prints were mixed for old big roadshow houses, which had a totally different delay characteristic in sound than "modern" THX cinemas. We will install full 5-channel front sound. Before we had 3 channel front sound only.
When all this has been done and is tested properly and the results are approved, i will start rescheduling our 70mm programm. At the monent I took decision to postphone everything with regard to 70mm including the "seminar".
As from next month on, there will be the big KUBRIK exhibiton in Frankfurt, we will most possibly start with screenings of the 70mm restored "SPARTACUS" print and the 70mm print of 2001. As soon as there are news, I will keep you informed.
take care ... best regards
I have enjoyed your web site. I might add a bit of 70mm trivia.
Back in the late 1960s, an attempt was made to employ 70mm film in flight simulators. I was working for McDonnell Douglas (now part of Boeing) and in the flight simulator area. The name of the simulators was Conductron and made flight simulators for commercial aircraft as well as military. In an attempt to provide high fidelity visuals, the use of 70mm film projected on a very large curved screen in front of the cockpit was tried. I do not remember the name of the studio that we contracted with. They mounted a 65mm Panavision 70 camera in the front of an airplane and made many approaches and take offs from Los Angeles International airport.
The projector was below the cockpit in a large simulator test room. I designed the electronics that added a very large dove prism in front of the projector lens to allow "roll" to happen. We spent about $1.5M back then on this experiment. We then invited pilots to come in and "fly" the simulator. I was not very impressed myself so expected the pilots to negative about it - and they were! Too much distortion and lacked correct perspective from the pilot's point of view, too restrictive. So it came to nothing.
Much of the early Cinerama activity was aimed at providing simulators with visual systems. In the flight simulators of today, everything is pretty much computer generated and projected on large domes.
David W. Brooks
Wednesday, April 14, 2004
No I have not been able to locate any of the old data. I though I had a strip of the 70mm film but that too seems to be lost. It has been over 35 years since that work took place. Most of the engineers I knew have either retired or passed away. Anyway, all I have are my recollections.
I am a first time emailer to your site and must say that your tribute to your late father was most loving and moving. I would like at this time to offer you my deepest sympathy.
I also wish to state how much I enjoy your site. Although my primary interest is 3-strip 35mm rather than 70mm, your coverage of TODD-AO is superb. It is really too bad that its full potential has not been fully realized.
If I may, I would like to comment on the IMAX article (Will IMAX Fade to Black?) and the hyped use of standard 35mm in the IMAX screen. The only time I saw that was at a showing of some old "Star Trek" episodes and no attempt was made to over inflate the image, but it suffered from pincushion distortion as the screen was curved, tilted and masked to correct for the top and bottom smiles.
I also enjoy your Kinopanorama coverage, but can you tell me why there are no current contact links to John Lasher and his Fifth Continent operation?
Looking forward to hearing from you.
Dear John Belton,
Your article on the internet 'The Rivoli' made for some interesting reading. I am always trying to source info on ROXY and to try and bridge the gap somehow and work out how were are related to each other.
I have the book "best remaining seats' and my aunty is in the process of exploring the entire Rathapfel, Rothapfel, Rothafel and Redapple genealogy.
I visited Roxy's grandson and family in LA several years ago and plan to perform in America in the near future when my schedule allows.
So, thanks for your interest in Samuel. Very much appreciated.
Paul ROXY Rothapfel
PO Box 79 Carrington NSW 2294 AUSTRALIA
Hi, You have a wonderful site on the Best Projector ever made. Great work to you all.
I was looking at the site and found a few missing houses that had DP70's. I am a projectionist, that worked a few of these houses. (Sorry I do not have serial numbers at this time. But here are a few locations) Pacific Theatres "Picwood Theatre" ,West Los Angeles had two DP70, that were installed around 1967 till the theatre closed and razed in around 1987. Those DP's were great running machines. At last word they were removed to a special effects house in the valley. Mann Theatre's "Huntington Oaks 6" in Monrovia, Ca. (Closed Now) . This theatre had two DP70's (in #5 & #6), they replaced both DP's early 1996, with XL's. Six months before I left for a new theatre. Both DP70's were sent to the basement storage at the National Theatre in Westwood, Ca. The another missing house is the Mann "Glendora 6" in Glendora, Ca. (Closed Now) It had one DP70 at this plex. Also returned to the National Theatre in Westwood. Another theatre missing is the Loew's Beverly, in Beverly Hills, Ca. This theatre had a pair of DP70's when this theatre closed in 1977. The last chain to run the Beverly theatre was General Cinemas Corp. The theatre is now a bank. Another theatre that had DP70's was the United Artists Theatre in Pasadena, Ca. (Note: This is not the UA Marketplace theatre). United Artists had a single screen located a few blocks east of the Marketplace house. This theatre was like a sister to the UA Four Star in Los Angeles. This house had a two DP's, it was used as a test house for Spacevision 70mm 3D. This theatre had a Simplex XL and a platter for regular runs. Another house missing is the "Fox Wilshire Theatre" Beverly Hills, Ca. they had a pair of DP70's. These machines maybe the ones that replaced the first pair that was in the UA Four Star. The UA Four Star theatre removed the original pair of DP70's in the early 70's. When UA dropped the house and subleased it to Mitchell Bros. UA removed the DP's and replaced them with Simplex XL's. Mitchell Bros. ran the Four Star as an Adult house for about 4-5 years. The "Fox Wilshire" closed in around 1977. In the early 90's, the Four Star got a pair of DP70's back in its booth. So one or both of these DP70's may have come from the Fox Wilshire theatre (Live Theatre Now). The DP70's in the Pacific's Hastings theatre in Pasadena, Ca. were removed in around 1993. Both machines were replaced with Century JJ 35/70 projectors. Both DP's were returned to Pacific's wherehouse in Hollywood. The DP70's that were in the Paramount theatre Hollywood were sent to Pacific's wherehouse also. The last three Pacific theatres in Southern California to have DP70's were the "Paramount" theatre, Hollywood, "Picwood" theatre in West Los Angeles, "Hastings" theatre in Pasadena. So the DP70's in the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood, maybe the machines from the Paramount and Hastings theatres. Under your Todd-AO Theatre statistics listings. The number 3 listing for Los Angeles, Hollywood. The right name should be United Artists Theatre, Downtown Los Angeles. On the Warner Beverly Hills theatre both DP bases and one gutted head and four carbon arc lamphouses were in the house when the theatre was razed in the early 90's. Mann theatres ran two other theatres that had DP70's. Mann's "La Reina" theatre in Sherman Oaks, Ca., it had one DP70 & a platter. (theatre was razed in the late 80's) And Mann's Studio City in
Studio City, Ca., it had one DP70 & a platter. (theatre is now a book store). United Artists Coronet theatre in Westwood Ca. had two theatres that had DP70's in the plex. (Theatre is now closed and is now a drug store). I worked for General Cinemas and Pacific Theatres and Mann Theatres as a projectionist. So I hope this information will help with some of the locations on your site. Or fills some of the holes.
Thanks for a Wonderful site.
This is a really great website you have here. I wound up on your site in an effort to find out info. about a recently closed local theater, The Syosset aka Cinema 150 in Long Island, New York. I've since learned from your site was a fairly early cinerama theater. One of your contributors noted (somewhat correctly) that the theater was razed in the early 1990's. It actually ran movies up until one year ago and remained in perfect shape, making it all the stranger and sadder that they would shut it down. The building still stands and it appears as though the lobby has been gutted. I have no knowledge of the current state of the auditorium, only that there's been talk it will be converted into offices. I was wondering if you have further info- is the equipment- screen/70mm projectors/sound system being replaced in another theater or will it be bulldozed along with the rest of the interior? Additionally, do you know if any efforts were made by any individual or group to protect this place. It seemed to shut down without even a whisper of protest.
If you have any info. please let me know.
P.S.- are you based out of Denmark?