"We keep you alive to serve this ship. Row
well, and live."
|Read more at|
The 70mm Newsletter
|Written by: Morgan Montague
of the Seattle Cinerama. Click the image to see enlargement
To celebrate our 10th anniversary, my wife and I decided to make a train
trip up to Seattle from Portland. Our intent, being fans of Charlton
Heston's films, and "Ben-Hur", in particular, was to take
advantage of the 1 day showing at the newly upgraded Cinerama Theatre.
And Seattle is such a great weekend destination for fun and culture!
"Ben-Hur" was being shown as part of a weekly Saturday morning
series of classic films including "North By Northwest",
"Oklahoma!", and "The Tales of Hoffman". This is a tremendous
opportunity for fans and film historians alike. The titles being shown
are important and much loved works and must truly be savored on a large
screen for which they were originally intended to be appreciated. Home
theatre is great, but... there is something about 4 Arabian horse
pulling a chariot across a 90 foot screen with 5 channels of sound
behind it. This is an epic; it has to be BIG.
|More in 70mm reading:|
Portland, Oregon USA 70mm Update
Help the Hollywood Theatre Bring
70mm Film Back to Portland!
To commemorate William Wyler's
monumental epic "BEN-HUR" shot in MGM's Camera 65
The Seattle Cinerama theatre now boast 6K laser projection and Dolby
Atmos Sound System. The cinema keeps pushing the quality envelope of
commercial digital audio visual presentation and maintains its
reputation as the finest theatre in the Puget Sound Area. Reserved
luxury seating online is a great option too, especially when travelling
from out of town. As most know, this theatre has one of the largest
screens on the West Coast, rivalling some IMAX venues, and it beautifully
exhibits the recent 8K restoration of "Ben-Hur" quite
magnificently. Film economics being what they are, we may never see
again a fresh print in 70mm of this title. However, the new technology
does present quite a remarkable picture with great clarity and gives a
semblance of what has come before. 70mm offers us great color, low
grain, excellent contrast, steady image, immersive sound and the
roadshow experience of being a special event. These goals were largely
met with the large screen digital presentation of "Ben-Hur".
While many debate the proper projection aspect for how this title should
be shown, it's quite marvellous seeing this on a huge screen again and
finally in its original aspect ratio of ~2.75: 1. My first exposure to
this title was its 70mm rerelease where the image was adapted to
spherical lens projection and 2.20: 1 AR. It plays quite well in its
truncated incarnation, but it is quite a treat to see all the image real
estate used from the original negative. No centurions or Circus Maximus
crowd members cropped out by the optical printer.
The theatre is a single auditorium entity in an age of multiplexes. It
does provide 2 interchangeable curved screens for projection depending
if 3 strip and 70mm Cinerama is being shown, which is heavily curved, or
a slightly curved screen for a more conventional experience. The
shallower screen was being used for "Ben-Hur".
theatre is owned by Microsoft co-found Paul Allen and his Vulcan, Inc.
operation. He is a collector of rock and roll memorabilia and science
The theatre also observed roadshow formalities with playing the overture
to reduced lights before the film. As the music wound down the lights
dimmed further and the auditorium doors all slowly closed simultaneously
via quiet automation. This was repeated for the Entr'acte as well. The
MGM logo appears as the curtains pulled open and the audience applauded.
The image was spectacular and multichannel sound was impeccable and
impressive. 1959 high fidelity prestige entertainment meets 2015 high
tech. We settled back for the next 4 hours of epic sight and sound, and
availed ourselves to the theatre's outstanding concessions and comforts.
A few photos of the theatre are included. Apologies for the softness of
focus in some of the images. They were taken with my Galaxy S4 cell
phone and I didn't want to be "that guy" with annoying flash, etc.
Enjoy! And please visit the other outstanding
here at in70mm.com.
|Go: back - top - back issues - news index