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Is Windjammer the Queen of Kitsch?

This article first appeared in
..in 70mm
The 70mm Newsletter

Written by: Thomas HauerslevIssue 49 - June 1997
Photoshop impression of the first public screening of "Windjammer" in many years.

Some of the biggest news this spring has been the showing of “Windjammer”, the one and only Cinemiracle film. The screening took place at the Pictureville cinema at Bradford, UK during the Widescreen Weekend, March 14 - 16, 1997. The Eastman color print was of course faded into pink, but it was a rare opportunity to see the film for the first time in (probably) 30 - 40 years. The film was shown in the original 3 strip version with Dutch narration on the huge Cinerama screen in Bradford, England.

Sunday March 16, 1997 "Windjammer" was shown publicly for the first time in 30 - 40 years for a large audience at the prestigious Pictureville Cinerama cinema in Bradford, England. The film was a crowd-pleaser despite the faded pink print. Here are some of the reactions recorded during and right after the performance. You must imagine the noise of 200 enthusiastic 3-strip- and wide screen fans buzzing in the background during these short interviews.

Peter Andren, Sweden: I'm very impressed. I have waited for this for 25 years and this is really a highlight of the 3-strip process. It is a nice movie. Some parts are a bit slow, but it is a nice movie, I like it. The print is quite acceptable. The tape hiss is a bit annoying, otherwise sound is quite acceptable.

Willem Bouwmeester, Holland: It is old fashioned entertainment and the colours are not too bad. I think we can do something with it (in Oslo).

Marceau Dupre, England: It was very good. Technically far superior to Cinerama. Some moments in the film were absolutely stunning. You couldn't see the separation between the panels. Very good print. It's pink, but very good.

David Page, England: Very impressed. Join lines are wonderful even though centre projector isn't set for 3-strip rather than 70mm. It played off nicely and the sound was good. Not yet quite enough movement for 3-strip. We had the sledge going down and some cycle rides and things. The "Christian Radich" going up and down in the storm, I enjoyed that, it was great! It made a difference not being American. It was European and that was nice. 2nd best 3-strip film I've seen. No 1 is "How the West Was Won". No 2 is "Windjammer".
 

Further in 70mm reading:

Widescreen Weekend, Bradford, England

Widescreen Weekend 1997

Misconceptions about the Bradford setup

Internet link:

 

Keith Swadkins, England: I think it came around very well. There was a tremendous amount of work everybody had to do to put it together. The Cinemiracle process is good and bad in both ways. I think the join lines are superior in Cinemiracle. There is some horizontal distortion, but remember Cinemiracle was designed for a nearly flat screen.

Torkell Sætervadet, Norway: It is a grand movie! As a colleague of mine in London told me. It must be the queen of kitsch. But it was an incredible experience to see "Windjammer", the film all Norwegians have talked about since the original release in 1958. I think it is a very good film in the travelogue genre. A type of movie I rarely have seen. As a travelogue it was also very good. How does it rank among the 3-strip movies I have seen? Well, I have only seen "This is Cinerama". "Windjammer" is definitely the better of them, both technically and in drama.

David Watson, England: I have never seen it and it is brilliant. The color is not as bad as I thought it might be. It is a bit yellow here and there. I think for its time, as somebody else was saying, a travelogue sort of thing, and considering the guy who shot it on the flys as it happened, they couldn't have had much of a script beforehand. I think they worked very hard to get it together, I mean he gets a part of here and there, but that is part of it because he can't understand what the commentary is you know.
 
 
 
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Updated 22-04-17