Is Windjammer the Queen of Kitsch?
This article first appeared in
The 70mm Newsletter
Issue 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
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
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
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".
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.
Further in 70mm reading:
Misconceptions about the Bradford setup
- top - back issues