2012 Academy Member
John Mitchell (Australia)
The 70mm Newsletter
by: Bill Lawrence, Halifax, UK
29. April 2012
Coles giving a lecture about the life of John Mitchell. Image by Thomas
There were many people who made the 60th Anniversary of Cinerama
celebrations at the Widescreen Weekend in Bradford a success, but the
contribution made by one man was particularly exceptional.
When the National Museum of Photography, Film & Television was planning to
build its new cinema and re-create a Cinerama experience for new audiences,
we relied on John Harvey and
Willem Bouwmeester. But we knew that on the
other side of the globe there was another, very special individual who was
already maintaining the flame and keeping Cinerama in the public eye.
H Mitchell, left school and started work as an assistant projectionist.
Later he worked in telecommunications but pursued a passion for cinema,
working part time at the local Wollongong drive-in theatres. But it was
Cinerama that grabbed his attention.
in 70mm reading:
John H Mitchell's Twin
Widescreen Weekend 2012
Interview with John H.
Mitchell: Gallery of
In The Picture - Tom Down Under
Academy of the Widescreen Weekend
Widescreen Weekend home
Lawrence presenting, via Skype, the Academy certificate to John Mitchell
across the world in Australia. Image by Thomas
When he heard that a storehouse was to be emptied that contained a lot of
the Cinerama films he just had to investigate. There he discovered prints of
"This Is Cinerama" and "How The West Was Won". Now all he needed was the
equipment to show it. His chance came several years later a former Cinerama
theatre was being converted into a roller skating ring. A quick negotiation
and the equipment was his. Gradually, he saved all the Cinerama and Cinemiracle prints he could, as well as breakdown films and over the years,
he found all the parts he needed, and more, and started showing films in his
own back garden.
I was very
pleased to see my good friend John Mitchell acknowledged for his incredible
efforts in preserving the original 3 strip format. I have enjoyed many
screenings over the years at his home Cinerama cinema.
Lawrence talking with John Mitchell via Skype. John thanked the audience and
good luck with Brothers Grimm. Image by Thomas
he would welcome up to 20 friends and guests to watch films on the 20’ x
8‘screen in the open air theatre, up to 3 shows a year for 30 years.
was a very emotional moment to have John Mitchell appearing on the big
screen live from his home in Australia. Image
by Thomas Hauerslev
Over the years, John has helped many people. When the NMPFT needed a new
soundtrack for "How the West Was Won", he happily copied his print and sent it
over. He lent prints for the 50th anniversary and this year provided great
support with prints of "The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm", "South
Seas Adventure" and "How the West Was Won". No one who was there will forget it and
no one should forget John H Mitchell for making it happen and the years of
dedication in preserving Cinerama as a living exhibit.
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