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I love the smell of mag in the morning!
Festival Report from The Lost Dominion 70mm Film Festival

The 70mm Newsletter
Written and photographed by: Bob Throop, Rochester, New YorkDate: 28.09.2010
Paul Gordon, organizer of the festival

I arrived in Gatineau about 3:30 Friday afternoon. After checking in to my hotel I walked across the street to the Canadian Museum of Civilization, the home of the Lost Dominion Film Festival. I met Paul Gordon, organizer of the festival who was constantly checking every detail.
More in 70mm reading:

The Lost Dominion 70mm Film Festival

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National Film Board of Canada

City of Ottawa
Ottawa Citizen

Canadian Museum of Civilization
100 Laurier Street
Quebec K1A 0M8
Image by Paul Gordon

I proceeded in to the 500 seat auditorium for the 4:00 screening of “Star Trek 6”. While I‘m not a trekkie, it was a pleasure to watch this film in 70mm. It was the first 70mm I’d seen in over 17 years. The print showed signs of wear and it was a blowup from 35mm but the sound was awesome!
Yours truly with a reel band from "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang"

After a short dinner break we returned for the 7pm showing of “Vertigo”. This 1958 Alfred Hitchcock classic was originally filmed in VistaVision and was restored in 1996 by Robert A. Harris who was present at the festival and answered questions after screenings of each of his restorations: "Vertigo",
"Spartacus" and "Lawrence of Arabia". Robert A. Harris was very personable and accessible to any one who wanted to speak to him. This print of “Vertigo” is the only print made with mag tracks. All the others being DTS. It was a thrill to see all the detail from VistaVision in this print.
Image by Paul Gordon

After Mr. Harris’s talk we took a short break and returned for "Baraka" which was preceded by “A Place to Stand” produced for Expo ’67 and Academy Award winner for Best Live Action Short Subject.
Sound rack with Dolby CP200

I had run “A Place to Stand” in 35mm scope in 1968 and was very impressed but in 70mm it was stupendous! The print was a bit worn and faded but the images were crystal clear and the pre Dolby 6 track sound mix was breathtaking.

I had heard about “Baraka” for years and I was not disappointed. Filmed in 65mm and printed in 70mm this had some of the sharpest scenes that I’ve seen. In my opinion 70mm is the only way to watch this film.
Reel 2 of "Spartacus" ready to be threaded

Saturday morning I was back at the museum for the 11am showing of “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”. I ran this movie a lot for kid shows in 35mm mono and while I knew it was filmed in Super Panavision I wasn’t aware of any 70mm screenings. It certainly wasn’t roadshown in my area of upstate New York. While the film was quite faded it was sharp as a tack and again the pre Dolby sound mix with 5 screen channels was awesome. The musical numbers were especially impressive.
Projectionist Kirk Sayers next to Victoria 8 70mm projector, threaded and ready to play the overture to "Spartacus"

In the afternoon we watched “Spartacus”. Filmed in Super Technirama 70 and restored by Mr. Harris this was another treat. During the showing I noticed the dialog moving to match the actor’s position on screen. I was surprised being conditioned by the Dolby practice of “hard center” dialog. I asked Mr. Harris about this.. He explained that in the restoration they actually prepared two sound mixes. One to conform to the Dolby practice of mono dialog and the other to duplicate the original mix. The print we had was the latter. How could we be so lucky?
the Lost Dominion's John Yemen introducing "Star Trek 6"

In the evening we were treated to David Lean’s masterpiece “Lawrence of Arabia”. Mr. Harris considers this one of the best films of all time and I can’t disagree. The Super Panavision 70 photography by Freddie Young is breathtaking!
Helen Anderson and John Yemen. Image by Paul Gordon

Back Sunday morning for the Canadian Shorts Program on 70mm.

In addition to “a Place to Stand” this included “L’Homme Multiplie/Multiple Man”, “Festival”, “Season’s in the Mind” and “Where the North Begins”. These were all made between 1967 and 1971 and while the prints were worn and faded the images were super sharp and the 6 track stereo mixes were wonderful!
Robert Harris answering questions after a screening of "Vertigo"

I had to leave after the shorts, missing out on encore showings of “Lawrence”, “Baraka” and ”Seasons of the Mind” as well as an evening showing of “The Untouchables”.
Image by Paul Gordon

Congratulations to Paul Gordon for putting together this wonderful festival.

Kirk Sayers did a stellar job of projection. Seeing all those reels of 70mm film made me think I’d died and gone to heaven! O’ death where is thy sting?

I love the smell of mag in the morning!
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Updated 21-01-24