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Interstellaring in London
The art of film projection is not dead yet

The 70mm Newsletter
Written by: Mark Lyndon, with images by Thomas Hauerslev Date: 27.11.2014
The huge front of the Odeon Leicester Square cinema in London. Opened in 1938 and home to many premieres ever since.

Click the image to see an enlagement.

Oscar Deutsch, who founded the ODEON cinema empire back in 1928, has long gone. His legacy lives on, however in the Odeon UCI Cinema Group.

Some find Odeon cinemas a little too corporate, if not downright clinical. In one important respect, however, they reign supreme - image projection quality. To this day, they remain committed to 70mm projection, which is enjoying a renaissance thanks to Christopher Nolan's controversial masterpiece "Interstellar".
More in 70mm reading:

Go to the gallery The art of film projection is not dead yet

"Interstellar" Now Playing in 70MM

"Interstellar" Goes IMAX 70MM and 5/70 MM

70mm Film Presentations in London, England 1958 - 2014

70mm at the Odeon Leicester Sq, London

Internet link:

Michael at the Odeon

And yet, 70mm projection cannot be taken for granted. Even as "Interstellar" is smashing a box office records and Hollywood film directors are committing to 70mm principal photography and prints; there are cinema chains that are removing, yes removing 70mm projection from their houses. Who advises them, the captain of the Titanic?

Luckily, the Odeon Leicester Square, flagship theatre of the British film exhibition industry is fully equipped for 70mm and is likely to remain so. As every well informed student of this, the greatest of the arts, knows, a cinema performance is only as good as the mysterious person operating at the back of the auditorium; known universally as the Projectionist.
Cesar at the BFI IMAX with a used 15.000 watts IMAX Xenon lamb - same size a pineapple or a coconut with handles.

Odeon are very fortunate in their projection team at the Odeon Leicester Square. Watching Michael at work in the projection suite high up in the gods, was watching a master at work. The sheer skill and meticulousness with which he handled the precious 70mm print of Interstellar was a joy to behold.

As the old saying goes, I love work, I could watch it for hours. The same is true of his colleague Caesar in the BFI IMAX. Both projectionists go to enormous pains and trouble to ensure a flawless image emerges from what Orson Welles called the "Ribbon of dreams". They were also wonderful hosts, who welcomed us warmly into their domain. A world of wizardry, par excellence.
Mark Lyndon and Michela at the BFI IMAX.

The BFI London IMAX is in very good hands. Michaela, the manager, proved exceptionally capable in the face of a real crisis. The very powerful lamp at the heart of the 15/70mm IMAX projector had exploded. She dealt with skill and aplomb with some very awkward customers indeed, the kind who always expect perfection. Needless to say, the lamp crisis was resolved and the show went on.

Memo to Odeon, remember who was in charge when all box office records were smashed at the big London IMAX.

Go to the gallery The art of film projection is not dead yet
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Updated 07-01-23