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Visit biografmuseet.dk about Danish cinemas


Some notes from Karlsruhe

The 70mm Newsletter
Written by: Anders M Olsson, Lund, Sweden Date: 07.10.2016
Jan Harlan (right) meeting Anders M Olsson at the Wolf's Schnitzlerei, in Karlsruhe. Picture by Thomas Hauerslev

As usual, nice atmosphere, nice people, and a flawless organization!

Last time I was in Karlsruhe, two years ago, was very heavy on German films and German dubbed prints. This year they were back to their usual mix of German and English prints. I have no problem to sit through a film dubbed in German, even though I don't understand it all. If it's a good film that I haven't seen before, it only means that I'll have to revisit it later on, on DVD or Blu-ray.

Thursday evening featured a "festival warm-up" in the form of "2OO1: A Space Odyssey" introduced by Stanley Kubrick's producer and brother-in-law Jan Harlan. The film was shown in a 2K print which, according to Paul Rayton, is an early DCP at a low bit rate, not quite up to today's standards.

Having seen the film way too often, I left in the intermission to get some rest after the day's travels. Sadly, that also meant that I missed the Q&A with Jan Harlan after the film.
More in 70mm reading:

12. Todd-AO 70mm-Festival. 30. September - 2. October, 2016

Picture gallery from 12th Todd-AO Festival @ the Schauburg Cinerama, Karlsruhe

Anders M Olsson's Images from Cinerama's 60th Anniversary at the Dome

Mystery Cinerama truck in Sweden

Internet link:


Starting Friday, the main part of the festival was in progress, and that meant no more digital - only good old genuine 70mm prints from now on!

First came "Howard's End" dubbed in German, and that's a film I'll have to watch again in its original language. Emma Thompson is simply stunning, and Prunella Scales (Mrs. Fawlty in "Fawlty Towers") appears in a minor part.

Then there was "Empire of the Sun" in English. Good work by Steven Spielberg, but nothing remarkable, and a slightly erratic story that was a little hard to see where it was really intended to go.

Finally "Batman vs. Superman" in English, a film that I've been carefully avoiding so far. I probably should have avoided it this time as well, but at least it's good to know that it's complete crap. Not even the lovely Amy Adams as Lois Lane could save it. Superman / Clark Kent dies in the end, but don't worry - I'm sure he'll be resurrected in the next film...
Orla Nielsen and Anders M Olsson inside the Schauburg. Picture by Thomas Hauerslev


The advertised short films "Concorde" and "Bridge to Space" hadn't arrived. They were stuck in customs somewhere, so instead we were treated to a "surprise package" of other short films:
- "The March of Todd-AO", a pink print with German narration
- "Sky Over Holland", OK colorful print with no dialogue or narration
- A short clip from "The Agony and the Ecstasy" with Rex Harrison dubbed
in German. Pink.
- A (pink) commercial for Peter Stuyvesant cigarettes. I really felt the
urge to go out and have a smoke - not!
- A (pink) trailer for "Barabbas" with Anthony Quinn dubbed in German.

Then came the first feature film for the day, "Bolshoi Ballet 67". Not much dialogue and narration, but what was there was all in Russian and impossible to understand. Not quite my cup of tea, but still not unpleasant to watch. Russian prints don't fade, but they do come in some strange colors even when new.

After that, "Gorillas in the Mist". No question about it, that was the best film of the festival so far. I thoroughly enjoyed it and completely forgot that I wasn't supposed to understand the German dialogue. Had this film been done today, they probably would have done away with the "nuisance" of real gorillas, and done everything - jungle and all - in a studio in Hollywood with computer animated animals. And the film wouldn't have been half as good. Think Disney's "Jungle Book" remake. :(

"The Hunt for Red October" was presented in its original English version with a remarkably good use of the surround channels. Most of the action took place inside submarines which I found slightly boring. I probably fell asleep once or twice...

After some food I skipped Tarantino's splatter movie "The Hateful Eight" and went back to my hotel for some well deserved sleep...
Thomas Hauerslev's and his lecture explaining the highlights of San Francisco's projection rooms / toilet facilities in 1994. Picture by Orla Nielsen


The first item for the day was a slide show by Thomas Hauerslev about his and Johan Wolthuis' 70mm promotion tour to the west coast of the United States 22 years ago. Highly interesting, with some inside looks at places long gone. It's amazing what level of hospitality the "dynamic duo" enjoyed while in the U.S.

"Dick Tracy" was a demonstration of all the things that can go wrong when translating a successful comic strip character to film. Not exactly a film I'm anxious to see again any time soon, but some nice songs performed by Madonna.

I skipped over "The Right Stuff". I saw it at its first run in the eighties in Malmö, Sweden where I went to see it, expecting a normal one and a half hour feature. After two hours I began to wonder whether it wouldn't end soon. After two and a half, I started to feel uncomfortable. After three hours I was desperate to go to the bathroom... They reportedly ran the film WITH an intermission in Karlsruhe, even though there wasn't supposed to be any. As Alfred Hitchcock once said: "The duration of a film should not exceed the capacity of the human bladder".
Projection room monolith. 1x3x9. Picture by Thomas Hauerslev

Then came what I consider the pinnacle of the festival: "Little Shop of Horrors". Wonderful humor, wonderful music, wonderful actors. Perfect entertainment! (The only thing that can beat that film is the same story done on stage. I saw the stage play twice in Malmö in 1986, which was probably the most fun I've ever had at the theater.)

I also skipped "Lethal Weapon 2". Since my train to the airport was leaving the next morning at two minutes to six (!) I really needed to go to bed early.

I was very disappointed to learn that "Ben Hur" was going to be screened on Monday at 11 o'clock in a newly restored 4K print. Had I known that in advance, I would have booked a later flight for my return trip.
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Updated 04-05-22