Bigger than "Ben-Hur"
My Japan Cinerama Project
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The 70mm Newsletter
Written by: Gerhard Witte, Berlin, Germany
(ベン・ハー) and "Cinerama" (シネラマ) in Japanese language.
After having read in Charlton Heston's autobiography, titled "In the
Arena", about "Ben-Hur"'s embarrassing Tokyo Charity Premiere on 30th
March 1960 with its three film breaks, and from another source that Emperor
Hirohito had previously already attended a
CINERAMA premiere, I thought:
"What an interesting subject
CINERAMA, and 70mm CINERAMA in Japan". I
had not previously seen this area covered in any articles.
So, I tried to find some material from that time at Berlin's State Library
(newspaper division) located at Berlin's 'Westhafen', and at Berlin's Film
Library located on Potsdamer Platz. I was amazed what there was to be found.
From electronic information resources vintage Japanese newspapers, or also
original trade magazines ("Far East Film News", "Movie Marketing" and "Movie
/ TV Marketing") from that time. A great find had been Japan's 'Yahoo
Auctions' (ヤフオク) on the internet where I had spotted over several months a
lot of offerings of vintage film flyers, souvenir brochures, film theatre
tickets, etc. thanks to all who want to sell these memorabilia.
One big hurdle was, of course, the Japanese language. The amazing 'Google'
translation engine helped me a lot, and I spotted on the internet a device
that can read texts from pictures
Nonetheless, that did not always work. In those cases, I grabbed my bike,
and visited some Japanese restaurants here in Berlin where I asked for help
and translation. A very kind young woman, named Mai Linh, even answered some
of my questions via email correspondence thank you Mai Linh. CINERAMA
expert David Coles, who lives in Sydney (Australia), also happily provided
information, suggestions and corrections via email.
A time-consuming task had been using Photoshop to improve the look of the
many movie adverts, the originals of which were often slightly damaged in
With this report, my aim is to give readers an idea of the extent, of which
CINERAMA, 70mm CINERAMA and 70mm films, especially "Ben-Hur", were
exhibited in Japan in the Golden Age of large film format
and I am
impressed by what I found in my investigations.
For example, one interesting fact is that at the time the American movie
"Earthquake" (USA, 1974) was being shown simultaneously in 70mm
(SENSURROUND) at three Tokyo theatres advertised in three different
projection formats: 70mm,
and Cinerama (see
GALLERY "Ben-Hur" and other 70mm films in Japan).
I doubt many cities ever gave that range of big screen choice for seeing an
Go to Introductory Report: William Wyler΄s
"Ben-Hur" and "Cinerama" in Japan (3 mByte)
Go to 3-strip Films in Japan (5,6 mByte)
Go to 70mm Cinerama Films in Japan (5,7 mByte)
Go to GALLERY "Ben-Hur" and other 70mm films
in Japan. (4,4 mByte)
Go to film list 3-Strip Films in Japan
Go to film list 70mm Cinerama Films in Japan
Go to film list GALLERY "Ben-Hur" and other 70mm
films in Japan.
|More in 70mm reading:|
Widescreen in Japan
70mm "Dersu Uzala" at the
National Film Center, Tokyo, 7. October 2017
"The Best of Cinerama"
the movie even ran in Germany in 3-strip Cinerama
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