Copenhagen Cinerama Introduction
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The 70mm Newsletter
Written by: Randy Gitsch, Producer Cinerama Restoration Team
“Windjammer: The Voyage of the Christian Radich”
Intro by Randy Gitsch, Danish Film Institute @ 7:15 p.m.,
Thurs., May 24, 2018
"Cinerama films are very much a time capsule. It's not just real widescreen drama, its actually real people the way
they really talked, thought and acted at that time. I think it is a
fascinating library of motion picture history." Randy Gitsch
"Hej" igen gamle venner. "Velkommen" gester!
My name is Randy Gitsch. I’m here with my film restoration-production partner
Dave Strohmaier and we’re delighted to be here in Copenhagen once again.
You’re all tonight witnessing what is an amazing rebirth in the life of the 1958
Cinemiracle, 3-panel motion picture release, “WINDJAMMER: THE VOYAGE OF THE
By the 1990’s no one knew of the whereabouts of a good print of this picture,
only one faded print was thought to still exist, and that was in Australia.
However, in late 1996, a second print was discovered in a theater in Essen,
Germany by theater owner Udo Heimansburg, and once found, it created an
immediate buzz. Word made it to Thomas Hauerslev, the editor of The 70mm
Association Newsletter, and later the webmaster of in70mm.com-based right here
in Copenhagen, who shared the news with Jan Olsen-of the Norwegian Film
Institute and Harald Tusberg-one of the stars of “WINDJAMMER”. Harald, by then a
loved television personality in Norway pledged then that it was his wish to see
this print shown in the Colosseum Kino in Oslo, where it had originally
premiered and that he was prepared to intervene to see that happen. But once the
print was viewed and its’ dire, badly faded state was noted, the notion of any
paid public screening of it had to be dashed.
As Thomas Hauerslev is in our audience today, I think he deserves our applause
for that noble, wishful involvement.
Dave and I first saw this picture, in 3-panel, on March 8, 2008. And as I
mentioned that print we viewed was badly faded and dubbed in German. With the first funds made available to us through the preservation
consciousness-raising success of our documentary “CINERAMA ADVENTURE”, we
shortly thereafter performed modest digital restorations on the first Cinerama
release, “THIS IS CINERAMA” and on its’ original Cinemiracle competitor,
“WINDJAMMER”. We’ve subsequently re-mastered all eight (8) of the 3-panel
We were not satisfied with our first “WINDJAMMER” results, especially after
comparing them to later re-masters made directly from original camera elements,
so we sought out the means to revisit “THIS IS CINERAMA” and “WINDJAMMER”, to
more closely perfect new digital versions.
We screened our new version beginning in January at the Museum of Modern Art in
New York City, then before audiences at the EYE Filmmuseum in Amsterdam, and at
the Cinematheque Francaise in Paris in March, to widespread approval. Tonight,
we’ll show you our new “WINDJAMMER”, and I can promise…you’ll be at the edge of
your seat watching the detail, clarity, color match and often eradicated divide
lines, that will pull you forward and make you feel like you’re in the picture.
And through the application of our trademarked Curved Screen Simulation
“Smilebox”®, it will be fully immersive.
The best news…Flicker Alley has just 2 weeks ago released both our newly
revisited versions of “THIS IS CINERAMA” and “WINDJAMMER” on stand alone
Blu-ray. So now ‘WINDJAMMER” looks as good as it did in 1958, right in your
home. But tonight, it will look that good right here.
I want to shout out that our Swedish friend, Mr. Anders Olsson, who’s in our
audience, has generously created the Danish language subtitles for tonight’s
So please…I’ve already taken my see sickness pills, so let’s fasten our life
vests, and get ready to sing sea shanty’s.
But before we sail, let’s hear from Dave who can tell us what’s made this
version excel. Dave…
[DAVE SPEAKS about the restoration]
|More in 70mm reading:|
Gallery: Smell-O-Vision & CineMiracle at the
The Cinerama Archaeologists
Louis de Rochemont's
"Windjammer" produced in Cinemiracle
in70mm.com's Cinerama page
Remastering the CINERAMA
think the biggest pleasure is showing it to people and probably, in my case,
it's when you have a big crowd watching it and you can sense that the
audience is "into it"". Dave Strohmaier
film Intro [as read] [7:00]
When the voyage in this film began, the star ship, the Christian Radich, was
only 19 years old, about as old as most of it’s Norwegian sailor-trainee crew.
This graceful ship is a steel-hulled “square-rigger”, with three full-rigged
masts, the tallest of which, the “foremast”, towers 39 meters feet above the
waterline. Its width, or beam, is about 11 meters, and it’s 62 meters long. The
Christian Radich was always a sailor-training vessel, and did so, excepting an
interruption during the War, when it was sunk at the docks in Flensburg. After
the war, the ship was refloated and repaired. It resumed sail training again in
On Saturday, December 8, 1956, it left the port of Oslo, for the start of its’
17,500 mile trans-Atlantic roundtrip. With it’s 69-year-old Captain, Yngvar
Kjelstrup in command-who was making this voyage his last before retiring, it had
a crew of 5 Officers, 11 Petty Officers and Able Seamen, and 45 Cadets, ranging
in age from 14 to 22 onboard. And it took along a canine mascot, a little
Norwegian Elkhound named Stumpf.
The dramatic surge of Windjammer’s epic story, and the scope of its Cinemiracle
cinematic process, almost lets you forget that every time you see the Christian
Radich on a distant horizon, in a majestic profile, or magnificently approaching
you…you’re standing on another ship. This film required the use of a floating
“camera car”, if you will. All you’ll ever see of it will be its’ frothy wake,
however its existence actually changed the narrative of the picture, and allowed
for a more dynamic production. For example, this other ship arrived in Funchal,
Madeira on Dec. 31, 1956 in order to film fireworks that night celebrating the
Feast of St. Silvester, however, the Christian Radich and crew didn’t port there
until over a week later.
The Christian Radich will make a stop in Manhattan on it’s trans-Atlantic
crossing, and while there, none other than the famed, true crime “dark
photographer” and photojournalist Arthur “Weegie” Fellig will helm the 3-lensed
Cinemiracle camera. Weegie’s special camerawork will be anything but standard,
in a film already in a non-standard format. He’ll use prisms and kaleidoscopic
lenses for example.
We’ll also see a bit of Denmark in “WINDJAMMER”. Look out for Tivoli Gardens,
the Tivoli Boys Royal Guard and Band, the Town Hall Square and the even the
‘Tattoo Ole’ shop in Nyhavn, which is still there.
Among the noteworthy encounters along the voyage, certainly noteworthy to the
sailor trainees, the Christian Radich was to pass alongside several other sailor
training vessels flying a variety of national flags, like the Flying Clipper,
Eagle, Danmark and the Sir-landet. On Sunday, Jan. 17, 1957, the Christian
Radich met up with the German school ship Pamir.
Pamir, with its’ novice Captain, Johannes Diebitsch, crew of 34 officers and
men, and 52 young cadets, was bound for Montivideo, Uruguay. This encounter was
pure happenstance and the Cinemiracle cameras caught it entirely from onboard
the Christian Radich. The two ships actually sailed around and past each other.
Pamir was a much older vessel having first sailed on July 29, 1905. It too was
steel-hulled but was four-masted, and of a particular longer design called a
barque. The Pamir’s beam was 14 meters, and it was 114 meters long…almost twice
as long as the Christian Radich.
This encounter takes up less than 2½ minutes on screen, and after it, the Pamir
was doomed. After dropping its load in Uruguay, it was to sail on to Buenos
Aires and pick up 3,780 tons of barley for its’ return trip to Hamburg…and that
it did. However, in the midst of its return voyage across the Atlantic to
Germany, on Saturday, Sept. 21, 1957, it sailed into Hurricane Carrie without
warning and capsized.
The result - was that of a crew of 86, only 6 survived.
The sinking, occurring while the motion picture was in post-production, became a
German national tragedy…and a shocking worldwide loss.
And here, the genius of the film’s producer Louis de Rochemont and his son,
Louis III, its’ director, took charge. As the veteran helmer of - and Academy
Award winner for - the acclaimed newsreel “THE MARCH OF TIME”, which ran from
1935 through 1951, de Rochemont and son knew how to spin the dramatic potential
from real-life events. The loss of Pamir became a dramatized dénouement for the
motion picture, realistically expressing the pro & con thought on the future of
all sailing school ships in the aftermath of the sinking.
I had the very special opportunity recently of visiting Lubeck, Germany where I
screened this film. And there, I payed my respects to the Pamir at the Memorial
for Civilian Shipping in old city at St. Jacob’s church. Here is displayed one
of the recovered lifeboats from the site of the sinking. It was a moving
experience to see that small, battered boat and the names of all its lost sailor
trainees and crewmen engraved in stones on the floor around it.
Today, as many of you well know, the Christian Radich still sails. It is owned
by the Christian Radich Sail Training Foundation, and is home berthed right in
Oslo. It still cruises the fjords, and well beyond…and can also be rented in
certain months for private events. And as I’ve sailed on the ship just 3 years
ago, I can attest, it’s in immaculate condition.
Ever since Dave and I began our work on “WINDJAMMER” it’s been most interesting
for me to meet surviving crewmen from the Christian Radich. When we screened
this picture in Oslo the first time, in 2010, and met the stars of the film,
Assistant Bosun and actor/singer Lasse Kolstad introduced Dave, Dave’s wife,
Carin-Anne and I to his wife, a strikingly beautiful woman and former actress.
And Lasse explained that her name was Barbra Karine Christensen, and that
although the nickname she most-often used for her first name was “Bab”, the
nickname for her middle moniker was “Kari”, and in fact, this was the one and
the same Kari that he was singing about when he sings the memorable “Kari Waits
For Me” in the film. In all truthfulness, Lasse and Bab did marry during the
coarse of the film, in one of the ship’s ports-of-call, Miami. So…Kari was
waiting for him. And together they remained married until Lasse’s passing at the
age of 90, on Jan. 14, 2012.
And sailor-trainee Cadet #2 and actor, Kaare Terland told us that the ship’s
four-legged mascot Stumpf, who demonstrates admiral sea legs on his ocean
journey, actually bailed ship as soon as they’d docked, at one of their stops.
Production, however, was fortunate in finding a nearly identical replacement
before they set sail again. So there are 2 Stumpfs. The filmmakers actually wove
into their story a strand about the dog running away…although in a convenient
fiction they get the same dog back on the boat.
“WINDJAMMER” premiered at Grauman’s Chinese Theater, in Hollywood, on April 8,
1958, advertised with the byline, “The day you’ll never forget is the day you’ll
see Windjammer”. It premiered right here in Denmark at the Arhus Hallen on
December 1, 1958, where it ran for 21 weeks. The picture received very, very
good reviews and beat Cinerama in the showing of 3-strip films in Denmark.
One of the best reviews the picture got came from film director David Lean.
Shortly before "Windjammer" was actually completed, the English director
contacted the President of Louis de Rochemont Associates, Borden Mace, at their
Bronx-based screening room, asking if he might be able to see Cinemiracle
projected. The answer was affirmative, and a short time later Mace met Lean
there and asked his staff to screen several scenes including the Madeira
sequence and the just-completed scene in which a submarine, with a Cinemiracle
camera mounted on it, surfaces through a hail of bubbles to reveal crashing
waves and the majestic Christian Radich at that moment sailing closer. Lean
asked to see the latter a second time. Later that day, sharing the taxi ride on
the way back to Manhattan, Lean remarked to Mace, 'That submarine scene emerging
from the ocean waters is the single most impressive shot I have ever seen on a
motion picture screen.'
One last word. This is a road show with overture and a 15 minute intermission.
And now, let’s pull up anchor and embark…on this Cinemiracle Adventure.
“THE LAST DAYS OF CINERAMA” DOCUMENTARY INTRO
by Randy Gitsch. GENERAL Intro [as read] [2:25]
“THE LAST DAYS OF CINERAMA” is a documentary short by Mike Celestino and Robert
Garren following the shooting of our short promotional film, “IN THE PICTURE” as
it was being shot around Los Angeles.
Both Celestino and Garren were graduates of the University of Southern
California Film School. And in 2010, they’d made a short comedy film called
“MIKE CELESTINO’S POTENTIALLY-AMUSING VIGNETTES”. Together this duo co-wrote,
then co-produced, and co-directed that film, so they knew they could work well
together. By the time they’d graduated, Mike Celestino had been working for a
few years as a projectionist at the ArcLight Multi-plex and its’ world-famous
Cinerama Dome Theater in Hollywood, California.
Mike had heard from John Sittig, at the time the Director of Sight and Sound for
the ArcLight that a film was actually going to be made in Cinerama, albeit a
short subject in three-panel, 35mm film using a refurbished Cinerama camera.
When John told Mike that this film would be the first triptych shot in Cinerama
in 50 years, Mike immediately contacted his friend Rob and they decided then and
there to film the making of this Cinerama short. As film students and Los
Angelino-based filmmakers, they both knew well of the Cinerama Dome Theater’s
grandeur and the allure of the Cinerama widescreen process.
John Sittig introduced Mike and Rob to Dave Strohmaier, who gave them a copy of
our documentary on Cinerama, “CINERAMA ADVENTURE”, to put in proper perspective
what was about to happen. Dave told them that the name of the Cinerama
production was going to be “IN THE PICTURE”, explaining how that phrase was used
by Cinerama in it’s 1952-1966 heyday to convey its’ immersive participatory
And thereafter what began to really sink in, and become overwhelmingly apparent
to Mike and Rob before they even started to make this film was the cinema
history that was going to being made utilizing this now moth-balled, but
at-one-time, state-of-the-art technology. And they were awed by the enthusiasm
of the crew making it, as they too knew all-too-well the history they were
making. As Rob Garren told me recently, “We were glad we captured their
“THE LAST DAYS OF CINERAMA” premiered appropriately at the Cinerama Dome on its’
big 32 foot-high by 86 foot-wide screen, on Sept. 28, 2012 during the memorable
Cinerama 60th Anniversary Film Festival held there, where you can imagine it was
very popular. They also entered this film in several film festivals and won the
Audience Award for “Best Documentary Short” at the Dam Short Film Festival in
(wait for it!) Boulder City, Nevada, the home of Hoover Dam.
Celestino and Garren have gone on to work on other films and to again work
together. In 2014 they created the feature-length documentary called “THAT’S NOT
FUNNY”, about taboo and controversial subjects in comedy.
Putting Cinerama in perspective, meant of course that unlike ‘IN THE PICTURE”,
they had the burden of telling of Cinerama’s historical arc, and so they did so,
asking questions of their interviewees celebrating both the revival and
acknowledging the demise of the first, major wide-screen process.
So, let’s take a look at “THE LAST DAYS OF CINERAMA”.
CINEMIRACLE’S “A TALE OF OLD WHIFF” INTRO
by Randy Gitsch. GENERAL Intro [as read] [4:45]
Original Film Studio collections and archives, the world over, each have a
sought Holy Grail, a singular missing film asset that stands out among all
For Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer that’s Lon Chaney’s horrific 1927 “LONDON AFTER
MIDNIGHT”. For Warner Brothers, the notorious pre-puritanical Hayes Code,
“CONVENTION CITY” of 1933. And here in Denmark, might that lost film be the
complete “ A VICTIM OF THE MORMONS” by August Blom, from 1911?
For Cinerama Inc. it was, until June 30, 2016, the one reel animated cartoon, “A
TALE OF OLD WHIFF”.
This cartoon accompanied Mike Todd Jr.’s feature film, “SCENT OF MYSTERY” in
its’ original January 1960 theatrical engagements. And just like that feature,
presented right here in Copenhagen in 2015, it was presented in Smell-O-Vision.
The cartoon featured twelve unique scents of its’ own, none of which were used
in the feature. And it was, thee, first, cartoon short to screen in 70mm.
“A TALE OF OLD WHIFF” stars “Whiff”, a bloodhound put to work by an intrepid
detective voiced by Bert Lahr, our previously-favorite cowardly lion, here doing
some investigative work searching for a museum’s missing dinosaur bone worth
$100,000.00. One small problem, Whiff has anosmia. He’s lost his sense of
smell…he can’t smell anything…but we, the audience do…at least in 1960 in
Smell-O-Vision, we did.
Animation is by the talented John Hubley, the creator of Mr. Magoo. So there’s
distinctly a bit of a UPA Studios animation look here. Nathan Zucker produced,
Alan Zaslove directed-taking over that task from Hubley, and Leo Salkin wrote
the story. I’m telling you these cartoon credits, because just like those for
the feature, “SCENT OF MYSTERY”, they didn’t originally appear on the screen. In
1960 they were all in your original souvenir printed program. Dave has now
responsibly tagged them onto the tail of this re-working.
When Dave Strohmaier and I re-mastered “HOLIDAY IN SPAIN”, the de-scented
derivative from “SCENT OF MYSTERY”, we both wanted badly to find this cartoon.
Dave searched can labels in what was then the Cinerama vault and found nothing.
I did a call out within the Association of Moving Image Archivists, of which
I’m a founding member and I posted a plea on Thomas Hauerslev’s authoritative
in70mm.com website, based right here in Copenhagen. “Thanks”, again Thomas. I
contacted Scott MacQueen, Head of Preservation at University of California at
Los Angeles and then Emily Hubley, daughter of the late animator, and they could
find nothing. I also contacted Jerry Beck at ASIFA, the International Animated
Film Association. That led to Dave trekking to another warehouse miles away and
several weeks later, with Jerry Beck, to go through pallets of donated materials
from the film’s animation studio, Format Films. But it resulted in no Holy Grail
Only after the entire Cinerama film collection was moved and deposited with the
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Hollywood, was each and every can
meticulously gone through. And there on June 30, archivist Andrew Bradburn,
found a small roll of acetate, in a rusty 70mm shipping case with only the
hard-to-read handwritten scribble,
“C A R T O O N” on a tiny label. And that was our “Whiff”. I’m sure the
omnipresent vinegar syndrome was by then providing a new scent to the
Dave has now supervised a digital telecine in which the color has again been
brought out of that old, faded pink print, and here is the long lost tale…”A
TALE OF OLD WHIFF”. Alas it is no longer in Smell-O-Vision, but let me tell you
what you the viewer, and not Old Whiff, would have smelled in 1960. Those twelve
scents then included; hot dogs, mustard, soap, chocolate candies, rain, a
violet, pine trees, a field of flowers, a field of clover, soup, a wreath of
flowers, and perhaps most importantly, the concocted smell of “bone”, that’s
right “bone”. It appeared in 3 places…and provided a narrative clue.
By the way, this cartoon was presented after the Smell-O-Vison feature “Scent of
Mystery”, it didn’t precede it. And so you won’t see an opening title card per
se, but what you will see first will make total sense.
Now before we enjoy this re-discovered 1960 lark, now premiering in Denmark for
the very first time, the truly rare, “A Tale of Old Whiff”, let’s hear from Dave
about its’ restoration
“HOW THE WEST WAS WON” INTRO
By Randy Gitsch
Danish Film Institute @ 2:00 P.M., Sat., May 26, 2018.
GENERAL Intro [as read] [7:25]
“HOW THE WEST WAS WON” has been seen by millions around the globe, but not
always in its unique 3-panel version. That’s because this motion picture, one of
two co-produced by Cinerama, Inc. and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, also had a “flat”
version which screened in many, many more conventional, non-Cinerama theaters,
but with mono sound and slightly cropped, and was eventually broadcast on
television, although there it was severely cropped. You are seeing today what
unquestionably became the most revered version of the picture, the one seen in
Cinerama theaters, the whole picture in its intended panoramic, multi-track
This picture was huge in every way. Not only did it boast an awesome cast of 14
top-notch actors, but even its’ supporting cast is noteworthy. Some of you may
leave the theater today admiring the performance or personality of Thelma
Ritter, or Andy Devine, for they were unique and beloved character actors from
an era when such a thing existed in Hollywood motion picture casting. And “HOW
THE WEST WAS WON” had three top directors, Henry Hathaway, John Ford and George
Marshall, each already firmly respected as talented, innovative and artful.
It was based on tried and true literary material. It had appeared as a
multi-part, widely read and well-received series of stories by James Webb, that
had appeared in Life magazine in 1959, and were still fresh in the minds of the
movie-going public. And several of its’ memorable songs had just appeared on a
2-album release of the same name sung by Rosemary Clooney, Bing Crosby and
”HOW THE WEST WAS WON” proved to be a critical success; earning Academy Award
nominations for Best Picture, Best Original Score, Best Art Direction/Set
Decoration (in Color); Best Color Cinematography, and Best Costume Design (in
Color). And it won Oscars for Best Film Editing, Best Sound and Best Story &
Screenplay. It was also named one of the Best Films of 1963 by the National
Board of Review in the U.S.
It premiered here in Denmark on December 26, 1962, almost 2 months before it
opened in the U.S.. Was anyone here today at the Kinopalaeet for that premiere?
It played there for 26 weeks, that’s a half a year in Copenhagen. Tickets for
it’s more than 1,100 seats cost 4, 6, 10, 11 or 15 Kroner. You entered at Gammel
Konge Vej. Unfortunately that showplace theater was demolished in 2001.
“HOW THE WEST WAS WON” was successful financially…HUGELY successful. It became
the highest-grossing motion picture of the year, just as “THIS IS CINERAMA” had
done 10 years earlier.
But the seeds of Cinerama’s demise lay in “HOW THE WEST WAS WON’s” success.
Because it made so much money, its’ production difficulties were tempered and
its’ huge negative cost was surmounted. However, it grandly elevated
expectations for its’ sister MGM/Cinerama dramatic co-production, ‘THE WONDERFUL
WORLD OF THE BROTHERS GRIMM”. And “GRIMM” was not a huge success. Don’t get me
wrong, it was well received and it made back it’s cost, but it was not a
juggernaut as “WEST” had been.
crew gathering in Copenhagen. Dave, Thomas, Randy and Anders.
Picture by Charlotte Hauerslev
The President of Cinerama had put up 13.5 million dollars of Cinerama money
towards the production cost of the new pictures with MGM, but after the runs of
“HOW THE WEST WAS WON” and the “THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF THE BROTHERS GRIMM”,
Cinerama Inc. was bleeding money. Its’ simultaneous-to-production embark on a
massive worldwide theater expansion had been costly. Despite “WEST’s”
achievement as a blockbuster-“GRIMM” had not been as profitable-it did make only
14 million. ”WEST” had cost 15 million to make, but made back 50 million. In
some Cinerama venues, the less popular “GRIMM” had to pulled and replaced by one
of the older Cinerama travelogues.
This all came back to roost at Cinerama forcing it to take a long hard look at
its’ early 1950’s business model, which now in the 1960’s was no longer as
profitable. Let’s face it, three times as much film cost three times as much to
ship, and now at 1960’s rates and around the world. And because its complexity
required an experienced skill set, its’ theaters still required the employ of
multiple senior projectionists.
Now in “HOW THE WEST WAS WON”, like many pictures, there had been some stock
shots, for example-of Mexican soldiers from John Wayne’s “THE ALAMO” shot in
Todd-AO. And there had been some process shots-rear-projection for example, when
stars were flailing about on a sinking raft in the safety of a studio tank,
rather than actually drowning in a raging river, and those had been shot in
Some of you today will notice those shots and think they stand out like a sore
thumb when compared to the balance of the picture, in Cinerama’s 3-camera
capture. But in the height of drama and adventure-“in the moment” of the movie,
some people didn’t notice the difference. At least, when you realized how much
cheaper those shots had been to create some, in charge of production didn’t
notice, and so Cinerama’s President made the decision to save money by shooting
any future Cinerama picture in single-lens Ultra Panavision. Cinerama would be
retained as an exhibition format only, on the curved screen with road show
Today’s presentation IS a road show, so it will feature an overture and
Now a certain Brit, a Mr. Muncher, installed the Cinerama equipment in the
Kinopalaeet and then announced that the 7th row from the screen was the “sweet
spot”, …so word may have gotten out then. I suggest that some of you in the back
move up today to get the best Cinerama effect.
I want to shout out to our friend, Mr. Anders Olsson-in the audience today has
created the Danish language sub-titles for today’s show. “Thank You, for that”,
Anders. And now that Dave and I are heading momentarily on to Oslo for a
Cinerama show there tomorrow, I want to thank our Cinemateket host, Mr. Rasmus
Brendstrup and that staff here. We’ve enjoyed each one of our Copenhagen
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