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Visit biografmuseet.dk about Danish cinemas


The Wrath Of DP70 # 2333

The 70mm Newsletter
Written by: Brian Walters, Australia Date: 15.07.2023
Dear All,

Saturday June 17th started out as a nice relaxing day with me going out to my usual cafe for a coffee and to read the daily newspaper after this I headed home and out into the Esquire bio to screen reels two through six of an incomplete 70mm print of “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan”. I ran these reels through on one projector and during the screening I could see a faint bit of fuzzy edge at the bottom of the image. So after the final reel six had finished I left the Xenon on to touchup the aperture plate. To do this I removed the 70mm gate and bands and restarted the projector. When doing this, which I have done many times, great care must be taken not to drop the aperture plate into the intermittent sprocket rotating beneath and of course also to be wary of the aperture hole with the high-speed shutter rotating behind it. On this occasion I took the aperture out and back in four or five times until I was happy there was a clean edge with minimal spill over. On the last occasion to make sure all was good I push down with my right index finger on the top with the aperture plate and looked at the screen, unfortunately for me my finger slipped down the aperture plate and my middle finger went through the 70mm aperture hole into the shutter. With my finger going down and the shutter blade coming up there was only going to be one winner, the shutter hit my finger near the top and peeled back the tip, it then hit it again and severed my finger below the nail and just above the last knuckle.

• Go to The 70mm Trailer Anomaly
• Go to Around The 70mm World In Thirty Seven Days
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The H8 Down Under

When I looked at my finger I'm sure my expression was like that of the liquid man at the end of “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” where he looks down in disbelief at his forearm separated from his hand still frozen to the foundry floor. Fortunately my estranged wife Kim was also at home and as she is also a registered nurse she was concerned for me going into shock. She rang for an ambulance and the paramedics were there in just a few minutes, they treated me with the green whistle for pain relief and cleaned up the end of my finger. He asked me where is the rest of my finger to which I replied it’s inside my projector. We proceeded into the Esquire bio where I removed the side cowling of the shutter housing, where using a torch he retrieved my finger segment and put it into a zip lock plastic bag. Obviously a great photo opportunity was missed here, it’s not everyday that a body part is removed from a DP70!
More in 70mm reading:

DP70 / Universal 70-35 / Norelco AAII - The Todd-AO Projector

DP70s in Australia

The 70mm Trailer Anomaly

Around The 70mm World In Thirty Seven Days

The H8 Down Under

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Presented on the big screen in 7OMM

Peripheral Vision, Scopes, Dimensions and Panoramas

On arrival at the hospital I received morphine and fentanyl for pain relief. I was taken for x-rays of the finger and the severed tip. Again I was fortunate in there being a hand surgeon on shift at the hospital and also that an operating theatre was available for surgery that night. Surgery was at 8 pm and the surgeon said that there was only a 10% chance of reattaching the finger due to the amount of tissue damage and that the most likely outcome would be cleaning up the end of the stub and performing a skin graft using skin from the side of my finger to cap the remaining stub. Just before I went out to it I asked the surgeon how long it would take to do the skin graft option and he said one hour and I ask him how long if he could reattach the finger and he said over four hours. So given the low percentage to reattach the finger and the time involved I was resigned to the fact that I would have a shortened finger after surgery.

I woke up in a bed in the hospital ward and looking down at my bandaged hand I was surprised that I could see the tip of my finger. The surgeon was still there and said that he had reattach the finger and that we were now at a 50% chance of me keeping it but we were not out of the woods yet. His next comment surprised me when he said that he had arranged for leeches to be flown up overnight from Sydney as part of the treatment for the finger. The leeches arrived the next day and one by one with breaks of 45 minutes between them they were attached to my finger to draw blood through the repaired blood vessel. The time they spent attached varied from 20 minutes to 4½ hours.

So 11 days and 56 leeches later I left hospital and headed home. I thought it was prudent on my part to only attach the photo above and not other photos that are quite graphic and gruesome. In four weeks time I will have another procedure done to remove the two wires that are holding the bone together in my fingertip. In the week before that I plan to travel to Melbourne to see "Oppenheimer" in IMAX 70mm as well as conventional 70mm at the Sun Theatre Yarraville.

The annual widescreen weekend due to be held here at the Esquire on July 21 will still proceed with the help of a relief projectionist, the show must go on.

I look forward to catching up with everyone in 2025 when I plan to travel to Europe and North America for the 70th anniversary of 70mm!
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Updated 21-01-24