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"Oppenheimer" at the Savoy
Seeing 70mm in the former Todd-AO Cinema of Hamburg, Germany

The 70mm Newsletter
Written and photographed by: Thomas Hauerslev Date: 24.11.2023
During a recent visit to the beautiful Hansestadt Hamburg in early November '23, I managed to catch another 70mm screening of Christopher Nolan's "Oppenheimer". It was playing in 70mm at 16:00 in the afternoon, at the historic Savoy Filmtheatre in the rather colourful Steindamm street close to the central station.

The Savoy have had a tumultuous history since opening in 1957. Todd-AO for many years. Decline in the '70s, rebuilt into 5 screens, porn cinema and finally resurrection as a deluxe cinema house not many years ago. I am familiar with the Savoy and have visited several times. In 2017 I went there to see "Murder on the Orient Express", and in 2011 I attended the German Premiere of the (first) remastered version of "Windjammer".

• Go to gallery "Oppenheimer" in 70mm at the Savoy

I was welcomed the projectionist of the day Mr. Philip August who took me upstairs to the Philips DP75 machine and Kinoton ST270 platter. Philip laced up the film into the projector, while I took pictures. Afterwards we went downstairs to the auditorium where Philip and colleagues "played" with lights and curtains so I could get my pictures.

I bought a beer and some chocolate, and took my seat on row G, seat 11. Very nice seats throughout - some recliners included - and lovely cinema ambiance in the foyer and cinema all together. Posters, 70mm stickers, pleasant lights, historic pictures, and a friendly bar. Showmanship everywhere, and not least clean rest rooms (but a little short of capacity for women).

In Denmark it was decided to have an intermission after 1 hour and 38 minutes when Matt Damon's character says "We leave for Washington in the morning..." - then BOOM, Intermission!! Mid-scene, mid-drama and mid-music. Not very elegant from an artistic point of view. This "intermission" abruptly cuts the structure, build-up and flow of the film completely. It seems to me, the makers of the film actually have made space for an intermission about 22 minutes later (at the two hours mark), when Emily Blunt's character receives the message "Bring in the sheets", followed by a five second fadeout of picture and sound.

At the Savoy, "Oppenheimer" ran uninterrupted for three hours as intended by the film makers. Presented in the original English version, and without German subtitles. By now I have seen "Oppenheimer" in three different countries, in five different cinemas. It was my 6th viewing of the film in 70mm and by far the best presentation and cinema experience so far. My thanks goes to Mr. Gary Rohweder and his staff and for making it yet another great visit. Don't miss the Savoy if you go to Hamburg.
More in 70mm reading:

"Oppenheimer" Production Notes

About "Oppenheimer" and Large Format

Cinema as it Should Be - 70MM at the Savoy

The "Savoy" in Hamburg

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Updated 21-01-24