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Visit biografmuseet.dk about Danish cinemas


”Hamlet” in 70mm at Kronborg Castle

The 70mm Newsletter
Written & Photographed by: Thomas Hauerslev Date: 15.08.2013
"Hamlet" banner across pedestrian street "Steengade" in Helsingør (Elsinore), Saturday afternoon, around tea time

A magical evening unfolded in the courtyard of Kronborg Castle in Elsinore in Denmark on the evening of Saturday 10 August 2013. The epic “Hamlet” by Sir Kenneth Branagh was shown in the original Panavision Super 70mm version for an audience of Shakespeare fans and some die-hard 70mm fans. Elsinore’s famous pedestrian street was decorated with Danish flags (The Dannebrog) and a large banner across the street to promote this huge event.
More in 70mm reading:

In Danish

Kenneth Branagh's "HAMLET" on 65mm

Images from ”Hamlet” in 70mm at Kronborg Castle

Rolf Konow, Danish Stills Photographer

2013: A Danish Summer of 70mm

"Hamlet" to be filmed in 70mm

Release of "Hamlet" in 70mm

Readers Reviews of "Hamlet"


Karen Blixen

DGI Byen’s svømmehal
Open-air cinema at Kronborg Castle's court yard

At 9 pm Artistic Director of the festival Mr Lars Engel welcomed the guests, who had bought tickets on this chilly and windy evening in Elsinore. Ahead of us was 4 hours and 2 minutes of roller-coaster action performed by the best Shakespearian actors in the movie business. There is an intermission in "Hamlet" after 2 hours and 40 minutes, so it was going to be a very long evening.

"Hamlet" was the culmination of a two-week Shakespeare festival at Kronborg Castle. Chairs and stage were already in place in this open air cinema. Before the film could begin, the stage had been cleared, and Mr Jesper Meng had installed his flat 12,1 x 5,5 meter (40 x 18 ft) open air screen. Mr. Orla Nielsen and technician Alan Lyman had spent all day installing the 70mm projector and sound equipment. The 70mm print had been flown in from London.

Orla brought his mobile Philips DP75, which has been used for 70mm open-air shows several times previously, including in Karen Blixen's back yard, in Odense and in a swimbath in Copenhagen. For this show Orla had even installed a used Dolby MPU-1, which he had bought on eBay. With three DOLBY SRA-5 modules, he could present "Hamlet" in 6-channel Dolby SR magnetic stereo. You don't get better sound than this.
Lars Engel and Rolf Konow in conversation before the film

The 70mm print of "Hamlet" is 8298 meters (27224 ft), and is transported in 10 large containers with a total weight of around 300 kilos, including reels and metal containers. To show the film, these reel are spliced together in two large parts. One part before the intermission and one part following the intermission. For the technically minded reader, both parts are run from a Kinoton Non-rewind system, model ST200, modified for 70mm prints.

To ensure enough light on the screen a 4000 kW horizontal OSRAM xenon light was used in the Kinoton lamp house, and run at 140 amperes. Projection throw was approximately __,_ meters. There was more than enough light on the screen, compared to many Danish 3D cinemas with notoriously dim screens. "Hamlet" was a pleasure to look at, especially since Orla also had brought a brand new ISCO Ultra Star HD 81mm (#781 007) for his DP75. The ISCO Ultra Star HD makes for a razor sharp image.
Open-air 70mm cinema at night time. Click on the image to see an enlargement

Left, Center and Right channel speakers were installed on both sides and above the screen. Under the seats a large subwoofer took care of the really deep sounds, and on both sides of the 11 rows of seating area there were two surround speakers. The sound was really powerful, and maybe a little too loud at the beginning. Level was adjusted, and later the volume had to be increased to be able to hear the dialogue a little better. Dolby Stereo SR is very dynamic but combined with a fairly long reverb time from the cobblestoned Kronborg castle courtyard; it was a fair compromise I guess. It was an analogue experience, so the audience could also hear the ticking sound of the DP75 projecting the 70mm print, unlike silent digital signals from a hard disk in modern digital cinemas.
Philips DP75 and a 4000 watt lamp projecting 70mm.

The organizers expected about 200 guests that evening. I could count around 110 guests before the film started. The show started at 9 pm, with an introduction of the film, and a short chat with Mr Rolf Konow, who worked as a still photographer on the production. "Hamlet" premiered in Denmark in 35mm only in 1997. It was not shown in 70mm until the 2008 70mm festival at Imperial Bio in Copenhagen. 70mm Fan Ulrick Rostek drove all the way from the Ruhr in Germany to Kronborg to experience this presentation of this Oscar nominated film.

In the introduction we were told that only very minor rain was expected this evening. Nothing serious, but in case of heavy rain, the film would be stopped, while the audience would be guided inside the Castle. Before the show began, we could see some very heavy black clouds over the coast of Sweden across the Øresund. Gigantic lightning cut though the night sky, followed by real low-end rumble. We hoped the rain and thunder stayed in Sweden.
From left Orla, Charlotte, Maria and Rolf in conversation during the intermission.

The final check of the projection system, and then finally, at 20 minutes past nine the light on Kronborg went down, and the Castle Rock logo appeared on the screen, followed by "HAMLET" carved in stone in the film version of Kronborg Castle. The light beam from the DP75 cut though the misty night air. The audience were well prepared to be sitting outside for 5 hours. The audience had dressed themselves in sweaters, blankets, extra trousers, and rain coats - in case rain would appear. Sitting outside for open-air in Denmark in mid-August requires planning - but as all Danes are born Vikings, 15 degrees C (59F) and rain is nothing but a little dew. The clouds passed silently over Kronborg and didn't look like they would give us any rain. It was 15 degrees C and windy. Quite different from he past 4-5 weeks with plenty of sun and above 25 temperatures. On the other hand, it was suitable for "Hamlet" which takes place in the winter.
A good shoulder to rest on is essential when you need one late at night.

At 10:30 pm, when the film had been going for an hour and ten minutes, the area lights were turned on. The few drops of rain had turned into a considerable downpour, and the film was stopped. The audience was guided into the castle to wait 10-15 minutes until the rain stopped. The staff was very efficient, drying all the chairs before the audience returned. I was talking to Orla in the projection room during the break. It was nice and hot, thanks to the 4 kW lamp, and unlike the rest of us, Orla was dressed in a dry T-shirt.

20 minutes later we resumed as if nothing had happened, and the next "stop" was the official INTERMISSION around thirty minutes past midnight. Before the intermission all the clouds cleared, and the beautifully lit towers of Kronborg stood majestically against a black sky with stars. At that time we were all a bit wet and cold, and some of the audience had already left. The majority were still there and it was time for a cup of hot coffee and talk about this experience. Rolf Konow, my wife and daughter were talking with Orla, about how beautiful "Hamlet" looked in 70mm, and how moving it is. After the intermission the film continued into the night, and it didn't end until 5 minutes past two in the morning. We all said goodbye, and drove back to Copenhagen and went to bed half past three in the morning.

This was truly a totally unique experience watching this film behind the thick walls of Kronborg Castle. It can hardly become more authentic than this - and all in 70mm with 6-track Dolby Stereo SR - WOW!
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Updated 21-01-24