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70MM is a Pretty Good Reason
Schauburg's 12. Todd-AO 70mm festival, Karlsruhe, Germany

The 70mm Newsletter
Written by: Thomas Hauerslev Date: 30.09.2016
Herbert Born & Thomas Hauerslev

Nobody goes to Karlsruhe without a damn good reason
, and for the readers of this Festival Brochure, 7OMM is a pretty good reason. To honor the catch phrase from Quentin Tarantino's "The Hateful Eight", I have re-written it mildly for the 12th Todd-AO Festival. Of course, there are plenty of good reasons for going to the beautiful city of Karlsruhe, but for we festival guests, nothing matters like 7OMM - except maybe a beer or two during a break between two films!

Now 2016, it has been 60 years ago since Mike Todd's "Around the World in 80 Days" premiered in New York. Truly a globetrotting film and a model for all EPIC 7OMM films to come. Big pictures, a good story and 6-track sound. By the early 1970s, this format went into early retirement, and little was heard of it for a number of years. In 1965 Mr. Ray Dolby developed a system to eliminate tape hiss. His process became very popular in the music recording industry, and by the mid 1970s this process was now applied to motion pictures. One of the very first Dolby System productions was a little film called "Star Wars". Prestige presentations of the new film were presented in 7OMM. That fateful 1977 premiere represented a new kind of spectacle unlike anything the audience had ever seen or heard before. "Presented in 7OMM Dolby Stereo" became the new catch line, which cinema owners happily added on cinema marquees, posters and in newspaper advertising. The audience came running and preferred 7OMM to ordinary performances in sub-standard 35mm mono. The next 15 years, more than 250 films were presented this way and the sound quality surpassed anything the audience had ever heard. Some will even argue that the analogue fidelity of Dolby sound surpasses any digital format we have today. Thanks to the amazing sound, films in Dolby Stereo out-grossed their mono siblings. Something was missing however: large format photography. The majority of the Dolby films were blow-ups from 35mm, and what they had in good sound, they were lacking on SHARPNESS. Only a handful of films were actually photographed in 65mm, "Hamlet" being the final one in 1996 until 2015. More about that in a moment. The 12th Todd-AO Festival proudly presents eight films from the '80s and '90s blown-up to 7OMM Dolby Stereo. You are invited to judge for yourself on how Dolby Stereo sounds.

One of the most controversial 7OMM films ever released in Europe must be "The Hateful Eight". For some, Mr. Tarantino's film are masterpieces and for others they are too violent. "H8" certainly split the waters among 7OMM fans. Was it good, bad, or too violent? Is it a cartoon, a comedy or a western? It is a great big mystery what is going on, and some even consider it having qualities which will take years to "get". That is what art does - trigger people to have an opinion. Maestro Ennio Morricone wrote the haunting symphony for the film and won the OSCAR. One thing is for sure, this is contemporary 7OMM at is very best. It is a joy to notice all the details in the impressive 2,79:1 ratio, and I recommend seeing it several times. We proudly present it again in the full glory of Ultra Panavision 70 on the curved screen according to the director's wishes. See it again, or see it for the first time. In the other end of the spectrum, we proudly present a contemporary super-hero movie on the curved screen. While "H8" represents a movie of EPIC scale and scope like "80 Days", "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" - is a straightforward, plain and loud action film. This too, divided the audience when it opened. One of the more expensive films ever made, and yet most people and reviewers found it too long, and dull. Certainly, it will be interesting to see. Maybe over the years it will acquire the status of a great bad movie, a genre that is loved by many fans of 7OMM. Dull or too long - never mind, it is in 7OMM and that is ALL that matters this weekend. Special thanks goes to Warner Brothers in Europe, which have been very helpful with the 7OMM print.
More in 70mm reading:

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12. Todd-AO Festival
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2016 Festival Flyer (PDF)

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The 12th Todd-AO Festival is a worldwide seventymillimeter rollercoaster-ride of a weekend. From widescreen adventures in the jungles of Africa, to man's first space adventure in Earth’s orbit, set against the Cold War. From a superhero stand off in Gotham to the Japanese invasion of China in 1941. A meat eating plant, a sadistic dentist, a masochistic patient - expect the unexpected in a musical, or what about Flattop, Big Boy Caprice or Mumbles? What fantastic names they are -- but can they all sing and dance?!? In the same genre maybe the Bolshoi Ballet will make your day? We will take you from the quiet and beautiful, yet dramatic English countryside, to the dark, cold and wet depths of the Atlantic ocean during the cold war - "One Ping Only". Two adventures on different levels, which will leave you breathless on the edge of your seat - both spoken in German, aber natürlich.

60 years have passed since "80 Days" and 70mm has NOT yet retired. The 12th Todd-AO Festival is proof of that. 7OMM is celebrated as it was meant to be seen. Real film all run by people. Sharp pictures, on the big curved screen, with curtains before the film starts. A big booming sound track, overture, intermission, a gong and a hand painted billboard on the facade with running lights around it. If that doesn't thrill your senses, nothing will. On behalf of Herbert Born and his staff I welcome all of you for some terrific 7OMM events, and genuine German hospitality. I hope you enjoy all of it. Bitte schön.

Willkommen. Bienvenue. Welcome. Velkommen. Välkomna. Vítejte. Welkom. Benvenuto. Youkoso. Bienvenida.

Thomas Hauerslev
“The Pope of Panorama”
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Updated 21-01-24