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This is Cinerama

Barry

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This is Cinerama
« on: March 30, 2019, 08:30:44 PM »



 
This is Cinerama, 1952, is now out on Blu Ray. This is less of a traditional movie and more of a showcase for a new film experience.
 
There is no plot here, just about twenty disconnected segments that show off what was then a new process. For a modern viewer, it is an interesting, but sometimes boring, historical document, the introduction of widescreen and stereo sound.
 
It begins with a “small” black and white presentation by Lowell Thomas on the history of film. Then, he introduces 20 widescreen presentations.
 
Frankly, I understand how exciting it must have been to experience a Roller Coaster wide in widescreen for the first time.  But, in 2018, it is no longer my first time. The film, time and again, uses the technology to show how much can fit inside the screen. So instead of getting great close-ups at the opera house, La Scala, the film minimizes the players in the middle and concentrates on showing you the theatre, balconies and all.
 
For a bullfight in Spain, there aren’t any close-ups of the participants, but you see the entire arena react. In some way then, by trying to show how big things are they actually make them smaller to fit it.  They travel across America, but if you have seen Planet Earth, and a zillion other productions, this is not new to you. Niagara Falls is beautiful and so are the canals in Venice, but they shots linger for a long, long time in this widescreen travelogue. Don’t tell anyone, but we fast forward through many scenes in this two hour movie.
 
The movie is presented in “Smilebox” their way of trying to show you the curvature of the screen.  I would have preferred the regular way.
 
As a curiosity piece I did want to finally see this.  It was fun half the time and boring the other half. The musical soundtrack, which dominates the audio for there is little narration (but some singing), was pleasant enough.  Cinerama, originally, required the use of three cameras and then three projectors.  Many times you can see the two seams running through the restored picture here.
 
Sometimes fun, but I won’t be seeing it again.
 
 
 


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