Every Friday, Fandor’s curators serve up a newly available film worthy of special attention. This week’s Featured Release is This is Cinerama directed by Merian C. Cooper.
“The sights of This Is Cinerama…remain a stunning demonstration of the power of moving a camera—or three—through space.” – Keith Phipps, A.V. Club
It feels as if there should be an exclamation point at the end of it’s title; This is Cinerama is, after all, the “the motion picture that started the entire widescreen revolution.” Born from a noble desire to enhance the moviegoing experience and exploit the full potential of the cinematic medium, Cinerama was a widescreen film format that employed a special curved screen design (adorably named Smilebox) and three projectors to create a panoramic visual field.
Meant to showcase the capabilities of this new technology, the whirlwind travelogue This is Cinerama was a sensation when it debuted on September 30, 1952, taking audiences on a spectacular journey complete with gondola rides in Venice, water skiing hijinks, aerial view of the America’s greatest natural and man-made wonders, and even a cameo by the Vienna Boys’ Choir. Now that’s entertainment.
Thanks to a restoration by our friends at Flicker Alley, you too can experience the wonders of Cinerama from your home, albeit on a more intimate scale. Click here to watch the trailer for This is Cinerama and add it to your queue.
The future is now: travel the world, revel in the retro joie de vivre and be amazed. This. Is. Cinerama.
We also suggest you check out this thoroughly entertaining 2003 Vanity Fair article about the Cinerama phenomena, it’s obsessive acolytes and efforts to preserve the format.
Windjammer (1958) directed by Bill Colleran and Louis de Rochemont III