CINERAMA @ 60 ~ SMILEBOX IS BACK


30th September 1952 saw the world premier of This Is Cinerama. This Sunday sees the 60th Anniversary of that event and will marked by several posts and reviews throughout the day.

After nearly three years of following the progress of these illusive Cinerama titles, independent distributor, Flicker Alley have finally released This Is Cinerama and Windjammer: The Voyage Of The Christian Radich today!

Originally set for the 13th September, they were both put back to the 25th. Both are presented in the underused Smilebox format, which so far, has only been applied once back in 2008 with How The West Was Won. But that Blu-ray also presented a 2.78:1 version (flat) as well, but not with these titles. It’s Smilebox or nothing which is fine by me.

My hopes are that sooner, rather than later, the remaining Cinerama Travelogues and the other feature film to be shot in 3-Strip Cinerama, The Wonderful World Of The Brothers Grimm, will be released also. And, though maybe a pipe dream, the prospects of releasing other films with the option of Smilebox, such as 2001: A Space Odyssey & Ben~Hur, for examples, which were presented on a curved screen at time, let alone restorations of lost films such as the only other 3-Panel Cinerama films such as the afore-mentioned The Wonderful World Of The Brothers Grimm.

There are some cracking features on these discs, such as The Breakdown Reel for This Is Cinerama, an alternate segment which was included in the European showings, as well a selection of features looking at the restorations of the titles and I hope that these two films will make a prestigious addition to my collection. I have never seen Windjammer though, and it suspect that few people have but I have seen This Is Cinerama at Bradford back in 1993 and of course many excerpts in Smilebox as they featured in the Cinerama Adventure documentary from 2002.

Cinerama and Cinemiracle, the latter format used just once for Windjammer, were never really sustainable as widescreen formats, but this was and is still a fascinating format and does not deserve to be lost forever and thanks to all those who spent their time restoring these lost epics, they won’t be. Though it will always be niche market for a small number of collectors such as myself.

I have yet to receive my discs as they are on their way from Flicker Alley in the U.S. as we speak, but a review is coming so brace yourselves!

N.B. This post contains some text from a previous post regarding the same subject from June 2012.

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