Memories from Bradford
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The 70mm Newsletter
and photographed by: Hannemann, Lyndon, Olsson & Rostek
Mark Lyndon's introduction to "This is Cinerama"
member Mark Lyndon introducing "This is Cinerama".
Picture by Anders M. Olsson.
good morning and welcome to the Pictureville Cinema, the best cinema in the
world, according to David Puttnam, no less, and home to the only genuine,
three strip, 146 degree louvered screen Cinerama installation on earth.
Today, we are presenting "This is Cinerama", the first and most epoch making
Cinerama presentation of them all, and Cinerama is the star.
What is Cinerama?
The Cinerama process begins with a special, purpose built camera. One vision
is captured via three 27mm Kodak Ektar lenses and registered on 35mm rolling
stock housed in three separate magazines. The stock is then processed,
printed and edited and finally comes together on the giant screen you see in
front of you, via those three projectors behind you.
The screen itself is made of 1100 strips of material like this, all facing you, thus eliminating wash out and cross reflections. Note the
perforations, through which came the first true, permanently established,
multi channel surround sound. Starting with this groundbreaking and epoch
making production, surround sound, widescreen and colour have gradually
become the way of presenting the moving image, Exceptions are rare.
The resulting images and sound which you will shortly witness in "This is
Cinerama" are quite breathtaking, not to mention stunning.
Here is Fred Waller, the all American genius who invented Cinerama with an
early prototype rig, featuring no less than 11 cameras. He also invented the
gunnery trainer which was credited with saving a quarter of a
million lives in World War Two.
Read all about it on in70mm.com, the world's leading resource for students
of all things Wide and beautiful on the giant screen!
Why go to all this trouble, with such a costly, complex and clearly
cumbersome way of making and exhibiting movies? When GI Johnny came marching
home after World War Two was won, he intended to spend more time at home
with his family, watching a brand new fangled, must have, mass produced,
domestic consumer product. This was the brash new kid on the block demanding
and getting all the attention.
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Widescreen Weekend 2016
Rostek's Gallery: Wide Screen Weekend, 2016.
Widescreen Weekend "Audience on Stage"
Weekend, Bradford, England
Pope popped by. Picture by
This was Television!
Cinema box office receipts had halved in those darkening years. It certainly
didn't take an accountant from Whitehall & Marx or a Fermat to figure out
the cold equations. It very much looked like movie going and hence film
production was going the way of the dodo, the dinosaur and the dancing bear.
Hollywood and film exhibitors were at a complete loss as to what to do about
it. At this time, in Oyster Bay, on Long Island NY, a band of bold pioneers,
led by Fred Waller, were working on perfecting a very different way of
presenting moving pictures, one which would knock television into a cocked
hat. This was Cinerama! And led by Cinerama, Cinema itself began to fight
Many of you here this morning will be involved in the creation of show
What you are about to see is the daddy of them all - The Greatest Showreel
Ever Sold. It sold the reason why we are all here this weekend, Widescreen!
It sold the Cinerama process, it brought audiences flocking back into
Cinemas. Through the sincerest form of flattery, CinemaScope and countless
other imitators, it sold the idea that Cinema was still alive and kicking,
still very much a viable proposition and well worth investing in and by the
way a great art form...
But above all, it taught the world and his partner that Cinema itself was
still here and it was here to stay! Now very soon, one of the key players in
the whole drama that led to the creation of this masterpiece will tell you
more about it.
Ladies and Gentlemen this shall be Lowell Thomas - after the overture...
Vladimir Ilyich Leninerama Gold Medal
Russian comrade giving out the
Vladimir Ilyich Leninerama Gold Medal
award to Randich Gitschonowich (for best hair style) aka.
Picture by Anders M. Olsson.
unanimous decision, or else, of the Awards Committee of the Praesidium of
the Supreme Soviet of the Academy of Seriously Large Format Kinematographic
Systems, of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, it gives me great
pleasure to award the highest accolade that the Academy can bestow, the
Vladimir Ilyich Leninerama Gold Medal for Heroic Socialist Labour, striving
in the noble cause of Cinematography by restoring and introducing great
masterpiece Bing Crosby's Russian Adventure, to Comrade Randolph Gitsch!
Wolfram Hannemann's introduction to „Chitty Chitty
introducing "Chitty". Picture by Anders M. Olsson.
What kind of film would you expect if it is
presented by Albert R. Broccoli, based on a novel by Ian Fleming, with
production design by Ken Adam and Peter Lamont as assistant art director,
and starring - among many others - Desmond Llewelyn, better known as „Q“ and
„Mr. Goldfinger“ Gert Fröbe, plus having the words „Bang Bang“ in the movie
title and featuring a fancy car? A children’s musical of course!
„Chitty Chitty Bang Bang“ is based on a novel by Ian Fleming which tells the
story of the Pott family and their flying car by means of which they rescue
a French candy maker from being held as hostage with his family by a bunch
of gangsters. However, when adapting the novel for the screen Roald Dahl and
director Ken Hughes came up with a completely different story as you will
see. The strange country of „Vulgaria“ as well as the character of „Truly
Scrumptious“ (played by Sally Ann Howes) were invented by Roald Dahl, who
had provided the screenplay for the James Bond movie „You Only Live Twice“
the year before, the first Bond film to deviate severely from the original
With a running time of approx. two hours and 20 minutes, it's one of the
longest children's film in history, certainly for its time. It wouldn't be
until the next millennium, with the Harry Potter films, that films for
children of such length would be made again. And it was the first non-Walt
Disney film to feature songs by the Sherman brothers. In addition to their
music score been nominated for a Golden Globe their song „Chitty Chitty Bang
Bang“ was nominated both for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe but lost it
both times to Michel Legrand’s „The Windmills of your mind“ from „The Thomas
Crown Affair“. The Golden Globe for Original Score went to Alex North’s
Shoes of the Fisherman“.
Dick Van Dyke was cast as Caractacus Potts after he turned down the role of
Fagin from another 1968 musical „Oliver!“ (which ended up going to Ron
Moody). Originally Van Dyke turned the part down but was repeatedly offered
the part with more money added in each offer. When the offer reached seven
figures plus a percentage of the profits, he accepted the role. In an
interview during filming in October 1967 Dick Van Dyke revealed he only
accepted the role of Caracatus Potts on the condition that he would not have
to attempt an English accent. This was after Van Dyke's attempt at a Cockney
accent in „Mary Poppins“ (1964) had been widely mocked by critics.
Conrad talking about "The Golden Head". Picture by
Heather Ripley, who plays Jemima in the movie, recalled that she did not
realize until much later that Dick Van Dyke was an alcoholic when the film
was made. In addition he was smoking up to 40 cigarettes a day and found the
dance numbers very demanding. Being not a professional dancer at all Van
Dyke was instructed by choreographers Dee Dee Wood and Marc Breaux, who
stripped down the choreography to cope with Van Dyke’s abilities. According
to Van Dyke the toughest dance scene to do was the „Old Bamboo“ number. It
took 23 takes for the finale of this dance, where the dancers had to jump
over their bamboo sticks. And if you watch very closely you will see that
Dick Van Dyke did just make it
In his 2011 autobiography "Dick Van Dyke: My Lucky Life In and Out Of Show
Business", Dick Van Dyke revealed that he did not get along with producer
Albert R. Broccoli or director Ken Hughes during filming. According to Dick
Van Dyke, director Ken Hughes hated children and Van Dyke would often have
to tell him to stop cursing in front of the child actors. It was widely
noted that whilst Ken Hughes was a very good 'action' director he was not
good at directing actors and especially the children. Consequently it fell
to Van Dyke and Sally Ann Howes to entertain the children and guide them
through their performances.
The part of Truly Scrumptious had originally been offered to Julie Andrews,
to reunite her with Van Dyke after their success in „Mary Poppins“. Andrews
rejected the role specifically because she considered that the part was too
close to the Poppins mould. Instead, Sally Ann Howes was given the role. She
had replaced Julie Andrews in the Broadway company of "My Fair Lady" when
Andrews went to London in the musical.
The Caractacus Potts inventions in the film were created by Rowland Emett;
by 1976, Time magazine, describing Emett's work, said no term other than "Fantasticator...could
remotely convey the diverse genius of the perky, pink-cheeked Englishman
whose pixilations, in cartoon, watercolor and clanking 3-D reality, range
from the celebrated Far Tottering and Oyster Creek Railway to the demented
thingamabobs that made the 1968 movie „Chitty Chitty Bang Bang“ a minuscule
veterans Francois Carrin and Bill Lawrence. Picture by
Seven different and very detailed „Chitties“ were built by production
designer Ken Adam: a worn-out one, a restored one, one for the flying
scenes, one for the water scenes and three partial models for various other
scenes. At a 1973 auction in Florida, one of the Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang
cars sold for $37,000, equal to more than $190,000 today. The original
"hero" car, in a condition described as fully functional and road-going, was
offered at auction in 2011 by a California-based auction house. The car sold
for $805,000, less than the $1–2 million it was expected to reach. It was
purchased by New Zealand film director Sir Peter Jackson. He could be seen
near the WETA Workshop in New Zealand driving cast members of „The Hobbit“
films around in the car while playing the main theme song through a sound
system. Who knows, maybe we are getting a new movie, maybe „Chitty Chitty
Bang Bang flies to Middle Earth“?
Although most of the location filming was done in England, the scenes at
Baron Bomburst’s castle were shot in Germany at Neuschwanstein, built
between 1869 and 1886 for the Bavarian King Ludwig II, better known as "The
Mad King of Bavaria". It is the spot not to be missed while being on holiday
in Germany and it is especially popular with Japanese tourists doing their
„Europe in 5 days“ tour. In addition production designer Ken Adam had part
of King Ludwig’s castle built on the backlot of Pinewood Studios. To blend
it in with the exterior shots of the original Neuschwanstein the Ken Adam
version had to be as close to the original as possible.
„Chitty Chitty Bang Bang“ was shot in 65mm Super Panavision by Christopher
Challis and released in both 35mm and 70mm versions. Unfortunately no unfaded 70mm print was at hand for Widescreen Weekend and so it was decided
to show a full color 35mm Dolby SR print instead which hopefully will do
justice to Chris Challis‘ photography.
And let me tell you that we do have someone here with us in the audience
today who actually worked on this film: Tony Sloman. I am pretty sure that
Tony is more than willing to share some of his memories after this screening
at the bar. Director Ken Hughes, by the way, reportedly hated the finished
Originally, my intro would have ended as follows: „And now, ladies and
gentlemen, put on your safety helmets and get ready for „Chitty Chitty Bang
Bang“ which will be presented in its original roadshow version (hopefully
complete and uncut!), including one of the best cliffhanger intermissions –
ever.“ – Well, originally. However, we found that our print is missing the
intermission! I hope you will enjoy the movie nevertheless.
Widescreen Weekend – A people's event by Ulrich
Bond screen talk with Jenny Hanley. Picture by Ulrich
And once again the community reunited to enjoy the whole (cinema-)scope of
widescreen movies, including Cinerama (three-strip and digitally restored),
70mm, 35mm CS (black and white/MagentaVision/full color), and 4K DCP.
But it's not only watching movies that makes the Widescreen Weekend. What
makes the difference between WSW and similar festivals is the interactive
approach (and I do not only mean virtual reality). It's the amount of people
from the audience who keep the show running for the audience. It is a
festival that involves people. And this is a story about people.
Being well balanced WSW does not only look back to the good old days but
gives a view to the future as well, starting with young film makers'
approaches to wide screen cinematography.
This year WSW saw a young lady's first appearance as the festival's
director. Kathryn Penny (not to be confused with Miss Moneypenny) did a
great job leading us through the festival and she did it in an oh so
What would a classical movie be without a well presented introduction? Like
all those years before the appetizing speeches prior to the movies were held
by our co-delegates Sir Christopher Frayling („The Agony and the Ecstasy“),
Tony Sloman („The Innocents“), and Wolfram Hannemann („Chitty Chitty Bang
Bang“), to mention a few.
audience. Picture by Ulrich
Once again our long time usual suspects David Strohmaier and Randy Gitsch
brought their latest Cinerama restauration „Cinerama's Russian Adventure“.
Restored from original three strip elements it looked really great. So
another piece of motion picture history is saved before the last surviving
35-mm-prints turn to vinegar. We are all looking forward to seeing the new
restorations of „This is Cinerama“ and „Windjammer“ which the two guys are
preparing from three strip elements as well. Furthermore the two presented
their digital restoration of the Technirama children's detective story „The
Golden Head“ - and gave the audience the chance to welcome 80 years young
singer/actor/entertainer Jess Conrad, who played a leading role in that film
and told about his experiences in a screen talk with Dave.
Like Alec Guinness once in „Kind Hearts and Coronets“, long time delegate
and fellow Mark Lyndon had a multiple role appearance this year. Being
dressed up as the pope – a tribute to pope Julius in the opening film „The
Agony and the Ecstasy“ - he was the eyecatcher of the reception party on
Thursday. Changing the pope's robe to a Russian military uniform, he honored
Randy Gitsch for his outstanding contribution to the cultural heritage of
the Russian people by remastering „Cinerama's Russian Adventure“. After
playing himself introducing „This is Cinerama“ he was seen in a white tuxedo
and with a heavy weight drink in his hands – shaken, not stirred. Luckily he
did not dress up for „Aliens“.
Before the festival ended with a high quality 4K DCP of the James Bond movie
„On her Majesty's Secret Service“ screen talk guest Jenny Hanley, who played
one of the Bond Girls, gave an interesting view behind the scenes.
And as at the end of the last reel James Bond was announced to return to the
screen so are we delegates looking forward to our reunion in 2017 at
Does this article too much look like a family's story? You are pretty well
right, this IS a family's story! Come and join the next WSW, come and be
part of the community. But watch out, the first shot makes you addicted for
the rest of your life.
• Go to the gallery: Wide Screen Weekend, 2016.
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