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Wide Screen Weekend 2003 Reviews

The 70mm Newsletter
Date: April 2003

A first-rate venue

Extended in 70mm reading:
Richard Greenhalgh.

Picture by Thomas Hauerslev

This was my first Widescreen Weekend. I came a day early so that I could see the Museum and was absolutely delighted from the time I walked in Thursday afternoon for the behind-the-scenes tour, until I staggered out Sunday evening. The Museum is wonderfully laid out and well presented in every respect. I enjoyed seeing two IMAX films in the Museum's outstanding theater the night before the Widescreen Weekend started.

I can't think of a better way to spend a weekend than watching first-rate movies, at a first-rate venue, with a bunch of fanatics like myself, twelve hours a day. I must also mention that there were many regular attendees who gave me much help and advice on how to get there, where to stay, where to eat, where to sit and what to do. One regular attendee actually purchased my weekend pass for me in advance and then simply said, "We will settle up when we see each other." This, from a guy 6,000 miles away whom he had never met. Bill Lawrence and Joan Pollard were both very helpful. I would have to go a long way to find a more congenial bunch of people.

The program was excellent. I had not seen "Spartacus" for a long time and seeing the restored 70mm print was just great, though I would have preferred to see it on a flat screen. However, seeing the new print of "2001" on the curved screen was a real treat! Though I was privileged to see "This Is Cinerama" and "How The West Was Won" first-run at the Warner Cinerama Theater in Hollywood, and I have been to Dayton, Seattle and the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood for additional showings, I had not seen either of the two Cinerama features shown this weekend. While I had seen the Renault Cinerama "Commercial" in Dayton, it was a treat to see it again. Seeing "The Robe" on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the introduction of CinemaScope was most appropriate and enjoyable. And being able to see the actual lens used to shoot this film in the lobby at Pictureville was fascinating, to say the least.
Further in 70mm reading:

Widescreen Weekend 2003

Gallery: 2003
• Gallery film: 2003
• Gallery film: Greenhalgh
Gallery film: Rayton
• WSW Home
• Through the Years
• The Best of WSW

• Academy of the WSW

• Creating the WSW
• Planning the WSW
• Projecting the WSW
• Home of CINERAMA
• Projecting CINERAMA

Internet link:

After the seminar, some JDC lenses were on display and examined by the audience. Picture by Thomas Hauerslev

The Seminars and personal presentations were all interesting. Tony Sloman is simply a fountain of information, all of which is very interesting. John Belton's presentation on CinemaScope was well illustrated and quite informative. Joe Dunton gave us some interesting insight on various lenses and processes. Paul Rayton, from the American Cinematheque in Hollywood, brought some interesting film to view along with a very enjoyable Mr. Magoo cartoon which was in mint condition.

All-in-all, I am already looking forward to next year! I will be talking-up this weekend to many on this side of the pond for next year.

While I think this event was extraordinarily well planned and executed, my only suggestion is that more time needs to be allotted between each film (for food, refreshments and socializing). Running films 12 hours per day, with only 15 minutes between some of the showings, is a bit tight. Could we add a day to the schedule? For many of the locals this may not be interesting, but for some of us coming from other countries, it takes us a day to get there and a day to get home (22 hours in my case) so an extra day would be a good thing. I would like a bit more time to spend with the other attendees to get to know them. The reception was very nice, but also not long enough.

For next year, I would like to see "Windjammer", as I have never seen it. I would also like to see the four Cinerama break-down reels. I would also think it a good idea to officially include at least one IMAX film, even if it isn't widescreen. Their theater is terrific.

Richard Greenhalgh
Pasadena, California, USA

An excellent weekend again

David Watson (left) and John Hayes (right)

Picture by Thomas Hauerslev

An excellent weekend again. Scope was given a good send off. The Robe was very enjoyable with great colour (yes it was a little grainy but not unexpected for 50 years old) and sound - nice to hear the dialogue spread around the screen like 70mm. I enjoyed the film and found it much less static than I remembered. Only Richard Burton could have carried the role and to me this was one of his best performances.

"Silk Stockings" was great and all these films proved once again that scope can only be properly enjoyed on a big screen and not tv. Timing went wrong with all the trailers and there was so much to see that the lectures for me had to go. "Cinerama Holiday" is still one of the best but I found "Search for Paradise" rather slow. Cinerama is still the greatest depth experience on screen and when the camera moves - wow. If only you could join up all the best bits together.

DP70 - "The King and I" was superb on the curved screen. Last time it was tried on curved and flat with no difference in focus problems. This time the DP70 proved that any 70mm film is best on the curve with that lens. Maybe it was good just to see 70mm after all that scope!

Funniest moment: still that bottom shot on the bike in Paris ! 

How about a late October/Nov weekend as well. Can't get too excited about VistaVision next year, but anniversary of Todd-AO .... wow what a feast that could be - maybe a longer weekend/week.

Dave Watson
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Updated 07-01-23