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Widescreen Weekend 2005
Audience feedback

The 70mm Newsletter
  1. November 2005
Left: Ray Lambert, Susan Hanson and Dion Hanson

Hello Thomas,

I enjoyed the Wide Screen Weekend very much and consider the AUD15,000 it cost me to get there, money [was] well-spent. I have no significant criticism to make about anything.

I skipped "Baraka" as I have seen it before. It is a worthwhile and significant film, however, and worth programming. I also missed the first half of "How The West Was Won" as it clashed with the talk on Technicolor given by Jack Cardiff. He is too important a person to ignore, but I would have liked to have seen all of "How The West Was Won". (I thought the print has deteriorated a lot, both visually and aurally. There was cross-talk through the surrounds. I was surprised).

I also avoided seeing "The Sound of Music", not because it is a bad film, but because I have shown it so many times that I can barely stand watching it now.

I always enjoy Tony Sloman's introductions and hope they continue.

I know this is easier said than done, but it would be good if more early Cinemascope classics could be shown, preferably with magnetic sound. The little 35mm clip of "Oklahoma!" brought this home to me.

The reception went well this year. I liked the venue. I also liked the give-away pack. CINERAMACANA was up to its usual high standard, full of pleasant surprises.

All the best --- Eric White, Australia
Further in 70mm reading:

Widescreen Weekend 2005

Gallery: 2005
Gallery film: 2005
Gallery: Rayton
WSW Home
Through the Years
The Best of WSW

Academy of the WSW

Creating the WSW
Planning the WSW
Projecting the WSW
Projecting CINERAMA

Internet link:

Mr. Sheldon Hall flanked by unidentified guest from America and Tom Vincent, an archivist and specialist in VistaVision

Dear Thomas,

In response to your request for feedback (I am the guy who asked you about "The Alamo"):

Overall impression:

This was the first Widescreen Weekend I have attended - I thought it was great, much, much better than anything put on by the NFT in London (they don't do anything like this!) I will certainly be back next year.

Choice of film:

The choice of films was good, catering for a wide range of interests.

Best film / worst film:

The best film for me was "How The West Was Won" - this being the main reason I came in the first place. I don't have a "worst" film.

Lectures / "q and a" sessions:

Your own presentation on Todd-AO was particularly enjoyable and informative.

Delegates packs / reception / guests:

It was a pleasure to meet with and listen to Jack Cardiff and Walter Siegmund.

The delegate packs were good - I am really pleased with the Todd-AO baseball cap and the copy of your magazine "in 70mm" this is the first time I have seen the magazine.

The reception on Friday evening was nice, as a "first timer" it might have been nice for someone to have said a few words of welcome to the delegates.

I was slightly disappointed with the "Cineramacana" on Sunday morning - I would have liked to have seen more films - it was at least an hour before we actually saw one! The talk from the gentleman form the Projection Trust was a little over-long.

I hope this is helpful - I will look forward to next year! Is it in order to make suggestions/requests for films to be included?

Kind regards,

Paul Smithers
Right to left: Ramon Lamarca (Spain), Francois Carrin (France), Paul Rayton (USA) and Avni, friend of Ramon

Hi Thomas

I am writing this letter in a personal capacity as someone who got ‘stuck’ at Pictureville Cinema on the morning of the event CINERAMACANA waiting for money to get home from a party the night before (long story!)

I was not too thrilled to be nursing my Champagne hangover in the company of so many excitable enthusiasts of this annual event and I was desperate to get home.

Bill (my ticket home) asked me to sit and watch the event and he would sort out money for me afterwards and said the event was only 90 minutes long! He lied – it was 4 days long surely!

I am so glad I stayed, albeit without any choice! I have rarely in my life been in the company of so many strangers with one heart beating for all and I have never experienced anything like the ‘universal spirit’ so tangible at this event attended by people from all corners of the world and all at ease with each other , truly a ‘brotherhood of man’.

The event itself went to a warm place in my own heart and had me smiling, laughing and crying silently in equal measure. I was completely taken aback by not only my own unexpected emotions but those of some of the delegates as precious piece after piece of film was shown on the screen and the inevitable stories of their journey from derelict (and dangerous!) buildings, and old dilapidated cinemas to the ‘glory’ of Pictureville Cinema at the National Museum of Photography Film & Television. A truly global event.

I listened to people from Holland, Scotland, the USA, Denmark, a Hollywood projectionist to name but a few – all with something to contribute to this event and I enjoyed meeting Lois and Walter [Siegmund] from Connecticut, and Howard [Rust], and talking to them like we were old friends. And of course it was lovely to see you again and to meet little Maria who I am sure will be an excellent candidate to take over the Widescreen Weekend when (if ever!) you retire!

I think my ‘reluctant’ attendance at CINERAMACANA was ‘serendipity – a happy accident!

Best wishes
Rosemary Lawrence, Yorkshire
The Swedish Delegation

Hej Thomas

Besökt Bradford filmfestival för nionde året i rad. Tycker att årets festival var en av de bästa hitigs mycket pågrund av de nya 70mm kopiorna samt de många intressanta föreläsningarna och presentationerna. I år var vi elva svenska delegater men hoppas att vi kan bli fler nästa år, kommer att skriva några rader om festivalen i SFs personaltidning. Tack för ditt engagemang och dina insatser på webben.

Christer Pellrud, Sweden
Keith Swadkins, Andrew King, ____, Malcolm Clarke and Brenda Swadkins

Best weekend ever with great films and superb prints. The choice of films was excellent and Todd-AO never looked better both on the curve and in terms of presentation with the DP70 and DTS.

Best film was "Hello Dolly" - fresh, vibrant great music and what sound. Closely followed by "The Sound of Music" - saw this originally in Torquay in 70mm but the screen was rather flat and small and never made much of an impression. This was a whole new experience and just proves how much TV destroys a big screen movie. The cutting and lighting particularly struck me ranging from the wedding scene and the night shots respectively.

"Oklahoma!" seemed dated and static by comparison. Yes I enjoyed it but the shots were long takes and very stagey.

Worst film was the one I did not see!

"Out of Africa" is one of my favourite films but the blow up print did rather show up the limitations of some of the original photography.

"Doctor Dolittle" I also enjoyed even if it got more and more silly.

Lectures, no comment as food time got in the way.

Overall I could have done every film except one but sometimes you need a break - mind you "Mystic India" in Imax was a big yawn.

Great stuff and congratulations
David Watson
Barry Pick (UK), Johan Wolthuis (The Netherlands) and Wolfram Hanneman (Germany)

Dear Thomas,

It was nice to see you at Bradford last week. I enjoyed it so much. It felt like we were one big family. We're all on the same mission, trying to keep the magic alive.

I'm not a big fan of musicals but I loved the whole weekend. I was very impressed by "South Pacific". I had never seen the film, so the faded print didn't make any difference to my enjoyment. I was riveted by the story and the powerful performances.

I had never seen "Those Magnificent Men" on the big curved screen. It's classic family entertainment. A true period piece. I spent many years filming some of those replicas at Shuttleworth Collection in Bedfordshire. I shot on 16mm scope and Kodachrome. I'm transferring the film to DVD at present so I can archive the originals. I know what it takes to get those aircraft up there and I was quite surprised at the manouvers that the planes were making in the film. You would not be allowed to fly that way today. These aircraft have very strict rules to fly now.

When I arrived on the Thursday I didn't think I would have anything to say to the audience, but once I heard what everyone was into I thought I had lots to say. I really enjoyed the company of Walter and Louis Siegmund. They are lovely people. Also meeting Jack Cardiff was a thrill.

I am looking forward to next year and I hope we have a new Vistamorph, Technirama and VistaVision film to show.

I don't know where you get all the energy, but I hope you never run out of it. It is all appreciated. Once again I was reminded that we live at the turn of an era. The people who know how to make the magic happen are fading away. It is now more important than ever that film and 70mm film is kept alive as an art form in its own right.

Thank you for all your effort. If you ever get to Glasgow let me know. I'm going to do my damndest to save the Coliseum and bring back 70mm and Super Cinerama. We will also have Vistamorph, just for the hell of it. All we need is money and lots of encouragement.

All the best from Scotland.
Take care, Chris [Mr. Vistamorph] and the gang
Dear Thomas,

Here is my comments and views on the last Bradford Widescreen Weekend.

Overall impression:

I have been attending most of the Widescreen Weekends and this one was far the most enjoyable one to date and was good to see some new delegates, who had a great weekend and plan to come back again.

Choise of film

Best film / worst film:

The favourite film was "Scent of Mystery", never seen this one before.

The worst film I pick must be "Doctor Dolittle" and "The Agony And The Ecstasy" both starred Rex Harrison and both cast with the wrong actor.

Lectures / "q and a" sessions:

The only lecture I had (time) to see was the Walter Siegmund Interview and found it most interesting and Mr Siegmund was a informative and friendly gentleman to talk to.

Delegates packs / reception / guests:

The Delegates Pack was one of the best I had seen and credit must be given to the sponsors and putting the information together for the delegates.

The Reception started late and no/little information was given to museum staff as the location of the Reception.

I am looking already to the next Widescreen Weekend in 2006 and hope it can continue with the success as this years event.

Ben Wales 31.03.2005
Margaret and Mark Lyndon

Dear Thomas

Here is my critique of the Widescreen weekette:

The 2005 vintage was by far the best yet, in spite of inevitable glitches and absences which did not affect the central purpose of celebrating the finest system of presenting motion pictures ever devised.

With one notable absence - "Around the World in Eighty Days" we were presented with the very cream of Todd-AO. "Oklahoma!" was a true revelation, it was clearly a high point of the weekette for many delegates. Fresh from the Fox vaults, a truly beautiful print and soundtrack, exquisite colour and camerawork and superb performances from the principals and supporting cast, notably Rod Steiger and Eddie Albert.

The most successful musical of all time, "The Sound of Music" deserves a special mention. One small detail that has escaped the millions of fans who saw it in 35mm or DVD explained the ease with which Christopher Plummer tore the Swastika flag in half, the Nazis had thoughtfully provided a small notch in the top of the hated flag of about 16mm.

Sadly, in spite of a mint print, "Doctor Dolittle" suffered in comparison with a very strong field. A quest film that had somehow lost its way, it was a misguided attempt to replicate the enormous success of "My Fair Lady", it lacked the magic X factor in bucketloads.

No one in the world is more qualified to present a symposium on Todd-AO than Walter Siegmund and Thomas Hauerslev. The timing, just before "Oklahoma" was just right. That evening was the most memorable we have experienced so far in Bradford.

Jack Cardiff was, as always, most illuminating, The greatest cinematographer of them all, probably.

In a vintage year, we enjoyed much erudition and wit in the introductory talks given by Tony Slomon, in spite of some strange heckling.

The Delegates Packs were generously and exceptionally well endowed with the bounty of the film industry. Kodak is clearly determined to keep hearts and minds focused on 35 film.

The reception in the Kodak Gallery was a vast improvement on last year.

There was plenty of room in which to circulate and meet the keenest enthusiasts and professionals in the business.

Mark Lyndon
Splendid weekend - and great photo - thanks for all your hard work in making an excellent 5 days!

See you next year!

Alun (the one in the Google jacket who can't pronounce hoogli!)
Overall impression: The best Widescreen Weekend I've been to (although it's only my third).

Choice of film: Excellent. My only complaint is that the "Amadeus Director's Cut" should never have been screened as part of the widescreen weekend. I just don't see the point of screening a 35mm print -- particularly one for a film that has received a recent theatrical release -- when space in the schedule is so limited. I loved the fact that all of the Rogers & Hammerstein Todd-AO films were screened.

Best film / worst film: Well, the worst film was easily "Scent of Mystery". What a terrible film. Of course, I still had to see it, particularly with the director in attendance.

It's hard to single out a best film. "Oklahoma" and "South Pacific" were probably my favorites, since I had never seen either one before. "South Pacific" was one title I never thought I'd get to see in 70mm. Although the print was badly faded, the soundtrack was in excellent shape.

Lectures / "q and a" sessions: I found the Q&A with Walter Siegmund to be somewhat redundant, since it covered pretty much the same ground as the interview that was included in the In 70mm Newsletter.

The introduction to Todd-AO lecture was good, and the test footage was a real treat. If I had any complaint, it was that insufficient attention was paid to the exhibition component of Todd-AO. Todd-AO was as much about showmanship as technology. It's a shame that John Belton wasn't around to give a "road show" talk.

David Olstein, 15.04.2005
Left Mr. Hans Helf and Mr. Robert van Valkenburg, Holland

Dear Thomas,

Thank you very much for the wonderful Widescreen Weekend at Bradford. This was the best one that I could watch. Almost every film was shot in Todd-AO! And such a lot of good sometimes very new prints too.

Kind regards
Albert Knapp
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Updated 21-01-24