The WIDESCREEN WEEKEND October 2019
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The 70mm Newsletter
|Written by: Johan C.M. Wolthuis, International 70mm Publishers The Netherlands||Date: 08.11.2019|
|Johan Wolthuis and Trevor Healy. Picture by Ulrich Rostek|
This Widescreen weekend started as usual with the Opening Night Reception in the café of the Media Museum. Followed by a 70mm screening of Steven Spielbergs "Ready Player One".
The next day I started with interviewing some of the visitors of this famous film event at a request of Thomas Hauerslev.
Paul Rayton (and his wife Peggy) from Los Angeles has already visited this event around 15 times: He likes meeting people with an interest in 70mm and of course he likes the interesting movies, rare screenings of classic old 70mm movies that you can't see elsewhere. And of course he likes 3-strip Cinerama films, which are so extremely rare and exceptionally difficult to present successfully. He said:
"It is always amazing that this complicated system works so well! I like the curved screen, it is impressive for Cinerama films. However, Todd-AO 70mm films are not really made for the Cinerama screen, they are composed for a slightly curved screen! In fact, in an ideal world, they would have 3 screens here in Pictureville: one flat, one slightly curved and a large deep-curved screen for original 3-strip Cinerama films"
He did like most of the movies, especially Gladiator and A League of Their Own (presented in 35mm copies), which he had never seen before. He rated the program this year with a 7. Paul worked many years before his retirement as chief projectionist at the Egyptian Theater of the American Cinematheque on Hollywood Boulevard.
Nigel Wolland, long time chief projectionist at the Odeon Leicester Sq in London, now retired, living in New Malden, South London has visited the Widescreen Weekend for the 14th time. Being a retired projectionist, he still likes to experience the Widescreen projection and of course original Cinerama that you can only see here in Europe. Nigel said:
"You can only watch here original Cinerama and 70mm on the same day. That is very exceptional, as in London 70mm screenings are very seldom only screened at the BFI South Bank, Odeon Leicester Square, Prince Charles and Picturehouse Central. A pity that some of the films in the Widescreen program clashed with other films, so it was sometimes difficult which film we wanted to see. And Todd-AO films are not made for the large curved screen! I enjoyed the Doris Day film Pillow Talk, she was really a great movie star and I liked the introduction by Professor Sir Christopher Frayling. The programming of this year was in my opinion very good, films that you haven't seen for a long, long time such as Ice Station Zebra and Ben-Hur".
Berry Quinton (friend of Nigel) from Worthing, West Sussex, UK has visited Bradford already eight times. He likes seeing old friends and seeing 70mm films on the curved screen because of the spectacular view. He himself has been a projectionist and a print master. He liked especially "Ben-Hur" and ICE STATION ZEBRA on the large screen and Effie Gray, with Emma Thompson, in 35mm, on the flat screen. This year he liked the good combination of all the different formats.
Friday morning Pictureville Cinema showed their unique Cinerama possibilities on the large curved screen with South Seas Adventure, the 5th Cinerama travelogue from 1958. Only the first half in original 3-strip Cinerama, which print the museum has obtained long ago from John Mitchell in Australia and the second half, digitally remastered from David Strohmaier. The first half was completely faded and the second digital part showed us what we had missed in the original first part!
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|Johan Wolthuis interviewing Jonny Bradshaw. Picture by Ulrich Rostek|
A historic moment arrived Friday afternoon with the introduction by Professor Sir Christopher Frayling of Pillow Talk, the famous Doris Day movie from 1959. He told us a lot of interesting memories about his interview with the famous star in 1989 for the BBC TV exactly thirty years ago. Sir Christopher said:
"When Doris Day died at the age of 97 in May of this year, it was front page news all over the world: her wholesome image and on-screen personification of innocence had made her "the last of the stars of the golden age" even though she hadn't appeared in a film for over 50 years. Our screening of Pillow Talk will be our tribute to a much-misunderstood and much-loved superstar".
Of course the professor was shocked by her sudden death.
One of the visitors coming all the way from Australia, Keith Stevens, visited the Widescreen Weekend for the 2nd time! He said:
"Bradford is for me the only place to see real films! I have worked 55 years as a projectionist and I like films on the large curved screen but also on the flat screen. The program of this year was excellent as I like especially musicals. This year is in my opinion the best until now. It was a pity that some of the films in the other cinema clashed with films in Pictureville cinema".
Ulrich Rostek was one of the visitors from Germany. He lives in Herne near Düsseldorf. This year was his 9th visit since 2010. His interest in 70mm started when he visited in February 2009 the one and only 70mm Retrospective in Berlin during the Berlinale Filmfestival. They screened a lot of new 70mm prints. Ulrich saw WAR AND PEACE in two parts, (2 x 4 hours!) in 70mm in the old KINO International (former East German) and 70mm BARAKA and listened to the producer Mark Magidson. Then he heard about a yearly Todd-AO festival later that year in Karlsruhe. Of course he visited that and during that first visit he met people who told him about another 70mm event in Bradford. So the next year 2010 he went on the plane to visit the Widescreen Weekend for the first time and since then every year, but nowadays he travels with the Eurostar High Speed train via London. He was very curious of seeing original Cinerama, which he had never seen before. He likes 70mm because of the sharp images and the details. This year he liked the variety in the program and especially MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS in original Super Panavision 70 on the flat screen. He felt the “torture of choice” due to the overlapping in this years program of some of the films in the different cinemas which he would like to see all.
Another guest from afar was Anthony J. Gilbert from Victoria on the West Coast of Canada, near Seattle. It was his first visit this year to Bradford. He has a lifelong interest in Widescreen since he saw CinemaScope films. He likes also the clarity of the 70mm on the big screens. Not curved, but on the flat screen. He hopes to come again next year and hopes to see Cinerama's SEVEN WONDERS OF THE WORLD. He followed the program online and thinks it is generally mixed and balanced.
|Johan Wolthuis and Keith Stevens from Australia. Picture by Ulrich Rostek|
Anders M. Olsson, retired medical engineer and former projectionist, from Lund in Sweden, visited Bradford for the 18th time. Basically he wants to see original Cinerama and everything else is a bonus for him. Widescreen Weekend is a great opportunity for him to meet friends, old and new, from all over the world. He likes the curved screen. This year his favourites were SOUTH SEAS ADVENTURE and Murder on the Orient Express. He thinks the best year was 2002 with the 50th Anniversary of Cinerama with screenings of all available Cinerama prints! He also takes a lot of photographs of the event.
Finally I asked some guests from the United Kingdom about their experiences:
Bruce Campbell and his wife, from Fulham, were for the 15th time in Bradford. According to Bruce, Bradford is the only place in the UK to see epic films. He likes the quality of real film and the curved screen. His favourites of this year were SOUND OF MUSIC and ICE STATION ZEBRA. He prefers older films and the only opportunity is to see them here!
Trevor Healy from Barnsley which is not far from Bradford holds the record with his visit to the Widescreen Weekend during all the 22 years! He enjoys the company of old friends over here and all the films you don't see normally. He likes the big Cinerama films which fills your field of view. His all-time favourite is of course HOW THE WEST WAS WON on the large curved screen. He found the program of this year very good, especially Forrest Gump with Tom Hanks and he liked the combination of 3-strip Cinerama's South Seas Adventure as real film and digital. He liked this year's program more than the other years and especially the many introductions.
Paul Sutton from Barry in South Wales was for the second time in Bradford. He especially likes old Cinerama films on the curved screen in both years and this year his favourites were ICE STATION ZEBRA and CARMEN JONES.
To conclude, Jonny Bradshaw from Manchester was the youngest visitor this year and it was his third time! He likes this Weekend because of the great films. He thinks the quality of real films better than digital. He likes the flat screen and his favourites of this year were: Forrest Gump, Pulp Fiction, Barabbas and West Side Story. He thought this year was better than last year, more old films. His favourite movie is LAWRENCE OF ARABIA.
The programming of this year's Widescreen Weekend was very varied: musicals like West Side Story and The Sound of Music resulted in a nearly full house as was also the case with Ice Staton Zebra, Murder on the Orient Express and Ben-Hur. On Sunday morning we all enjoyed the CINERAMACANA program with different movies and finally a great 70mm story by Thomas Hauerslev from Denmark and David Strohmaier from Los Angeles about the Todd-AO process and the Todd-AO Distortion Correcting Printing Process.
Bradford, is a cultural city with an impressive history. It is also the World's first UNESCO City of Film as a recognition for the city's rich film heritage and inspirational movie locations. But nowadays also for the famous yearly WIDESCREEN WEEKENDS in the Pictureville Cinerama Cinema, part of the National Science and Media Museum.
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