Amsterdam 70mm Cinema History
History Of 70mm Film
Distribution And Exhibition In Amsterdam since 1960
The 70mm Newsletter
by: Jan-Hein Bal, EYE
Film Institute The Netherlands
Updated 22. November 2014
of Du Midi cinema with announcement WEST SIDE STORY 2nd year, March 1963.
Du Midi was Amsterdam’s first and most successful 70mm cinema and
started 70mm projection in 1960 with "Porgy And Bess". Other long
runs included "West Side Story" (1962, 93 weeks), "It’s A Mad,
Mad, Mad, Mad World" (1964), "The Sound Of Music" (1966) and
"Funny Girl" (blowup 1969). Du Midi showed 70mm during many years
until about 1978 and closed 1982.
Flora cinema bought 70mm projectors in 1961 for "Can-Can" and
their greatest successes were "El Cid" (1961), "Cleopatra"
(1963) and "My Fair Lady" (1964, 48 weeks). In later years no
70mm was shown anymore and Flora closed 1980.
Nöggerath cinema received 70mm projection in 1963 to continue "West
Side Story" from Du Midi but had never 70mm releases and other
revivals are uncertain. The building is now part of Tuschinski.
During many years Du Midi and Flora were the two 70mm roadshow cinemas
in Amsterdam, until 1965 with two additional 70mm cinemas. Since then
many 70mm prints were released, starting with at least seven titles in
in 70mm reading:
DP70s in Holland
Seeing "War and Peace" in 70mm is so
rare. It is like a very fine wine. You HAVE to appreciate it
"War and Peace" in Amsterdam 9. November
of Flora cinema with announcement CLEOPATRA, in 1963. Photograph George Schuller
Calypso cinema started 70mm screenings with "The Agony And The
Ecstasy" in 1965 and had great success with
"Play Time" in
1968. It was a minor 70mm cinema like all further commercial cinemas
except Bellevue Cinerama. Calypso closed 2006.
December 1965 Bellevue Cinerama opened as third and final 70mm roadshow
cinema. "The Hallelujah Trail" was the first of many exclusive
70mm screenings which were obligatory for later
Cinerama cinemas. Because of
this and diminishing 70mm production Bellevue released the first 70mm
blowup in Amsterdam with "The Great Race" in 1966. This and
blowups "Doctor Zhivago" (76 weeks) and "The Wild Bunch"
were Bellevue’s greatest 70mm successes.
The opening of Bellevue marked a long period where you could often
choose between several 70mm titles. 1968 had a peak of eleven releases
including "Around The World In 80 Days" reissue. A highlight was
the Stanley Kubrick 70mm “double bill” in 968 with the simultaneous
release of "2OO1: A
Space Odyssey" in Bellevue and "Spartacus" reissue
of Amsterdam cinemas Calypso (with announcement PLAYTIME 4th
week) and Bellevue Cinerama (with announcement DOCTOR ZHIVAGO 76th and last
week), May 1968. Photograph George Schuller
1966 the Rembrandtpleintheater cinema opened but not before 1969
"Hello, Dolly!" was the first and only 70mm screening. The cinema
already closed in 1986.
The famous Tuschinski cinema even needed more time because after its 70mm
installation about 1963 it lasted until 1969 for the first 70mm showing with
the "Gone With The Wind" blowup. Further only the 70mm release of
"Far And Away" is certain.
City cinema received 70mm projection not before 1969. With the 70mm reissue
of "Ben-Hur" in 1970 City started a 70mm revival until "Patton"
in 1977. It still exists but unlike Tuschinski is totally altered. With the
demolishing of the Bellevue Cinerama louvered screen in 1978, the closure of
Flora in 1980 and Du Midi in 1982 and lack of 70mm productions the boom was
over. Since then mainly blowups were released and only non-commercial
cinemas received further 70mm installations for revivals.
Desmet cinema started in 1984 a long series of 70mm revivals and imported
70mm restorations like "Lawrence of
Arabia" in 1991 and
1993 (also shown during the cinema closure in 2000).
of Bellevue Cinerama cinema with author Jan-Hein Bal and former Bellevue
projectionists George Schuller, Pim Hiddes, Freek Dozy, final evening before
closure December 2006. Photograph Merette Dozy
1992 the Filmmuseum Vondelpark started its many 70mm screenings with a
"Heaven’s Gate" blow
up, sometimes together with Desmet, like the ‘Size Matters’ festival in
2000. Filmmuseum Vondelpark closed 2012 and moved to the EYE Filmmuseum
1989 "The Abyss"
blow up marked
the end of regular 70mm screenings in Bellevue. Since 2003 the Filmmuseum
Vondelpark moved its 70mm screenings to Bellevue during the last years, with
annual ‘Widescreen Weekends’. As Filmmuseum Cinerama it closed 2006.
Pathé Arena cinema had many 70mm Imax DMR blowup screenings between
2005-2009 until it was digitized.
2012 the EYE Filmmuseum opened its futuristic building, including incidental
screenings of their own new 70mm prints "Playtime", "West Side Story" and
"The Master" besides 70mm vintageprints.
Finally there were some mobile (Cinema
180) and open air 70mm screenings in Amsterdam.
2014: Jan-Hein Bal is currently writing the Soviet 70mm cinema history in a
book called "Red Widescreen"
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