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Review: "Earthquake" in Sensurround
12. February 2006

The 70mm Newsletter
Written by: Volker Hannemann, Kornwestheim, Germany Date: 06.07.2008
The wonderful Sensurround warning poster

First of all a BIG APPLAUSE to the Schauburg team who turned this sunday [] evening into a real BIG EVENT! Seeing "Earthquake" again after more than 30 years on the big curved screen in 70mm and in Sensurround was an unforgettable experience!

I remember seeing "Earthquake" for the first time at the age of 16 when it was released back in 1974 at the Atrium cinema in Stuttgart, Germany, in 70mm and with Sensurround sound. It was amazing - and the only time I ever saw it at the cinema. The other few times had been on tv and, well, without Sensurround... In 1974 this film started a series of big screen disaster movies ("Airport 1975", "The Towering Inferno",...) and it was quiet a sensation at that time.

When I first heard about the planned re-run of "Earthquake" at the Schauburg cinema in Karlsruhe, Germany, I was thrilled! To be able to see this film again in its original 70mm format and with Sensurround sound, was something a real widescreen fan would never miss! And finally I could bring my wife to see it, too!

The whole thing was announced as "The Last Picture Show" because everybody could take his/her seat home after the screening (new more comfortable seats were installed in the theater the next day).

Well, our expectations were high - and were even surpassed! After entering the cinema everybody got a "survival pack" which included 1 bottle of beer, some sweets and a sheet on which you could write down your last will and leave your seat to somebody else...

The house was sold out and everybody was excited about the things to come...

When the curtains finally opened and gave view to the big curved Cinerama screen, the whole show started with the famous "Sensurround warning"...
More in 70mm reading:

About Sensurround
Selling Sensurround equipment
Sensurround in England 2004
Sensurround in San Francisco 2006

2010 Sensurround Festival

Internet link:

The Schauburg

Posters on display in the Schauburg. "Ausverkauft" means SOLD OUT.

The German dubbed 70mm print we were going to see unfortunately was already color faded (but otherwise intact) and the magnetic stereo sound not state of the art - BUT: the Sensurround effect was fantastic! It was definitely better than in 1974! What this array of subwoofers behind the screen could do was really breathtaking! WOW!

But it was not only the technical side of the screening which made this evening so wonderful:

we could experience a completely new dimension of this movie realizing that it was nothing else but BIG FAT TRASH! After more than 30 years this film lost nearly all of its suspense - it was involuntary funny! And that was GREAT!

I had the feeling that everybody in this crowd packed theater was thinking exactly the same: "What a wonderful piece of trash!". The audience was absolutely wonderful, too: there was a lot of laughing (e.g. at Victoria Principal's hairstyle, Richard Roundtree's clothes, George Kennedy's scenes or the fact that Ava Gardner played Lorne Greene's daughter) and also some occasional applause - especially after the first big rumble!

Although the film itself does not have an intermission, this screening had one - one that left the whole theater in smoke! That was very effective!

After the movie finished the show did go on: for technically interested people like me it was possible to take a tour behind the screen and have a look at the subwoofers which were dismantled in very short time.

And there was also some dismantling going on in the theater itself: lots of people from the audience worked hard to take their cinema seats home. It was great fun to watch! The show after the show!

While walking to the car after we left the cinema, we could see people all the way who were carrying their cinema seats through the night...

It was a great evening and a great show and we enjoyed it so much. It's so good to know that there are still people in the movie business who know what showmansip really means!

Untitled from Preston Sturges on Vimeo.

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Updated 30-06-22