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Visit biografmuseet.dk about Danish cinemas


70mm Day in Aalborg

The 70mm Newsletter
Written by: Johan C. M. Wolthuis, International 70mm Publishers Date: 02.05.2014
Ben Wales, Brian Walters and Brian Guckian looking at images. Image by Anders Olsson

On the Friday of April 25, I travelled all the way from my hometown Arnhem in The Netherlands to Aalborg in the far North of Denmark during a twelve hour train ride to join the celebration of 25 year Biffen 70mm Cinema on Saturday. The day started in the morning with a new 70mm print of "West Side Story" with a time code for DTS [Datasat] digital sound, screened on the curved screen as it should be screened! And of course with the sound coming from all five speakers behind the screen and from the surround speakers in this beautiful amphitheatre auditorium. The curved screen measures 10 m wide and in the projection room are (of course) two DP 70 projectors from the fifties, in full service. This was a print that they had on loan for two screenings from the EYE Film Institute in Amsterdam who had bought the print in 2009, during the great one and only 70mm Retrospective in Berlin which was part of the Berlinale Filmfestival that year. After the finale of this musical event the visitors were invited to take part in a lunch on the first floor of the theatre.

In the middle of the lunch floor Orla Nielsen, owner of the cinema, had arranged four tables for Johan Wolthuis of International 70mm Publishers, for his book signing session and for showing his 5 impressive Archive books from famous 70mm films such as "Oklahoma!", "Around the World in 80 Days", "Lawrence of Arabia", "Cleopatra" and "Far and Away". Guest of honour Oliver Michael Todd, grand son of Mike Todd, was especially interested by the large book with pictures and articles of “Around the World”.
More in 70mm reading:

The Golden Elephant Award

70MM Film Event at Biffen, Aalborg Denmark, 26. April 2014

Widescreen History

Johan Wolthuis

Internet link:

Peter Graves and unknown MGM actress appearing in 65mm footage filmed by Fred Zinnemann and photographed by Harry Stradlin 3. August 1953.

The afternoon was a combination of a lecture and short films. Orla Nielsen opened the program, welcoming his guests and screened a 17 minutes documentary about the building of his cinema.

Then the microphone was handed to Johan Wolthuis who surprised Thomas Hauerslev with a Golden Elephant Award for his work on in70mm.com. Next were screened old 70mm prints such as “The Miracle of Todd-AO” and “The March of Todd-AO” both 70mm shorts from the fifties. Thomas Hauerslev continued the program with a lecture about the history of the Todd-AO process. Followed by unique 70mm test scenes filmed in 1953, with an old Mitchell 65mm camera from the thirties with the new Todd-AO lenses mounted on it, taken before the filming of "Oklahoma!" actually started. With a couple “in a Surrey with the Fringe on Top” looking like Gordon MacRae and Shirley Jones starring in the film, but they were look-alikes [One actor was Peter Graves]. For the visitors from abroad Ireland, Sweden, England, USA, Australia and Holland it was a pity [A document in English was handed out to foreign guests] the lecture was spoken in Danish (without subtitles!), but the accompanying images on the screen needed no explanation for those of us being long-time 70mm addicts!
Oliver Todd enjoying being interviewed by Thomas Hauerslev in front of an enthusiastic 70mm  audience. Image by Anders Olsson

Then Thomas Hauerslev had his very interesting interview (in English) with Oliver Michael Todd in front of the auditorium. After this program most of us went to a nearby restaurant where we could have a buffet and time to talk with old an new friends.

Around 8 o'clock in the evening, a screening started of the famous ”2OO1: A Space Odyssey” on the curved screen. This was also a good (not faded) print that came from Warner Brothers in London. Some time after the end of this screening around midnight Orla Nielsen offered us a Danish beer, which was the best thing to finish this remarkable 70mm Day. It was really worth the 12 hour train ride from my home town Arnhem and on the way back I had finally the time to do some writing.

The next day I immediately went to a bookshop to buy a large map of Denmark. I wanted to know where my train came along through the beautiful landscape of Denmark with it's many lakes/sea sides, railway stations, cities, bridges, etc. Handy for next year!
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Updated 04-05-22