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Visit biografmuseet.dk about Danish cinemas

 

7OMM with Per Hauberg
An evening with "Dunkirk" in 70mm at the Malling Bio, Denmark

Read more at
in70mm.com
The 70mm Newsletter
Written and photographed by: Thomas HauerslevDate: 22.06.2022
For me, we are not talking simply about bigger pictures, but about better pictures. It was almost like seeing something chiseled into the wall." Per Hauberg running "Dunkirk" in 70mm on DP70 #1473 on Friday 17. June 2022.

Per and I have shared an interest in 70mm films in different ways for many years, and I was curious to hear what 70mm film has meant to him. Was it the big pictures, the good sound, or something completely different? Following an interview I made with Per in 2018 for biografmuseet.dk, I promised Per to come back and visit him, once - and if - 70mm was ever up and running again at the Bio.

• Go to Gallery 7OMM with Per Hauberg

After a long process of re-installing 70mm at the Bio it was finally complete and ready in late 2021. I arranged for a visit Friday 17. June 2022 to photograph his 70mm presentation of "Dunkirk", and to catch up on the 70mm story, to present it here at in70mm.com. Some paragraphs from the interview have been translated, lightly edited for clarity and are presented below.

On a daily basis, Per lives in the apartment on top of the cinema. Speaking of a life in (on) a cinema. Per turns 70 in November, and in 2023, Per can celebrate Bio's 80th birthday, at the same time as he can celebrate his 50th anniversary as the manager of Bio. With almost 50 years at the helm, or rather next to the projectors, and in the ticket office, Per has provided a very wide range of high quality filmed entertainment for the citizens of Malling.

Per Hauberg was born in 1952, just months after CINERAMA premiered on Broadway in New York, an event which changed the world of cinema, bringing large curved screens, widescreen and stereophonic sound. By the age of 3, Per was already being taken to the cinema by his parents who were both very interested in films. He was very pleased with the experience, it was reported. Little did Per know at that time how this experience would change his life, and how movies, cinemas and stereophonic sound would become his way of life for the next 65 years and counting.
 
More in 70mm reading:

Gallery 7OMM with Per Hauberg

70mm Cinemas and Film in Denmark

70mm, Cinerama and Cinemiracle shown in Denmark

70mm Cinemas in Denmark and the first 70mm film

Per on
biografmuseet.dk

DP70s in Denmark

A Fairytale by Hans Christian Andersen, or what...?

"Where Eagles Dare" - 40th Anniversary 1969 - 2009

 
Malling Bio Friday 17. June 2022. "You can qoute me saying that a screen size of only 5 meters for 70mm is a joke, but you will not find a sharper picture anywhere." Per Hauberg

On July 12, 1973, at the age of 21, Per takes over management of Malling Bio. Malling is a small town 20 km south of the second largest city in Denmark, Aarhus. The "Bio" opened as a single screen cinema in 1943 inside a building which had previously been used as a hotel. Today Bio is a small community cinema with two screens, serving Malling's 6142 inhabitants (2020). The Bio was originally equipped with 202 seats, but Per reduced this number in favour of 75 spacious, and almost brand new red seats. Extra wide, and with 122 cm space between the rows.

During the 1980s, a second screen was added in a former storage room. That spot is affectionally known as the "Bette Bio", which in the local dialect means "Smaller Bio". Bette Bio has 33 seats, and also 122 cm between the rows. In 2021 Bette Bio was upgraded to Dolby 7.1.

Per Hauberg has been Bio's enthusiastic manager ever since assuming the position in 1973. He is "world famous" in Denmark for (at least) two things. He is for sure one of the longest serving cinema managers in Denmark, and he is a BIG fan of 70mm film.

In 1973 the Bio was equipped with two very old projectors, and within a year, he buys two Philips EL4001 DP70 projectors (SN: 1459+1473). The machines had been taken out of the Palladium cinema in Copenhagen after less than 12 years of service. Installed there in 1960, they had premiered Cole Porter's "Can-Can" in Todd-AO and were then in storage. The Malling 70mm premiere took place 21. November 1974, which also happened to be Per's 22 birthday. The title was "Where Eagles Dare", and this film would return seven more times to Malling during the following 10 years - and each time in glorious 70mm.
 
 
Per next to his "baby", the DP70 #1473. Todd-AO - the reel thing. Friday 17. June 2022.

1975 was a big year for 70mm at the Bio. No less than 27 titles were presented in blazing 70mm. That is a new film every second week. See this list on biografmuseet.dk.

Per kept waving the 70mm flag well into the 1990s and kept upgrading his system to 70mm Dolby Stereo. However, by the summer of 2012 all Danish cinemas were digitized, and Per reluctantly lent his projector "babies" to a friend to be used for a home cinema set-up, on the condition he could get them back in case he needed them. "Hello" to a bright future of digital cinema and razor sharp "Todd-AO picture quality" for all. Sounds right, but something was missing in Per's life.

At the same time, it happened that the film industry became characterized by new small group of directors who preferred to have their films shown on FILM, and in particular 7OMM FILM. This is a bit of a dilemma, as almost all the cinemas in Denmark have thrown their 35mm (and 70mm) machines in the landfill in an almost blind belief that they will no longer be of any use.

Per can only follow with interest from the sidelines what is happening in Copenhagen. "The Master", “Interstellar”, "The Hateful Eight", "Dunkirk", "Murder on the Orient Express", "Joker" and most recently "Death on the Nile" all premiered at the Imperial Bio in 70mm. Not since the 1960s had there been so many new 70mm premieres.

Fast forward to 2020 and the passing of his friend who borrowed his machines back in 2012. Per saw the opportunity to get his DP70s back, and once again be able to run 70mm film and 6-track stereophonic sound.
 
 
Malling Bio and "Dunkirk" advertising Friday 17. June 2022. "Bio" opened in 1943 in a building which had previously been used as a hotel.

This would be easier said than done, as the mechanical infrastructure and technical suppliers were not exactly queuing up to sell the missing spare parts needed to carry out a project of this extent. A lot of hard work was put into this crazy prestige project. Per has spent an "obscene" amount of money to buy all the necessary parts needed to play 70mm with Datasat digital sound, including a new ISCO lens, modifying a Kinoton ST200 platter system for 70mm and vintage DTS players.

By late 2021 the re-installation of 70mm was ready to roll, and the Grand Opening was a 4-day presentation of "Out of Africa" with six-track magnetic sound beginning on 11. November. One show pr. day, which amazingly - in the time of Covid - almost all sold out at the Bio. "The Smallest Show on Earth" is how Per often refers to his Bio. Even so, it was sufficiently successfully for him to extend the run until 24. November - believe it or not! 70mm still creates some magic pixie dust, or was it the film itself? Are the good citizens of Malling still interested in 70mm?

Nevertheless Per courageously planned a 3-title June 2022 70mm revival with a couple of contemporary Christopher Nolan titles, and one vintage classic by Blake Edwards. "Tenet" (June 2-5), "Dunkirk" (June 16-19) and his own favorite "The Great Race" (June 24-26). Four days only, and one show a day. Plenty of Facebook announcements and advertising. Bio's facade was decorated with 70mm information, posters and stickers. Even in the foyer Per's sense of humour was evident. A sign on the top of "The Great Race" 70mm transportation case proudly announced:

"This is not a mess, nor is it old junk. This is an art installation! You are looking at the the greatest movie farce ever made; Blake Edward's "The Great Race"".

Alas, so far, only a handful of people have shown up for each performance, sometimes less. For the show on June 17, Per personally introduced the presentation to the audience. A passionate introduction about the sharpness of the pictures, and the work that has been done to bring back the worlds greatest film format to Malling. Despite the few tickets sold, Per is still very dedicated and enthusiastic about 70mm, and firmly continues a long tradition of LARGE FORMAT at the Bio.

Per Hauberg (24.-26.6.2022): This weekend I will push the button. The very same print, that premiered in Copenhagen, June 1966. Some color still there, only relatively few splices, a single reel very weak perf in one side, six-track mag sound very well preserved. Not many reservations, though. I guess, I'm cured for running old 70mm titles after just four tries. Only "Out of Africa" sold very nice. "Tenet" and "Dunkirk" were disasters, and "Race" will be too. So much more reason for me to enjoy it myself ...
 

 

Per Hauberg About 70mm Film

 
Per Hauberg and 70mm Friday 17. June 2022. Per was born in 1952, just months after CINERAMA premiered on Broadway in New York.

Thomas: "When did you first experience 70mm film?"

Per: I saw 70mm for the first time when "The Great Race" premiered in Århus in 1967. I was 15 at the time and I didn't notice anything special about it. I just know I've been to the premiere and it was presented in 70mm at the Kosmorama [in Århus]. I was too young to understand what it was all about. But I remember, almost as if it was yesterday, when "Paint Your Wagon" came to Århus [1970, ed]. I asked the duty manager what was going on, because of the noise from the projection room. For some reason, someone was adjusting the audio level up and down. I was actually a little annoyed about it too, because it was the first time I had really been aware of the concepts of stereo sound.

I was quite enthused about the stereo sound with "Paint Your Wagon", so I later went to a repeat screening at the Rialto cinema in Copenhagen. On the balcony in the Rialto, I could see inside the projection room. You were so high up that you could both hear and see the DP70s.

What is it that excites you with 70mm?

For me, we are not talking simply about bigger pictures, but about better pictures. It was almost like seeing something chiseled into the wall, and I was also very, very obsessed with sound. I must have been out studying some of it anyway, because I insisted that my 70mm premiere should be "Where Eagles Dare". The audience would really get a great sound experience. They got that - in abundance. The most sensational thing was, at the time, Malling Bio always had two movies a week. It was a sensation to run a film for an entire week, and run a 70mm print for the six shows. It was crazy but it worked. "Where Eagles Dare" came back again and again. My 70mm show was giving them an experience!
 
 
"Dunkirk" projected in 70mm through a new ISCO lens on an original and historically correct Philips DP70. Friday 17. June 2022.

Why is "Where Eagles Dare" one of your favorites?

Because I've never been through it without thinking who are the good guys, really? It is so well written and that soundtrack - WOW! But I was a little saddened to read the description in Cinema Retro, about how little time Richard Burton had actually been present during production. It was kind of disappointing. But apart from that, the film holds up 100% today. I still take it out to see it [on BluRay]. I also still think I can do all the change-overs without looking at the screen. I also like "Kelly's Heroes" because it is so wacky and absolutely wonderful. I do not think I would be able to sell any tickets for them today, however.

Per's "PlayTime" anecdote

The most ridiculous thing for me happened on New Year's Day 1969. "PlayTime" premiered over Christmas at the Scala in Aarhus in "large format", as it was written on the poster. Most people knew how that meant "happiness". I went to see it and sat there all evening staring out into the darkness towards the screen, but I wasn't "getting it". There were people laughing over there, and then there were people up there who laughed, but that was it! Not me. There were some who saw every little detail, but I just did not catch any of it. The next day the newspaper said "It had been tremendously funny". That was news to me, and I decided that I had better go and see it again. I saw it again a week later, and this time it completely "worked" for me. "PlayTime" advanced from a number 3 rating on my list, to a top number 10. I was crying with laughter the second time, but it took time to comprehend the humor in it.
 
 
  
  
  
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Updated 26-06-22