Report from 70mm Film Festival in Malm° 1996
This article first appeared in
The 70mm Newsletter
Jan Niebuhr ("Cheyenne Autumn") & Thomas Hauerslev
Issue 46 - September 1996
In the beginning of June 1996 more than 120
reels of 70mm film were shown in one of the best 70mm houses in Europe; The
Royal in Malm÷, Sweden. The 70mm Festival was a part of The International
Film Music Festival. This was a unique opportunity to see many of the great
70mm epics of the sixties one last time. All prints came from the Swedish
Film Institute in Stockholm where they are kept in safe conditions in a
The 70mm festival was, sadly, not particular successful. Less than 30 people
saw each performance in the 682 seater. Indeed there were problems. One
problem was the late hours of screening. Only hard-core 70mm enthusiasts
would sit through "Ryan's Daughter" from 11 PM until 3 in
the morning. Some of us did just that, and we enjoyed every minute of it.
Another problem was the missing advertising for this event. Most of the
audiences were older males (probably projectionists) who had seen the films
30 years earlier. Only "2001:A Space Odyssey" could draw a
reasonable crowd. This performance topped with 179 people who all enjoyed
seeing this 1968 masterpiece on the 17,6 meter (57 ft) wide and very curved
70mm screen. What follows here is a status report of a few of the 70mm
"The Abyss" in Super 35 and blown up to 70mm. A perfect
print but grain were visible throughout the film. One of my favorite films.
"Can Can" in Todd-AO, 7 reels with Swedish subtitles. The
print was very good. Barely one scratch and most of the colors were
extremely good. After the intermission, however, there were black scratches.
In one scene the noise from the 65mm Todd-AO camera was audible. The quality
of the sound was impressive. Discrete 6-channel stereo thanks to Mr Fred
Hynes and the re-recording of Todd-AO Sound Department. Although worn out
here and there (no treble in center channel) the sound presence of the
actors was most welcoming.
"Cheyenne Autumn" in Super Panavision 70. Reel #1: Overture,
faded, black scratches. Reel #2: Black scratches like reel #1. Reel #3.
Slightly purple in color. Only minor scratches. Reel #4: OK. Reel #5: OK and
Intermission. reel #6: Entr'acte and minor scratches. Reel #7: Heavily
scratched 5 minutes from picture start. Reel #8: Rather nice.
"The Hallelujah Trail" filmed Ultra Panavision 70 and
presented in 70mm Super Cinerama with Swedish subtitles. This print was
rectified. Meaning the edges of the 70mm frame were squeezed and the center
of the frame was flat. The print was probably struck for a deep curve
cinema. What happens is the edges are automatically un-squeezed when
projected on a 146' Cinerama screen. During filming the whole image was
photographed with a fixed 1,25 squeeze. In the laboratory each print was
optically rectified for a specific curvature of screen (90', 120' or 146').
Some non-rectified Ultra Panavison 70 prints were also screened with a
special Ultra Panavision 70 projection-lens attachment to get the full
2,76:1 aspect ratio. The Swedish print was VERY sharp but also very faded.
One good laugh in the film was the PLOWBOY wall calendar with pin-up cows in
Oracles (Donald Pleasense) office. I wonder how many noticed that? The film
carried some good performances but was way too long.
"Ryan's Daughter" in Super Panavision 70 with Swedish
subtitles and most of the colors intact. There were only 15 people present
to this performance including one enthusiast on the fifth row from the
screen. The sound was descrete 6-channel stereo. Sir David's last 65mm film
was never a crowd pleaser. And thanks to that, the print was almost in
"Solomon and Sheba" in Super Techirama 70 print #11 with Swedish
subtitles. The print was almost untouched and with good reason. The film is
not very good. Most of the colors were gone, leaving a distinct red
impression. In some scenes, however, the colors were gorgeous. The sound was
very harsh and unpleasant. In some reels the center channel information came
out of the left channel which was a bit confusing.
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