“Custer of the West”: The Roadshow Engagements
“A man too big for legend. A motion picture too big for any screen except Cinerama!”
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The 70mm Newsletter
|Compiled by: Michael Coate||Date: 25.07.2017|
|The following is a reference / historical listing of the roadshow presentations of “Custer of the West” in the United States and Canada. |
The presentations cited in this work were “hard ticket” roadshow engagements and were special showcase presentations in major cities prior to the film being exhibited as a general release. Much like a stage production, these featured advanced admission pricing, reserved seating, an overture/intermission/entr’acte/exit music, and an average of only ten scheduled screenings per week. Souvenir program booklet were sold, as well, and in some instances the soundtrack album.
The roadshow presentations utilized 70mm prints (branded as “Cinerama”) derived from Super Technirama photography and were projected onto large, deeply-curved screens and featured discrete six-track magnetic stereophonic sound.
Out of the hundreds of films released during 1968, “Custer of the West” was among only fourteen given deluxe roadshow treatment and among only eleven released with 70mm prints (six of which, including “Custer,” originating in 65mm or Technirama Large Aperture, plus five blow-ups).
The Cinerama Releasing Corporation release was directed by Robert Siodmak and starred Robert Shaw, Mary Ure, Jeffrey Hunter and Robert Ryan.
The North American premiere was held January 24th in Dallas, Texas. (The film’s world premiere was held at the Casino Cinerama in London on November 9th, 1967.)
|More in 70mm reading:|
70mm Blow Up List
Super Technirama 70
Ken Draper interviewed
|Premiere date YYYY-MM-DD … City — Cinema (duration in weeks)|
1968-01-24 … Dallas — Capri (3)
1968-01-25 … Denver — Cooper (11)
1968-01-25 … Detroit — Summit (8)
1968-01-25 … Houston — Gaylynn (5)
1968-01-25 … Kansas City — Empire 2 (7)
1968-01-25 … Portland — Hollywood (7)
1968-01-25 … St. Louis — Cinerama (8)
1968-01-26 … Knoxville — Capri-70 (4)
1968-02-01 … Buffalo — Century (5)
1968-02-01 … Montreal — Imperial (12)
1968-02-07 … Louisville — Showcase 1 (4)
1968-02-09 … Columbus — Grand (5)
1968-02-15 … Sacramento — Esquire (5)
1968-02-16 … Cincinnati — International 70 (5)
1968-02-21 … Milwaukee — Wisconsin 1 (4)
Following poor reviews and low attendance for the initial roadshow engagements, Cinerama revised their release strategy on “Custer of the West,” discontinuing the roadshow and issuing the film elsewhere as a continuous performance general release in 35mm.
In historical accounts of roadshow and 70mm presentations, “Custer of the West” is often overlooked (perhaps justifiably so if you’ve seen the film!). Too often historians have mistakenly used New York and/or Los Angeles as a point of reference. In fact, “Custer” played the New York and Los Angeles markets only as a 35mm general release, fueling the mistaken perception that the film did not play any large format engagements in the United States.
SUBSEQUENT 70MM SCREENINGS (non-reserved seating / general release policy)
1973-11-21 … Hartford, CT — Cinerama (2)
The information in this article was principally referenced from film industry trade publications and regional newspaper promotion, with thanks to Bill Kretzel, Robert Morrow and Vince Young.
Additional 70mm prints were screened internationally but have not been accounted for in this article.
If you believe this article contains any errors or omissions, please consider emailing the author or editor.
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