3rd Todd-AO Festival Reviews
The 70mm Newsletter
by: Volker Hannemann, Kornwestheim, Germany
This year's Todd-AO 70mm film festival at the Schauburg Cinerama theatre in
Karlsruhe, Germany, was again
something worth travelling to! My wife Dorothee and me enjoyed the weekend
very, very much! Many thanks
to the great "Schauburg team"!
What did we see?
picture to illustrate the fading nature of older films. Film material turns
"Taras Bulba" in an ultra rare 70mm blow-up from 1962 - wow, that was quiet
something you cannot get anywhere else! Of course the colors faded away, but
the 6 track stereo sound was still quiet good and we could Franz Waxman's
score as never before!
"Imperial Venus" in its 70mm Super Technirama splendor had a very good and
clear picture quality (despite the fact that the colors have faded away...),
the sound unfortunately was more or less 6 track MONO. The film itself was a
rather boring experience :-) But again: a very rare opportunity to see it!
"Pathfinder" was shown in its original language version with
subtitles in 70mm 6 track Dolby Stereo. The print was quiet good, but the
photography in that picture did not make use of the intended filming in
65mm. It had too much close-ups as was nothing exceptional.
We let out "Khartoum" and went for a drink instead (well, but only because I
already knew this particular print).
"The King And I" was presented in a 70mm print (faded) in its original
version and was a real highlight of the weekend! We enjoyed this film very,
Then came "Ben-Hur": presented in its original Camera 65 aspect ratio with
an old German 70mm print was another great experience. Although this print
was faded, it was wonderful to see this film again in 70mm on the big curved
screen. It will always be my favourite movie! Great was also that my
favorite film composer Miklos Rozsa was honoured before the show by a short
introduction by German film music expert Thomas Ruebenacker.
More in 70mm reading:
Todd-AO Festival Home
• 3rd Todd-AO Festival
• Wilkommen |
Intro | Festival
2007 Festival Flyer (PDF)
Festival Through the Years
More Schauburg Cinerama
Festivals in Pictures
Best of Todd-AO Festival
• Guests |
example of faded film history
"Uncle Tom's Cabin" came next. This was a German 70mm print from 1965 with
only slight color fading! The picture quality was absolutely superb (shot in
MCS-70 Superpanorama)! The 6 track magnetic sound was also very good in
quality, but the directionality was very often wrongly dubbed: sound effects
and voices came often (not always) from the wrong direction! Maybe this was
the sound mixer's version of "stereo" or maybe this was a dubbing fault.
Nevertheless, the film itself was a bit poor: the actors seemed to not be
motivated that much and Peter Thomas' score was lousy (but recorded very
well!)... This again was a very rare opportunity to see this film in 70mm!!!
"Ice Station Zebra" was shown in a real good old German 70mm print with only
slight color fading. Although some folks love this film, I still find it
The late showing of "2001: A Space Odyssey" in a German 70mm print was
somewhat too late for us. We only stayed for about 20 minutes to see the
quality of the print. It was OK but also showed color fading.
The morning began with some lesson about "The Wonderful World of Film
Formats" by Thomas Hauerslev. It was perfect as always and the not so
experienced people in the audience could learn a lot. Very interesting to
see were the early Todd-AO clips Thomas showed. They were from 1953 and in
COLOR! Produced in 30 fps, but shown in 24 fps to not damage this rare item
Also in the same programme was Dolby's classic "Listen..." in 35mm Dolby A
optical sound as well as the Cinespace 70 demo (with 30 fps) coupled with
the DTS 70mm demo. The finale was the new 70mm demo film "As Good As It
Then came another weekend highlight: "Playtime" in its restored 70mm version
with DTS sound. This print was introduced by Jean-Rene Failliot in French.
The print was absolutely stunning and revealed so much more detail compared
to any other version of this film. After the show everyone got a piece of
70mm film from this movie. Quiet a souvenir!
Krasker's stunning Technirama photography also faded.
Following was another of my all time favorites: "El Cid". This German 70mm
print was completely faded, but nevertheless a joy to see. Mikos Rozsa's
wonderful score in 6 track magnetic stereo is still one of the best film
score ever written!
The weekend came to an end with a German dubbed 70mm blow-up print of "The
Wild Bunch". Good picture quality with only slight fading. The sound was
horrible: in 6 track MONO! And that's not all: it was obviously taken off a
35mm optical sound print (you could clearly hear all the crackles!).
All the films got proper introductions by my brother Wolfram who always knew
to tell some interesting and funny facts.
The heroes of the weekend were the 2 projectionists Vincent and Markus who
both did a terrific job! And although we learned that Herbert is "not
organized" he did also a terrific job: everything was just fine, the
catering, the beer, the festival brochure etc.
Again, it was an event not to be missed! We surely will come next year
Volker Hannemann, Kornwestheim, Germany
Karlsruhe 2007 Review by Anna Rudschies
“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe... attack ships off the
shoulder of Orion; C-beams glittering in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate.
All those moments lost in time, like tears in the rain. Time to die...”
This is the quote that went through my mind as I sat in the Schauburg last
weekend and watched “Khartoum”. 70mm film is a moment that lives under the
constant threat of being lost in time. The only thing stopping this are 70mm
festivals, like the ones in Karlsruhe or Bradford.
I’m a journalist and at first this review was meant to be “formal”. But I
went to the festival not as a journalist, but as a film lover. This review
cannot be formal. All it can be is from the heart.
We got off to a very pink start, following Taras Bulba in his beloved
steppes. Colour-fading is a distressing issue and, much to my surprise, it
was what people griped about most this year. I thought it was going to be
the fact that so many copies were German-dubbed versions, but no,
colour-fading that turns brave Cossaks into rather gay-looking Cossaks (hey,
don’t get me wrong, pink Cossaks are hot too) was definitely the bigger
problem people had to come to terms with. At least, it couldn’t get worse
than “Taras Bulba” and it didn’t, so that movie proved to be a wise choice
to show first on Friday.
The weekend’s programme was varied, fun, exciting and touching. Friday’s
films ranged from the quite unknown “Imperial Venus” (Lollo pouting in the
most beautiful costumes for two hours) to the always grand “Khartoum” (I’d
forgotten one of Charlton’s many faces is “distinguished”). And that was
only the first day!
On Saturday we opened with a floorshow of singing and dancing and Yul
Brynner constantly opening his shirt to reveal his broad chest. Then, we
accompanied Judah Ben-Hur in his long and harrowing journey and I cried my
eyeballs out when he got handed a cup of water by Jesus (who, incidentally
and I’m sorry about this, looks like Jesus in “South Park”, or is that just
me?). I had seen the movie a couple of times before, but seeing it in all of
it’s colour-faded splendour on that gigantic screen the Schauburg sports
gave me the chills. When my friends complain they don’t see the appeal of
such movies, I take on my scary televangelist voice and tell them they
haven’t seen them “the real way”. They have a hard time believing it, but we
all know it’s true and besides, we all know you can’t truly describe 70mm,
it needs to be experienced, so I don’t blame them. I just shake my head and
Sunday was the day many festival visitors looked forward to the most. At
breakfast, I could already hear voices all around me saying “this is the
part I love the most, when we get tidbits and surprises and demonstrations
and lectures!”. I agree wholeheartedly. The excerpt from “As Good as It
Gets” was breathtaking. Such clarity, such sound, such colour! Thomas
Hauerslev’s lecture finally managed to establish some basics in my seriously
film formats challenged brain. Jean-René Faillot was there in person to
introduce the restored copy of “Playtime” and we were all falling off our
seats with laughter not ten minutes into the film. I had seen “Playtime”
once before, on a rather big screen in Paris but in 35mm only. Seeing it
through the glory of 70mm was awing. Like “Annie Hall”, this is a movie I
can see over and over again and still discover new things in it and I love
that. In that sense, 70mm acted as a big magnifying glass.
All in all, the weekend was great. I congratulate Herbert Born for keeping
us all fed (unlike Bradford if you get my drift) though I must chastise him
for not getting that supposedly very good English copy of “Ben-Hur” that is
sitting in Oslo. Rumour has it that after buying a digital projector, the
funds for getting the Oslo copy were insufficient, but knowing what digital
looks like (s***) I say sell that projector and get us good 70mm copies
I’ve been to Bradford twice and every time, it was amazing. What I like
better about Karlsruhe though, is the atmosphere of warmth and “family” that
reigns in the Schauburg during the three festival days. I’ve hugged people
and shaken hands, met new people without being (too) shy and had a
delightful time. My favourite part of the day is always breakfast, when the
whole family gets together over yummy croissants, bacon and eggs, orange
juice and yogurt to talk about only one thing: movies in 70mm. My idea of
paradise? Pretty much what I’ve described above.
Just one last request, in my role as a woman attending the festival:
gentlemen, please keep the Star Trek talk to a minimum. But that’s a subject
So thank you, all those who made Karlsruhe possible again this year, thank
you for showing us all things that other people wouldn’t believe.
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