The "Pope of Panorama" photographed by August Hauerslev.
50 years ago, 70mm was up and coming - films like "Around the World in 80 Days", "South Pacific" and "Ben Hur" were unbelievable success stories. The popularity was beyond anything the industry had ever seen. Major studios were producing all their big films in large format for the ever-growing number of curved screens. And the best films were even yet to come! Masterpieces like "Lawrence of Arabia", "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" and "2001: A Space Odyssey" - are all classics today, and still possess a drawing power, when they are shown in cinemas. And with good reasons: The stories were good, the films were well produced and they looked fantastic in the 70mm prints playing most everywhere.
This cannot be said about all LARGE FORMAT films – far from it. Many 70mm films flopped shortly after their premiere and soon disappeared, never to be seen again. Despite having ultra sharp images and delightful 6-track stereo sound, some were too boring, too long or simply too bad. Those films didn’t convince the audience to pay for a ticket, and the expensive 70mm prints went back into the vault, where they stayed until they fell victim to the axe when they were junked.
Or so it seems. But heroically some prints were saved and are still with us to this day. Most of them have faded to brown, pink or red nuances. Ironically, it is many of the flops which are still around. Despite missing colors, they are in fairly good physical condition too. Original prints of the major successes are long gone, because they were used constantly, until worn out, scratched, full of splices and not really suitable to be shown to a paying audience.
The 6th Todd-AO Festival here in Karlsruhe celebrates some of these not-so-well-known films on the curved screen. Once again, the projector lens will light up the screen and show unbelievably sharp 70mm images of lesser-known and rarely seen films. Some of which only exist in this single 70mm print. Don’t forget, some of these films would be completely forgotten a long time ago, were it not for these rare 70mm prints. The sharpness will still make it a pleasant experience. And as much as you may hate in on TV, you will have fun seeing it in 70mm on the curve.
This is your opportunity to witness the grandeur and spectacle of nearly half a dozen Road-Show films on an authentic 70mm Cinerama cinema. Herbert Born and his staff have again done their utmost to make this weekend one of a kind. The Schauburg Cinerama is one of the last cinemas still equipped with 70mm projectors, a red curtain and a huge curved screen. An authentic cinema experience and LARGE FORMAT EVENT, uniquely Schauburg, to be shared with many friends from all over Europe.
Welcome to a cinema demonstration of how GOOD movies REALLY can look – even the lesser films. An unforgettable weekend.
More in 70mm reading:
Todd-AO Festival Home
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2010 Festival Flyer (PDF)
Festival Through the Years
More Schauburg Cinerama
Festivals in Pictures
Best of Todd-AO Festival
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