BIFF Live-Blog #3 – Saturday and Sunday


Good day, day two of the Widescreen Weekend is about to kick-off, with a real treat waiting at the end of the day in the form of Henry Levin and George Pal’s The Wonderful World Of The Brothers Grimm, which just so happens to be the only Cinerama feature I’ve never actually seen!

As with yesterday, stick with us throughout the day both in here and an Twitter for regular updates.

* Cinerama Update –  First up this morning was the Cinerama Update, which is essentially just that: an update on the goings on in the world of Cinerama. The are currently two major developments going on in the medium, with both being led by David Strohmaier and Randy Gitsch, the guys I mentioned yesterday regarding their involvement with the reconstruction of Russian Adventure.

The first announcement that a bunch of Cinerama flicks are being prepped for DVD and Blu-ray release. Flicker Alley are putting the films out and we were privy to one of the features yes that’s been produced for the release. Most excitingly of all perhaps was the revelation that a full restorations are underway on all of the films produced for Cinerama, including my personal favourite Scent Of Mystery, which, while not satisfied with being shot for the famous Cinerama curved screen (if not in actual 3-strip Cinerama), also has the honour of being the first (and to date, only) studio financed feature shot in smell-o-vision. I had the privilege of seeing the film here a few years back, with the director of the film, Powell and Pressburger’s legendary cinematographer Jack Cardiff in accompaniment.

The shady area of copyright interlopers was also brought up, which was something of a revelation. Basically shady types have been unfairly copyrighting lapsed works. Crazy.

The second part of the Cinerama Update revolved around In The Picture, the first film to be shot in Cinerama in 50 years or so. Los Angeles is the focus of the film, with some truly stunning landscape shots making up the dailies that we were privy to. It’s looking fantastic, even if the windy roads of LA did give me motion sickness!

* South Seas Adventure – Second port of call today was South Seas Adventure, a Cinerama travelogue narrated by none other than Orson Welles! Travelogues are not usually my kind of thing (too much dancing), but I rather enjoyed this. As the title suggests, South Seas Adventure is an exploration of the South Seas, taking in the varied lands that make up that part of the world. The highlight of the piece was the story of a Polish immigrant who had just arrived in Australia, with his daughter in tow. The portrayal of the Australian outback equivalent of school was like something from a dystopian science fiction drama, as students all over the country communicated via two-way radios in their living room (such is the vastness of the space!). And while yesterday’s Russian Adventure featured lions on horse-back, todays show featured a koala-bear riding a wild dog. Quite what it is about odd animal combinations that appeals to the makers of Cinerama travelogues I do not know…

* The days closed with a screening of The Wonderful World Of The Brothers Grimm. As I’ve mentioned up blog The Wonderful World Of The Brothers Grimm was the one Cinerama film that I’d never actually seen, and so had built it up to be quite something over the course of the past 13 years! Unfortunately the film didn’t live up to the hype I had bestowed upon it, and I didn’t even make it to the films interval! I actually walked out! 


Thanks to the terrible local public transport system I missed out on this mornings first activity, the traditional Cineramacana event, here retitled Cinerama! Cinerama! for the mediums 60th anniversary. Alas the one event that today did feature was well worth the effort. 

The Kevin Brownlow Lecture – Film historian extraordinaire and personal hero of mine, Kevin Brownlow delivered a fantastic lecture on the history of the widescreen format, detailing the very early stages of the medium during the silent period. The lecture itself was wonderful, but it was the hour or so afterwards that was really special, as I got to spend some time discussing silent film with the man himself. It was a fantastic afternoon. 


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