Flicker Alley has announced that it will add two more titles to its Blu-ray catalog in October: Robert L Bendick and Phillipe De Lacy's Cinerama Holiday (1955) and Carl Dudley, Richard Goldstone, Francis D. Lyon, Walter Thompson and Basil Wrangell's Cinerama South Seas Adventure (1958).
"Now the 2nd Cinerama presentation goes beyond anything you've ever imagined, as it takes you on a round-the-world adventure that will have your spirits soaring like a million Roman candles! It's winter in Switzerland, it's summer in New England, it's daybreak on the desert, it's dancing till dawn, it's spring in Paris, it's jazz in New Orleans…it's every holiday you ever dreamed of…come true!"
"Cinerama Holiday" was the 2nd of the original, 3-panel Cinerama travelogues. Released in 1955, the motion picture crisscrosses two hybridized travelogues of the "Cinerama camera accompanied" vacations of two adventurous, real-life, married couples. We meet first, Fred and Beatrice Troller, from Zurich, Switzerland, who upon their arrival on the first transatlantic flight to ever land in Kansas City, unload their motor scooter and begin a panoramic tour of America, which begins with them driving up Fremont Street in Las Vegas and catching a casino floor show. Meanwhile, Betty and John Marsh, leave their Kansas City home to take off on the same plane the Troller's arrived on, for a return flight to Switzerland where this couple take in an outdoor ice show in St. Moritz, and where John rides a bobsled, beginning their European vacation. The latter of which provides just one of the film's obvious, immersive, "thrill" sequences accentuated by the three-camera/curved-view format.
The Swiss couple are awed by sights of the American west viewed from the "Vista-Dome" of a speeding California Zephyr train, ride a cable car in San Francisco, observe a New Orleans "jazz funeral", a performance of "Tiger Rag" by Oscar Celestin, and visit a New England county fair, where the Ferris wheel provides another immersive cinematic experience. Meanwhile, the American couple ski the Swiss Alps with hundreds of fellow skiers, and thereafter discover the joy of singing and "fondue" in a Swiss tavern, and then move on to Paris, where they take in the Paris Opera, the Louvre, High Mass at the Cathedral of Notre Dame, a Grand Guignol puppet show, see the spring line in a fashion show, and a floor show in the famous Lido. Both couples meet up in New York City to "finish" their movie, so to speak, and are treated to a finale of the U.S. Navy's "Blue Angels" performing near-supersonic aerial maneuvers and landing on an aircraft carrier. And all of that's a Cinerama Holiday!
Unseen theatrically since the early 1970's, and never before broadcast or issued on home video, the picture now digitally remastered from its original camera negatives, is now newly presented in the Smilebox Curved Screen Simulation. It is a fascinating time capsule of the 1950's, an age in which most people had yet to experience a flight in a plane.
Bonus Features of this set will include the original CINERAMA HOLIDAY breakdown reel, new interviews with original participants, original 8 mm home movies, a demonstration and comparison of the film's restoration, an amazing scrapbook of images made during production, a booklet reproduction of an original program, and much more!
"Cinerama South Seas Adventure" proved to be the 5th and last of the original, 3-panel Cinerama travelogues. Released in 1958, and 4 months after the 3-panel competitor, "Windjammer: The Voyage of the Christian Radich", it is at moments similar, although overall an entirely different tale than previously seen in the format. Five separate stories are dramatized, woven out of a series of theoretical, island-hopping voyages that start en route to Hawaii, and after traversing the South Seas as far as Australia, end up flying back home from Honolulu.
In between, through both an adventurous shipboard passenger, a returning American WWII veteran, and the enthused narration, we're taken island hopping to stops in places lush, tranquil, and inviting, like Tahiti, Tonga and Fiji, then to and the even more exotic, primitive Pentecost Island. Native dancing and song are celebrated alongside cultures and customs spanning thousands of years. Sailing onward to New Zealand, we're reminded it's also an island, in fact two, with an unexpected geography including volcanoes and snow-covered mountain ranges. From there we' travel on to Australia, where we follow the arrival of a new European immigrant man and his young daughter, as they get accustomed to native animals like koalas and kangaroos, and then settle in for a new life in the "outback". There, they become integral in stories illustrating life in such isolated areas, including both the "School of the Air", a classroom conducted over the radio and the Flying Doctor Service, similarly radio-dispatched.
Unseen theatrically since the early 1970's, and never before issued on home video, CINERAMA SOUTH SEAS ADVENTURE is the original road show version of the picture, complete with overture, intermission and exit music, now newly presented in the Smilebox Curved Screen Simulation. Now digitally remastered from the original camera negatives, the picture shines bright emitting both a panorama that is at times breathtakingly colorful, and a sparklingly clear, seven-channel sound track, as well as a fascinating time capsule of 1950's innocence and quaintness. With a partial narration by Orson Welles, the picture also, surprisingly may be the first to chronicle primitive bungee jumping.
Bonus Features of this set will include interviews with original participants, a vintage Renault promotional film as originally presented in 3-panel Cinerama, clips from "In The Wake of Captain Cook," a Carl Dudley short on the South Seas with behind the scenes filming of SOUTH SEAS ADVENTURE, many behind the scene stills and promotional materials, a booklet reproduction of an original program, and much more!
Well if they have used the original negs, maybe, but after the last two disasters and high prices I will need to be convinced. As a Cinerama projectionist in my early days I know what they should look like, but I fear they will not match HTWWW. Would have been great to have got the Warner team to do the biz.
@charliemaess: The first two releases were great if all you wanted was to get the feeling of cinerama. Like How the West Was Won, the image was presented in the curved SMILEBOX format that can simulate the curved screen on a flat surface especially if you watch it in a fully blacked out room. The problem was the PQ and AQ. As Flicker Alley admitted they didn't have the resources to do a full scale restoration from the original source elements. Colours suffered a lot with a number of situations where the colours were not perfectly matched. There were also blemishes and some issues with the sound track. I think before the first two films were released many of us had assumed PQ and AQ would be of the quality of How The West Was Won. What we got was a bit of a disappointment although I will say that I still appreciate the efforts made by Flicker Alley. Cinerama was a wonderful film format that unfortunately never did reach its full potential. Flicker Alley deserve our thanks for their efforts to give today's audiences a glimpse of this piece of cinematic history.
@mr young: Forgive my ignorance. Where is Bradford, is it true cinerama (three projectors, very curved screen) and was the print you saw pristine? I ask because I'd love to see a true cinerama presentation just once more in my life. In my recollections from my childhood it still beats any of the more modern film/movie technologies for creating a sense of realism and that includes 3D.