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Thursday, April 05, 2018

A Cleveland Screen Goes From Big To Biggest


Hunting Down Billy The Kid In Realife

Of things that matter less to humanity every day, here is further worry over how many, if any, US theatres exhibited Billy The Kid in true Realife process, that is, 70mm. Would the Loew's Stillman of Cleveland have simply blown up a standard image and passed it off as epoch-making? Worse frauds were put over in theatres, but this being a Leow's house, home to best and brightest out of MGM, I don't think they would have scammed viewership to that extent. Seeing "miles into the distance" and being able to "almost touch the characters from your seat" was heady promise that no 35mm could fulfill. A number of earliest silent shorts had been filmed on 70mm, but narrower gauge became industry-wide standard, which was our loss, as imagine all of movies viewable on Lawrence Of Arabia terms. Such would knock even 4K into a cocked hat. But back to Billy The Kid --- the Cleveland Plain dealer's review further convinces me that here was real Realife, but note enthusiasm withheld. A blasé lot these 1930 critics were. Greenbriar has earlier visited Billy The Kid, and inquired on other occasion if any 70mm element survives on this King Vidor super-western. If so, I'm for seeing it but quick.

7 Comments:

Blogger Dave K said...

“… but I doubt if such improvements are as important as they first seem. The trouble is that you get used to them so quickly.”

Blasé or not, the guy was right. I was just talking to some folks in the animation business a couple of weeks ago, and they suggested that 3D CG features usually front load "wow" effects in the first ten minutes because much later than that audiences start to take the process for granted, paying more attention to story and gags than to technical effects.

9:27 AM  
Blogger Reg Hartt said...

Several years ago I was amazed to learn how small movie theater screens actually were prior to the 1950s.

12:58 PM  
Blogger Stinky Fitzwizzle said...

The Stillman Theater was closed in 1963 to make room for a parking garage. Very sad.

http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/3731/photos

3:14 PM  
Blogger kenneth Von Gunden said...

Years ago I was an HD-DVD fan before BRD won the war. I would show people a film in its DVD version and then in its HD-DVD (and later BRD) version. They would be amazed and seemingly converted to the new format. But, if we watched the film to its conclusion (and it was also an involving premise), folks stopped noting the improvement in the quality. Now, I watch some 4K material on DirecTV and find that the same adjustment occurs. (It's less obvious if I'm watching something like golf just to see the higher resolution.)
The Wolf, man.

3:19 PM  
Blogger Reg Hartt said...

People care less about picture quality than they do about sound. People will watch a physically almost unwatchable movie but will not listen to poor sound.

8:58 PM  
Blogger Marc J. Hampton said...

i asked the Warner Archive a few months ago...they corrected me and stated it was filmed in 65mm and not 70mm....and then confirmed that no elements exist.

1:38 AM  
Blogger coolcatdaddy said...

Are there any of the large format pictures from the early 30s that survive from the early 30s outside of "The Big Trail" and "The Bat Whispers"?

The latter is in dire need of a new hi-def transfer and release on blu-ray - the old Milestone DVD from several years ago was a non-anamorphic video transfer made for the laserdisc release, I believe.

10:54 AM  

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