70 mm Grandeur film

70 mm Grandeur film, also called Fox Grandeur or Grandeur 70, is a 70mm widescreen film format developed by Fox Film Corporation and used commercially on a small scale in 1929–31.


The 70mm Fox Grandeur cameras were manufactured by Mitchell Camera Corporation, and were based on the Mitchell standard 35mm camera, enlarged to accommodate 70mm 4-perf film. The cameras were designated as Mitchell Model FC cameras, the FC designation most likely standing for Fox-Case, as the technical specifications and orders for the cameras were submitted to Mitchell by the Fox-Case Corporation, pioneers of the Movietone Sound on Film system. The first Fox Grandeur production cameras were delivered to Fox-Case New York in May 1929. An additional four Grandeur cameras were delivered to MGM in 1930, and one additional camera was delivered to Feature Productions, also in 1930.

A small number of shorts and features were produced in 70m wide Fox Grandeur. These included several issues of Fox Movietone News called Fox Grandeur News first shown May 26, 1929. Features shot in Grandeur include Fox Movietone Follies of 1929, the musical Happy Days (1929), directed by Benjamin Stoloff, Song o’ My Heart (1930), a musical feature starring Irish tenor John McCormack and directed by Frank Borzage (Seventh Heaven, A Farewell to Arms), and the Western The Big Trail (1930), directed by Raoul Walsh, in which John Wayne played his first starring role.

Song 'o My Heart was double-shot in both conventional 35mm and Fox Grandeur, with all action and singing performed separately for the two processes. Production began in November 1929, and the 35mm version debuted on March 11, 1930, in New York. The Grandeur version, however, shipped from the labs on March 17, 1930, was never released and may no longer survive, according to film historian Miles Kreuger.[1]

Filming of The Big Trail began in April 1930. The film was shot simultaneously in Grandeur and conventional 35mm film. Both versions survive, and differ significantly in composition, staging and editing. When the film was released, the only theaters equipped with the Grandeur projectors and screen were Grauman's Chinese Theater in Los Angeles and the Roxy Theatre in New York City.

The Fox Grandeur process was one of a number of widescreen processes which were developed by the major Hollywood studios alongside sound in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Grandeur proved financially unviable for an industry still investing in the switch to talking pictures.[2] Other theatre's were resistant making the large investment necessary, and the onset of the Great Depression put paid to the system's prospects.[3] The widescreen aspect ratio did become established by the early-1960s, Fox used the Grandeur name again. A re-release of The King and I was advertised in “Grandeur 70” as a Todd AO compatible 70mm reduction of the original CinemaScope 55 negative.

Unlike the later Todd-AO system (which printed onto 70mm film), Grandeur did not use the same perforations as 35mm film, but instead had larger perforations on a longer pitch of 0.234 inch (5.95mm) compared to the 0.187 inch (4.75mm) pitch used by both 35 mm film and modern 70mm film. Although Grandeur used a four perforation pulldown (i.e. each frame occupied the height equivalent to four perforations on the film) rather than the five of Todd-AO, because of the longer pitch the height of the image, at 0.91 inch (23.1mm), was slightly greater than that of the 0.816 inch (20.73mm) Todd AO image. The image width was 1.84 inch (46.74mm) giving an aspect ratio of 2:1 and providing enough space for a Fox Movietone variable-density optical soundtrack of approximately double the width of that used on a 35mm print.[4]

See also


  1. ^ [1], where Kreuger lays out an interesting history of early sound film recording techniques, and the audio advantages of Fox Grandeur.
  2. ^ Silver, Charles (August 10, 2010). "Raoul Walsh's The Big Trail". Museum of Modern Art. New York City. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
  3. ^ Bandy, Mary Lea; Stoehr, Kevin (2012). Ride, Boldly Ride: The Evolution of the American Western. Berkeley & Los Angeles: University of California Press. p. 88.
  4. ^ Lobban, Grant "Preserving Wide Film History", , Journal of the BKSTS, 67:4, April 1985

External links

1929 in film

The following is an overview of 1929 in film, including significant events, a list of films released and notable births and deaths.

70 mm film

70 mm film (or 65 mm film) is a wide high-resolution film gauge for motion picture photography, with higher resolution than the standard 35 mm motion picture film format. As used in cameras, the film is 65 mm (2.6 in) wide. For projection, the original 65 mm film is printed on 70 mm (2.8 in) film. The additional 5 mm are for four magnetic strips holding six tracks of stereophonic sound. Although later 70 mm prints use digital sound encoding, the vast majority of existing and surviving 70 mm prints predate this technology. Each frame is five perforations tall, with an aspect ratio of 2.2:1. The vast majority of cinemas have projectors unable to handle 70 mm film, and so original 70 mm films are shown using either 35 mm prints in the regular CinemaScope/​Panavision aspect ratio of 2.35:1, using the original print with a rented/temporary/donated 70mm projector, or by means of digital projectors at these venues.


CinemaScope is an anamorphic lens series used, from 1953 to 1967, and less often later, for shooting widescreen movies that, crucially, could be screened in theatres using existing equipment, albeit with a lens adapter. Its creation in 1953 by Spyros P. Skouras, the president of 20th Century Fox, marked the beginning of the modern anamorphic format in both principal photography and movie projection.

The anamorphic lenses theoretically allowed the process to create an image of up to a 2.66:1 aspect ratio, almost twice as wide as the previously common Academy format's 1.37:1 ratio. Although the technology behind the CinemaScope lens system was made obsolete by later developments, primarily advanced by Panavision, CinemaScope's anamorphic format has continued to this day. In film-industry jargon, the shortened form, 'Scope, is still widely used by both filmmakers and projectionists, although today it generally refers to any 2.35:1, 2.39:1, or 2.40:1 presentation or, sometimes, the use of anamorphic lensing or projection in general. Bausch & Lomb won a 1954 Oscar for its development of the CinemaScope lens.


Grandeur may refer to:

70 mm Grandeur film

Hyundai Grandeur, a car introduced in 1986

Grandeur of the Seas, a cruise ship placed in service in 1996

Delusions of grandeur (megalomania)

Delusions of Grandeur (novel), a Star Wars book in the Young Jedi Knights series

"Oh! The Grandeur", a 1999 indie rock album by Andrew Bird's Bowl of Fire


IMAX is a system of high-resolution cameras, film formats and film projectors. Graeme Ferguson, Roman Kroitor, Robert Kerr, and William C. Shaw developed the first IMAX cinema projection standards in the late 1960s and early 1970s in Canada. Unlike conventional projectors, the film runs horizontally (see diagram sprocket holes) so that the image width is greater than the width of the film. Since 2002, some feature films have been converted into IMAX format for displaying in IMAX theatres, and some have also been (partially) shot in IMAX. IMAX is the most widely used system for special-venue film presentations. By late 2017, 1,302 IMAX theatre systems were installed in 1,203 commercial multiplexes, 13 commercial destinations, and 86 institutional settings in 75 countries.

John Wayne

Marion Mitchell Morrison (born Marion Robert Morrison; May 26, 1907 – June 11, 1979), known professionally as John Wayne and nicknamed "Duke", was an American actor and filmmaker. An Academy Award-winner for True Grit (1969), Wayne was among the top box office draws for three decades.Born in Winterset, Iowa, Wayne grew up in Southern California. He was president of Glendale High class of 1925. He found work at local film studios when he lost his football scholarship to the University of Southern California as a result of a bodysurfing accident. Initially working for the Fox Film Corporation, he appeared mostly in small bit parts. His first leading role came in Raoul Walsh's Western The Big Trail (1930), an early widescreen film epic which was a box-office failure. Only leading roles in numerous B movies followed during the 1930s, most of them also Westerns.

Wayne's career was rejuvenated with John Ford's Stagecoach (1939) making him an instant mainstream star. He starred in 142 motion pictures altogether, including the dozens with his name above the title produced before 1939. Biographer Ronald Davis said, "John Wayne personified for millions the nation's frontier heritage. Eighty-three of his movies were Westerns, and in them he played cowboys, cavalrymen, and unconquerable loners extracted from the Republic's central creation myth."Wayne's other roles in Westerns include a cattleman driving his herd north on the Chisholm Trail in Red River (1948), a Civil War veteran whose young niece is abducted by a tribe of Comanches in The Searchers (1956), a troubled rancher competing with a lawyer (James Stewart) for a woman's hand in marriage in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962), and a cantankerous one-eyed marshal in True Grit (1969). He is also remembered for his roles in The Quiet Man (1952), Rio Bravo (1959) with Dean Martin, and The Longest Day (1962). In his final screen performance, he starred as an aging gunfighter battling cancer in The Shootist (1976). He appeared with many important Hollywood stars of his era, and made his last public appearance at the Academy Awards ceremony on April 9, 1979.

List of 70 mm films

The following movies were filmed using 65mm or 70mm negative stock. Titles are followed by the photographic process(es) employed.

Releases produced in Todd-AO, Todd-70, Super Panavision 70 (also known as Panavision 70), Panavision System 65 (also known as Panavision Super 70), Dimension 150, Arri 765 and Superpanorama 70 (also known as MClS 70 and MCS Superpanorama 70) were photographed with spherical optics on 65 mm film with five perforations per frame, yielding an aspect ratio of 2.20:1.

Sovscope 70 and DEFA 70 releases were identical with the exception that they were photographed on 70 mm negative stock.

MGM Camera 65 and Ultra Panavision 70 releases employed the same film format, but the use of 1.25X anamorphic optics yielded a super-wide aspect ratio of approximately 2.75:1.

70 mm Cinerama releases were projected with special optics onto a deeply curved screen in an attempt to mimic the effect of the original 3-strip Cinerama process.

Hi Fi Stereo 70 (also known as Triarama and Stereovision 70) was a 3-D process. Two anamorphic images, one for each eye, were captured side by side on 65 mm film. A special lens on a 70 mm projector added polarization and merged the two images on the screen. A similar Soviet system known as Stereo 70 did not employ anamorphics, resulting in an aspect ratio of 1.37:1.Stereospace 2000 (a 3D process) and Kodak-Disney 3D used dual 65 mm cameras operating at 30fps.

Standard 70 mm theater prints were 70 mm wide, with the extra space used to accommodate the 6-channel magnetic soundtracks, consisting of five full-range channels (left, left-center, center, right-center and right) arrayed behind the screen, with the sixth channel providing surround effects.

Far and Away (1992), Baraka (1992) and Hamlet (1996) employed a modified arrangement of speakers, with left, center and right channels behind the screen, left and right surround channels and a low-frequency effects channel. More recent 70 mm releases (including The Hateful Eight) have used standard 5.1 DTS sound.

This list does not include any of the hundreds of 35 mm films which have been optically enlarged to 70 mm for deluxe exhibition, including such titles as Logan's Run, Jesus Christ Superstar and Akira.

Also not included are 70 mm releases which originated on horizontal 35 mm negative such as Vistavision and Technirama (see List of Technirama films), nor films made in the Showscan process. For films shot in the IMAX 70mm format, see List of IMAX films.

List of early wide-gauge films

These early wide film processes employed a number of different frame sizes and perforations per frame.

Films made by American Mutoscope and Biograph (US 1895) a) 62 mm, 1.36:1, 6 perf. - b) 2 7/8 inch, 1.19:1

Films made by Demeny-Gaumont (France 1895) - Chronophotographe, 60 mm, 1.22:1, 4 perf.

Henry Regatta (UK 1896 July) Birt Acres, Barnet, England - Palace Theatre, London, March 17 1897

Films made by Biograph (US 1897-1900), 68 mm, 1.375:1, non-perf.

The Corbett-Fitzsimmons Fight - Enoch J. Rector - Veriscope USA 1897, 63 mm, 1.65:1, 5 perf. (filmed March 17, 1897, released May 22, 1897)

A film for Burton Holmes (UK 1890s) 2 3/8 inch, 1.31:1, 4 perf.

Lumière widefilm (France 1900), 75 mm (widest format ever), 1.2:1, 8 perf.

Il sacco di Roma (first wide screen feature) (Italy 1923) Enrico Guazzoni, one sequence in Alberini Panoramica/Panoramico Alberini: Italy 1914, Filoteo Alberini, 2.20:1 (2.52:1?), 5 perf., shot with rotating wide angle 65°

Widescope (US 1921 /1927?) 57 mm, twin-lens camera, rotating lens; the split film was screened in 2 projectors

Niagara Falls (US 1923) Essanay, George K Spoor/P John Berggren, short, tinted or toned - Natural Vision = 63 mm (63,5 mm?), 1.73:1, 6 perf., separate 35 mm soundtrack, other screenings in 35 mm Magnascope

Tri-Ergon: German company, 42 mm 1924, New York

Rollercoaster Ride (US 1926) short - Natural Vision

You're in the Army Now (US 1929) July 18 in New York, only screening, Joseph Stanley, 2 reels - Magnafilm/Magnifilm Paramount 1929, Lorenzo del Riccio, 56 mm, 1.85:1 (ca 2.20:1?), 4 perf. (also 35 mm for cropping 1.85:1 with Magnascope)

Fox Grandeur News (US 1929 Aug 25) 1 reel - Fox Grandeur = Fox 1929-31, oversized soundtrack, experiment only with Perspecta-type directional sound, 2.13:1, 4 perf., Mitchell-camera (also 35 mm shown in Magnascope)

Fox Movietone Follies of 1929 (US 1929 May 29) David Butler, Marcel Silver, 80 min - Fox Grandeur (also 35 mm with Technicolor sequence)

Happy Days (US 1930 Febr 13) Benjamin Stoloff, 86 min - Fox Grandeur

Niagara Falls (US 1930 Febr 13) 1 reel, from footage for Fox Grandeur News - Fox Grandeur

Song o' My Heart (US 1930 March 11) Frank Borzage - Fox Grandeur

The Big Trail (US 1930 Oct 24) Raoul Walsh, 158 min - Fox Grandeur, converted to 35 mm scope in 1985, also German and French 35 mm versions: Die grosse fahrt and La piste des géants (P Couderc)

Campus Sweethearts (US 1930 RKO, J Leo Meehan, 27 min, only shown at State Lake, Chicago - Natural Vision (also 35 mm)

Danger Lights (US 1930) RKO, George B Seitz, 87 min, (short?) (only shown at State Lake, Chicago?) - Natural Vision (also 35 mm)

Fox 50 mm Wide Screen: ca 1930 4 perf, 1.77:1

A Soldier's Plaything (US 1930) Michael Curtiz, 57 min; - Vitascope = Warner 1931, 65 mm, 2.25:1, 5 perf. separate soundtrack, (also 35 mm released 1931 May 71 min)

Song of the Flame (1930) - Vitascope; first color film (in Technicolor) to use widescreen.

The Lash (1930) - Vitascope; also shot simultaneously in 35 mm

The Bat Whispers (1930 Nov 13) Roland West - Magnifilm, exhibited only in 35 mm, miniature and special effects scenes shot in 35 mm and re-photographed in 70 mm

Billy the Kid (1930 Oct 19) King Vidor - Realife; also shot in 35 mm, which was cropped in some cinemas; exhibited only in 35 mm

The Lash/Adios (US 1931) Jan 1, Frank Lloyd, 79 min - Vitascope

Kismet (US 1930) John Francis Dillon, 87 min, 1 min prolog showed the difference between 35 mm and Vitascope (also 35 mm - also German version by William Dieterle)

The Great Meadow (1931 March 15) Charles Barbin - Realife; also filmed in 35 mm, exhibited only in 35 mm

The Big Trail

The Big Trail is a 1930 American pre-Code early widescreen movie shot on location across the American West starring John Wayne in his first leading role and directed by Raoul Walsh.

In 2006, the United States Library of Congress deemed this film "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant", and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry, saying "the plot of a trek along the Oregon Trail is aided immensely by the majestic sweep provided by the experimental Grandeur wide-screen process used in filming".

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