Technirama

Technirama is a screen process that has been used by some film production houses as an alternative to CinemaScope. It was first used in 1957 but fell into disuse in the mid-1960s. The process was invented by Technicolor and is an anamorphic process with a screen ratio the same as revised CinemaScope (2.35:1) (which became the standard), but it's actually 2.25:1 on the negative.

Technirama 8 perf 35 mm film
The 35 mm 8 perforation Technirama horizontal camera film. Note the circle has been stretched vertically by a factor of 1.5.

Technical

The Technirama process used a film frame area twice as large as CinemaScope. This gave the former a sharper image with less photographic grain. Cameras used 35-mm film running horizontally with an 8-perforation frame, double the normal size, exactly the same as VistaVision. VistaVision cameras were sometimes adapted. Technirama used a 1.5:1 anamorphic optic in front of the lens in order to stretch the vertical image (unlike CinemaScope camera lenses which squeezed the image horizontally). To achieve the required wider format, lenses of shorter focal-length had to be used. In the laboratory, the 8-perforation horizontal negative would be reduced optically, incorporating a 1.33:1 horizontal squeeze to create normal 4-perforation (vertically running) prints with images having an anamorphic ratio of 2:1.

Just as VistaVision had a few flagship engagements using 8-perf horizontal contact prints and special horizontal-running projectors, there is a bit of evidence that horizontal prints were envisioned for Technirama as well (probably with 4-track magnetic sound as in CinemaScope), but to what extent this was ever done commercially, if at all, remains unclear.

The name Super Technirama 70 was used on films where the shooting was done in Technirama and at least some prints were made on 70-mm stock by unsqueezing the image. Such prints would be compatible with those made by such 65-mm negative processes as Todd-AO and Super Panavision. The quality would have been very good but perhaps a bit less than those processes, because the negative was not quite as large and needed to be printed optically.

Technicolor had roughly 12 of its Three-Strip cameras converted into VistaVision cameras, using camera movements supplied by Mitchell Camera Corporation, the 1932 supplier of the original Three-Strip camera movements. After the 1956 delivery by Mitchell Camera Corporation, the converted Technicolor Three-Strip cameras immediately became obsolete, and were surplus to Technicolor's operations. These converted Three-Strip VistaVision cameras thereafter became the standard Technirama cameras, which were subsequently supplemented by a few Paramount hand-held VistaVision cameras fitted with anamorphic optics. The logistical advantage of using 35mm film, end-to-end, should not be underestimated.

A few 8-perf titles have been preserved on 65mm film, but most have been preserved on 35mm film or are considered unprintable.

The color was enhanced through the use of a special development process that was used to good effect in films such as The Vikings (1958) and The Music Man (1962). However, fewer than 40 films were produced using this process in the United States. It was more popular and longer-lasting in Europe. Walt Disney Productions used the process twice for full-length animated features: Sleeping Beauty (1959), and The Black Cauldron (1985). The 2008 DVD and Blu-ray Disc release of Walt Disney's Sleeping Beauty was shown at an aspect-ratio of 2.55:1 for the first time.

Specifications

  • Film: 35 mm running horizontally using eight perforations at 24 frames per second.
  • Film area: 1.496" (38 mm) × 0.992" (25.2 mm).
  • Anamorphic power: 1.5
  • Aspect ratio: 2.35:1 (Prints) 2.25:1 (Negative)

Films

See List of Technirama films.

See also

External links

55 Days at Peking

55 Days at Peking is a 1963 American epic film drama in Technirama and Technicolor, produced by Samuel Bronston and directed by Nicholas Ray, Andrew Marton (credited as second unit director), and Guy Green (uncredited). The film was released by Allied Artists and stars Charlton Heston, Ava Gardner, and David Niven. The screenplay was written by Philip Yordan, Bernard Gordon, Ben Barzman and Robert Hamer, while the music score was composed by Dimitri Tiomkin; the theme song "So Little Time" was composed by Tiomkin with lyrics by Paul Francis Webster.

55 Days in Peking is a dramatization of the siege of the foreign legations' compounds in Peking (now known as Beijing) during the Boxer Rebellion, which took place from 1898 to 1900 in China. It is based on the book by Noel Gerson.

In addition to directing, Nicholas Ray plays the minor role as the head of the American diplomatic mission in China. This film is also the first known appearance of future martial arts film star Yuen Siu Tien. Japanese film director Juzo Itami, credited in the film as "Ichizo Itami", appears as Col. Goro Shiba.

Black Tights

Black Tights (1-2-3-4 ou Les Collants noirs) is a 1961 French anthology film featuring four ballet segments shot in Technirama and directed by Terence Young.

The dances in the film were abridged versions of ballets created for the stage by the dancer and choreographer Roland Petit, who appears in the three of the four sequences along with his wife, the ballerina Zizi Jeanmarie.

The film is also known as Un deux trois quatre! in France (short title).

Cinerama

Cinerama is a widescreen process that originally projected images simultaneously from three synchronized 35 mm projectors onto a huge, deeply curved screen, subtending 146° of arc. The trademarked process was marketed by the Cinerama corporation. It was the first of a number of novel processes introduced during the 1950s, when the movie industry was reacting to competition from television. Cinerama was presented to the public as a theatrical event, with reserved seating and printed programs, and audience members often dressed in their best attire for the evening.

The Cinerama projection screen, rather than being a continuous surface like most screens, is made of hundreds of individual vertical strips of standard perforated screen material, each about ​7⁄8 inch (~22 mm) wide, with each strip angled to face the audience, so as to prevent light scattered from one end of the deeply curved screen from reflecting across the screen and washing out the image on the opposite end. The display is accompanied by a high-quality, seven-track discrete, directional, surround-sound system.

The original system involved shooting with three synchronized cameras sharing a single shutter. This process was later abandoned in favor of a system using a single camera and 70mm prints. The latter system lost the 146° field of view of the original three-strip system, and its resolution was markedly lower. Three-strip Cinerama did not use anamorphic lenses, although two of the systems used to produce the 70mm prints (Ultra Panavision 70 and Super Technirama 70) did employ anamorphics. Later, 35mm anamorphic reduction prints were produced for exhibition in theatres with anamorphic CinemaScope-compatible projection lenses.

Davy (film)

Davy is a 1958 British comedy-drama film directed by Michael Relph and starring Harry Secombe, Alexander Knox and Ron Randell. It was the last comedy to be made by Ealing Studios and had the distinction of being the first British film in Technirama. Davy was intended to launch the solo career of Harry Secombe, who was already a popular British radio personality on The Goon Show, but it was only moderately successful.

Hercules and the Conquest of Atlantis

Hercules and the Conquest of Atalantis (Italian: Ercole alla conquista di Atlantide, lit. 'Hercules at the Conquest of Atlantis') is a 1961 film directed by Vittorio Cottafavi and starring Reg Park in his film debut as Ercole/Hercules. It was originally released in Super Technirama 70.

The film is also known as Hercules Conquers Atlantis in the United Kingdom, and Hercules and the Captive Women in the United States where the film was not only retitled but edited, rescored and given a title design by Filmation.

John Paul Jones (film)

John Paul Jones is a Technicolor 1959 biographical epic film in Technirama about John Paul Jones. The film, shot in Spain (Denia city), was made by Samuel Bronston Productions and released by Warner Bros. It was directed by John Farrow and produced by Samuel Bronston from a screenplay by John Farrow, Ben Hecht, and Jesse Lasky Jr. from the story Nor'wester by Clements Ripley. The music score was by Max Steiner, the cinematography by Michel Kelber. It was the final film directed by Farrow.

The film starred Robert Stack in the title role, Marisa Pavan, Charles Coburn, Macdonald Carey, Jean-Pierre Aumont, David Farrar, Peter Cushing, Basil Sydney, Thomas Gomez and the director's daughter and son Mia Farrow and John Charles Farrow in their film debuts. Bette Davis made a cameo appearance as Empress Catherine the Great.

Legend of the Lost

Legend of the Lost is a 1957 Technicolor Italian-American adventure film produced and directed by Henry Hathaway, shot in Technirama by Jack Cardiff, and starring John Wayne, Sophia Loren, and Rossano Brazzi. The location shooting for the film took place near Tripoli, Libya.

List of Technirama films

Films made using the Technirama or Super Technirama process are listed below. Note that the only difference between the two is the choice of gauge (35 mm or 70 mm) for the projection print: all Technirama and Super Technirama films are shot using the identical horizontal 35 mm anamorphic process. All Super Technirama films were also released on 35 mm prints and thus can also be considered Technirama films.

Madame (1961 film)

Madame Sans-Gêne is a 1961 Spanish-Italian-French film co-production, filmed in Eastmancolor and Technirama, and distributed in the U.S. by Embassy Pictures. The film was directed by Christian-Jaque and adapted from the 1893 play by Victorien Sardou and Émile Moreau.

The film stars Sophia Loren and a cast of French and Italian players, including Robert Hossein, Julien Bertheau, Renaud Mary, Léa Gray, Gianrico Tedeschi, and Marina Berti.

Paris Holiday

Paris Holiday is a 1958 comedy film starring Bob Hope, which was directed by Gerd Oswald, and written by Edmund Beloin, who was Hope's attorney, and Dean Riesner from a story by Hope. The film also features French comedian Fernandel, Anita Ekberg and Martha Hyer, and a rare appearance by writer/director Preston Sturges. The film was shot in Technirama and Technicolor in Paris and in the French village of Gambais.

Samuel Bronston Productions

Samuel Bronston Productions was an independent American film production company, founded by Samuel Bronston in 1943.

The company produced several epic films, the most notable of which are, John Paul Jones (1959), King of Kings (1961), El Cid (1961), 55 Days at Peking (1963) and The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964).

The films were made in Spain in the company's newly created studios in Las Rozas, near Madrid.

Due to financial difficulties, the company ceased its business activities in 1964. During the ensuing bankruptcy proceedings, Bronston's answer that the company had once had a bank account in Zurich in response to a question under oath about whether he personally had had a Swiss bank account led to his prosecution for perjury. He was convicted, and the case was ultimately appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled in Bronston v. United States that literally truthful, but technically misleading, answers cannot be prosecuted.

Sayonara

Sayonara is a 1957 Technicolor American film starring Marlon Brando in Technirama. The picture tells the story of an American Air Force flier who was an ace fighter pilot during the Korean War (1950–1953) who falls in love with a famous Japanese dancer.

Sayonara won four Academy Awards, including acting honors for co-stars Red Buttons and Miyoshi Umeki.

The film's screenplay was adapted by Paul Osborn from the 1954 novel of the same name by James Michener, and was produced by William Goetz and directed by Joshua Logan. Unlike most 1950s romantic dramas, Sayonara deals squarely with racism and prejudice. The supporting cast also features Patricia Owens, James Garner, Martha Scott, Ricardo Montalbán, and Miiko Taka.

Seven Hills of Rome (film)

Seven Hills of Rome (Italian title: Arrivederci Roma) is an Italian-American film released in January 1958 and shot on location in Rome and at the Titanus studios. It was filmed in Technicolor and Technirama, distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and was tenor Mario Lanza's penultimate film.

Sleeping Beauty (1959 film)

Sleeping Beauty is a 1959 American animated musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney based on The Sleeping Beauty by Charles Perrault. The 16th Disney animated feature film, it was released to theaters on January 29, 1959, by Buena Vista Distribution. This was the last Disney adaptation of a fairy tale for some years because of its initial mixed critical reception and underperformance at the box office; the studio did not return to the genre until 30 years later, after Walt Disney died in 1966, with the release of The Little Mermaid (1989).

It features the voices of Mary Costa, Eleanor Audley, Verna Felton, Barbara Luddy, Barbara Jo Allen, Bill Shirley, Taylor Holmes, and Bill Thompson.

The film was directed by Les Clark, Eric Larson, and Wolfgang Reitherman, under the supervision of Clyde Geronimi, with additional story work by Joe Rinaldi, Winston Hibler, Bill Peet, Ted Sears, Ralph Wright, and Milt Banta. The film's musical score and songs, featuring the work of the Graunke Symphony Orchestra under the direction of George Bruns, are arrangements or adaptations of numbers from the 1890 Sleeping Beauty ballet by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. However, unlike the previous feature-films, this was the first Disney feature-film that did not have the same background animation material, but instead with new background animation material.

Sleeping Beauty was the first animated film to be photographed in the Super Technirama 70 widescreen process, as well as the second full-length animated feature film to be filmed in anamorphic widescreen, following Disney's own Lady and the Tramp four years earlier. The film was presented in Super Technirama 70 and 6-channel stereophonic sound in first-run engagements.

Super Technirama 70

Super Technirama 70 was the marketing name for films which were photographed in the 35 mm 8-perf Technirama process and optically un-squeezed and enlarged to 70 mm 5-perf prints for deluxe exhibition.

A few of the Super Technirama 70 films (including Circus World and Custer of the West) were presented in 70 mm Cinerama at some venues. Special optics were used to project the 70 mm prints onto a deeply curved screen to mimic the effect of the original 3-strip Cinerama process.

The Big Country

The Big Country is a 1958 American Technicolor epic Western film directed by William Wyler and starring Gregory Peck, Jean Simmons, Carroll Baker, Charlton Heston and Burl Ives filmed in Technirama. The supporting cast features Charles Bickford and Chuck Connors. The picture was based on the serialized magazine novel Ambush at Blanco Canyon by Donald Hamilton. and was co-produced by Wyler and Peck. The opening title sequence was created by Saul Bass. The film is one of very few pictures in which Heston plays a major supporting role instead of the lead.

Ives won the Academy Award as Best Supporting Actor for his performance as well as the Golden Globe Award. The film was also nominated for an Academy Award for the musical score by Jerome Moross.

The Long Ships (film)

The Long Ships is a 1964 Anglo–Yugoslav adventure film shot in Technirama directed by Jack Cardiff and stars Richard Widmark, Sidney Poitier and Russ Tamblyn.

The Miracle (1959 film)

The Miracle is a 1959 film directed by Irving Rapper and starring Carroll Baker and Roger Moore. It is a remake of the 1912 hand-colored, black-and-white film The Miracle, which was in turn a production of the 1911 pantomime play, The Miracle, written by Karl Vollmöller and directed by Max Reinhardt.

The 1959 film version for Warner Bros. was shot in Technirama and Technicolor, with an original score by Elmer Bernstein. The film was shot in the Los Angeles area, the Gypsy camp sequence was shot in the Santa Susana Mountains around Calabasas, California.

The Monte Carlo Story

The Monte Carlo Story is a 1956 Italian comedy-drama film production made by Titanus and distributed by United Artists. Samuel A. Taylor directed, and also wrote the screenplay based on a story by Marcello Girosi and Dino Risi. Marcello Girosi produced the film, which was the first shot in the Technirama process. Jean Louis designed the costumes.

The film stars Marlene Dietrich and Vittorio De Sica with Arthur O'Connell, Natalie Trundy, Mischa Auer and Renato Rascel.

Motion picture film formats
Film gauges
Film formats
Aspect ratio standards
Video framing

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