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This Is Cinerama (1952)

A standard screen B&W prologue during which Lowell Thomas shows how, from the dawn of history, mankind has attempted to create the illusion of depth & movement by artistic, mechanical and ... See full summary »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Lowell Thomas ... Narrator (voice)
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Storyline

A standard screen B&W prologue during which Lowell Thomas shows how, from the dawn of history, mankind has attempted to create the illusion of depth & movement by artistic, mechanical and photographic means. Cinerama format opens with Rockaway Playland Roller Coaster, then Temple Dance from "Aida", views of Niagra Falls, Long Island Choir - an early test of CineramaSound in B&W -, Canals of Venice, Edinburgh Military Tattoo, bullfight and musical performance in Spain, Act II finale of "AIDA" at La Scala Opera House, Milan. "Intermission 15 minutes" Act II commences with a sound demonstration - "we call it stereophonic sound" says LT. Then to Cypress Gardens, Florida, for trick water skiing and boating scenes. The last half of Act II- "America the Beautiful"- is viewed from the nose of a low flying B-25 aeroplane. Finally, credits. Written by David Coles <mitchell@zeta.org.au>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Most Imitated Motion Picture Ever Made! See more »

Genres:

Documentary

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 January 1955 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Esto es Cinerama See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$41,600,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(2012 restoration)

Sound Mix:

Cinerama 7-Track

Color:

Black and White | Black and White (Sepiatone)| Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.59 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to producer Merian C, Cooper, after the premiere,there were still hundreds of people at the theatre at 4:00 AM talking about the experience. See more »

Goofs

During the closing credits, the shadow of an arm reaching to remove a lamp on a stand. See more »

Crazy Credits

There are no opening logos or credits; not even a title. There is a three-minute musical overture before the curtains open, followed by a 12-minute black-and-white prologue narrated by Lowell Thomas. Thomas says the title when he introduces the film process: "Ladies and gentlemen... this is Cinerama!". All of the credits, title included, are at the end of the film. See more »

Alternate Versions

The 1972 re-release used a single 70mm print, and chopped significant portions off the sides of the screen. See more »

Connections

Featured in Cinerama Adventure (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Hallelujah Chorus
(uncredited)
from "The Messiah"
Music by George Frideric Handel
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

This is Disappointment
8 January 2006 | by vandino1See all my reviews

I saw this at the Cinerama Dome and, like others, was hugely excited at the prospect of finally catching sight of the famous superwidescreen classic. I have nothing but respect and fascination for the careers of the makers of this film: Merian C. Cooper, Lowell Thomas and Mike Todd, Sr. But, well... honestly... for me it was slightly depressing. I'm so glad to have seen it after all these years of hoping someone would finally find a way to get it back in revival, but the film is still pretty much a stiff. Technically, in fact, I believe the Dome's screen was never wide-enough to accommodate the true Cinerama screen size. I sat about eight rows from the front and was not impressed, then switched to the second row after the intermission and finally found the immersion sensation so highly touted.

Overall I'd say this is form over content, with neither winning. The long-renown "seams" are as annoying as I'd heard they were from reports of the film going back to '52. Apparently only the Cinemiracle process that delivered only one documentary (in 1958) titled "Windjammer" supposedly eliminated or toned-down that problem (Cinemiracle was later bought out by Cinerama but the process and the movie have since disappeared as far as I know). But, okay, so what? It's still a film with a history of great impact when it arrived in 1952. Historically, it's a must see. No doubt about it.

But, the content itself? Well, you get a looooong build up from Lowell Thomas before the first Cinerama shot. In fact, Thomas pompously blathers on and on for about 20 minutes as we get the entire history of motion picture advancements up to Cinerama itself, all in 35MM. Finally the screen widens and we get the famous roller coaster bit. At last! But it is an all too brief opening thrill. What follows until intermission is an hour of shatteringly tedious, static shot sequences, of the Vienna Boys Choir, La Scala opera house, Long Beach Church Choir, a bullfight ring, then Spanish dancers. Possibly the dullest stuff you will ever witness on screen. Then, after the intermission, things pick up immediately with the Cypress Gardens sequence. Now you're talking! It's the success of THIS sequence that made the Cinerama film makers turn toward story-sightseeing scenarios for the future films in the format. In fact, with the America the Beautiful airshow spectacle that concludes the film, the entire second half could have been edited to immediately follow the roller coaster opening and you would have had quite an entertaining film. But it is what it is and it WAS a massive hit at the box office, playing for YEARS back in the fifties, not for weeks as films do nowadays. Great to have an opportunity to see it again, even if the seams and the dull handling of much of the content make it a chore to view at times.


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