Talking Pictures

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Widescreen Festival Weekend

Posted by keith1942 on April 22, 2013

The chief projectionist and colleague in the PIctureville projection box

The chief projectionist and colleague in the PIctureville projection box

This is one of the most popular features of Bradford’s Annual International Film Festival. This year film buffs and the organisers have a week in which to catch their breath before the next programme of events. We are now sixty years on from the re-introduction of widescreen cinema, or from Hollywood’s point of view, the introduction of widescreen film into mainstream cinema. And there are quite a few popular classics on show: The Guns of Navarone (1961, in a 4K digital version) The Great Escape (1963, also in a 4K digital version), and The Sound of Music (1965, on the 70mm curved screen). I have seen these all several times before though they all have sufficiently good production values to revisit. Then there is the regular focus on Cinerama, a speciality that can be seen in few other cinemas. This year they are featuring The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm (1962), though I think the process is more about spectacular imagery than telling stories.

What strikes me as especially interesting are the following. Hello Dolly! (1969, in 70mm on the curved screen). This film suffers from miscasting, but it has some fine mise en scène and some fine onscreen dance sequences, mainly down to director Gene Kelly. There is How to Marry a Millionaire (1953, in 35mm CinemaScope). Director Jean Negulesco does not have the panache of Howard Hawks, but the stars, Marilyn Monroe, Lauren Bacall and Betty Grable, make this a must. Then on the final Monday there is Gettysburg (1993 in standard widescreen 35mm). We are in the 150th anniversary of this epic battle: more intriguingly it follows on from Spielberg’s Lincoln (2012), which was fine bionic is still informed by rather conservative ‘American’ values. I am taking care that my eyes are rested and ready for these visual treats.

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