CineSavant Column

Saturday June 26, 2021



Over at the Facebook Group known as Friends of 70mm, contact Brian D. Zachel steers us toward a great page at it’s an Index of all the Cinerama Theaters that were built in the entire world, each with its own page and all available specifications, dates, etc. We note that a bunch were built or converted around 1958, and that most changed over to 70mm projection in the mid-1960s. Note: yes, I cut off the French text in the graphic above… it continues: “…Étonnant prodigieux unique en France!”  Or, “The show the whole world is talking about. Astonishing and unique in France!”


Commie Cinerama?  Well, yes and no. As seen briefly in the Russian movie I Am Cuba, there was a Cinerama theater in downtown Havana, the ‘Radiocentro,’ which opened just a few months before Batista fell.  It ended up playing ‘Kinopanorama’ movies from Moscow.


Photo evidence proves that there was a genuine Cinerama drive-in theater, the Los Angeles Century Drive In. The projection booth(s) appears to be in the raised box at Row 7 — to me it looks like you’d need to be in the first two rows to get any kind of Cinerama impression.


And the very long page for the Cinerama Dome shows the Sunset Blvd. theater under construction and obviously far from completion, with a big sign selling tickets to It’s a Mad 4 World just a couple of months in the future. Someone tell Michael Schlesinger to ‘Dial MAD.1100’ — I’m sure he’ll want tickets for the premiere.

The page’s documentation is thorough and sometimes very funny, gathering many articles, editorials, comments about the stars, etc. They even have a handwritten note from Barbara Stanwyck saying why she’s turning down an invite to receive a bogus award at the premiere of Krakatoa East of Java.

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson