The screening runs 144 minutes including a 15-minute intermission.
*Online talk by Kathryn Penny (Head of Screen Operation at the National Science and Media Museum), details and registration
Dir: Henry Levin, George Pal
Scr: David P. Harmon, Charles Beaumont, William Roberts
DP: Paul Vogel
Cast: Laurence Harvey, Karl Boehm, Claire Bloom, Barbara Eden
Once upon a time, there were two brothers named Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm. To earn a living, they accepted a commission to write a flattering family history for a Duke. While the practical Jacob wants to finish the job, the fantasy-minded Wilhelm prefers to collect fairy tales, losing the manuscript along the way which caused a rift between the brothers. Re-enactments of some of the fairy tales created by director-animator Pal were integrated into the main plot. This fabulous film showcases the director’s mastery of the Cinerama process and novel animation effects. While some original negatives were long neglected with water damage, the film has been digitally restored to its true Cinerama glory. The SmileBox version shown in this screening digitally recreates the original wraparound experience.
Cinerama debuted with the 1952 release of This is Cinerama. The filming, projection and screening of this process require special arrangements. The aspect ratio 2.65:1 is made possible by shooting with three mounted cameras arranged in a crisscross pattern each using a strip of 35mm film, and projecting with three projectors arranged in the same pattern onto a screen curved to a 146-degree arc, close to the human field of vision, including peripheral vision. Although the Cinerama widescreen process was a major breakthrough, film companies and theatre operators were hesitant to adopt this process due to its complexity and incompatibility with existing theatre equipment.
Few films have been made with the this process; most are travelogues, and only two were fictions, namely The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm and How the West Was Won released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1962, which were also the last films produced in this process.
Hollywood opening of The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm. Courtesy of Cinerama, Inc.