Cinerama Adventure | Chicago Reader

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David Strohmaier's engrossing documentary covers the history and impact of Cinerama, the granddaddy of the wide-screen format. Not to be confused with the single-lens, 70-millimeter version marketed later under the same name (and used in films like Stanley Kubrick's 2001), the original Cinerama, the brainchild of film director and technician Fred Waller, used three cameras and required specially equipped theaters with three synchronized projectors, an enormous curved screen, and a soundboard operator for every show. The process came to the attention of legendary Hollywood showmen Merian C. Cooper, Lowell Thomas, and Michael Todd in the early 50s, and they turned it into an enormously successful venture. Strohmaier's approach to the material rarely rises above the staid PBS documentary style, but it hardly matters—the larger-than-life stories and people make this a treat for all movie buffs. The interviewees include Leonard Maltin, Debbie Reynolds, Joe Dante, Eli Wallach, and Kevin Brownlow. 93 min.

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