Merian C. Cooper Reviews

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Review

On the evening of September 30, 1952, the shape and sound of movies changed forever with the introduction of Cinerama.

This unique widescreen process was launched when television was deemed as a major threat to US film exhibition. Fred Waller, Cinerama's creator, had indeed labored that long on his dream of a motion picture experience that would recreate the full range of human vision. It used three cameras and three projectors on a curved screen 146 deep. In celebration of the 60th Anniversary of its premiere, Flicker Alley is proud to present This is Cinerama, exactly as seen by over 20,000,000 viewers in its original roadshow version. You will travel around the world with Cinerama, from Venice to Madrid, from Edinburgh Castle to the La Scala opera house in Milan, and concluding with a flight across America in the nose of a B-25 bomber.

Bonus Materials Include:

Audio commentary track: With John Sittig (Cinerama, Inc.), Dave Strohmaier (Cinerama Historian), Randy Gitsch (Locations background), and Jim Morrison (original crew member).

Remastering A Widescreen Classic: Before and after demonstrations on the film's remastering - 19 min.

The THIS IS CINERAMA Breakdown Reel: Footage originally projected interstitially during the interruptions of any Cinerama performance - 9 min./B&W

Alternate Act II European Opening: 2 min./Color

Fred Waller Radio Interview: A slideshow featuring an original 1952 radio interview with Fred Waller on the eve of opening night - 15 min.

This Is Cinerama Trailer: A new recreation in HD of the film's trailer - 3 min.

TV Spots: THIS IS CINERAMA and 7 WONDERS OF THE WORLD - 1 min. each

Tribute to the New Neon Movies: A short film celebrating the Cinerama revival in Dayton, OH from 1996 to 1999, where a local projectionist set up Cinerama for special screenings to people from all over the country - 15 min.

Tribute to the New Cooper Theatre: Remembering the first Super Cinerama in Denver, CO - 4 min.

Promotion and Publicity Image Gallery


This is Cinerama

Review The lost masterpiece by the makers of "King Kong," Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack's "Chang" is available for the first time in over 45 years. Shot entirely in Siam, the film tells the story of a farmer and his family who have settled a small patch of land on the edge of the jungle. Their existence is a constant struggle against the many wild animals around them--bears, tigers, leopards, and even...changs! The climactic elephant stampede is still one of the most exciting scenes in cinema history.
Cinerama Holiday

Review Before creating their grand fantasy King Kong, Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack took their cameras to Siam to put genuine wild jungle creatures on the screen in their part-adventure, part-documentary spectacle Chang. It was a smash hit upon its 1927 release and is still considered a classic of the genre, filled with sights that retain their power 70 years later. A loose story is constructed around the lives of a family living at the edge of the jungle in a hut raised high up on stilts. The father tracks the leopards killing his livestock while the children play with a veritable petting zoo of furry little pups and cubs. The filmmakers are at times condescending toward their tribal heroes ("We be mighty hunters, Kru," comments one warrior in an intertitle, as if their own language is but some pidgin dialect) and fill the film with goofy comic relief. Just forget the story and enjoy the sights: hunters building deadfalls and spring traps, a leopard charging through the woods, and the climactic elephant stampede. The images of the awesome beasts fording a river like a rampaging army while the villagers struggle to split the herd and save their village is astounding. The silent film is set to an original score by Bangkok composer Bruce Gaston and performed by the traditional Thailand orchestra Fong Naam.

The beautifully mastered DVD also features commentary by historian Rudy Behlmer, a color test for the film, a production essay, and a reproduction of the original press kit. --Sean Axmaker


Search for Paradise

Review No Description Available.
Genre: Feature Film-Drama
Rating: NR
Release Date: 22-NOV-2005
Media Type: DVD
Windjammer

Review Fresh off their monumental success with King Kong, producer Merian Cooper and director Ernest Schoedsack teamed again on The Last Days of Pompeii, another big-scale offering with a special-effects emphasis. Nominally based on the Bulwer-Lytton book, the film invents a new storyline much in the spirit of the Cecil B. DeMille religioso-melodrama school. Preston Foster plays a pacifist blacksmith whose life is ruined by fate; he turns his fighting skills to the gladiatorial arena and raises a foster son. A cameo appearance by Jesus Christ affects the boy but not the man, and it all comes a-cropper years later when Mount Vesuvius gets restless outside Pompeii's city limits. Fond childhood memories of the volcano's eruption should be tempered by the fact that the effects (designed by Kong man Willis O'Brien) are limited to the final 20 minutes of the film, and that the preceding 75 minutes are a slow ride indeed. This film's creakiness makes you appreciate how good DeMille was at whipping up entertainment out of historical yarns. One definite bright spot: Basil Rathbone, bringing his equine deliberation to the role of Pontius Pilate. --Robert Horton
South Seas Adventure

Review

On the evening of September 30, 1952, the shape and sound of movies changed forever with the introduction of Cinerama.

This unique widescreen process was launched when television was deemed as a major threat to US film exhibition. Fred Waller, Cinerama's creator, had indeed labored that long on his dream of a motion picture experience that would recreate the full range of human vision. It used three cameras and three projectors on a curved screen 146 deep. In celebration of the 60th Anniversary of its premiere, Flicker Alley is proud to present This is Cinerama, exactly as seen by over 20,000,000 viewers in its original roadshow version. You will travel around the world with Cinerama, from Venice to Madrid, from Edinburgh Castle to the La Scala opera house in Milan, and concluding with a flight across America in the nose of a B-25 bomber.

Bonus Materials Include:

Audio commentary track: With John Sittig (Cinerama, Inc.), Dave Strohmaier (Cinerama Historian), Randy Gitsch (Locations background), and Jim Morrison (original crew member).

Remastering A Widescreen Classic: Before and after demonstrations on the film's remastering - 19 min.

The THIS IS CINERAMA Breakdown Reel: Footage originally projected interstitially during the interruptions of any Cinerama performance - 9 min./B&W

Alternate Act II European Opening: 2 min./Color

Fred Waller Radio Interview: A slideshow featuring an original 1952 radio interview with Fred Waller on the eve of opening night - 15 min.

This Is Cinerama Trailer: A new recreation in HD of the film's trailer - 3 min.

TV Spots: THIS IS CINERAMA and 7 WONDERS OF THE WORLD - 1 min. each

Tribute to the New Neon Movies: A short film celebrating the Cinerama revival in Dayton, OH from 1996 to 1999, where a local projectionist set up Cinerama for special screenings to people from all over the country - 15 min.

Tribute to the New Cooper Theatre: Remembering the first Super Cinerama in Denver, CO - 4 min.

Promotion and Publicity Image Gallery


How the West Was Won

Review The lost masterpiece by the makers of "King Kong," Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack's "Chang" is available for the first time in over 45 years. Shot entirely in Siam, the film tells the story of a farmer and his family who have settled a small patch of land on the edge of the jungle. Their existence is a constant struggle against the many wild animals around them--bears, tigers, leopards, and even...changs! The climactic elephant stampede is still one of the most exciting scenes in cinema history.
Lost Horizon

Review Before creating their grand fantasy King Kong, Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack took their cameras to Siam to put genuine wild jungle creatures on the screen in their part-adventure, part-documentary spectacle Chang. It was a smash hit upon its 1927 release and is still considered a classic of the genre, filled with sights that retain their power 70 years later. A loose story is constructed around the lives of a family living at the edge of the jungle in a hut raised high up on stilts. The father tracks the leopards killing his livestock while the children play with a veritable petting zoo of furry little pups and cubs. The filmmakers are at times condescending toward their tribal heroes ("We be mighty hunters, Kru," comments one warrior in an intertitle, as if their own language is but some pidgin dialect) and fill the film with goofy comic relief. Just forget the story and enjoy the sights: hunters building deadfalls and spring traps, a leopard charging through the woods, and the climactic elephant stampede. The images of the awesome beasts fording a river like a rampaging army while the villagers struggle to split the herd and save their village is astounding. The silent film is set to an original score by Bangkok composer Bruce Gaston and performed by the traditional Thailand orchestra Fong Naam.

The beautifully mastered DVD also features commentary by historian Rudy Behlmer, a color test for the film, a production essay, and a reproduction of the original press kit. --Sean Axmaker


Auntie Mame

Review No Description Available.
Genre: Feature Film-Drama
Rating: NR
Release Date: 22-NOV-2005
Media Type: DVD
Wolf Warrior 2

Review Fresh off their monumental success with King Kong, producer Merian Cooper and director Ernest Schoedsack teamed again on The Last Days of Pompeii, another big-scale offering with a special-effects emphasis. Nominally based on the Bulwer-Lytton book, the film invents a new storyline much in the spirit of the Cecil B. DeMille religioso-melodrama school. Preston Foster plays a pacifist blacksmith whose life is ruined by fate; he turns his fighting skills to the gladiatorial arena and raises a foster son. A cameo appearance by Jesus Christ affects the boy but not the man, and it all comes a-cropper years later when Mount Vesuvius gets restless outside Pompeii's city limits. Fond childhood memories of the volcano's eruption should be tempered by the fact that the effects (designed by Kong man Willis O'Brien) are limited to the final 20 minutes of the film, and that the preceding 75 minutes are a slow ride indeed. This film's creakiness makes you appreciate how good DeMille was at whipping up entertainment out of historical yarns. One definite bright spot: Basil Rathbone, bringing his equine deliberation to the role of Pontius Pilate. --Robert Horton

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