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    CINERAMA HOLIDAY Deluxe Combo Blu-ray/DVD Review

    Blu-ray

    Nov 02 2013 11:34 AM | Timothy E in DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
    Cinerama Holiday had its theatrical premiere in New York on February 8, 1955, and went on to become the second highest grossing film of 1955 in the United States. (Number 1 that year was Lady and the Tramp.) The first Cinerama film, This Is Cinerama, was the number 1 box office draw in the United States during its year of release in 1952. In spite of their apparent popularity with 1950s film audiences, the Cinerama films have seemingly been given short shrift for many years without any releases on home video to remind modern audiences of the reasons that these films were so popular in their day. The Cinerama process has never really been forgotten as there have been various film festivals highlighting these films over the years, even as the original film elements have been deteriorating. That may be changing with the efforts of David Strohmaier and Cinerama in restoring these treasures and preserving them for the ages. 2012 saw the releases by Flicker Alley of This Is Cinerama and Windjammer on Blu-ray, and we have been blessed in 2013 with Blu-ray releases of restored versions of Cinerama Holiday, as well as South Seas Adventure.

    Title Info:

    • Studio: Other
    • Distributed By: N/A
    • Video Resolution: 1080P/AVC
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
    • Audio: English 2.0 DD, English 5.1 DTS-HDMA
    • Subtitles: None
    • Rating: Not Rated
    • Run Time: 2 Hrs. 9 Min.
    • Package Includes: Blu-ray, DVD
    • Case Type: Amaray
    • Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
    • Region: ABC
    • Release Date: 11/02/2013
    • MSRP: $39.95

    The Production Rating: 4/5

    This is the complete roadshow version of Cinerama Holiday, complete with overture and intermission. You have to give the people at Flicker Alley credit with preserving the showmanship of Cinerama. The presentation begins with an image of dark velvet curtains covering a curved movie screen, which is a simulation of the screen at the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood. As the overture concludes, the curtains draw slowly back to reveal a black and white introduction in Academy aspect ratio, after which the screen changes to color and triples in size as the curtains draw back fully to show the widescreen aspect ratio of Cinerama.

    Cinerama Holiday is a travelogue of sights and sounds in the United States and Western Europe. The travel vignettes are joined together by a narrative in which a Swiss couple, Fred and Beatrice Troller, travel to the United States while an American couple, John and Betty Marsh, travel to Switzerland and France.

    Cinerama Holiday, like the other Cinerama travelogues, makes for more interesting viewing now than it did in its own time. Anyone who wants to see Paris, San Francisco, Las Vegas, New York, or other cities as they actually appeared in 1955 is not likely to get a better idea of those locations from any other films than by watching Cinerama Holiday. I never had the chance to visit downtown Las Vegas in 1955 or hang out poolside at the Desert Inn but now I have a very good idea of what it looked like thanks to this film.

    For those unacquainted with the Cinerama process, some explanation is in order. The Cinerama films were shown originally in special theatrical venues equipped with curved 146° film screens. As the emerging medium of television seemed to threaten the livelihood of theater owners in the early 1950s, new processes like Cinerama, Cinemascope, and 3D were created to bring audiences back to the movie theaters. Cinerama was one of the initial efforts to recreate the full range of human vision on a big screen, and consisted of 3 projectors running 3 adjacent panels of film simultaneously that was intended to appear as one wide image when illuminated on the 146° wide screen. Cinerama Holiday was the second Cinerama travelogue to be released in this widescreen process, the first being This Is Cinerama.

    Video Rating: 4.5/5 3D Rating: NA

    Cinerama Holiday is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio in the Smilebox format, which recreates the appearance of a Cinerama presentation on a flat screen by having the far side panels of the screen elongated to simulate the curved appearance of the 2.59:1 aspect ration on a 146° screen.

    The producers of this restoration had better materials to work with than they did for the wonderful restoration of This Is Cinerama. For Cinerama Holiday, the original negatives for all 3 panels were digitally scanned and restored. The 3 separate strips of panels were then matched up digitally and the join lines of the 3 strips were blended and minimized.

    The join lines in this presentation have been minimized, but not eliminated. In many sections, the partitions are invisible whereas in other scenes the join lines are perceptible from color fading at the edge of the panel strips. The color fading at the edges has been enhanced to make the joins less apparent. This is in no way a criticism but offered simply as an observation. As Leonard Maltin comments in the special features, the perceptibility of the join lines is part of the charm of a Cinerama presentation.

    Colors appear much more vibrant and true than they did in the restorations of This Is Cinerama and Windjammer, which probably owes in part to the superior condition of the film elements for Cinerama Holiday compared to those other films. Likewise, fine detail is excellent, and definitely an improvement over This Is Cinerama(which actually appeared very good in its digital restoration).

    Audio Rating: 4.5/5

    The English DTS-HD 5.1 audio is excellent. There is no audible hiss perceptible as there was in This Is Cinerama. Dialogue has clarity and depth. Dynamic range is excellent, and the soundtrack is rich during musical interludes as well as during the narration.

    Special Features: 5/5

    The special features include all of the following:

    Cinerama Holiday Breakdown reel(14:20): This is the original interstitial footage that was projected in the theater anytime there was a breakdown in any one of the three projectors. It consists of John and Betty Marsh appearing in a projection booth and narrating some home movie footage.

    Cinerama Holiday At The Dome(5:43): This is footage with Leonard Maltin of the presentation of the film at the Cinerama Dome in April 2013.

    Return To Cinerama Holiday(21:35): Betty Marsh and Beatrice Troller reminisce about this film made 48 years earlier.

    Betty’s Scrapbook(11:10): Betty Marsh in 2013 reviews her scrapbook made during and after filming of Cinerama Holiday. This scrapbook was considered lost until discovered recently by film researcher (and HTF member) Roland Lataille.

    1997 Cast Interview(22:05): Writer Waring Jones and original cast members Betty and Jim Marsh, and Fred and Beatrice Troller appear in this interview footage from 1997.

    Deleted Scenes(8:25): This is an excerpt from the documentary Cinerama Adventure featuring original footage deleted from Cinerama Holiday.

    Bob Bendick’s 8mm Home Movies(15:13): This footage was shot behind the scenes during filming in France and Switzerland.

    Newsreel Footage(2:26): Regarding the premiere of the film.

    Remastering A Widescreen Classic(12:53): Restoration director Dave Strohmaier and others discuss the source materials and demonstrate the scanning of the original 3 panels of footage and remastering in restoring the film.

    Behind The Scenes Slideshow(7:30): This is a presentation of stills from the film.

    Also included is a beautiful 24 page replica booklet of the original souvenir program for Cinerama Holiday. The DVD includes the same content as the Blu-ray on a flipper disc with the film on one side and the special features on the other side.

    Overall Rating: 4.5/5

    Cinerama Holiday is an excellent restoration and presentation of the 2nd Cinerama travelogue. It is understandable how this was a top box office draw in 1955, and it is even more fascinating now as a time capsule of a world that exists no longer. The video presentation is excellent as is the audio. The special features are rewarding viewing in their own right, and I predict that almost everyone who watches the feature presentation will seek out and enjoy the special features as well. Cinerama Holiday is highly recommended for all audiences.

    Reviewed by: Timothy E
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    13 Comments

    Thanks for the great review Tim.

     

    I can't wait for it to arrive.

    My order is with Amazon and there is still no movement at this time.

     

     

    Doug.

    It's been delayed twice now. 

     

    Ken

    Thanks for the great review TimI do want to mention that there is a terrific company in Austin Texas called Image Trends that was critical in these 3 panel restorations.Dan Sullivan and his Image Trends team have all been super dedicated in helping to get these difficult projects done and done right. They have even invented new software for it and gone way above the call of duty in every department. Check the restoration credits out at the end of each film for the names, they are all Cinerama heroes in my book.Dave Strohmaier
    We are doing a Cinerama seminar with the American Cinematographer Magazine at the Camerimage Festival of Cinematography in Poland on November 17th. We have a 20 minute section that I narrate live on the condition of the Cinerama original negatives.Event:http://www.camerimag...445&tresc=27463I have posted a brief section here (silent) showing the damaged condition of Seven Wonders and Search For Paradise o-negs. These are the two 2 remaining titles were currently working on. I think some of you folks will find this clip interesting. It’s amazing that the Image Trends scans are coming out as good as they are considering what you see here.Link:http://www.davidstro...nd iPhone 4.m4vThe 7 Wonders HD trailer will give you a basic idea of what the final might look like:http://www.davidstro...nd iPhone 4.m4vEverything on these digital Cinerama restorations is somewhat of a compromise, for example, if you have a panel that has more color fading than the other 2 panels you must default to the worst looking panel then recover what color you can from it and then make the other 2 images match to it by trying to bring them all up to some kind of acceptable overall even image across the screen. Therefore the color is never going to be perfect on these old shows and in fairness should not be compared to a major studio restoration from properly vaulted and cared for negatives.We had the honor of doing similar show at the Venice International Film Festival in Italy in 2012 where Cinerama had the Premiere of South Seas Adventure:http://www.in70mm.co...enice/index.htm

    Self-flagullation, Herr Strohmaier?

    Just ordered both these new releases!Congrats to Dave S. and everyone else involved with these Cinerama Blu-Rays. I love the showmanship involved with these sets, including the SUPER cool curtain opening sequences.

    Paul

    Does anybody have any information on when Amazon will be getting their stock?

     

    After reading reports of deliveries from Flicker Alley to other members here, I'm now starting to get a bit fractious. :angry:

     

    Yeah, I know I should have placed my order with Flicker Alley, but their International freight and payment issues sent me to Amazon.

    I watched Cinerama Holiday last night. What a great travelogue! The bobsled run is demo material. I'm looking forward to watching the other Cinerama films.

    I watched Cinerama Holiday last night. What a great travelogue! The bobsled run is demo material. I'm looking forward to watching the other Cinerama films.

    I have enjoyed both SOUTH SEAS ADVENTURE and CINERAMA HOLIDAY several times as is have with THIS IS CINERAMA and WINDJAMMER. In fact i I liked WINDJAMMER so much I ordered the CD of the soundtrack which is outstanding.

    Just bought both today and was wondering what to spin tonight:  thanks for helping answer that question!  CH it is!

     

    EDIT: Watched and loved it.  I also really enjoyed the extra with Betty Marsh York looking through her recently recovered scrapbook.  Her younger self was kind of annoying in the film at times, but she seems to have matured into a delightful woman you'd love to sit and talk with.

    Just watched this on a Sony 3D headset in all its smilebox glory -- absolutely sensational!

     

    The scenes in the circa 1955 jet fighter at the end of the movie -- nearly as good as "Top Gun" and people seeing this in Cinerama would have been falling out of their seats when the jet fighter flies upside down.

     

    The movie itself is like looking into a world that has passed by forever -- yet, this movie brings it all back to life.

     

    Next -- "South Seas Adventure" -- and Orson Welles, booming in dts.

    Just watched this on a Sony 3D headset in all its smilebox glory -- absolutely sensational!

     

    The scenes in the circa 1955 jet fighter at the end of the movie -- nearly as good as "Top Gun" and people seeing this in Cinerama would have been falling out of their seats when the jet fighter flies upside down.

     

    The movie itself is like looking into a world that has passed by forever -- yet, this movie brings it all back to life.

     

    Next -- "South Seas Adventure" -- and Orson Welles, booming in dts.

     

    All of the Cinerama titles look terrific on the Sony Personal viewer. (you really feel you are in a Cinerama Theatre)

     

    I think "South Seas Adventure" looks the best of the lot.

     

    Doug.

    I have enjoyed both SOUTH SEAS ADVENTURE and CINERAMA HOLIDAY several times as is have with THIS IS CINERAMA and WINDJAMMER. In fact i I liked WINDJAMMER so much I ordered the CD of the soundtrack which is outstanding.

     

    I have SOUTH SEAS ADVENTURE and I plan to pick up THIS IS CINERAMA and WINDJAMMER. I also have HOW THE WEST WAS WON.