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The 1980s 3-D Revival


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#1 of 37 Richard--W

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Posted September 04 2011 - 07:06 PM

1981 Comin' at Ya! -- Italy / Spain, November -- Filmways Pictures Dial M For Murder (1954) -- Warner Brothers re-release Super Dragon aka Dynasty (1977) -- Taiwan | Hong Kong Revenge of the Shogun Women aka 13 Nuns (1977) -- Taiwan | Hong Kong Treasure of the Four Crowns -- Italy / Spain -- Cannon Group 1982 Friday the 13th Part 3 - 3-D -- Paramount Parasite -- Avco Embassy Rottweiler 3-D aka Dogs of Hell[/B ] -- Earl Owensby 1983 Amityville 3 3-D -- Orion / MGM Hit the Road Running -- Earl Owensby House of Wax (1953) -- Warner Brothers re-release Jaws 3 -- Universal The Man Who Wasn't There -- Paramount Metalstorm: the Destruction of Jared Syn -- Universal Spacehunter: Adventures In the Forbidden Zone -- Columbia 1984 Chain Gang -- Earl Owensby Hot Heir -- Earl Owensby Hyperspace -- Earl Owensby Tales of the Third Dimension -- Earl Owensby 1985 [B]Starchaser: the Legend of Orin -- Atlantic Releasing http://static.hometh...um.com/imgrepo/ http://static.hometh...um.com/imgrepo/ http://static.hometh...um.com/imgrepo/ http://static.hometh...um.com/imgrepo/ http://static.hometh...um.com/imgrepo/ http://static.hometh...um.com/imgrepo/ http://static.hometh...um.com/imgrepo/ http://static.hometh...um.com/imgrepo/ http://static.hometh...um.com/imgrepo/ http://static.hometh...um.com/imgrepo/ http://static.hometh...um.com/imgrepo/ http://static.hometh...um.com/imgrepo/ http://static.hometh...um.com/imgrepo/ http://static.hometh...um.com/imgrepo/ http://static.hometh...um.com/imgrepo/ http://static.hometh...um.com/imgrepo/ http://static.hometh...um.com/imgrepo/

#2 of 37 Richard--W

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Posted September 04 2011 - 07:41 PM

If anyone has additions, corrections, comments, questions, you are invited to post them there. Except for the nation-wide re-releases of Dial M For Murder and House of Wax, all the 1980s stereoscopic films were shot with a single-camera system. Essentially, the camera was fitted with a twin-lens that placed a left and right eye image over / under on a single strip of 35mm film in what was tantamount to Techniscope. The single-strip films were then projected through a special lens which separated the left and right eyes onto aluminized movie screens. StereoVision International's widescreen-anamorphic system, or its offshoots, was most often used during the 1980s. When Paramount's in-house system failed on the set of Jaws 3, they contracted with StereoVision International to complete principle photography in 3-D. Soft-core and hardcore porn films gave 3-D a bad name in the 1970s. Despite the enormous popularity of a House of Wax re-release in 1971, the studios didn't want to touch a technology that had fallen into disgrace. I make allowance for two remarkable films that qualify as legitimate drama with excellent production values. I've seen field-sequential transfers on DVD-R of Dynasty and Revenge of the Shogun Women. These outrageous period dramas feature an abundance of topless women in equal proportion to dazzling stunt action sequences. Both films were stylishly directed by Mei Chung Chang in Hong Kong. Although the transfers I saw were of poor quality, the stereoscopic photography is outstanding. Very entertaining films. Earl Owensby had his own stock company and film studio in Shelby, North Carolina where he made several stereoscopic films without any assist from the industry. He bought into StereoVision International and used their system exclusively. In the late 1990s I tried to buy up his hardware, but my partners changed their collective mind abruptly and the finance went with them into real-estate. A true independent, Owensby produced, directed, wrote, acted in, and self-distributed his own stereoscopic films. Playdates were busiest in the south, but he managed to four-wall nation wide. The only one of his films I've managed to see is Rottweiler on a poor-quality field-sequential DVD-R. The film is not inspired, but it appears to have some excellent stereoscopic photography. Owensby's films are ripe for discovery on Blu-ray. The new medium could be a perfect marriage between independent filmmaker and 3-D enthusiasts. During the 1980s there were also a number of short films, experimental films, and special venue films, in addition to full-length feature 3-D films made in the Soviet Union by Russian filmmakers.

#3 of 37 Matt Hough

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Posted September 05 2011 - 12:24 AM

I saw almost all of these films in their original releases (certainly the ones from the major studios). Besides the aggressive in-your-face effects of Comin' at Ya! and Treasure of the Four Crowns, my favorite use of 3D of this period was in Friday the 13th 3D. I thought the effects were absolutely the best in quality and made the picture (another variation on the same old formula) very entertaining. That poster conveyed the essence of the film's effects brilliantly, too.



#4 of 37 Kevin EK

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Posted September 05 2011 - 05:35 AM

I must confess having gone to see Treasure of the Four Crowns in the theater.  It holds the record for being one of the single worst movies I have EVER seen.  Trying to watch that movie filled me with thoughts of "Can I get my money back?", "What was I thinking?", "Gee, this is really, really bad", "Why are they repeating all the shots three times?" and finally, "Can I get my money back?" again.  The most humiliating part of the whole ordeal was tellling other people in school I had gone to the movie and then being laughed at.



#5 of 37 Tony Whalen

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Posted September 05 2011 - 06:10 AM

Gotcha beat Kevin. I remember taking a DATE to "Treasure of the Four Crowns". :D Worst. Movie. Ever.

#6 of 37 Kevin EK

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Posted September 05 2011 - 06:17 AM

Tony, I must refer you to my second question, which I believe HAS to have been going through your mind through that thing:


"What was I thinking?"



#7 of 37 Richard--W

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Posted September 05 2011 - 10:59 AM

Look at those titles. All cult films, all horror films. The "safest" of high-risk investments then and now. Most are independent productions given studio distribution. But the best and brightest are the re-releases from the 1950s. The studios should have given 3-D more support and launched different kinds of films. Perhaps the trend would have persisted longer if audiences had more variety to choose from -- dramas, comedies, drama-comedies, adventure, action, westerns, musicals. Many of these had projection problems, and it is not really known how well shot they are. Transferring these single-strip two-eyed films to Blu-ray could facilitate the correction of alignment and registration problems. They could look perfect on Blu-ray, or as close to perfect as the lensmanship and digital technology allow. Independents like Earl Owensby might want to think about releasing limited edition Blu-rays if they're that worried about market interest. He was a conscientious filmmaker who was always took the time and care to make sure the 3-D was technically correct. Personally I would jump at the chance to buy every stereoscopic film Owensby made.

#8 of 37 JoeDoakes

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Posted September 06 2011 - 03:16 AM

When films like Jaws 3-D and Friday the 13th part 3 were distributed, were they presented in red/green 3-D? I seem to remember that these films came out after some 3-D films had been shown on TV in red/green versions. In particular, Creature from the Black Lagoon was shown on TV and they were selling red/green cardboard glasses in local convenience stores. I think that for Jaws 3-D they handed out red/green glasses at the theater. Of course it might have been different in a major city like Los Angeles.

#9 of 37 Matt Hough

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Posted September 06 2011 - 03:52 AM

I remember only polaroid-style glasses at 3D movies during that era. I still have a few pairs that I kept for souvenir purposes that had the movie logo on the side of the glasses.



#10 of 37 Richard--W

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Posted September 06 2011 - 04:19 AM

"Anaglyph" is a dirty word. If these films had been released theatrically in Anaglyph (red and blue glasses) I would not have listed them nor would I have started the thread. I have no respect for Anaglyph. It is a fraudulent, pseudo process that degenerates cinematography and stereoscopic depth. My advice to all 3-D enthusiasts is to reject Anaglyph releases whenever you encounter them, and to complain about them. They are usually done by people who don't know any better. All the 1980s films were shot in authentic 3-D, a lightly polarized process and projected in a lightly polarized process. I know there have been various attempts to broadcast some titles for red and blue glasses and perhaps some ill-advised VHS releases, but that doesn't count, since neither was successful. Nothing causes more confusion than these cheap, exploitive Analgyph efforts.

#11 of 37 Kevin EK

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Posted September 06 2011 - 06:29 AM

I'll add that anaglyph glasses give me a serious headache.



#12 of 37 Bob Furmanek

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Posted September 06 2011 - 07:59 AM

And I'll add that all 50 domestic features produced in the 1950's were originally Polaroid 3-D as well.

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#13 of 37 JoeDoakes

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Posted September 06 2011 - 08:12 AM

I remember only polaroid-style glasses at 3D movies during that era. I still have a few pairs that I kept for souvenir purposes that had the movie logo on the side of the glasses.

Those were basically those red/green glasses weren't they. I remember seeing them fro Friday the 13th 3D. The first time I saw the expensive 3D glasses that we now associate with 3D was when I went to see the Polar Express in 3D. I think that one reason people started to think that 3D means red/green glasses is because they were so common during the 1980s.

#14 of 37 Richard--W

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Posted September 06 2011 - 08:15 AM

I'll add that anaglyph glasses give me a serious headache.

Then don't wear them, don't watch anaglyph, and you won't get a headache. As Bob Furmanek points out, the fifty classic stereoscopic films and various shorts from the 1950s were NOT anaglyph. The early 1980s films were NOT anaglyph. So you are not called upon to watch them through red and blue glasses, and there is no danger of getting a headache from them.

#15 of 37 Kevin EK

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Posted September 06 2011 - 08:31 AM

Richard, at this point, I am happy to have the ability to watch using the active shutter glasses.  Unless there's a lot of "poke in the eye" 3D effects, I don't tend to have any headaches at all from them.



#16 of 37 Greg_S_H

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Posted September 06 2011 - 10:26 AM

I saw Friday 3D at 9 (don't know what my parents were thinking) and Jaws 3D at 10. My memory is bad, because I would have sworn I watched with the cheap anaglyph glasses. I have not seen a single 3D movie since then, and figured I had yet to experience the true shutter 3D (except for two demos at electronics stores). I do enjoy the glassesless 3D of the 3DS.

#17 of 37 Bob Furmanek

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Posted September 06 2011 - 11:07 AM

Much like Roger Ebert's claim of seeing HOUSE OF WAX in anaglyph upon the original 1953 release, chalk this up to a fading memory. All of the features posted on that list from the 1980's were Polaroid.

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#18 of 37 Brian Kidd

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Posted September 06 2011 - 11:52 AM

I remember going nuts for 3D in the Eighties. I was far-too-young to be seeing most of the films, but I somehow suckered my folks into letting me go anyway. They were definitely polarized 3D, though some theaters still found ways to muck up the presentation. I remember JAWS 3, specifically, having a dark horizontal bar across the middle of one of the images for the entire film. I only remember it because I was so angry that I was getting to see another 3D movie and kept getting distracted by the crappy projection. Yes, I was apparently a movie geek at the age of 11. I just didn't know it yet. :)
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#19 of 37 Bob Furmanek

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Posted September 06 2011 - 11:57 AM

In addition to the often sloppy photography, the 3-D films from that period (projected through a single lens with a filter to align the over/under images) were often shown poorly. I got many a refund in those days from films that were badly presented. Even under optimum projection conditions, the 3-D (due to poor cinematography) was often hard on the eyes. However, the opposite is true of the films from the 1950's.

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#20 of 37 Greg_S_H

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Posted September 06 2011 - 01:22 PM

I guess that's where the confusion comes in for me. They were cheap cardboard glasses, just polarized instead of red/blue. And then, around that time, there were some TV programs that did use the anaglyph, so I just figured they were the same. http://joybuzzer.fil.../3dglasses1.jpg




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