I have been a devoted fan of Cinerama ever since my neighborhood theater (the Syosset theater, in Syosset, Long Island) spent an unheard-of $259,000 in 1959 to install the process. I quickly memorized the specific row and seat number I always used when seeing a Cinerama film (9th row, dead center) and until several years back when David and his crew restored “This is Cinerama,” and “Windjammer,” I thought the process had been long forgotten. What a delight to see it come alive again!
Now that both “This is Cinerama” and “Windjammer” have been restored with original elements, the results are borderline miraculous, especially “Windjammer,” since, for most of the film, the seams (or “join lines”) are completely gone, the color has been restored and the image is razor-sharp. It’s like watching a movie that was just made yesterday. Bravo and kudos to the entire team of restorers for having done such a fabulous job!
And, no matter what Criterion says, their recent restoration of “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” definitely should have been done in the Smilebox format, “fake” Cinerama or not. Aside from being a landmark film in terms of its cast of so many comic stars, it was the first of the “Single-lens” Cinerama films, and should be remembered for that.