3D Films: Not All That New…
3D TV is indeed a new and awesome piece of kit, offering a viewer experience that has previously only been available in movie theatres. Until fairly recently though 3D films weren’t exactly prevalent. Despite this though, they’ve been around quite a while and the first feature film to use the technology was in fact released in 1922 and called The Power Of Love.
The film that is often credited with being the first 3D movie is called Bwana Devil, which was made in 1952. However this was the first release during a short-lived boom in the 50s that occurred globally, but was indeed little more than a fad. A fad that saw over five thousand theatres equip themselves for the ‘new era’ that never actually caught on. Oops.
So what of The Power Of Love? As you can imagine with a title like that it was a melodrama. Created by Nat Deverich the tale told is that of a young mariner from California that is set in the 1840s. It stared Barbara Bedford with the lead being played by Elliot Sparling and was screened at Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.
It is maybe not so surprising that being the first of its kind the technology was rarefied. Considering that it was another 30 years until 3D was tried again with any conviction it is no wonder that The Power Of Love was the only film to ever utilise the two-camera, two-projector Fairhall-Elder stereoscopic process. The film really was an island of progress in the timeline of 3D films, if only we knew more about it.
Unfortunately the film no longer exists and it’s even pretty tricky to find out how people reacted to seeing it. Although the creation of the film was unique the audience had to wear anaglyph glasses to witness the 3D effect. These had one red lens and one cyan lens, sound familiar?
It’s hard to believe it will actually be the 90th anniversary of the film’s release this September. What would be better than a screening to mark the occasion? Though with no known print in existence, we better start checking the archives and attics of execs past and present fairly thoroughly and right away…
Sam C thinks 3D is ace which is why you’ll find quite a few dimension bending gadgets at Find Me A Gift.
A Novel Take On The Top 5 3D Movies Of All Time
For many of us, the first thing that springs to mind when thinking of 3D movies is that of recent productions with the likes of epic movies such as Avatar or the re-release of Titanic in 3D. However, as surprising as it may sound, 3D film productions date back a lot further than we often imagine, with the first paid 3D feature film displayed in a commercial venue all the way back in 1922 (The Power Of Love). So with this in mind we have compiled a somewhat novel take on the top 5 3D films of all time.
5. Up (2009): Slotting in a No.5 is the 2009 release of “Up”, which makes for a truly heart rendering and touching tale which takes us through a roller coaster of emotions, working miracles both on screen with the 3D visual effects and with the emotional impact of the ingeniously crafted montages. Displaying the bonds that can be created between human beings intertwined with fantastic animation and fantastical adventure, Up is most certainly a film that will stay with you for some time.
4. Cat-Women on the moon (1953): Heard of this one? We thought not. Well, where can we start? This is a film which revels in its own sheer level of awfulness. Filmed in 1953 Cat-Women is based on the premise of a predominantly all male expedition finding itself in an isolated location where an all female population is discovered. All manner of silliness commences with the cat-women plotting to take over the expedition crews ship and fly to earth before the moons oxygen supply runs out. This truly is mind bending sci-fi taken to the next level and further with the novel 3D effects of the time.
3. The Power of Love (1922): Entering in at No.3 “The Power of Love” is as you may have guessed, a love story. Focusing on the forced marriage of our heroine Maria to the evil Don Alvarez the plot unfolds to reveal to reveal murder and deceit which fortunately for us all, ends up with our heroine coming through in shining colours and living happily ever after with her real one true love after exposing Alvarez for what he really is. Being the very first feature film in 3D this production paved the way for the numerous releases of 3D film in later years and so deserves its due recognition. Now considered a lost film it is unfortunate that perhaps no-one will have the pleasure of viewing Maria struggle and eventual triumph in the face of overwhelming adversity.
2. Third Dimensional Murder (1941): Another of the early experiments in 3D film, Third Dimensional Murder attempts to blend comedic narration into 3D story telling. Watching with today’s standards set firmly in mind will hardly leave you impressed by this offering. However, when we consider it for what is was during the time of its original conception then we can begin to appreciate what was being attempted. The story revolves round our narrator, Smith, getting a call to help out at an old and inevitably haunted castle. The gags seem expected and dated now, with the exception of the final twist but at the time were well received. Viewing this movie in the present day is a real experience and provides an excellent insight into the advancements of film both in it’s story telling and visual effects.
1. The Mad Magician (1954): This story focuses on Gallico the Great,who is an inventor of fantastical magical stage tricks. With a burning desire to become a performer in his own right he finds that just before he presents his own first act that his manager shuts him down, stealing his amazing buzz saw trick for an already established star, The Great Rinaldi, to use. Adding to this the fact that Gallico has already lost his wife to his Rinaldi, Gallico goes mad and commits decapitates his manager using the buzz-saw from his trick. Even though it could be viewed as just another standard revenge plot The Mad Magician blends in the one vital ingredient which is missing from so many horror films, likeability. In order for us to really experience the turmoil of a character in film we must feel some positive regard to the central character and this picture manages this well. You will feel yourself sharing his ups and downs and truly being brought into the film helped on by the 3D experience. Tragically though, The Mad Magician isn’t available for home-viewing at this moment in time,something which we hope will be remedied in the not too distant future.
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The Battle of Warsaw 1920 3D
2011 saw the first Polish release of a full length 3D feature film with the production of “Battle of Warsaw 1920″. The film, produced and co-written by Polish director Jerzy Hoffman (Oscar nominated in 1974) focused its attention on the “Miracle on the Vistula” looking back to the Polish Armies defeat of the Russians . Previously a subject which was taboo during the Communist era, the subject can now be breached along with various others which would have not long ago been out of bounds.
The story is crafted by Hoffman so as to appeal to a popular audience, weaving a love story into the background of conflict. Hoffman also stated “The fact that Poles made a film in 3D is not a miracle,”going on to say “We did it because we found a way”. However, there have been mixed reviews of the effectiveness of the 3D, as in most releases with some hailing its merits and others claiming it to detract from the cinematic experience.
The film has been promoted to some degree of success worldwide. However, scoring a less than remarkable 4.4 on IMDB user ratings. Costing $9 million to make the Battle of Warsaw 1920 can be seen as a hefty sum by the average standards of Polish film production.
Phantom Menace 3D – Episode 1 First?
Many have been waiting for the release of the Phantom Menace in full 3D glory and following the initial viewings we can say that it is a resounding success, adding something special to what was admittedly a lackluster film. The problem we have is with showing the films the wrong way round – OK it’s episode 1, which normally would be the first to be shown, but this franchise must be the exception. Showing them in the correct numerical formula runs the risk of depriving many first time viewers of the magical moments of revelation, as is illustrated so perfectly in the video below.