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Sunday, June 05, 2005

The Return of 3-D

The Boston Globe's Ty Burr asks:

"Are 3-D Movies a Relic, or the Next Big Thing?"

The piece provides a great historical overview of 3-D, with a nod to the misstaken beliefs about why it tanked in the 1950s:

"By the early 1950s, with the new medium of television holding audiences hostage in their living rooms, Hollywood needed it badly. The release of the 1952 jungle adventure `Bwana Devil' was the box-office kick the format was looking for, and 3-D was quickly added to wide-screen cinematography, Technicolor, and stereo sound as Things You Can't Get at Home.

"The studios responded with 3-D films on all levels of the spectrum, from A-list projects such as '`House of Wax` and `Kiss Me Kate' to Three Stooges shorts and cheapo sci-fi like the infamous `Robot Monster.' But the boom was over almost as quickly as it had begun, and not, as has become accepted wisdom, because the movies were bad. Rather, the presentation was bad: The two-strip system resulted in crisp 3-D imagery in Hollywood screening rooms, but in most small-town theaters the projectors quickly fell out of synch, resulting in visual cacophony."

Now, 3-D is back - partly to try to prod studios and theater owners to upgrade to digital projection, which is capable of showing high-quality three dimensional films.


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