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A Brief History of 3D
Source: Film.Guardian.co.uk, sensio.tv

Since its invention in 1838, stereoscopy has been used as a technique to create the illusion of a third dimension. There is a lot of debate about the first 3D film but “L’arrivée du train” filmed in 1903 by the Lumière brothers, the inventors of cinema, is often referred to as the first stereoscopic movie ever made.

When it was released, audiences panicked because they thought the train was about to crash right into them! Since then, about 250 films and TV programs have been produced in 3D. Although the technology for creating 3D films has been around for a long time, the technology for viewing these films, as essential as it may be, is a totally different story.

This explains why 3D cinema has gone through five significant eras and why its story is still being written. Film in 3D is as old as cinema itself, although the technical difficulties it poses have always prevented its triumph.

As far back as the 1890s, the British film pioneer William Friese-Greene was working on a process, but the earliest known commercial 3D film was The Power of Love in 1922, which used the notoriously unreliable dual-strip projection and introduced the dastardly red and green anaglyph glasses.

The 1950s ushered in a prolific spate of film-making as the studios, besieged by the advent of television, threw themselves into the new format in a bid to bring back audiences.

For a while it worked, as Vincent Price starred in House of Wax and other schlocky genre pieces, while MGM released Kiss Me Kate in 3D, John Wayne starred in Hondo and Richard Carlson and Julia Adams headlined Creature from the Black Lagoon, the 1954 title that is arguably the most famous 3D release of them all.

As widescreen 2D cinema became more popular, 3D died out, returning in the 1970s and 1980s with Jaws 3-D and a rash of genre finery such as Amityville 3-D, Comin' At Ya!, Friday the 13th Part III and Adventures in the Forbidden Zone.

In recent years, film-makers have combined 3D with the giant-screen Imax format in a series of documentary releases, and since then Hollywood has enjoyed moderate success converting 2D hits into 3D using polarised glasses. Notable titles from this most recent wave include The Polar Express, Chicken Little, Beowulf and The Nightmare Before Christmas.

1900 to 1946: Experimentation - Producers, fans and inventors of all stripes lay the groundwork for 3D cinema. A few films are shot with small budgets in order to try to uncover the secrets of stereoscopic production.

1950 to 1960: The first golden age - During this decade, 3D sees its first boom. With the commercial success of “Bwana Devil”, released by United Artists in 1952, 3D cinema captures the attention of the major studios.

They turn out more than sixty films, including Hitchcock’s “Dial M for Murder” and “Hondo”, starring John Wayne. Although these films were shot with state-of-the art technology, 3D fell out of use because of the poor viewing conditions in most theatres and due to the complex equipment required to exhibit 3D movies (silver screens, polarized glasses, double synchronized projectors, special lenses…).

1973 to 1985: The Renaissance - All but forgotten by the general public, 3D cinema resurfaces and several studios, large and small, try to resurrect it. They succeed in creating interest thanks to such films as “Jaws 3D”, “Comin at Ya!” and “Friday the 13th – Part 3”.

However, in spite of its new-found success, the little cardboard glasses still didn’t cut it, and 3D disappeared once again.

1986 to 2000: The revolution - With the invention of the Imax 3D format, which audiences discover for the first time while watching “Transitions” at Expo ‘86 in Vancouver, and the emergence of new screening technology, 3D cinema finally comes into its own.

Although 3D is used only in specialized productions due to the prohibitive shooting costs, it takes its rightful place, never to relinquish it again.

2001 to today: The second golden age - The advent of computer animation technology, digital cameras and 3D home theatre contribute to the democratization of stereoscopic production and screening. The demand for 3D continues to grow and the technology is now entering its second golden age.



Important 3D "Firsts" in the Movies
Source: 3dgear.com

The first presentation of 3D films before a paying audience took place at the Astor Theater, New York, on June 10, 1915. The program consisted of three one-reelers, the first of rural scenes in the USA, the second a selection of scenes from Famous Players' Jim, the Penman (US '15), with John Mason and Marie Doro, and the third a travelog of Niagara Falls.

The anaglyphic process used, developed by Edwin S. Porter and W.E. Waddell, involved the use of red and green spectacles to create a single image from twin motion picture images photographed 2½ inches apart. The experiment was not a success.

Lynde Denig wrote in Moving Picture World: "Images shimmered like reflections on a lake and in its present form the method couldn't be commercial because it detracts from the plot."

The first 3D feature film was Nat Deverich's 5-reel melodrama Power of Love (US '22), starring Terry O'Neil and Barbara Bedford. It premiered at the Ambassador Hotel Theater, Los Angeles, on September 27, 1922.

Produced by Perfect Pictures in an anaglyphic process developed by Harry K. Fairall, it related the adventures of a young sea captain in California in the 1840s.

The only other American feature in 3D prior to Bwana Devil (US '52) was R. William Neill's Mars, aka Radio Mania (US '22), with Grant Mitchell as an inventor who succeeds in making contact with Mars via television. It was produced in Laurens Hammond's Teleview process.

The first feature-length talkie in 3D was Sante Bonaldo's Nozze vagabonde (It '36), starring Leda Gloria and Ermes Zacconi, which was produced by the Società Italiana Stereocinematografica at the Cinee-Caesar Studios. The 3D cameraman was Anchise Brizzi.

The first feature-length talkie in color and 3D was Alexander Andreyevsky's Soyuzdetfilm production Robinson Crusoe (USSR '47), starring Pavel Kadochnikov as Crusoe and Y. Lyubimov as Friday.

The process used, Stereokino, was the first to successfully dispense with anaglyphic spectacles. Developed by S.P. Ivanov, it employed what were known as "radial raster stereoscreens"—a corrugated metal screen with "raster" grooves designed to reflect the twin images separately to the left and right eye.

The most difficult technical problem encountered during the production of Robinson Crusoe was persuading a wild cat to walk along a thin branch towards the camera.

After five nights occupied with this one scene, the cameraman succeeded in getting a satisfactory shot. The effect, according to accounts, was riveting, the animal seeming to walk over the heads of the audience and disappear at the far end of the cinema.

The first 3D feature with stereophonic sound was Warner Brothers' House of Wax (US '53). When it was premiered at the Paramount Theater, New York, with 25 speakers, the Christian Science Monitor was moved to deplore the "cacophony of sound hurtling relentlessly at one from all directions".

André de Toth, director of the movie, may have been able to hear the cacophony, but was unable to see the 3D effect, as he only had one eye.

During the 3D boom that began with the low-budget Bwana Devil (US '52), over 5,000 theaters in the US were equipped to show 3D movies, but the fad was shortlived. 3D production figures were: 1952—1; 1953—27; 1954—16; 1955—1.

In addition there were 3D movies produced in Japan, Britain, Mexico, Germany and Hong Kong, but many of these (as well as some of the US productions) were released flat.

Sporadic production resumed in 1960 with the first Cinemascope 3D movie, September Storm (US '60), since when there have been 54 further three-dimensional films.



The Most Notable 3-D Movies Of All Time
"Pixar's Up is quite possibly the greatest
3-D movie ever made"
By Larry Carroll | Excerpt: mtv.com


In 1952, television was increasingly keeping people on the couch and out of movie theaters, so Hollywood desperately turned to a process called "Naturalvision," and 3-D movies were born.

Convinced that their best hope to win audiences back was by making things leap off the screen, dozens of 3-D movies were greenlit immediately. But just a few years later, bad scripts and gimmickry had effectively killed the fad.

These days, "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" is riding high at the box office for the second straight frame, the "Toy Story" films are being re-released this weekend in three dimensions, and such high-profile blockbusters as "Avatar," "A Christmas Carol" and "Alice in Wonderland" will all be coming at you soon, complete with their own funky eyeglasses. With TV and the Internet stealing eyeballs, theater owners are once again turning to 3-D, hoping that the results will this time be more fruitful and longer-lasting.

With that in mind, we present this list of the most notable 3-D films of all time — along with our hopes that the genre's not-so-"Cloudy" outlook is a sign of good things to come.

"Bwana Devil" (1952) — The first feature-length movie in 3-D helped launch the craze in the early '50s. Starring Robert Stack, the drama about the building of the Uganda Railway may seem like an unusual 3-D topic now. But its tagline's promise to put "A lion in your lap! A lover in your arms!" set an exploitative precedent that would stick with the genre right up to "My Bloody Valentine 3-D" and its insistence that "Nothing says 'date movie' like a 3-D ride to hell!" Some things, it seems, never change.

"House of Wax" (1953) — Arguably the most successful of the "golden era" 3-D films, this Vincent Price thriller was remade a few years ago in 2-D starring Paris Hilton. The original holds up surprisingly well as a horror flick, and some scenes are good for a few laughs — most notably, a hilarious out-of-left-field sequence that has a carnival barker doing tricks and "addressing" the audience. If only Paris had been so creative.

"The Stewardesses" (1969) — The most profitable 3-D movie of all time, this softcore flick about the sexy misadventures of trans-Pacific airline attendants cost $100,000, grossed more than $27 million and ran in theaters for years. Also notable for being reshot and re-edited while playing in theaters (to lighten its X rating to an R for wider audiences), "The Stewardesses" was recently released on DVD with 3-D glasses included and is estimated to have now grossed more than 300 times its budget.

"Friday the 13th: Part III" (1982), "Jaws 3-D" (1983) and "Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare" (1991) — Serving as placeholders for the 3-D genre between the old "golden era" and the new one, these films had several things in common: They were part of hugely successful series, they were unapologetically stuffed with gimmicks, and they kinda sucked. But for sheer fun, the monotony of bad horror movies was broken up nicely by 3-D every few years in the '80s and '90s.

"Beowulf" (2007) — Mixing newfangled technology with one of the oldest tales in human history, Robert Zemeckis' film had a $28 million opening weekend that showed audiences were indeed interested in photo-realistic 3-D event movies. An eye-popping sequence that had a nude Angelina Jolie seducing the audience showed that as far as the genre has come, "The Stewardesses" will never be far away.

"Coraline" (2009) — Why is this a landmark 3-D film? Because it was really, really good. Neil Gaiman's tale of a little girl tempted by a not-so-perfect family was the perfect vehicle for the medium. Director Henry Selick seized upon it, and the result was an instant classic that transported the audience into an extremely vivid, creative world. If the new wave of 3-D filmmakers hopes to avoid the mistakes of their early predecessors, they'll need to make more films like "Coraline."

"Up" (2009) — The reason why "Up" is quite possibly the greatest 3-D movie ever made is because it wasn't designed to be a 3-D film. Rather than throwing gimmicks at the audience, Pixar concentrated on doing what it does best: tell a good story. Those who saw it in 3-D this past summer, however, got to soar high with old-timer Carl Fredrickson, little Russell and all those beautiful balloons. Filmmakers like Jon Favreau took notice, and now it appears that we may not be too far away from our first 3-D superhero film.



Flight to Tangier 1953 Polarized
Excerpt: 3dfilmfest.com

Perhaps Palance's first "good guy" role, oddly cast with Fontaine. Certainly oil and water, but the Technicolor 3-D is great. This was one of only 2 films shot in Technicolor "3-strip" AND 3-D... meaning 6 rolls of film were being shot at the same time!



Fort Ti 1953 Polarized
Excerpt: imdb.com

In October 1982, this film was chosen by the ITV network in the United Kingdom as the first film to be given a television screening in 3-D. Glasses were distributed (free) with that week's TV Times magazine and were also available in selected electrical stores (at a small charge). While the screening was reasonably successful, the experiment was not repeated.



Gun Fury 1953 Polarized

A Civil War vet takes off in hot pursuit after an outlaw gang who ambushed a stagecoach and kidnapped his bride-to-be. Typical Walsh Western originally shown in 3-D.



Hannah Lee 1953 Polarized
Excerpt: nytimes.com

Another entry in the 3D sweepstakes, Hannah Lee is all but forgotten today. That's too bad, because the film at least has historical interest, representing one of the few forays into directing by actor John Ireland, who co-stars in the film with his then-wife Joanne Dru. MacDonald Carey heads the cast as vicious outlaw Bus Crow, who is paid a substantial sum to wipe out a group of homesteaders.



I, the Jury 1953 Polarized
Excerpt: wikipedia.org

I, the Jury is a mystery-thriller film from 1953, based on the novel by Mickey Spillane. It was directed by Harry Essex, produced by Victor Saville's company, Parklane Pictures and released through United Artists. The film is notable for being the first film based on a Mike Hammer novel. Biff Elliot stars as Hammer. It was filmed in 3-D and was available with stereophonic sound.



Drums of Tahiti 1954
Excerpt: imdb.com

In 1877, Tahiti secretly plans to revolt against France, aided by British gun-runners who are no match for police commissioner Duvois. Now, prosperous American Mike Macklin is persuaded by Queen Pomare to help.

As an excuse for sailing to San Francisco, he must enlist a "wife" of convenience; enter gold-digging showgirl Wanda Spence. Will Mike tame her or ignore her in favor of inauthentic dancer Mawaii? A hurricane's brewing, the natives are restless...and so is the volcano!



Gorilla at Large 1954 Polarized
Excerpt: 3dfilmfest.com

Fox's second 3-D feature, set in a carnival involving a killer gorilla. Bancroft is radiant, Mitchell young, and Burr sinister with an excellent supporting role by Lee J. Cobb. Watch for Lee Marvin's bit.



September Storm 1960 Polarized
Excerpt: answers.com

In this standard adventure yarn shown in 3-D, four people on a "borrowed" boat -- three men and a woman -- take off looking for sunken gold worth millions. A young, handsome man works on the yacht of a Parisian tycoon who happens to be away at the moment.

Two nautical layabouts convince the man to take them out looking for the sunken treasure, so the three of them set off on their adventure with a beautiful New York model on board.



The Mask 1961 Anaglyphic
Excerpt: swell3d.com

In 1961, the Hollywood thriller fad was long over, and so was the 3-D craze. The Mask represented a reinvention of 3-D horror, the more so because it didn't come from Hollywood. It was the first Canadian-made film widely distributed in the United States, and the only one in 3-D.

It tells the story of a psychiatrist who is driven to nightmarish hallucinations by a mysterious mask, which he cannot stop putting on. The hallucination sequences are hauntingly, scary. Fire, skulls, demonic rituals... if you're expecting the standard 1950's horror schlock, you will be surprised by this clip, and maybe terrified.



Prison Girls 1972 Polarized
Excerpt: imdb.com

Six female prisoners are given a weekend furlough to prepare them for their upcoming parole. While out, they all have miscellaneous sexual experiences, some good, some bad. One returns to her pimp even though he beats her, one overcomes her frigidity, one gets gang raped, two join in a threesome, and one goes back to her criminal lover shortly before the police show up.






The Golden Age of 3D

From the world's first 3D feature film, The Power of Love, to Andy Warhol's Frankenstein 3D, AMZ looks at vintage 3D films from the 20's to the 70's. As you explore this article, you will see that the years 1953 and 1954 were no doubt the dominate years for 3D movies.

This is not a complete list of every single 3D film from the Golden Age, but most of the prominent films are included in this SFMZ feature.


imdb.com: The Power of Love 1922 Anaglyphic

World's first 3-D feature film. Not Bwana Devil, which is usually given that honor. The only film released in the two-camera, two-projector Fairhall-Elder stereoscopic (3-D) process developed by Harry K. Fairhall and Robert F. Elder.

The premiere was 27 September 1922 at the Ambassador Hotel Theater in Los Angeles. This film is presumed lost.


3dmovingpictures.com: MARS 1922 Teleview

M.A.R.S. is the world's second 3D feature film. In the theater, two normal projectors were linked with sync motors, so they ran in absolute sync.

25 year-old Laurens Hammond of Detroit had an electric motor turn an AC generator so his system was isolated from the poor quality city power.

The projectors were driven by this regulated AC, via their own sync motors. The left film was in the left projector and right film in the right.

Attached to each and every seat in the theater were the viewing devices. The viewer had a window permitting both of your eyes to see through the shutter to the screen.


3dmovingpictures.com: Audioscopiks 1935

MGM’s Frederick C. Quimby acquired some gag/demo footage shot by Jacob F. Leventhal and John A. Norling. Quimby handed the footage over to Pete Smith to shape into one of his well-known comedic shorts. The result was the 8+ minute Audioscopiks, which opened nationally, January 8, 1936.

It was apparently a smash and was Oscar nominated for Best Short Subject. We don’t know if MGM ordered more footage to be shot, or Leventhal and Norling already had it, but sometime in 1937, it was decided to make a sequel. The new Audioscopiks opened January 15, 1938.

Leventhal most likely met up with John Norling (also from NYC) at the J. R. Bray Studios where Dave Fleischer was doing the Out of the Inkwell series which apparently involved both of the boys at some point. Norling had directed two shorts for Bray, in 1922 and 1923.


imdb.com:
Third Dimension Murder 1941 Anaglyphic


A 3-D short subject in which the narrator goes to a creepy old house in search of his missing aunt. There he encounters the Frankenstein monster, a witch, a wooden Indian who comes to life, and assorted other monsters and frightening characters, all of whom manage to throw something toward the camera.

IMDB Member Comments: "Third Dimensional Murder" is worth a look ... IF you can manage to see it in 3-D, but you'll need the appropriate viewing apparatus ... which has a much shorter 3-D parallax than the standard 3-D eyeglasses of 1950s drive-in fame.


wikipedia.org: Bwana Devil 1952 Polarized

It was 1951 and theatre attendance had down-spiralled from 90 million in 1948 to 46 million a few years later. TV was the culprit and Hollywood was looking for a way to lure audiences back.

Cinerama had premiered September 30, 1952 at the Broadway Theatre in New York and was packing them in but its bulky and expensive three camera system was impractical if not impossible to duplicate in all but the largest theatres.

One time screen writer Milton Gunzburg and brother Julian thought they had a solution with their Natural Vision 3-D film process.

They shopped it around Hollywood with little or no interest. 20th Century Fox was focusing on the introduction of CinemaScope, and had no interest in another new process.

Both Columbia and Paramount passed it up. Only John Arnold, who headed the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer camera department, was impressed enough to convince MGM to take an option on it but they quickly let the option lapse.


nytimes.com: Arena 1953 Polarized

The orignal print ad displayed "First Full-Length Western in 3 Dimension!" Bob Danvers, an arrogant, irresponsible rodeo star, retaliates for losing his wife by having an affair with a pretty fan in this melodrama.

His wife, Ruth, really loves him, but she can no longer handle his selfishness and leaves. Hob has his moment of truth at a major Tucson rodeo when his ex-buddy, now a rodeo clown, sacrifices his life to save Hob from being gored by a berserk Brahma bull.

The film features realistic scenes from a rodeo and was originally a 3-D picture. This story, handsomely panoplied in the rich hues of Ansco color and printed in Technicolor, deals in strictly pedestrian fashion with the muscular and hazardous lives of hard-riding rodeo performers.

It is the muscle-jarring, "sun-fishing" "sidewinding," charging broncs and Brahma bulls that provide the visual drama in "Arena." Sadly enough, these looked just as good in two dimensions.


mininova.org: Cat Women of the Moon 1953 Polarized

This is one of the best. So-bad-it's-great! A cast of stars (including Sonny Tufts, Victor Jory and the delicious Marie Windsor) land on the far side of the moon and discover a race of beautiful women (there not cats, that's just the title.)

Oh, yeah, and some giant spiders, too. But enough of that. Any film that has Ms. Windsor in 3-D has got to be tops on any bad sci-fi list. This is probably the first film of it's kind.

No, not camp, but the plot of "male astronauts go to extraterrestrial planet and discover race of sex-starved women dying for company". Invasion of the Star Creatures, Fire Maidens from Outer Space, and Queen of Outer Space all follow in its footprints.

There was even a direct remake, Missile to the Moon! This film was originally released in full stereoscopic format in 1953, and a regular B/W print was released later under the title "Rocket to the Moon".









Cease Fire 1953 Polarized
Excerpt: msn.com

Documentary filmmaker Owen Crump went "on the line" with the American peace-keeping troops during the Korean Conflict of 1950-53. Without editorializing, Crump managed to convey the frustrations and futility of this notorious "peace action". To a man, those interviewed sound upbeat and optimistic, but they can't hide those haunted looks in their eyes.

Much of the footage in Cease Fire has found its way into countless Korean War TV documentaries since 1953. Given the excellence and balance of the footage, it is a shame that Owen Crump's name is not more widely known.

The soundtrack includes "(We are brothers in arms", Written by Dimitri Tiomkin, Lyrics by Ned Washington, Sung intermittently by male chorus. Also, "Battle Hymn of the Republic", Written by William Steffe (1856), Original lyrics by Julia Ward Howe (1862), New lyrics by Owen Crump, Sung by soldiers during march.



The Charge at Feather River 1953 Polarized
Excerpt: answers.com

Made during the brief 3-D movie craze of the early-middle 1950s, Gordon M. Douglas's The Charge at Feather River (1953) does, indeed, have its share of arrows (flaming and not), lances, and other weapons flying directly at the audience in several scenes.

Though most interesting use of the effect may well be a scene in which Frank Lovejoy's tough-as-nails Sgt. Baker backs down a rattlesnake with some venom of his own. It's better than that in its use of 3-D, however the movie consistently makes use of the extra-dimensional element in framing its action.



Devil's Canyon 1953 Polarized
Excerpt: msn.com

RKO Radio's second 3D production, Devil's Canyon is a combination western and jail-break picture. The scene is Arizona Territorial Prison, wherein 500 desperate men are incarcerated.

The inmates become even more desperate when female outlaw Abby Nixon (Virginia Mayo) is likewise locked up. As the prisoners draw up plans to escape, Abby is attracted to handsome but psychotic ringleader Jessie Gorman (Stephen McNally)--and to U.S. marshal Billy Reynolds (Dale Robertson), who is serving time for manslaughter.

The climactic bust-out threatens to get out of hand until the marshal calms things down with a Gatling gun.



The Glass Web 1953
Excerpt: answers.com

One of the better results of the 3-D craze from the 1950s, The Glass Web is strong enough to stand on its own without the visual technical gimmick around which it was designed. Many 3-D films fall into two camps -- those that exist strictly to show off the technology and those on which the technology feels like it has been grafted, much against the film's will. The sequence following the discovery of the body clearly is being exploited for 3-D purposes.



Hondo 1953 Polarized
Excerpt: classicfilmguide.com

Directed by John Farrow and co-produced by John Wayne (with Robert Fellows), in the title role, this Louis L'Amour story was adapted by James Edward Grant, who would earn his only Academy recognition 5 years later with an Oscar nomination for the Western comedy The Sheepman (1958), featuring Glenn Ford. Wayne's co-star Geraldine Page earned her first Oscar nomination (Supporting) and L'Amour his only (Best Writing, Motion Picture Story).

This slightly above average Western also features Ward Bond & James Arness as Army Indian Scouts, and Michael Pate (among others), as well as an uncredited wonder dog (like Lassie). What makes this film particularly real are all the things Wayne does at the beginning of the film, after his character has walked out of the desert and onto Page's ranch, including shoeing a horse (though it's obvious that a stunt double was used to break the wild one). Originally released in 3-D (which explains a few of the contrived action sequences).



House of Wax 1953 Polarized
Excerpt: wikipedia.org

Stereoscopic 3-D was an alternative technology (like Cinemascope and Cinerama) used by 1950s studios attempting to compete with the new threat of television. Just over 50 titles were released in the 3-D process during its 2-1/2 year heyday. House of Wax was always shown in dual interlocked 35 mm projection with polarized glasses.

The film was re-released in the period of 1975 through 1980 in both single strip 35mm Stereovision 3-D and in Stereovision's pioneering 70mm 3-D process, where it played in major venues like Grauman's Chinese Theater, in Hollywood, and the huge Boston Music Hall (seating 4300 patrons). House of Wax, originally titled The Wax Works, was Warner Bros. answer to the 3-D hit Bwana Devil, which had been released the previous November. Seeing something big in 3-D's future, WB contracted the same company, Natural Vision, run by the Gunzberg Brothers, Julian and Milton, to shoot the new feature.



It Came from Outer Space 1953 Polarized

It Came from Outer Space is a 1953 Science Fiction 3-D film directed by Jack Arnold, and starring Richard Carlson, Barbara Rush, and Charles Drake.

A meteor crashes in the desert near a small Arizona town, and research scientist John Putnam (Richard Carlson) thinks it's a spaceship, but no one will believe him except his loyal girlfriend, Ellen (Barbara Rush). Weird evidence begins to back up his theory however, from the strange behavior of some of the locals, to the slime trails, the ghostly noises in the phone lines, and the apparitions of hideous alien eyes swooping down on passing cars.

Director Jack Arnold (Creature From the Black Lagoon) lets the story unfold deliberately, and infuses the desert locale with all the unearthly mystery of an alien landscape, helping to make this one of the best science fiction films of the 1950s.



Man in the Dark 1953 Polarized
Excerpt: imdb.com

Columbia's first 3-D production (released originally in Sepiatone) and also the first 3-D feature from a major studio---"Bwana Devil" was an indie production distributed by United Artists---has a story featuring gangster Steve Rawley (Edmond O'Brien) who, while in jail on a robbery charge, undergoes an experimental brain operation designed to eradicate his criminal tendencies. He loses his memory and is kidnapped by his old cronies who want to get their hands on the hidden loot for which he has been serving time. He eventually, through a series of wild dreams, recovers his memory before the climax in an eerily-lit amusement park, highlighted by a wild chase on and over a roller coaster.

IMDB Members Comments: 3-D process and numerous subjective camera techniques (like scapels used in operation coming out at the screen, bullets firing at speeding cars, whirling around car rides at an amusement park, etc.) make this interesting viewing and out of the ordinary story about a thug who lost his memory after brain surgery.



Inferno 1953 Polarized
Excerpt: wikipedia.org

Inferno is 20th Century Fox's first, yet belated, foray into the world of 3-D film, a prevalent cinema fad in the 1950s. It is a film noir drama/thriller directed by Roy Ward Baker, shot in Technicolor and shown in 3-D Dimension and stereophonic sound on prints for the few theaters equipped for that sound system in 1953.

The drama tells the story of spoiled and alcoholic millionaire Carson. During a trip to the Mojave Desert Carson breaks his leg after falling off his horse and is abandoned and left to die by Geraldine, his adulterous femme fatale wife, and his deceitful business partner Joseph Duncan.




Creature from the Black Lagoon 1954 Polarized
Excerpt: moria.co.nz

The Creature from the Black Lagoon was made a year after The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953). The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms was a big success that created a vogue for prehistoric/dinosaur and atomically enlarged monster movies, something that became one of the most predominant themes of 1950s science-fiction.

The Creature from the Black Lagoon is clearly an attempt to tap that success. Although it is relatively rarity among these films in that it eschews the idea of a giant-size monster and brings the monster down to human-size, drawing upon something of the influence of the earlier alien invader film The Thing from Another World (1951).

The design of the Creature was supposedly modeled on the Oscar statuette, would you believe. This is a clever move that allows the film to have its cake and eat it too without the need for costly stop-motion animation effects. Although in truth the bit about the creature being a dinosaur is only window dressing, for at heart this is just another variant on the Frankenstein and Mummy films that were Universal bread-and-butter genre output in the previous decade.

In fact with the Creature’s inroads on Julia Adams, The Creature from the Black Lagoon is really not a lot more than an incarnation of a good old Thrilling Wonder Stories cover with a tentacular monster and bikini-clad heroine. The Creature from the Black Lagoon was originally shot in 3D and is sometimes shown in that format in revival screenings today.




Creature from the Black Lagoon

Phantom of the Rue Morgue 1954 Polarized
Excerpt: nytimes.com

Warner Bros.' followup to its 3D hit House of Wax, Phantom of the Rue Morgue bears only the slightest resemblance to its alleged inspiration, the Edgar Allan Poe mystery yarn Murders in the Rue Morgue. Karl Malden delivers one of the hammiest performances on record as mad scientist Dr. Marais, who uses a trained gorilla to exact revenge on those who've wronged him.

At the top of Marais' hit list are the many beautiful women who've spurned his advances, including such French pastries as Yvonne, Arlette and Camille. Each of these unfortunate ladies have been given bracelets decorated with bells, designed to attract the homicidal ape's attention. Psychology professor Paul Dupin conducts a private investigation of the killings, only to be arrested for the murders himself by the supremely confident Inspector Bonnard.

This leaves Dupin's sweetheart Jeanette virtually defenseless when she is targetted for extermination by Doc Marais. Outside of such incidental pleasures as seeing Merv Griffin play a French medical student, Phantom of the Rue Morgue offers a vast array of unsubtle 3D "shock" effects, which come off as hilarious when the film is shown "flat".



Revenge of the Creature 1955 Polarized
Excerpt: nytimes.com

Revenge of the Creature is, of course, the sequel to Universal's fabulously successful The Creature from the Black Lagoon--and like its predecessor, the film was lensed in 3-D (though released "flat" in most theatres).

Though the audience had seen the Gill-Man shot full of holes in the first picture, he still resides in the Black Lagoon in the sequel, apparently none the worse for wear. Two oceanographers (John Bromfield and Robert B. Williams) capture the creature and put him on display at Florida's Ocean Harbor Park (actually Marineland of the Atlantic).

Here the hapless Gill-Man is taught a few words of English by compassionate icthyologists John Agar and Lori Nelson. Eventually, however, the creature reverts to type, kills one of his captors and goes on a rampage. And once again, he manages to briefly abduct the heroine and carry her off.

Not nearly as good as the first Creature, this followup is saved by the underwater photography of Charles S. Welbourne--and by the effective performance by Ricou Browning as the Gill-Man. Look for a young, uncredited Clint Eastwood in his first screen appearance as the goofy white coated lab assistant who does the silly mouse gag in the lab scene with the monkey.



Paradisio 1961 Anaglyphic
Excerpt: videovista.net

Given a pair of special sunglasses by an Austrian colleague, an English professor discovers they are X-ray spectacles, enabling him to see through clothes. While utilising his gift, he is pursued across Europe by Russian spies after the invention. Paradisio today remains a curio, when the modern adult industry was still finding its feet.



The Bellboy and the Playgirls 1962 Polarized
Excerpt: imdb.com

June is busting out all over! In COLOR plus the new depth perception... it puts a girl in your lap! This was the tagline for Francis Ford Coppola's first film. The bellboy aspires to be a private eye and is reading a book to learn the trade. The 'suspicious' activities of women in the hotel give him a chance to practice his skills.

Surprise! They are representatives of a lingerie manufacturer. To investigate further, he poses as a potential buyer, and the women take turns modeling their wares. This includes demonstrations of how easily the garments come off - making this a film destined for softcore movie palaces in the '60s.

The 3-D keyhole views of June Wilkinson are technically wrong, since one can only look through a keyhole with one eye. IMBD Member Comments: When released in the '60s, this was the sort of thing shown in "adults only" movie theaters full of cigarette smoke and men wearing raincoats.



The Bubble (Invasion of Planet Earth) 1966 Polarized
Excerpt: imdb.com

Taglines included 'A Spaced Odyssey', 'A Sci-Fi Experience That Will Blow Your Mind!', and 'The Picture Floats Off the Screen and Over Your Head!' A couple encounter mysterious atmospheric effects in an airplane and find themselves in a town where people behave oddly. They eventually escape.

IMBD Member Comments: This was not the first polarized 3-D movie by a long shot, as over 50 3-D movies were released in polarized 3-D in 1953 and 1954. However, this was the first film widely distributed in a single strip/one projector 3-D process instead of the dual strip/dual projector system used in the fifties.



The Stewardesses 1969 Polarized
Excerpt: wikipedia.org

The Stewardesses (1969, revised 1971) is the most profitable 3-D film in history, grossing over $27,000,000 (USD) in 1970 dollars on a budget of just over $100,000. It is also unique in that it may be the only notable film to be reshot, edited and updated as it played in theaters, according to Allan Silliphant, the Producer-Director.

Since it was grossing extremely well, in specialty "adult theaters", Louis Sher and Silliphant decided that the film should be transformed into a regular R rated feature film with a more complex storyline and reduced nudity and sex simulation. The film was shot in 35mm color and projected in a new, single strip, side-by-side polarized format called Stereovision.

The images were compressed horizontally in printing, then expanded with an integrated anamorphic, "unsqueezing" lens for projection. Only colorless plastic glasses were ever used, rather than the paper ones of the 50s. It was never shown in the simpler red/cyan filter method.



Frankenstein's Bloody Terror
1972 Polarized

Excerpt: imdb.com

Also known as Hell's Creatures, The Mark of the Wolfman, The Vampire of Dr. Dracula, The Werewolf's Mark, The Wolfman of Count Dracula, and more.

The original Spanish version was actually released in 1968, ran 10 minutes longer, had stereo sound, and was in 3-D. 'Frankenstein' in the title was merely an American marketing gimmick, the Frankenstein doctor or creature do not appear in this movie.

A man suffers from the curse of lycanthrope and seeks help from doctor and wife team. They both turn out to be vampires and end up dueling it out with the werewolf star.



Andy Warhol's Frankenstein 1974 Polarized
Excerpt: wikipedia.org

Andy Warhol's Frankenstein is a 1973 horror film directed by Paul Morrissey and produced by Andy Warhol, Andrew Braunsberg, Louis Peraino, and Carlo Ponti. Starring Udo Kier, Joe Dallesandro, Monique van Vooren and Arno Juerging, and filmed in the famous Cinecittà by a crew of Italian master filmmakers.

Andy Warhol's Frankenstein is suffused with the crumbling glamour of old Italian films, paying homage to (while simultaneously parodying) the earnest and stark visual and psychological beauty of the horror films on which it is based. Morrissey's sense of ironic detachment gives the film a gruesomely comic modernity and beauty all its own.

In the United States, the film was marketed in 1974 as Andy Warhol's Frankenstein, and was presented in the Space-Vision 3-D process in premiere engagements. It was rated X by the MPAA, due to its explicit sexuality and violence. A 3-D version also played in Australia in 1986, along with Blood for Dracula, an obvious pairing.

In the seventies a 3-D version played in Stockholm, Sweden. In subsequent US DVD releases, the film was retitled Flesh for Frankenstein, while the original title was used in other regions.

Like Blood for Dracula, made by the same crew and cast, and sharing many of the same sets (a cost-cutting measure first used by Roger Corman), Flesh for Frankenstein is an attempt at using a gothic story to comment on power, knowledge and social order.

While many adaptations of Frankenstein portray the doctor as a man whose dedication to science for professional glory take him too far, in Flesh for Frankenstein, the Baron’s interest is more self-absorbed: he seeks to rule the world by creating a new species that will obey him and do his bidding.

Dr. von Frankenstein neglects his duties towards his wife/sister, as he is obsessed with creating a perfect Serbian race to obey his commands, beginning by assembling a perfect male and female from parts of corpses.

The doctor's sublimation of his sexual urges by his powerful urge for domination is shown when he utilizes the surgical wounds of his female creation to satisfy his lust.

He is dissatisfied with the inadequate reproductive urges of his current male creation, and seeks a head donor with a greater libido; he also repeatedly exhibits an intense interest that the creature's "nasum" (nose) have a correctly Serbian shape.

As it happens, a suitably randy farmhand leaving a local brothel along with his sexually repressed friend, brought there in an unsuccessful attempt to dissuade him from entering a monastery, are spotted and waylaid by the doctor and his henchman; mistakenly assuming that the prospective monk is also suitable for stud duty, they take his head for use on the male creature.

Not knowing these behind-the-scene details, the farmhand survives and finds his way to the castle, where he is befriended by the doctor's wife; they form an agreement for him to gratify her unsatisfied carnal appetites.

Under the control of the doctor, the creature, with the monk-to-be's head, serves the castle's residents and guests at dinner, but shows no signs of recognition of his friend. The farmhand realizes at this point that something is awry, but himself pretends not to recognize his friend's face until he can investigate further.







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