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“This Is Cinerama”: Film Registry #14

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From the list of the LC’s 2002 Registry selection comes this  feature-length look at one of the (literally) biggest breakthroughs in film technology–Cinerama.  Cinerama is one of the many audience pleasing, technological advancements in the movie-going experience that is recognized via the Registry.  (Another is the 1953 film “House of Wax,” the first feature to make successful use of 3D effects.)

Author Kyle Westphal once said of the process and this film specifically:

“‘The pictures you are now going to see have no plot. They have no stars. This is not a stage play, nor is it a feature picture not a travelogue nor a symphonic concert or an opera—but it is a combination of all of them.’ So intones Lowell Thomas before introducing America to a ‘major event’ in the history of entertainment’ in the eponymous ‘This Is Cinerama.’ Let’s be clear: this is a hyperbolic film, striving for the awe and majesty of a baseball game, a fireworks show, and the virgin birth all rolled into one, delivered with the insistent hectoring of a hypnotically effective multilevel marketing pitch.”

Read the rest of the “This is Cinerama” (PDF) essay.


Title:  “This is Cinerama”

Year of Release:  1952

Year Added to the National Film Registry:  2002  (See all films added to the Registry in 2002.)

Trivia:  When this film was imported for showing in Spain, government censors cut out some sections of the film.

This blog post is the first of 14th installment of our “30 Years of the National Film Registry” series which was launched to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Registry.  The National Film Registry selects 25 films each year showcasing the range and diversity of American film heritage to increase awareness for its preservation.  The 30th National Film Registry selections will be announced on December 12, 2018.

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