"Squeezed" Movies Challenge 3-Ds

is a technological novelty, and tackle the job of telling super-realistic film stories.

That is what Twentieth Century-Fox has set out to do in a $4,000,000 wide-screen version of Lloyd C. Douglas' best selling religious novel, The Robe, scheduled for release late this September. This epic of the young Roman legate who wins Christ's blood-stained mantle under the central cross on Golgotha would be a tough assignment for any director, using tried and proven standard-screen techniques. To make full use of wide screen, it becomes a monumental challenge.

Movies on an 80-Foot Screen

Not long ago I saw the results of the first two months of Cinemascope shooting. On a metalized screen which arced some 80 feet across New York City's huge Roxy theater stage, Golgotha came to life again in all its quiet horror. Dark scuds moved sullenly across the sky, and tufts of grass bowed to a wind that swept in fitful gusts from right to left.

They tell me that nearly a thousand workers laid 100,000 board feet of lumber under the 55 tons of dirt used to create that hill; that they blended 300 sacks of casting plaster, 150 bags of cement, 100 sacks of hardwood plaster, 60 tons of sand and 10 bales of fiber to form the bleached outcroppings of rock that fell away to a gigantic backdrop painting of Jerusalem which stretched 650 feet across my line of vision.

Enough Light for 1,200 Homes

They say that the 291 blazing lights which illuminated this $55,000 wide-screen setting drew 35,000 amps - enough to turn on all the bulbs in 1,200 five-room houses, and that the heat produced by this blaze of incandescence would have been intolerable if 1,000 tons of ice hadn't been melted daily in the big air conditioning units which blew 60,000 cubic feet of cooled air, every minute, across the studio floor.


Popular Science, August, 1953
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Original material ©1953 Popular Science Publishing Company
HTML Transcription ©2001 The American WideScreen Museum