American WideScreen Museum Home Page

Bass' Exodus Art

Otto Preminger's production of Exodus in 1960 was the first major film produced and released in what came to be named Super Panavision 70, and to receive the exclusive extended roadshow treatment. The screen credit for the process called it Panavision 70, but the poster art called it Super Panavision 70. Ironically, both were created by legendary graphic designer Saul Bass. Seen at left is the cover from the souvenir program sold in theatres during the roadshow run.

Exodus was unique among motion pictures. It had a somewhat pre-sold audience in the millions of people that had read Leon Uris' massive novel of the struggle for the birth of the nation of Israel. Like producer Kirk Douglas in Spartacus, Preminger openly used screen writer Dalton Trumbo, effectively breaking the Hollywood Blacklist for all time. Additionally, Preminger started selling tickets before the production even went before the cameras. Saul Bass' artwork was consistently used to promote the film from the time of the original conception and helped keep the public's attention focused. Ads for ticket sales were placed periodically thoughout production, with each ad keeping the public advised as to the progress of filming. Leon Uris' novel had been extremely popular but despite an agreement with the author for him to write the screenplay, Preminger elected to turn the work over to Trumbo.

Panavision 65mm Camera

The Panavision 65mm Camera, in addition to the Mitchell FC and BFC cameras (used by Todd-AO), filmed the vast majority of both Super Panavision and Ultra Panavision films. Inside Panavision's blimp was a custom modified Mitchell FC. Though substantially more compact than its predecessors used to shoot Ben-Hur, it was still a behemoth. Seen above in two production stills and at left, is a very unusual looking black Panavision camera. The familiar Panavision logo had not yet been designed. With a little more refinement, this camera would become one of the light gray and creme colored units that we associate with Panavision cameras. (see next page)



Detail of text from Exodus poster. Note the Todd-AO stereophonic sound.

In a complete departure from general practice, Preminger used most of the dialog recorded during the filming. This gives the film an unusual, almost amateur, sound.

David Lean and Freddie Young photograph Ryan's Daughter in Ireland.
Their first Super Panavision 70 production is discussed on the next page.
Photo courtesy of Roland Lataille

You are on Page 2 of

E-mail the author

©1996 - 2044 The American WideScreen Museum
Martin Hart, Curator