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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Cinerama Holiday [Blu-ray]

 

(Robert L. Bendick, Philippe De Lacy, 1955)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Cinerama Productions Corp.

Video: Flicker Alley

 

Disc:

Region: FREE! (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 2:09:18.583

Disc Size: 38,539,156,461 bytes

Feature Size: 27,921,285,120 bytes

Video Bitrate: 25.00 Mbps

Chapters: 21

Case: Transparent Blu-ray case

Release date: November 2nd, 2013

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.00:1 matted for SmileBox

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 2067 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2067 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB

 

Subtitles:

None

 

Extras:

Breakdown Reel (14:20)

• Cinerama Holiday at the Dome (5:44)

• Return to Cinerama Holiday (21:35)

• Betty's Scrapbook (11:10)

• 1997 Cast Interview from Cinerama Holiday (22:05)

• Deleted Scenes from Cinerama Adventure (8:25)

• 8mm Home Movies (15:13)

• Aussie Newsreel (2:26)

Restoration of Cinerama Holiday (12:53)

• Slideshow Behind the Scenes with Cinerama Holiday (7:30)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Cinerama Holiday was the second of the original, 3-panel Cinerama travelogues. Released in 1955, the film crisscrosses the vacations of two adventurous, real-life married couples, with stops in St. Moritz, San Francisco, New Orleans, and Paris.

 

 

The Film:

By far, the most dazzling experiences visualized on the giant screen—once the Cinerama spectacle is opened with a breathtaking airplane view of alpine terrain—are some grand and exhilarating moments of skiing on the slopes above Davos and a heart-thumping plunge aboard a bobsled down the whole long, white, zig-zagging chute of the famous Cresta Run. This latter episode, with its accompaniment of sounds of screaming runners and rushing wind, is something to put the now familiar roller-coaster ride of "This Is Cinerama" in the shade.

It is notable in this program that the outdoor action invariably registers with most effect, conveying a sense of participation that the indoor scenes do not always have. For this reason, the first half of the program, which is photographed almost entirely outdoors, is the more vivid and entertaining, since it includes not only the Swiss alpine scenes but some lively views of tripping across America and a beautiful sequence of a typical New England country fair.

The second half of the program, which follows an intermission, is devoted largely to sight-seeing in Paris, much of it indoors. And this, while studded with colorful glimpses, is largely conventional. A Petit Guignol puppet performance of the fable of Red Riding Hood, done before an audience of rapt youngsters, is an exceptional incident here, because of the interesting incongruity of the intimate show on the giant screen.

Excerpt from the NY Times located HERE

“Now the 2nd Cinerama presentation goes beyond anything you’ve ever imagined, as it takes you on a round-the-world adventure that will have your spirits soaring like a million Roman candles! It’s winter in Switzerland, it’s summer in New England, it’s daybreak on the desert, it’s dancing till dawn, it’s spring in Paris, it’s jazz in New Orleans…it’s every holiday you ever dreamed of…come true!”

Cinerama Holiday” was the 2nd of the original, 3-panel Cinerama travelogues. Released in 1955, the motion picture crisscrosses two hybridized travelogues of the “Cinerama camera accompanied” vacations of two adventurous, real-life, married couples. We meet first, Fred and Beatrice Troller, from Zurich, Switzerland, who upon their arrival on the first transatlantic flight to ever land in Kansas City, unload their motor scooter and begin a panoramic tour of America, which begins with them driving up Fremont Street in Las Vegas and catching a casino floor show. Meanwhile, Betty and John Marsh, leave their Kansas City home to take off on the same plane the Troller’s arrived on, for a return flight to Switzerland where this couple take in an outdoor ice show in St. Moritz, and where John rides a bobsled, beginning their European vacation. The latter of which provides just one of the film’s obvious, immersive, “thrill” sequences accentuated by the three-camera/curved-view format.

The Swiss couple are awed by sights of the American west viewed from the “Vista-Dome” of a speeding California Zephyr train, ride a cable car in San Francisco, observe a New Orleans “jazz funeral”, a performance of “Tiger Rag” by Oscar Celestin, and visit a New England county fair, where the Ferris wheel provides another immersive cinematic experience. Meanwhile, the American couple ski the Swiss Alps with hundreds of fellow skiers, and thereafter discover the joy of singing and “fondue” in a Swiss tavern, and then move on to Paris, where they take in the Paris Opera, the Louvre, High Mass at the Cathedral of Notre Dame, a Grand Guignol puppet show, see the spring line in a fashion show, and a floor show in the famous Lido. Both couples meet up in New York City to “finish” their movie, so to speak, and are treated to a finale of the U.S. Navy’s “Blue Angels” performing near-supersonic aerial maneuvers and landing on an aircraft carrier. And all of that’s a Cinerama Holiday!

Unseen theatrically since the early 1970’s, and never before broadcast or issued on home video, the picture now digitally remastered from its original camera negatives, is now newly presented in the Smilebox® Curved Screen Simulation. It is a fascinating time capsule of the 1950’s, an age in which most people had yet to experience a flight in a plane.

Excerpt from Flicker Alley located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Cinerama Holiday is released at the same time as Cinerama South Seas Adventure on Blu-ray from Flicker Alley. I'd say the image quality is about the same - maybe a notch lower. The 'Cinerama effect' is still in full force but the film seemed to have an odd flow. There are many impressive visuals to gaze at and in-motion the vertical disconnect is not really a factor although there is some chroma-like colorization - a bit more noticeable in the right seam. This is dual-layered with a supportive bitrate and it produces a strong presentation with no signs of digital manipulation. Daylight scenes can be quite striking. I saw no noise. Contrast seemed adept, if not overwhelming with its black levels. This Blu-ray seems another fine replication of the theatrical - that fans can appreciate.

 

NOTE: Although the 'Intermission' title card says 15-minutes - the actual time through the Blu-ray presentation is about 3-minutes.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Audio is transferred via a DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 2067 kbps and, as with Cinerama South Seas Adventure is advertised to represent the original seven-channel sound track. Again, I can't know what it sounded like originally, but this surround has some appealing moments. It is exceptionally clear notable with Morton Gould's music (which seems quite dated and irritating!) I would say there are surprising moments of depth and it does sound quite strong. There is also a simple 2.0 channel Dolby option. There are no subtitle offered for the narration and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

Extras :

No commentary on Cinerama Holiday but about 1.5 hours of video extras including a breakdown reel, Cinerama Holiday at the Dome, a reminisce piece entitled Return to Cinerama Holiday, Betty's Marsh's Scrapbook, 20-minutes of a 1997 cast interview, deleted scenes from Cinerama Adventure, 8mm Home Movies, an Aussie Newsreel, a piece on the Restoration and a slideshow of behind the scenes stills.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I still found this very cool - but I was less enthused by the actual film than I was with Cinerama South Seas Adventure. It's 'dated' qualities will appeal for the nostalgia factor, but it just wasn't my cup-of-tea. I'd also say that the visuals we a tad less striking although skiers and bobsledders may appreciate some of the downhill sequences.  This remains a wonderful curiosity and its availability on Blu-ray will appeal to many. We should remember how few of these were made (less than 10?) and the new home theater format can allow fans to step back in time! 

Gary Tooze

November 2nd, 2013

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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