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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Cinerama - Search For Paradise [Blu-ray]


(Otto Lang, 1957)


Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Cinerama Productions Corp.

Video: Flicker Alley



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

Runtime: 1:59:42.967

Disc Size: 43,150,549,839 bytes

Feature Size: 24,160,806,912 bytes

Video Bitrate: 25.02 Mbps

Chapters: 18

Case: Transparent Blu-ray case

Release date: November 18th, 2014



Aspect ratio: 2.00:1 matted for SmileBox

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



Dolby Digital Audio English 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB






• The original Search for Paradise breakdown reel the same one used in its 1956 theatrical run (14:23)
• Behind-the-scenes video of the Cinerama crew setting up for the Air Force base shoot
(6:54) and on location 16mm footage of the Nepal shoot (2:54)
• The 3-panel 2012 Cinerama short In the Picture
(31:46), as well as The Last Days of Cinerama (24:39), which goes behind-the-scenes of the making of In The Picture 
• A 1998 interview with director Otto Lang (24:00)
• David Coles Search for Paradise presentation (22:39)
• Demonstration on how the original negatives were restored (13:40)
• A brand new rerelease movie trailer
(4:35), a 1950s black & white announcement trailer (1:46), and image gallery (5:54)
• 28-page facsimile representation of the original program booklet

2 DVDs





Description: Join Lowell Thomas and follow in the footsteps of Marco Polo in this new, digital restoration of Search for Paradise, the fourth of the original, 3-panel Cinerama travelogues. Released in 1957, the motion picture takes you to the "Roof of the World," the Himalayas and Karakoram mountains of Central Asia, the highest region on Earth. You'll become part of the adventure as explorer Lowell Thomas searches for paradise in ancient cities, wild river rapids, and the lush gardens of mountaintops.

Your first stop is the Forbidden Kingdom of Hunza, a hidden valley bordered by China, Russia, India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, home to a legendary warrior tribe. Next, you'll challenge the rapids of the Mighty Indus River, fed from a fantastic galaxy of monumental glaciers draining from some of the greatest heights known to man. From there, find respite in the romantic Shalimar Gardens in the Vale of Kashmir, then fly to Katmandu for the coronation ceremony of King Mahendra of Nepal. The adventure concludes with a trip to a U.S. Air Force base, where Thunderbird jet planes cut across the sapphire blue sky overhead at supersonic speed.

Flicker Alley and Cinerama, Inc. are proud to present Search for Paradise in the Smilebox® Curved Screen Simulation. Unseen theatrically since the early 1970s and never before issued on home video, Search for Paradise has been digitally remastered from original camera negatives. The film captures the imagination and asks what your dream paradise would be: beauty, adventure or peace.



The Film:

Cinerama, a three-camera widescreen process designed essentially to pry filmgoers away from their TV screens in the early 1950s, was rooted in the "Triptych" process invented by director Abel Gance for his 1927 epic Napoleon. Most American theatre managers of the 1920s couldn't be bothered with the bulky equipment and huge, curved screen necessary for Gance's Triptychs, but by 1953 they were willing to try anything that would improve business. The first Cinerama effort, appropriately titled This is Cinerama, thrilled audiences with its peripheral-vision shots of roller coasters and auto races. The second feature film, Cinerama Holiday was essentially a travelogue. Number three in the Cinerama series, Search for Paradise 1957, was distinguished by its breathtaking aerial and underwater shots. Lowell Thomas narrated the film, while Dmitri Tiomkin supplied most of the stereophonic-sound musical score. In the early 1960s, Cinerama ventured into "story" films with How the West Was Won and The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm. These were successful financially, but only when the Cinerama people abandoned the three-camera technique and those irritating "creases" separating the three screens in favor of a single wide-gauge camera would the process be aesthetically satisfying vide It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World and 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Excerpt from Barnes and Noble located HERE


For the fourth production in Cinerama, called "Search for Paradise," producer Lowell Thomas has gone to "the roof of the world"—or the submontane regions of the Himalayas—and brought back a stunning travelogue.

At least, it is stunning in scenic aspects. It offers some panoramic views of Ceylon, Hunza, Kashmir and the Indus Valley that fairly move one to goggle-eyed awe. And it winds up its visit to those regions with several reels on the 1956 coronation of the new King of Nepal that make the films of the British coronation look like a report of a dainty costume ball.

It is handsome, all right, this latest grand tour via the giant triple-paneled color screen, which was given its première public showing last night at the Warner Theatre. But it is also the most indiscriminate, untidy, overtalked and uncouth (at least, in the musical department) of any of the Cinerama films.

Excerpt from the NY Times located HERE

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

After How the West Was Won, then This is Cinerama and The South Seas Adventure , Cinerama Holiday, Seven Wonders of the World -  what fun! - recently we get another SmileBox Blu-ray with Flicker Alley's new Cinerama Search For Paradise. I believe there are a couple more ("The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm" and "Cinerama's Russian Adventure".) It's hard not to be Wow'ed - especially if you sit a shade closer, than usual, to the presentation. This is the Roadshow version with musical interludes included - Overture, Intermission* and Exit music. The SmileBox effect, again, can really encompass your vision and wrap you into the motion. This Blu-ray is the Roadshow version complete with Opening, Intermission and closing sequences.  Like Seven Wonders this two hour film is housed on a dual-layered disc with a supportive bitrate. The image looks wonderful. The scope effect and cinematography are impressive. It's great for parties. There is virtually no noise and this Blu-ray has the ability to make anyone pause - especially if viewed on a large enough system. As we have stated before, the film seams vertical disconnects is are far less visible when the movie is in motion. I liked this as much as any of the other Cinerama films... and it looks just as marvelous.


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

















Audio :

Audio is transferred via Dolby Digital 5.1 and the option of 2.0 channel stereo. Like Seven Wonders, the 5.1 was created from the original seven channel mix. In Search For Paradise - it we get a score by the great Dimitri Tiomkin (Angel Face, Strangers on a  Train, The Men, Dial M For Murder, The Thing From Another World etc. etc.). It's interspersed with other music and the narration, and sounded fine to my ears although I suspect it would have projected better via lossless. There are no subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.


Extras :

Flicker Alley offer many extras. From their site the supplements are described as "This deluxe Blu-ray/DVD combo set comes complete with the original SEARCH FOR PARADISE breakdown reel - the same one used in its 1956 theatrical run. To reiterate - What is a "breakdown reel? - Generally it is a short 35mm film used to occupy the audience in case there was an emergency problem in presenting the main feature. It's not that it was common but recall the projectionist may be responsible for "three strips of Cinerama plus a soundtrack". Also included are a brand new movie trailer, image gallery, 1950s black & white announcement trailer, behind-the-scenes video of the Cinerama crew setting up for the Air Force base shoot, behind-the-scenes footage shot in 16mm on location in Nepal, a facsimile representation of an original program booklet, and a demonstration on how the original negatives were restored, a 1998 interview with director Otto Lang, David Coles’ SEARCH FOR PARADISE presentation, the 3-panel 2012 Cinerama short In The Picture, as well as The Last Days of Cinerama, which goes behind-the-scenes of the making of In The Picture.  Plus the package contains a 28-page facsimile representation of the original program booklet and 2 DVDs (containing feature and extras as found on the BD.)



I'm obviously repeating myself from the previous Cinerama reviews - but the unique-ness of these presentations plus the added 'nostalgia factor' are so fresh and appealing. Its like transporting yourself back to the 1950s. The perfect rainy Sunday afternoon relaxation. The Flicker Alley Blu-ray is easy to endorse.  For those keen this is absolutely recommended! 

Gary Tooze

December 1st, 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.

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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
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Gary W. Tooze






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