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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Best of Cinerama [Blu-ray]

 

(Lowell Thomas, 1963)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Cinerama Productions Corp.

Video: Flicker Alley

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 2:24:01.132

Disc Size: 48,994,545,388 bytes

Feature Size: 35,264,208,000 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.95 Mbps

Chapters: 17

Case: Transparent Blu-ray case

Release date: November 22nd, 2016

 

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 4024 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4024 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

 

Subtitles:

None

 

Extras:

Feature Length Audio Commentary: With Cinerama historian David Coles
Shellarama (1965): Shot in Super-Technirama and released on 70mm, this Shell-produced short follows the journey of Shell oil from raw source to refined fuel (15:15)
Bridge to Space (1968): A 70mm short documentary shot on Merritt Island and at Cape Canaveral (28:06)
The Rangerettes: Deleted scene from Seven Wonders of the World featuring Kilgore College Rangerettes (2:20)
Battleship Iowa Arrives in San Pedro: A Cinerama short film shot in 2012 (3:16)
Reconstructing The Best of Cinerama: A restoration demonstration with Dave Strohmaier (15:12)
Cinerama Troika: Interview with the principles behind Cinerama travelogue restorations (11:50)
Remembering The Best of Cinerama: Interview with Norman Karlin, Cinerama editor (22:00)
Slideshows: Who's Who in Cinerama History (20:52), Show Places of the 1950s (39:56), and Best of Cinema Ads, Marketing etc. (6:23)
The Best of Cinerama Theatrical trailer (5:19)
Program Booklet: A facsimile representation of the original program booklett

Second disc DVD included

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: The Best of Cinerama is comprised of all the greatest thrills of Cinerama, from the breathtaking roller coaster ride to the visit to La Scala, Milan, for Aida; from the hurtling bobsled run, to the stirring dances of the African Watusis. Made up of over 20 such exciting highlights, the film is not only an historic compilation, but also a stand-alone thrill-a-minute experience.

The adventure begins with the Sabre jet precision flying team from
Cinerama's Search For Paradise, and then whirls back to the iconic roller coaster sequence from This is Cinerama, newly restored for this release. From there, the three-panel journey goes global, showcasing some of the rich and exotic locales of Cinerama Holiday, South Seas Adventure and Seven Wonders of the World. There's the Marian Year Celebration at St. Peter's Square in Rome, featuring the first commercial motion-picture footage of Pope Pius XII. There's the boat trip down the Ganges River at Benares. There are visits to Paris, Vienna, Athens, India, Brazil, Japan, Africa, Israel, and New Orleans, all in one spectacular Cinerama presentation.

Flicker Alley and Cinerama Inc. are proud to present The Best of Cinerama in the Smilebox® Curved Screen Simulation. The film has been digitally remastered from original camera negatives, and includes an all-new restoration of scenes from This Is Cinerama! This edition celebrates a decade of Cinerama filmmaking, and over five years of bringing those treasures back to life on Blu-ray and DVD for future Cinerama audiences to enjoy!

 

 

The Film:

At the end of 1963, The Best of Cinerama was released -- marking the end of the pioneering three-projector widescreen system when single-system Panavision was rapidly becoming the industry norm. A greatest hits package, this lengthy film features the finest moments from the Cinerama travelogues -- the ballet of Navy jets and the stomach-turning rollercoaster ride from This is Cinerama; the excursion in St. Moritz from Cinerama Holiday; the Oriental vistas from Seven Wonders of the World, and the death-defying leaps of the island natives from an elevated platform from South Seas Adventure. Lowell Thomas is still the host as he guides the audience through Cinerama's finest (and past) moments. But with the release of It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World in the single camera Ultra Panavision 70 process under Cinerama's auspices that same year, this compilation film also services as an epitaph to the unique widescreen process that was Cinerama.

Excerpt from Barnes and Noble located HERE

 

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

The Best of Cinerama is released at the same time as Cinerama's Russian Adventure on Blu-ray from Flicker Alley. The image quality is in-line the other excellent Cinerama Blu-rays that we have reviewed - This is Cinerama, Cinerama Holiday, Cinerama South Seas Adventure, Cinerama's Seven Wonders of the Worlds and Cinerama's Search For Paradise. The vertical disconnect may be the least noticeable - hence being chosen to represent 'the best'. Colors can be rich and the cinematography stunning. The visuals are outstanding! This is dual-layered with a supportive bitrate and it produces a strong presentation with no signs of digital manipulation. Outdoor scenes can be so impressive. I saw no artifacts or noise. This Blu-ray seems another fine replication of the Roadshow presentation - complete with overture, intermission and 'exit' music.

 

NOTE: The 'Intermission' delay is about 4-5 minutes.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Audio is transferred via a robust DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 4024 kbps (24-bit) and sounds exceptional. This surround has some appealing, if not adroit, separations. It is exceptionally clear notable with a variety of music fused into the culturally-based sequences. As with many of the other Cinema BDs there is also a simple 2.0 channel linear PCM option included. There ano subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

Extras :

Plenty of extras with this 'Best of" Cinerama Blu-ray release. We get a feature length audio commentary with Cinerama historian David Coles - full of information. Shellarama is a 1965 short, shot in Super-Technirama and released on 70mm. This 15-minute piece produced by Shell follows the journey of oil from raw source to refined fuel. Bridge to Space is a 1968 70mm short documentary shot on Merritt Island and at Cape Canaveral. It runs shy of 1/2 hour. The Rangerettes has 2.5 minutes of deleted scene from Seven Wonders of the World featuring Kilgore College Rangerettes. Battleship Iowa Arrives in San Pedro is a 3-minute Cinerama short film shot in 2012. Reconstructing The Best of Cinerama is a 1/4 hour restoration demonstration with Dave Strohmaier. Cinerama Troika has a dozen minutes worth of interviews with the principles behind Cinerama travelogue restorations. Remembering The Best of Cinerama is a 22-minute interview with Norman Karlin, Cinerama editor. There are some Slideshows; Who's Who in Cinerama History (20:52), Show Places of the 1950s (39:56), and Best of Cinema Ads, Marketing etc. (6:23) and lastly a 5-minute Best of Cinerama theatrical trailer. The package contains a program booklet which is essentially a facsimile representation of the original program booklet. There is a second disc DVD included.

 

   

 

BOTTOM LINE:
For those, who have been tentative till now, hesitant to 'dip their toes' in Cinerama - this may be the Blu-ray release to initially indulge in. It gives such a fabulous example of the wonderful curiosity of this fascinating film technique and its rich history. This has some of the very best of this cinema marvel and the nostalgia factor is thru the roof. There really is nothing like it and this would probably be the best one to showcase for friends in your Home Theater. It is a conversation-ender though. Absolutely recommended! 

Gary Tooze

November 26th, 2016

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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