Cinerama Dome and ArcLight Cinemas

6360 Sunset Boulevard,
Los Angeles, CA 90028

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jsittig on October 9, 2012 at 8:03 pm

Everything the Dome played between opening and July 4, 1971 was reserved seat. Last reserved seat engagement was SONG OF NORWAY, which opened November 1970 and ran for 35 weeks. First general release film was BLUE WATER, WHITE DEATH. The Cinerama Dome played Los Angeles County exclusive engagements until August 15, 1982. The last exclusive was ABEL GANCE’S NAPOLEON. We occassionally played an early release exclusive like EVITA. APOCALYPSE NOW which opened in August 1979 was reserved seat the first 4 weeks. Since the reopening of the Dome in March 2002 as part of ArcLight, every film, every day is reserved seat.

CSWalczak on October 9, 2012 at 2:44 am

I do not know of any on-line list that shows all reserved seat engagements in the LA area, regardless of format. The Coate/Kallay lists I cited above show all 70mm showings (regardless of any particular 70mm process; it also includes films exhibited in 70mm even if they were 35mm blowups) that they could identify; there is a list for each year from 1955 through 2012. If the film was shown on a reserved-seat basis, this is noted within the list for each individual year in addition to the theater showing the film and other data.

The Wikipedia article on films exhibited on a roadshow basis has a lengthy list of films shown that way from the 1910’s through the 1970’s. It does not indicate which of these were specifically shown a roadshow basis in LA, but I am sure that as the movie capital of America, I would suspect that many, if not most of them, were. Certainly there were 35m films run on roadshow basis in NYC and LA that did not get this treatment elsewhere, but it may not be always easy to identify if a particular film was run on a two-a-day roadshow basis in any particular city unless one is able to check newspaper archives or releasing studio records.

bigjoe59 on October 8, 2012 at 9:41 pm

Hello To C.S.Walczak-

thanks for the info. after posting the note a thought occurred to me. from its Nov.‘63 opening to the release of the last “in Cinerama” film “Krakatoa East of Java” the only theater in the
Hollywood area other than the Dome capable of showing films “in Cinerama” would have been the Warner/Pacific up on Hollywood Blvd. so with the 9? single lens Cinerama films released from '63 thru '69 plus re-issues of the original 3-strip films i figured the Dome didn’t have the time to host any other reserved seat engagements. this is especially true since when first built the Dome could only show single lens “Cinerama” films. but apparently it did find the time. interesting.

also do you know of a website that lists all the reserved seat engagements in the L.A. area from the Oct. 1955 opening of “Oklahoma” to the Dec. 1972 opening of “Man of La Mancha” after which the studios dropped the policy regardless of what the film was in(Cinerama,70MM,Panavision,35mm etc.)? thanks in advance.

CSWalczak on October 8, 2012 at 8:29 pm

Looking at the lists compiled by Coate and Kallay at the website, I noted at least two: “Camelot” (run began 11-02-67) and “Paint Your Wagon” (run began 10-23-69). The list includes only those films presented in 70mm, so it would not include any 35mm film shown on a reserved seat basis there during those nine years.

bigjoe59 on October 8, 2012 at 7:33 pm

Hello Again From NYC-

i thank my fellow posters in L.A. for replying to my posts. i have a new question for you.

the studios dropped the use of the two a day reserved seat engagement policy after the Dec. 1972 release of “Man of La Mancha”. now the Dome opened Nov. of 1963 with “Its A Mad Mad Mad Mad World”. so in the 9 years the Dome existed while the studios were still using the policy did the theater host any reserved seat engagements of films other than those presented “in Cinerama”?

Bud K
Bud K on October 6, 2012 at 8:11 pm

I also attended the Festival and it was a wonderful experience watching the original films restored and presented in digital showed us that digital is good and new and glorious adventures are still to come, Watching “the Brothers Grimm” brought me to tears at times it was just wonderful, Listening to the laughter during Mad Mad continues the joy of a full theater – you become part of the movie and “This is Cinerama"
and "in the Picture” being with the guys that we’re there when it started and watching the new film one simple word describes the presentations and the Festival “JOY” to John, Dave, the best crew in the booths and the Management and staff of Pacific and the Arclight Cinema’s THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on October 6, 2012 at 3:55 am

I echo the above sentiment. Best wishes, Mr. Sittig.

I also attended the Sunday night showing of “This Is Cinerama” and stayed for the 3 strip short film In The Picture. Epic epic night!

RobertAlex on October 4, 2012 at 7:42 am

Thank you John Sittig for the fantastic Cinerama Festival this week. I attended This is Cinerama on Sunday night and just got home from seeing IAMMMMW in 70mm. Sunday was sold out and tonight was close it it. It was fantastic to see these great films (well ok, TIC is not that great, but it is fun) presented how and where they should be shown!

It was announced Sunday that you will be retiring, and I wanted to personally thank you for decades of the best projection and sound possible! Thank you for your dedication and hard work on restoration so people like myself in 2012 can actually see Cinerama movies in 3 strip Cinerama! Some of my most treasured memories happened on your watch at the Dome over the past few decades, and I wish you much happiness in your retirement!

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on October 4, 2012 at 3:29 am

Seeing The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm in Cinerama was one of the great movie experiences of my life. Any flaws in the print were so easy to overlook when the film as a whole was so beautiful. If only George Pal had lived to see this show. His love of storytelling was on display in every scene. I only hope some of his surviving family members were aware of it.

dickdziadzio on October 2, 2012 at 5:48 pm

When I first saw TIC in Boston in 1960, the projectionist dropped a hinged sephia filter in front of the lens when that segment came up and quickly removed at the seqment end. Those segments had been photographed in black @ white in late 1949.

bigjoe59 on October 2, 2012 at 4:48 pm

Hello to J. Sittig-

i just watched the blu-ray disc of the restored remastered “This Is Cinerama”. i quite enjoyed it
and i have two questions- thing i liked about the restored remastered blu-ray disc released Sept. of ‘08 of “How The West Was Won"was that the lines between the panels were virtually eliminated. yet with TIC that was not done. might i ask why?

2.after watching the film first without the commentary i wondered why the Long Island church choir segment was in sepia rather than Technicolor as was the rest of the film. when i watched the film again with the commentary my question was answered by the fact this scene was not shot for TIC but was a test scene shot by Waller to get backing for TIC. of course the sepia isn’t changeable but couldn’t that scene have been restored/remastered a bit more so it had the sharp crisp crystal clear image of the rest of the film?

Manwithnoname on October 2, 2012 at 4:45 am

Having now attended 4 films at the Cinerama festival here is a quick rundown: “Brothers Grimm” was a decent looking print and the only known 3-strip in existence. Apparently not easy to run as there were technical difficulties but that can happen and I do not fault anyone. In attendance were Russ Tamblyn, Rita Moreno and George Chakiris. “Search for Paradise” could have been great and was flawlessly presented. However, even though in 3-strip the print was pink which spoiled much of the grandeur. There was a song running through the film that was quite annoying and the search itself just wasn’t very thrilling. In attendance were members of composer Dimitri Tiomkin’s family. “Seven Wonders of the World” was to be digital for act 1 and 3-strip for act 2. Instead of 3-strip there was another video version spliced into the restored scenes which were blurry and headache inducing. John Sittig announced someone pretty much made a video of the film while it was running. I still enjoyed it more than “Search” however. Finally “South Seas Adventure” which was fully restored digital and looked much better than I expected. The scenes of Hawaii in the 1950s were fascinating and you can glimpse the marquee of the now demolished Waikiki Theater with “Pride and the Passion” playing. In attendance were Ramini who had a featured role and member’s of producer Dudley’s family. I was witness to the passing of the old and the wave of the future all in these 4 screenings. What a great lesson in film history and I am \glad I was a part of it. I am equally glad these films are being preserved in any format.

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on September 30, 2012 at 11:20 pm

Yep…masking is movable indeed.

RogerA on September 28, 2012 at 1:39 am

jsittig will be able to answer that question but I think the Dome has movable top and side masking

thomasc on September 28, 2012 at 1:30 am

Does anyone know the exact width of the Dome’s screen when showing 1.85 and showing ‘scope? The Arclight website says that the screen is “32 by 86 feet” but the math suggests the full 86 foot screen is only utilized when projecting a format such as Ultra Panavision (2.76:1). Does the Dome always project a common height for all formats?

Richie_T on September 23, 2012 at 1:44 am

Saw The Master today under the dome in glorious 70mm!

CSWalczak on September 20, 2012 at 8:24 pm

I can agree with your, Edward, but to whom is the statement really being made?

RogerA on September 20, 2012 at 7:43 pm

I hope film is not dead and that some filmmakers will continue to use film. Of course video is here to stay and there is no going back.

Edward Havens
Edward Havens on September 20, 2012 at 7:35 pm

Roger: it is true, which is also why the 70mm prints are hard-matted to 1.85:1. No, it doesn’t really make sense, especially considering all of PTA’s other features were shot 2.39:1, which is closer to 70mm’s 2.20:1 than Academy flat’s 1.85:1, but that’s what happened.

CSWalczak: PTA shooting most of the film in 65mm (only using 35mm for scenes where a 65mm camera would not have fit or otherwise worked) was his way of making a statement about the current state of digital cinema. If one may never be able to work with film again, especially if one is only making a film every five years now, why not go out on the format with something special?

RogerA on September 20, 2012 at 7:35 pm

Aspect ratio It’s the filmmakers choice. If I shot a film in 65mm I would use the whole frame. To open in a limited roadshow engagement in the 70mm format got me to the theater to see a film I would have waited and watched on video. The screen at The Dome is big and there were scenes, even on close examination, that were very clear and with fine detail. I saw a 70mm blow up of “Camalot” in one of the big New York theaters with a huge one-hundred foot screen and there was one scene where the grain was a large as baseballs.

CSWalczak on September 20, 2012 at 4:57 pm

Following up on RogerA’s comment: why bother to originate the film on 70mm stock if it is not going to be exhibited in a widescreen ratio? While I admire the director’s work, up to this point, I do not understand why he set off a stir to encourage as many 70mm showings as possible when the film is masked down to a conventional aspect ratio. The only result of doing that is a somewhat sharper image.

RogerA on September 20, 2012 at 4:47 pm

Well if that is true than that would explain the difference in quality throughout the film.

Edward Havens
Edward Havens on September 20, 2012 at 4:35 pm

RogerA, while more than half of The Master was shot in 65mm, using Kodak 5201, 5207 and 5213 stock, the remainder was shot in 35mm.

RogerA on September 20, 2012 at 4:28 pm

“The Master” was not a 35mm blow up it was shot on 65mm negative. The choice not to use the full frame and mask the sides was the decision of the director.

Zubi on September 20, 2012 at 9:22 am

Roger A – “The Master” in 70mm, it should be added, is not a widescreen presentation. As opposed to a stretched 35mm “scope” blowup, it appeared to be a 35mm “flat” blowup. Typically, this type of 70 format features black, vertical bars on left and right sides of frame (not visible, of course, to the audience). In other words, the film stock itself is extra-wide but the projected image is not.

Auntieagent – Most movies look great there—film or digital. However, when possible, the very best pictures to be seen and heard at the Cinerama-Hollywood are the widescreen epics of the 1960s presented in their original, premium FILM formats (something that is increasingly rare, even there). “How the West Was Won” in 3-strip Cinerama (three 35mm projectors working together to form a single great image) is, however, showing there soon and should not be missed—it’s unbelievable. The Cinerama travelogues and the like are impressive too but they can be boring. That is not the case with “HTWWW”. It’s an event. Also, widescreen 70mm 6-track magnetic prints—particularly for visual and orchestral masterpieces like “Ben Hur” and “Lawrence of Arabia”—are stunning and thunderous experiences in the dome. Unlike the 70mm runs of the 1970s and 80s—most of which were 35mm blowups, the great 60s epics were PHOTOGRAPHED in the 70 format and so are particularly breathtaking on the Cinerama’s very large screen. Unfortunately, they seldom show these films in 70 anymore and, when they do, I believe it’s usually with only digital sound.