premieres in Digital 3-D in the Cannes Classics Program
John Wayne: American Hero, Icon, Legend as
Paramount Home Entertainment and Batjac Productions Celebrate
"The Duke’s" 100th Birthday at Cannes 2007
May 26, 2007 was the 100th anniversary of John Wayne’s
birth. The 2007 annual Harris Poll of America’s favorite
screen stars reveals that the Hollywood legend placed at number
three. This ranking is exceptional, considering the fact that
Wayne’s last film was released in 1976 and that he passed
away in 1979.
To commemorate the centennial of Tinseltown’s quintessential
action hero, this year’s Cannes Film Festival is, for
the first time in more than half a century, screening the
Duke’s only 3-D movie. (*see correction
below). Gretchen Wayne’s Batjac Productions is also
digitally restoring and releasing through Paramount Home Entertainment
International a number of classics on DVD that John Wayne
had starred in or produced.. In addition to Hondo,
they include the great-granddaddy of disaster movies, The
High and the Mighty, Island in the Sky and McLintock!
Warner Bros. took out a two-page spread in Variety
in November 1953 to tell exhibitors: "It is our conviction
that the presentation of Hondo gives your patrons
the opportunity for the first time to fully evaluate 3-Dimension
entertainment." Ad went on to tout the presentation of
"dimensional vistas inexpressibly beautiful and never
The film has been restored more than once, with most of the
restoration work done only on the left-eye negative, which
was used for 2-D release. There were tears to be fixed and
lots of dirt to be removed. Perforations in the film stock
had to be masked. Additionally, parts of the original negative
had mysteriously been destroyed and replaced with an internegative,
which doesn't quite match the quality of the original.
Restoring the film for 3-D introduced more challenges. The
two color negatives had shrunk and faded differently, making
it more difficult to get the color identical and the images
perfectly aligned. That exacerbated an inherent problem with
the 3-D rigs of the 1950s: aach of the paired cameras had
its own camera shake, so the two "eyes" would be
just enough out of alignment to make 3-D viewing uncomfortable.
It proved a big task for the restorers at Post Logic, who
spent a lot of time and effort correcting for that camera
shake to get the two eyes to line up precisely for 3-D.
Merle Sharp, Post Logic's chief technology officer, says
that one headache they faced was "trying to find somebody
who saw it originally so they could tell us if the 3-D effect
was working as intended."
At the end of the process, Sharp says, "The 3-D is actually
quite good, but there's almost too much. It's like ... the
guys are sitting right in your face."
There is something highly appropriate that the digital 3-D
Hondo is being premiered at Cannes, because of France’s
long love affair with classic Hollywood movies. It also helps
to recall that it was the French critics-turned-directors
such as Jean-Luc Godard and Francois Truffaut who popularized
the notion of the auteur, the idea that films, like novels,
had authors. Although he is generally regarded solely as a
movie star, the fact is that Wayne was a pioneer of independent
filmmaking, who directed and produced, as well as acted in
films. In 1952, he formed the independent company Wayne-Fellows
Productions in order to make movies and earn the fruit of
his labor. After Robert Fellows left the firm, Wayne renamed
it Batjac Productions, after the fictional trading company
Batjack in his hit 1948 South Seas drama The Wake of the
Red Witch. A spelling error by Wayne’s secretary
changing Batjack to Batjac was allowed to stand.
Wayne’s superstardom from 1948 to1969 coincided with
and reflected unprecedented changes in post-World War II America,
as the U.S.A. became a superpower. Far from the simplistic
“Happy Days” image, America was engaged in Cold
War politics centering around the atom bomb, communism, changing
morals, rock ’n’ roll and the emerging civil rights
movement. At the same time, Europe was in the midst of postwar
reconstruction, the Marshall Plan and Soviet domination of
Immediately after the end of the war, American movies flooded
European cinemas. In most of the Axis-occupied countries,
Hollywood films had been banned, and many of these pictures
made from 1939 through 1946 starred John Wayne. During the
postwar period, Duke’s identity as a leading man and
his screen image were solidified among European audiences.
Sergio Leone, a young Italian director who had grown up under
Mussolini and would later herald a new kind of cowboy movie
with the 1960s’ Spaghetti Western, was influenced by
Wayne had nurtured his screen image over 10 years of working
in mostly B-Westerns that were designed for and consumed primarily
by the then largely rural Depression Era America of the 1930s.
It was in the heartland of rural America, where Wild West
dreams are spun, that Wayne was born as Marion Morrison in
Winterset, Iowa on May 26, 1907.
John Wayne went on to make his mark as one of the leading
screen and cultural icons of the art form of the 20th century,
the cinema. Though he played a wide variety of roles in more
than 172 films over a career that spanned six decades, the
Duke solidified his rugged screen image in Western films and
military dramas as an American cowboy and soldier. At six-foot
four, with his distinctive walk, laconic dialogue, engaging
personality and athletic abilities, Wayne established a screen
persona as a man of action who could take care of himself
and others. Whether in a Stetson and chaps, army helmet and
fatigues, officer’s cap and navy whites or green beret
and camouflage, onscreen Wayne patrolled the frontier, disposing
of bandidos and Indians while conquering the Wild West or
vanquishing the Nazis, the Imperial Japanese forces and Vietnamese
Hondo was the perfect symmetry of actor and role
and was released at a time when, having achieved superstar
status, Wayne was at a point in his career when he could parlay
his box office clout into creative control. He enjoyed two
decades of memorable roles and films that began in 1948 with
his Captain Kirby York in John Ford’s Fort Apache
and Tom Dunson in Howard Hawks’ Red River.
During this productive period Wayne appeared in other Ford
films, playing Captain Nathan Cutting Brittles in She
Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949), Sean Thornton in The
Quiet Man (1952) and Ethan Edwards in The Searchers
(1956), and so on. This rather remarkable run was crowned
with the Duke’s Oscar winning role as Rooster Cogburn
in True Grit (1969). Somewhere along the way, the
man, the screen image and public melded into world consciousness
as the iconic American action hero.
In 1953, actor John Wayne was enjoying the beginning
of his superstardom when he took a major career risk, starting
his own production company. The Duke also embraced the new
technological film innovation of 3-D with his new Western
Hondo, the first and only Wayne movie made in the
three-dimensional cinematic process.
In his short story The Gift of Cochise, famed Western
novelist Louis L’Amour described Hondo Lane as “a
big man, wide shouldered, with the lean hard boned face of
the desert rider. There was no softness in him. His toughness
was ingrained and deep. Without cruelty, yet quick, hard and
dangerous. Whatever wells of goodness might lie within him
were guarded and deep.”
The title character is a hard-bitten half Native-American
cavalry scout whose only companion is an ill-tempered dog.
They encounter a lonely woman and her young son living on
a frontier homestead amidst warring Apaches.
L’Amour later expanded the short story into a novel
that sold over 3 million copies. Wayne must have recognized
that the character of Hondo Lane best encapsulated his motion
picture persona, which drove the actor to bring the story
to the silver screen in 1953.
Hondo was adapted for the screen by James Edward
Grant, who wrote the script for the 1940 hit film Boom
Town, starring Clark Gable and Spencer Tracy. Wayne and
Grant became fast friends when he brought his original screenplay
Angel and The Badman to Wayne in 1946, which Duke
loved and agreed to produce, as well as star in. Grant was
able to talk Wayne into letting him direct the film. Grant
wrote the script for John Wayne’s Oscar nominated role
as the tough marine Sgt. Stryker in Sands of Iwo Jima
and his credits include The Comancheros, McLintock!,
The Alamo and Donovan’s Reef. Wayne’s
longtime screenwriter, friend and collaborator won an Oscar
nomination for Best Screenplay Adaptation for Hondo.
Hondo was the second film made under a starring
and producing contract with Warner Bros. studio chief Jack
L. Warner. Wayne retained the copyright and negatives to the
films he produced under this arrangement as long as they made
a profit for the studio.
The first picture made under this deal was 1952’s Big
Jim McLain, starring Wayne as a two fisted federal agent
ferreting out Reds in Hawaii, and was made entirely on location
in the islands, where numerous Duke films were shot and set.
It was a financial success for Wayne’s production company.
Hondo was filmed in Camargo, Mexico, located 400
miles south of El Paso, Texas in the state of Chihuahua. Camargo
is located in rough, sage brush country with vast panoramic
blue skies and desert landscapes, the perfect backdrop for
this story of the Western frontier. The production was shot
in the heat of summer, from June through August 1953. It was
the first film that the Duke made in Mexico, though he had
been traveling to Mexico for years and had friends and associates
in the Mexican motion picture industry, which at the time
was in the midst of its Golden Age. Mexico’s artists
and technicians were as skilled as any in Hollywood, and included
talents such as director Luis Bunuel. Mexico’s movie
workers were industrious, good natured and versatile, meeting
the needs of the Hondo production. This was the first
of seven films Batjac would eventually produce in Mexico and
the beginning of a professional love affair with the Mexico,
its film industry and people.
Hondo director John Farrow was born in Australia;
he was a novelist and playwright and he came to Hollywood
in 1927 and began working at MGM. Farrow wrote and directed
a diverse group of successful films beginning with Wake
Island, Commandos Strike At Dawn, The Big Clock, Ride Vaquero,
Two Years Before the Mast, John Paul Jones and 1955’s
The Sea Chase, also starring Wayne. Farrow received
an Academy Award® for co-writing the Oscar® winning
film Around the World in 80 Days. Farrow co-directed
1936’s Tarzan Escapes and married its co-star,
Maureen O’Sullivan, who played Jane; actress Mia Farrow
is their daughter.
In Hondo, Wayne and Farrow cast young stage actress
Geraldine Page in her first major movie role, as Mrs. Angie
Lowe. In 1952, an unknown Page had scored a success in an
off-Broadway revival of Tennessee William’s Summer
and Smoke, the repressed lonely Southern spinster Alma
Wimemiller. Surprisingly, Page, who was lovingly kidded by
veteran screen performer Wayne as that “New York Stage
actress,” was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress
Oscar for her role in Hondo. Over the course of her
long career, Page was Academy Award-nominated eight times,
finally winning the Best Actress golden statuette in 1986
for A Trip to Bountiful.
Character actor and longtime Wayne friend Ward Bond portrays
Hondo's Buffalo Baker. Wayne and Bond had met while
students and teammates at the University of Southern California.
Both football players were discovered by John Ford in 1928,
who gave them bit parts in many early silent and sound films.
Bond went on to work in over 200 films, including such classics
as The Grapes Of Wrath, It’s A Wonderful Life, Fort
Apache and The Searchers. Late in his career,
the rugged Bond starred from 1957 to1960 in his own television
series as Major Seth Adams on Wagon Train.
Actor James Arness who plays Lennie, Hondo's scout,
was under contract to Batjac and had appeared with Wayne in
Big Jim McLain and Island in the Sky. Arness
made his film debut as the creature in the 1951 science fiction
film The Thing, directed by Howard Hawks. Arness
found lasting fame starring as Marshall Matt Dillon on Gunsmoke,
America’s longest running network television series
to date. The CBS program was introduced to American audiences
by John Wayne on the series’ debut episode in 1955,
with the big screen actor making one of his rare little screen
appearances. Gunsmoke ran until 1975.
Michael Pate is an Australian actor who had recently arrived
in Hollywood when he was cast against type as Hondo's
Apache Chief Victorio. Between 1950 and 1968, Pate played
assorted ethnic types in over 50 major feature films and 300
television guest appearances. He returned to Australia and
produced and directed a number of films, and is most notable
for discovering a young Mel Gibson in Tim.
Rudolph Acosta plays Hondo's Indian warrior Silva.
An actor of renown in his native Mexico, Acosta went on to
appear in countless American westerns of the ’50s and
’60s, including The Fugitive, Salon Mexico One Eyed
Jacks, How The West Was Won, The Sons of Katie Elder, Return
of The Seven and Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid.
Lee Aaker portrays Hondo's young boy Johnny Lowe.
As a child actor he appeared in such films as O’Henry’s
Full House, The Atomic Kid,”Jeopardy and Mr.
Scoutmaster. He is best known to 1950s American television
audiences as Corporal Rusty of the Rin Tin Tin series.
Paul Fix plays Hondo's Major Sherry. A long time
friend and acting coach of Wayne’s, Fix appeared in
many of his films including Island In The Sky,The Sons
of Katie Elder, Tycoonand Tall In The Saddle,
for which he wrote the screenplay. Fix found popular recognition
on TV as Marshal Micah Torrance on the Western series The
Rifleman (1958-1963), starring Chuck Connors.
Leo Gordon is featured as Hondo's Ed Lowe. A screen
heavy, in terms of size and strength, Gordon was a physical
equivalent to Wayne, making him a believable antagonist. Gordon,
who was also a screenwriter, appeared with Wayne in McLintock!
again taking an onscreen punch from the Duke. Gordon’s
feature credits include The Conqueror, Soldier of Fortune,
Night of The Grizzly, and he wrote the original screenplay
for and appeared in Tobruk, starring Rock Hudson
and George Peppard.
Rounding out the classic cast, Lassie makes an appearance
as Hondo’s mangy dog Sam. The canine star’s owner
and trainer, Rudd Weatherwax, gave Lassie a makeover for the
role with a hairpiece, false scar on the forehead and a shave
to disguise the world famous collie. Lassie starred in seven
feature films, beginning in 1943 with Lassie Come Home,
starring Roddy Mc Dowell and a young Elizabeth Taylor, and
was later featured in several TV series.
As indicated, Hondo forgoes the old Hollywood rule
of never working with kids or dogs. Wayne has such a commanding
screen presence that few actors, of the two- or four-legged
variety, can steal the scene from him. The Duke also defies
the old Tinseltown axiom to never have a dog (especially Lassie!)
killed onscreen, as Sam is killed by Silva with a lance. In
turn around fair play, Hondo lances Silva and kills him during
the Indian attack.
Hugo Friedhoffer composed the lovely and upbeat Western score
and theme music for Hondo. Friedhoffer had won an
Academy Award for his original score for the 1947 Best Picture
winner Best Years of our Lives, and he was Oscar-nominated
As Farrow had a previous film commitment, the final action
sequences of Hondo were directed by John Ford and
shot by legendary cameraman Archie Stout, although neither
received screen credit. Ford had cut his teeth early in his
career with similar sequences. Hondo's Indian raid
on the wagons is reminiscent of the Indian attack in the film
that made John Wayne a star, 1939’s Stagecoach.
With its horse falls, wagons being chased across a dry riverbed
against a wide expanse of desert, arrows whizzing through
the air and cavalrymen and homesteaders being chased by hordes
of advancing Apaches, Hondo's action scenes bore
Hondo also displays a more sympathetic image of
the Native American, a postwar trend that can be traced to
Ford’s Fort Apache and She Wore a Yellow
Ribbon, and was later celebrated in films such as The
Devil’s Doorway and Broken Arrow. Chiricahua
Apache Chief Vittorio and his warriors are presented as flesh
and blood people who suffer hardships, yet they can laugh,
as well as be worthy adversaries Hondo's unique perspective
of having lived with the Apaches and being part-Indian himself
gives him insight into their indigenous lifestyle. He professes
his need for the Indian squaw he had been married to, until
her untimely death. Vittorio is presented as a noble but fierce
warrior who has lost many sons to the paleface, but can still
interact with them. He is a caring human being, as demonstrated
by Vittorio’s relationship with Angie Lowe and her boy.
Johnny Lowe essentially has two foster fathers, Hondo and
Vittorio, who teach him to be a man.
Buffalo Baker says “that will be the end of the Apache,”
and Hondo responds: “Yeah, end of a way of life. Too
bad, it’s a good way.”
Hondo was released the same year as George Steven’s
masterpiece Shane, and has been referred to as Wayne’s
Shane. The two films share similarities, but are
very different, too. In both, a lone rider rides into a desolate
outpost, rescuing a young woman, a father and an impressionable
young boy. In Hondo, it’s an absentee father,
a woman and a young boy. While Shane is a mythical
white knight and avenging angel, Wayne’s Hondo Lane
is a very real hardened Westerner who lived with the Indians.
In Shane, the love affair is between the boy (Brandon
De Wilde) and Shane (Alan Ladd). In Hondo, it’s
between Mrs. Lowe (Page) and Hondo (Wayne). The backdrops
also serve the stories differently. Shane’s
bucolic verdant landscapes in the Grand Tetons contrasts sharply
with the harsh dry burnt desert of Hondo. In Shane,
ranchers are the threat; in Hondo, it’s the
Indians, who are defending their way of life. Shane can never
be part of the sodbusters’ community, and after disposing
of the bad guys and restoring order, the gunman must return
to the wilderness. On the other hand, Hondo, one assumes,
marries Mrs. Lowe and becomes a part of the homesteaders’
Hondo resonates with contemporary audiences with
its underlying themes of a single mother abandoned by her
husband who survives in a harsh environment. It also deals
with miscegenation, war, loss of loved ones, bravery, multiculturalism
and genocide. Yet very simply, at its heart, Hondo
is a classic cowboys vs. Indians popcorn movie.
Hondo perfectly meshes many elements of Wayne’s
career, his larger than life Western persona, his stock company
made up of actor friends, his collaboration with mentor John
Ford, his love of Mexico and its people and a deep, abiding
respect for the Native American. In addition, the Hondo
demonstrates how John Wayne, best known as an actor, but also
a pioneer of independent filmmaking as a producer and director,
was a motion picture innovator, who incorporated state of
the art technology into the films he created.
Hondo in 3-D
The first three dimensional film, Jim the Penman,
was publicly presented in 1915 by Edwin S. Porter, who, interestingly
enough, made the first acknowledged popular Western, 1903’s
The Great Train Robbery. Over the years there have
been many different methods used to show 3-D films.
The jungle drama Bwana Devil opened at the Paramount
Theater (the movie palace now known as the El Capitan Theatre)
in Hollywood in 1952, ushering in a new era of 3-D filmmaking.
Tinseltown jumped on the bandwagon and from 1953 to 1955,
made 50 3-D features. Premiering in November 1953, Hondo
is an important three dimensional film, although it was released
late in the 3-D fad.
3-D was a response to the emergence of television in the
early 1950s, which brought entertainment into millions of
living rooms. Films suddenly experienced a decline in attendance,
and Hollywood tried to compete with TV by giving audiences
a new big screen experience that they could not get at home,
in order to lure ticket buyers back to the theatres.
The format is often thought of as a filmmaking gimmick, but
3-D is not solely a function of “coming at you”
scenes (when objects are thrown at the screen for dramatic
effect). For the most part, 3-D used depth of field as an
integral aspect of the dramatic narrative. Depth of field,
the amount of distance between nearest and farthest objects
that appear in sharp focus, tends to pull viewers inside of
the action. Instead of flat and two dimensional, the screen
looked more like real life, where people, nature and various
things appear in three dimensions.
In Hondo the so-called gimmick scenes are the knife
fight between the Apache warrior Silva and Hondo. In addition,
Indians shoot arrows and the soldiers fire their rifles directly
into the camera. But the 3-D technique is also used effectively
in smaller more intimate scenes, such as the scene at the
dinner table in the cabin with Wayne, Angie Lowe and Johnny,
which made viewers feel as if they were breaking bread with
the characters onscreen.
What is the 3-D Process?
The three dimensional movie is made with two oversized interlocking
cameras that are set next to each other as they record the
action on film. The 3-D process works when two interlocking
projector, one on the left and one on the right, project separate
images onscreen, image through polarized filters. A silver
screen maintains the polarization and when the viewer wears
special gray-less glasses, they see a spectacular depth of
field. It can be said that IMAX and holograms grew out of
the 3-D process.
Wayne wanted to shoot in Warnercolor and in the new 3-D process
on never before seen Mexican locations. Jack L. Warner was
at first so enthusiastic over the process that he had said
he wanted to make every movie in 3-D. Warner Bros. produced
and achieved success with such 3-D films as the horror movie
House Of Wax, the Hitchcock mystery Dial M For
Murder and the Western The Charge at Feather River.
Filming a movie in 3-D on a hot dusty remote desert location
with the bulky cameras was a major learning experience for
the production company. The cameras were hard to operate,
especially on moving shots. They would frequently break down
as they were susceptible to the intense heat, dust, wind and
rain, causing delays in shooting. The required lights and
cameras were large and heavy, and had to be hand carried to
some of the remote mesas and outdoor locations by the Mexican
Hondo was initially released in 3-D and played in
select major cities. However, Warner Bros. pulled the 3-D
prints and general release prints were made in regular flat
aspect ratio. Theater owners also found the projection process
cumbersome, and the extra expense did not add appreciably
to the box-office gross, so they preferred to show regular
By the time of Hondo's release audiences had tired
of the 3-D craze and the new wide screen Cinemascope process
was finding favor among audiences and theater owners well
into the next decade.
Hondo Into the 21st Century
Hondo was first restored for its VHS release in 1995
by the actor’s oldest son Michael Wayne, then president
of Batjac Productions. Michael spent much of his youth on
his father’s sets, working in many different capacities.
He earned his spurs and an associate producer credit on The
Alamo. As president of Batjac, Michael produced many
of his father’s later films.
After assuming the ownership of Batjac Productions, Gretchen
Wayne was determined to pursue her husband’s dreams
of bringing to market the company’s John Wayne movies.
With the passage of time, digital technology enabled Gretchen
to do what Michael always wanted. She vigorously and painstakingly
restored Hondo, The High and The Mighty, McLintock!
and Island in the Sky and all are now becoming
available to DVD and television audiences worldwide in seven
different languages. While this may sound easy, the difficulty
of execution was exacerbated by a flood in the vaults of Batjac
in the early 1990’s that damaged or destroyed many of
the original elements. Using separation masters, beta digital
technology programs and Gretchen Wayne’s tenacity, the
films were thankfully restored for John Wayne fans worldwide.
Undertaking the restoration of the original negatives of
the right and left eyes for a theatrical 3-D screening proved
daunting. After careful analysis and consideration, it was
determined that the original negatives weren’t good
candidates for restoration, but that a digital restoration
would serve Batjac’s purposes and John Wayne’s
fans more fruitfully.
After hours of work and the deployment of multiple digital
techniques for color correction and “dirt busting,”
the film looks bright, clean and sharp on the big screen,
3-D and 2-D; this all in spite of damaged footage on the original
negative that was replaced in the 1950’s with IN stock
made from the original separation masters. Can the astute
film buff identify those shots on the screen, especially in
The restored 3-D film of Hondo looks magnificent.
The audience feels like they are dining with John Wayne when
he sits for a meal made by Geraldine Page or at risk when
the Indian’s arrow comes darting at their face! Get
ready for some fun and gripping drama backed by a love story
intertwined with cowboys and Indians dynamics.
What’s even more interesting is that 3-D has come
full circle. Many films were shot in 3-D in the 1950’s
as a gimmick to draw audiences away from home television (the
theater’s threat at the time) to the theaters. Today,
3-D has taken on resurgence in a similar effort to draw audiences
to the theater away from HD capabilities in the home theater.
At Cannes, the viewer will be using active white Polaroid
glasses to see Hondo in 3-D.
This is an unprecedented event and the white glasses toting
audience is in for a unique and one of a kind experience!
Of all the movie stars that ever graced the silver screen
there are but a few who continue to shine in Hollywood’s
firmament. Only a handful still stand out today and resonate
with modern audiences; John Wayne is one of them. Few can
fill the Duke’s boots, or his ten-gallon hat.
Superstar-turned-producer/director Wayne was a trailblazer
for independent filmmaking, and paved the way for the man
he himself once referred to in a magazine article as his successor,
Clint Eastwood, who has enjoyed a career as an actor turned
producer and as an Academy award winning director.
Wayne’s legacy persists on the screen, the best of
his work standing the test of time. Duke’s bigger than
life image of a self-reliant man of action is still mentioned
and referenced in books, movies, television and military and
police circles. 28 years after his death, John Wayne continues
to inspires motion picture pilgrims around the world to “saddle
up, and move ’em out, yo!!!”
* Editor's Note: Correction:
According to the 3-D
Film Preservation Fund Web site, Hondo's 3-D
success was not limited to the United States. On Feb. 27,
1954, it opened to capacity crowds at London's 1,734-seat
Warner Theater, where it would play for five weeks and bring
in over $40,000. Nearly three months later, Hondo was still
playing in 3-D in theaters throughout South London.
Back to top
3-D IMAX Update
back in November
2004, 3-D Review Online Magazine told you about
plans for a 3-D Godzilla IMAX movie. The latest word has it
that a September 2007 release date is planned.
Is the movie still a reality? Internet speculation
it that the movie is scheduled to be released theatrically
in the United States on Sept. 12, 2007, with a Japanese theatrical
release to follow on a to be announced 2008 date. However,
as of Jan. 21, 2007, the film's developers hasn't actually
received funding from Toho Company Ltd. yet and with production
believed to have halted for the time being. A cast and musical
composer have yet been announced as of Feb. 5, 2007. Aside
from the 3-D IMAX format, the film is planned to be shot in
70 mm and is slated to be 40 minutes long.
In 1971, Toho released Godzilla vs. Hedorah
(Gojira tai Hedorah, aka Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster).
Director Yoshimitsu Banno focused on concerns about environmental
pollution by depicting Godzilla's battle with Hedorah, a sludge-like
alien that emerged from the dirty waters of Sagami Bay. Thirty-four
years later the director is hard at work prepping a new Godzilla
project that will revisit those themes. Entitled Godzilla:
3-D to the Max, the planned short feature will combine
the talents of Toho Studios with cutting-edge Hollywood CG
and 3-D effects, all on display on the eight- story tall IMAX
Banno has dreamed of making a new Godzilla film for a long
time. In January 2000, he established Advanced Audiovisual
Productions Inc. to produce 70mm Large Format films and animation,
and also manufacture and sell equipment for IMAX and other
giant screen theaters. With Toho taking a break from kaiju
films in the wake of Godzilla Final Wars, the director
was able to secure permission to use the characters of Godzilla
and Hedorah, and is currently meeting with investors in the
United States to secure financing for the project. Advanced
Audiovisual Productions prepared English language materials
explaining the concept, characters, story and marketing potential
for Godzilla: 3-D to the Max, which provide much
more information about the film than has been previously revealed.
The AAP materials describe Banno's intentions for both Godzilla
and the new version of Hedorah, which is named Deathla (not
Desera or 'Deathorah.). While recent Godzilla films have depicted
the monster as antagonistic towards mankind, Godzilla:
3-D to the Max returns Godzilla to his heroic "Save
the Earth" persona of the 1970s. One of the director's
top objectives for the film is that Godzilla appeal to young
people and demonstrate the importance of adopting a more "Earth
Friendly" way of living. In addition to a personality
change, the King of the Monsters will also display a talent
long unseen... that's right, Godzilla flies again!
Godzilla: 3-D to the Max is planned as a 40 minute
feature with an initial budget of $9 million (US). The latest
reports are that the production budget has ballooned to $25
million. Banno believes Godzilla is the perfect character
for large format theaters, and much of the film will be shown
from Jim's point of view or thru Mischa's camera in order
to create an effect of massive creatures towering over the
audience. The movie will be produced by "The Godzilla
3D To The Max Production Committee", a partnership between
Advanced Audiovisual Productions Inc. and Whitecat Productions.
The crew for the film features a mix of personnel from Japan
and America, many of which have a long history with large
format and 3-D films. In addition to directing the film, Yoshimitsu
Banno is also the lead writer and general producer. Banno's
longtime assistant Kenji Okuhira is associate producer. The
co-producers are Roger Holden (president of Whitecat Productions
and 21st Century Sound and Vision Inc.) and Brian Rogers (T2
3D: Battle Across Time). Acting as co-director is Keith
Melton (Cirque Du Soleil, Journey of Man). Godzilla
series veteran Eiichi Asada (Godzilla: Tokyo SOS, Godzilla
FInal Wars) returns to direct the special effects, while
Peter Anderson (Captain EO, T2 3D, Shrek 2 4D) is
the director of photography and supervisor of visual effects.
The film's production is being done by Advanced Audiovisual
Production, director Banno's own company stationed in Japan,
and is being planned to target the American market along with
an American cast. However, Toho, the creators of Godzilla,
will act as technical advisors over the Godzilla character
and will distribute the film in Japan.
To tap into this market and expand Godzilla's audience around
the world, AAP and Toho are also discussing a wide variety
of TV specials, DVDs, CDs, toys, books and other merchandising
featuring Godzilla, Deathla and Godzilla: 3-D to the Max.
If everything goes according to plans, Godzilla may soon literally
be bigger than ever before.
The film has gone through several title changes including
Godzilla 3-D, Godzilla: 3-D to the Max and Godzilla vs. Deathla.
Godzilla 3-D: The Story (Spoiler Alert)
The evil monster Deathla comes from the depths of space to
devour the chlorophyll in Earth's rainforests and destroy
all life on the planet. Designed by acclaimed concept artist
Syd Mead (Blade Runner, Tron, Aliens), Deathla is
a shape-shifting sluglike monster with red-purple skin and
vertical eyes. As with the original Hedorah, the new version
has multiple forms. As "Locust-Deathla" the creature
splits into a large swarm of insects that use their sharp
fangs to quickly devastate crops and forests. The kaiju can
also reassemble into its ultimate form, "Monster-Deathla",
a huge humanoid beast with a skeletal head. Deathla's weapons
include poisonous sludge, constricting tendrils, paralyzing
fluids and a crimson energy beam.
The story for Godzilla: 3-D to the Max begins at
dawn, as a flaming meteor from the Deathla Star crashes into
the Sargasso Sea. The meteor releases a swarm of Locust-Deathlas
which rises into the sky like a tornado.
On the border of Brazil and Argentina is Iguassu Falls, one
of the largest waterfalls on Earth. On nights of the full
moon, the Falls create a rainbow effect known as the "Spray
of Iguassu". Mischa, a televison reporter doing a story
on the night rainbow, has traveled to Iguassu with her younger
brother Jim. The two are still recovering from the loss of
their father, a firefighter who was killed during the September
11 attacks in New York, with Jim having a particularly rough
time. He constantly carries around a harmonica left to him
by his dad, and his only friend is a German Shepard called
Iguassu Falls is the stunning site for the first war of
the monsters. Mischa and Jim encounter the Locust-Deathlas
in the rainforest. The alien swarm tears thru the jungle devouring
all plant life it its path and accidentally uncover the hibernating
body of Godzilla. As the King of the Monsters rises from the
jungle floor with a roar of anger, the Locust-Deathlas transform
into Monster-Deathla. After a brief battle, Deathla reverts
to the swarm and flies north, with Godzilla and the kids in
A freak summer snowfall heralds the arrival of the monsters
to New York City. Monster-Deathla grows larger and larger
as it absorbs garbage at a city dump. The alien buries Godzilla
in sludge at the Central Park reservoir, then oozes down Broadway
in the direction of the 9/11 Monument. Revived by the prayers
of children, Godzilla blocks Monster-Deathla's path then leaps
into the air. Godzilla attacks with the Ultra Spin Tail Punch,
slicing Deathla into pieces with a series of tail strikes.
The victorious monster then flies back to its jungle home.
Godzilla arrives at Iguassu as the full moon rises over the
waterfall. As Godzilla disappears into the Falls, the beast's
tail strikes the rushing water and causes a huge spray that
casts a rainbow over Jim and Mischa in glorious 3-D.
Editor's Note: The film script as described above has gone
through changes. Apparently, the storyline involving 9/11
has been scrapped. Instead of ending in New York the film
now has the final monster battle played out in Las Vegas.
Speculation is that interest or investment for the film might
be coming from the Las Vegas industry. The city includes 3-D
attractions such as Star Trek 4D: Borg Invasion and
debuted the 3-D shows Wild Safari 3-D and NASCAR
Godzilla and all related characters are a registered trademark
of Toho Co. Ltd.
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3D Preview at Cannes
New York based editorial powerhouse Bluerock
announced the 2007 Cannes Film Festival presentation of the
film, U2 3D, billed as the first live-action concert
film shot entirely in 3-D and starring the renowned Grammy-winning
band, U2. The 55-minute preview is intended to garner buzz
for the upcoming full-length feature, and screened at midnight
on May 19 at the Palais des Festivals. Bluerock's Olivier
Wicki edited both the preview and the full-length versions
of the film in 2-D and it was then put through the 3-D process.
The film is the latest in a long-standing collaboration between
Bluerock and U2's Bono.
Bluerock President Ethel Rubinstein praises the film, "Bono
and the band set the bar for dynamic performance, and Olivier
Wicki used his creative and technical genius to ensure the
film portrayed every bit of their awesome talent. We were
honored to be chosen as a creative partner."
U2 3D documents U2's wildly successful "Vertigo"
World tour. Armed with 3-D glasses, viewers will now have
the opportunity to see U2 in a concert atmosphere without
enduring sweaty crowds and high ticket prices. The full-length
version of U2 3D featuring 15 songs drawn from over
700 hours of footage, will debut in fall 2007. The film was
directed by Catherine Owens and Mark Pellington and produced
by 3ality Digital, Los Angeles.
The entire band worked closely with Wicki on the editing
of the concert film, frequenting the Bluerock offices throughout
the post-production process. The team also worked together
on an effects-driven VMA-nominated U2 music video, Original
Of The Species, also edited by Wicki, and on the musician/activist's
ONE.org projects, including the eye-opening public service
announcement Snap (edited by Bluerock's David Mester).
Design and effects house Spontaneous, New York, a partner
with Bluerock, is also closely involved with U2 3D.
Creative director John Leamy designed the film's opening title
sequence, logo and movie poster. Leamy, who was CD for U2's
"Original of the Species" music video, edited the
U2 3D trailer. Spontaneous is also enhancing the
2-D tour visuals that were originally designed for "Vertigo,"
for use in the film's 3-D environment.
U2 3D Film Credits
- U2 3D :55 preview, 1:20 feature film
- Where Shot: South America
- Release Date (for full-length): Fall 2007
- Editorial Company: Bluerock, New York, NY
- Editor: Olivier Wicki
- Editorial Producer: Caryn MacLean
- Bluerock Technical Support: Farhad Dhabhar
- Bluerock President: Ethel Rubinstein
- Bluerock CEO: John Palestrini
- Design Company: Spontaneous, New York, NY
- Spontaneous Creative Director: John Leamy
- Production Company: 3ality Digital, Los Angeles, CA
- Directors: Catherine Owens and Mark Pellington
- DP: Tom Krueger
- 3D-DP: Peter Anderson
- Music Producer: Carl Glanville
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the Museum 3-D Lenticular DVD Cover
two-disc DVD edition of Night at the Museum features
a very cool 3-D lenticular cover.
The first image on the lenticular features Ben Stiller standing
in the hallway of a darkened museum. When you turn the image,
the lights go up and several characters from the film peer
from behind him down the hallway.
The characters include the bones of a Tyranasaurus Rex, Robin
Williams as Teddy Roosevelt, a monkey, lion, indian maiden,
egyptian and a mongol.
The 3-D lenticular is particularly well done. Each image
is sharp and clear with little to no ghosting.
Actors: Ben Stiller, Robin Williams
Format: Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Special Edition, Subtitled,
Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only.)
Aspect Ratio: 2.20:1
Number of discs: 2
Studio: 20th Century Fox
DVD Release Date: April 24, 2007
Run Time: 105 minutes
sees the World in 3-D
by Brook Griffin - Bozeman
Daily Chronicle Staff Writer
article is about 3-D, particularly three-dimensional collector
and enthusiast John Johanek, who lives in Bozeman, Montana.
For the better part of his life, Johanek has been fascinated
with seeing things with a warped depth perception.
“I remember as a kid having a View-Master® set
and a Bugs Bunny reel and I remember looking at it over and
over again. I don't want to date myself but at the time this
was a year before we got our first television,” he said.
Simply put, 3-D creates the illusion of depth. It works by
giving the eyes two, slightly different versions of the same
image. The human mind then blends the images together to create
depth where it really isn't. That's why a View-aster reel
(those circular cards with tiny photos in them) has two images,
one for each eye. It's also why glasses for a 3-D movie have
different-color lenses, one for each eye, to separate the
two images included in the film.
So with the right equipment, a monster from the hoary depths
of a black lagoon seems to emerge from the screen. Or a wolf
in Yellowstone National Park appears so close a viewer can
reach into the picture and touch it.
Johanek's collection includes a poster from one of the 1950's
films presented with 3-D technology, Dial M for Murder.
While 3-D technology has been a film novelty again in recent
years (Jaws 3-D for instance), Johanek said the technology
is on the verge of erupting.
“They rarely got past the quality of the 1950s movies,
but in the last few years the technology has gotten better,”
A host of new films are on the horizon that will blend computer-generated
imaging with 3-D to create a new theater experience, or so
His hopes are backed up by John Dennis, president of the
National Stereoscopic Association. Dennis said at least 2,000
theaters are promising to have new 3-D digital projectors
in place by 2009.
“It looks very promising,” Dennis said. Still
the attraction of the older 3-D technology lives on. “It's
iconic. As long as humans have two eyes, it will be there.”
Johanek's collection is a staggering display of 3-D popularity.
One whole room of his northside home has been turned into
a three-dimensional shrine. There are boxes of cereal with
holographic pictures of dinosaurs, 3-D album covers from the
Rolling Stones, and dozens of View-Masters like the one Johanek
used to see an image of Bugs Bunny when he was a kid. Every
square inch of the room is filled with 3-D elements, and some
of the most fascinating are also the oldest.
Several turn-of-the-century-era stereoscopes - wooden, hand-held
viewers similar to a View-Master but simpler in form - fill
one corner. Stereoscope home viewing was a popular pastime
in the 3-D heyday, Johanek said, and hundreds of thousands
of pictures were circulated around the world. The stereoscopes
paved the way for View-Masters, which served as the introduction
of the medium to the masses after the 1950s.
The View-Master® reels were used for everything from
car company promotions to military training, and Johanek has
examples of them all. He also has stacks of magazines and
images that make use of the iconic red and green 3-D glasses.
The collection also includes a box of Fruit Rollups
with 3-D glasses inside, and tattered copies of 3-D Monster
Magazine with the tag line: “We dare you to use
the magic glasses and see the monsters come alive!”
The attraction now is finding the old stuff and keeping the
Johanek travels extensively and often ducks into antique
stores in search of items for his collection, but he is running
out of new elements to add.
“There is no holy grail,” he said. “When
I started 30 years ago you could find things at flea markets
and even yard sales.”
As his collection grows, Johanek is faced with another dilemma
more challenging than where he finds his next treasure. It's
where to put everything?
“At some point I have to ask myself ‘what are
you going to do with this stuff?'” he said. “I
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World features Swimsuit Encore 2007
World magazine, a publication of the National Stereoscopic
Association, features some behind the scenes 3-D images from
the 2000 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit photo shoots.
The May/June 2007 issue, Vol. 32, No. 6, starts things off
with a full color cover featuring model Veronika Varekova
trying on some 3-D glasses in Maui. The front and back cover
are printed so that the image can be seen in 3-D using the
Ron Labbe's behind the scenes story of shooting
3-D for the 2007 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue
includes 3-D photos of model Yamila Diaz, too.
Other articles in the May/June 2007 issue include
G.A.F. Tissues by Robert A
Schreiber and Tex Treadwell
An Introduction to Carl B. Balcomb
- Stereographer Extraordinaire, The first in a series
by his son, Robert B. Balcomb
A Stereo Time Paradox - Meet the
Robinsons Advances 3-D Cinema by Ray Zone
Pop! Goes the Phantogram -
A review by John Dennis
Think "Outside the Window"
by Michael Beech
Rebuilding the Z-Axis - Stereo Conversion
of Motion Pictures by Ray Zone
Stereo World magazine is published
bi-monthly by the National Stereoscopic Association. Annual
membership dues are $32 (third class U.S.) or $44 (first class
U.S.) and $44 for all international memberships. Annual memberships
include six issues Stereo World, a plastic lorgnette
viewer and a membership directory. For more information, write
to the National Stereoscopic Assocation Inc., P.O. Box 86708,
Portland, OR 97286 or visit their Web site at www.stereoview.org.
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Here are a few 3-D auction results from the past month
A stereoview of baseball legend Babe Ruth sold for
$500 with one bid. The Keystone view, #32598, shows
Ruth looking straight at the camera. The image was taken
during spring training.
A stereoview showing a Barnum Circus Parade sold for
$405 with four bids. An overview of the procession with
three camels in the foreground with costumed riders
and a man guiding them. There are seven costumed riders
on horses in front and behind the camels. Behind the
horses are two of Phineas T. Barnum elephants, a small
one and a very large one with a rider's tent shelter
on top. In front of the elephants is a marcher holding
up a sign which has painted elephants on it. Circa mid-
to late-1880s on an oversized cabinet card. This view
was taken from an unusual second story perspective.
At the left side of the view in the foreground, one
can see a man sitting right on the edge of an open window.
The stencil lettering on the glass reads The Daily
Tribune, a newspaper. The street is lined with
A set of seven stereoviews of the funeral of Major
General George J. Stannard sold for $400 with two bids.
Major General George J. Stannard was Vermont's most
famous Civil War hero! This series was made by E. O.
Wormell in Vermont. According to the seller, "I
don't know much about him and in fact have never seen
any other stereoviews or photos by him. The more recent
collector's book doesn't list him as a stereoview maker.
The few people I have ever shown these to also found
them unique and uncommon." The first card has a
blank back where the others have the printed back. The
set originally had eight cards according to the listing
printed on the back of the cards. The cards are about
7" x 4" in size.
A coin-op stereoviewer sold for $350 with 22 bids.
This stereoview is made by Whitings Sculptoscope of
Cincinnati, Ohio. It was manufactured by American Novelty
Co also of Cincinnati, Ohio in May 1913. According to
the seller, this stereoviewer works when the trigger
is pulled, but it does not stop at each ad. It continuously
goes, but works as it should. The glass on the side
is the original, but the piece of plexiglass was put
in. There are 69 stereoview cards in the machine, as
well as a few loose ones that were included in the sale.