November 5 – 21, 1999

American Cinematheque presents...

Blow Your Mind: The Great BIG 70mm Festival

Strap yourself in. Get ready to be blown away!


Series Compiled by: Dennis Bartok, Paul Rayton and Chris D. Additional Research by Gwen Deglise.

Special Thanks to: John Kirk/MGM-UA; Michael Schlesinger/COLUMBIA PICTURES REPERTORY; Ed Zeier and Merrilee Griffin/UNIVERSAL STUDIOS; Rick Griffith and Schawn Belston/20TH CENTURY FOX; Michael Friend and Fritz Herzog/ACADEMY OF MOTION PICTURE ARTS & SCIENCES – Film Archive; Susan Gold/AMERICAN MOVIE CLASSICS; Julie La’Bassiere/WRITERS GUILD OF AMERICA; Linda Evans-Smith/WARNER BROS. CLASSICS; AMERICAN ZOETROPE; Valarie Schwan/U.S.C. – Moving Image Archive; Peter Scarlet/SAN FRANCISCO FILM FESTIVAL; Mark Magidson; Thomas Hauerslav/70 MM. NEWSLETTER; Johan Wolthuis/INT’L 70 MM. PUBLISHERS; Bill Lawrence/NAT’L MUSEUM OF PHOTOGRAPHY, FILM & TV – U.K.; DTS Digital Sound Co.






From Super Technirama 70 to Ultra Panavision to Dimension 150 and more, the 70 mm. large-screen format promised – and delivered – a Barnum-esque world of spectacular sights and 6-track sounds. If the movies were always larger-than-life, then 70 mm. movies were MUCH much larger – films like SPARTACUS, AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS, THE SOUND OF MUSIC, 2001 – A SPACE ODYSSEY and LAWRENCE OF ARABIA. From 1955 to 1970 – the Golden Age of 70 mm. filmmaking – there were nearly 60 Hollywood features shot in large format, with many more released in special engagements as 35 mm.-to-70 mm. blow-ups (which still offered superior sound and image quality to their 35 mm. counterparts.)

Sadly, 70 mm. is a rapidly endangered species – the last Hollywood feature generally available in this format was James Cameron’s TITANIC in 1997, and there were no major American films released in 70 mm. in 1998 or 1999. The smaller-is-better, multiplex mentality and the higher cost of striking 70 mm. prints – plus the fact that almost all original 70 prints from the 1950’s and 60’s have faded – means that, apart from special restoration projects like SPARTACUS or LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, there will most likely be no more 70 mm. prints.

This series, then, is a very rare opportunity to experience 70 mm. as it was meant to be seen: on a big, beautiful screen, with booming, 6-track multi-channel sound. From landmarks like the first 70 mm. feature OKLAHOMA!, THE WILD BUNCH and APOCALYPSE NOW, to ultra-rare shorts and ride films, to never-before-seen-in-70 mm. hits like TOMORROW NEVER DIES and GODZILLA, this is the humongous, once-in-a-lifetime, end-of-the-millenium Large Screen Blow-Out you’ve been waiting for …

 Friday, November 5 - 8:00 PM

Super Technirama 70 mm.!! Jean Simmons and Nina Foch In-Person!

SPARTACUS, 1960, Universal, 184 min. Director Stanley Kubrick’s awesome epic is one of the most visually stunning films ever produced in 70 mm. -- Kirk Douglas stars as the gladiator who leads his fellow slaves in a revolt against Rome, while co-stars Laurence Olivier, Tony Curtis, Jean Simmons, Peter Ustinov, John Gavin and Nina Foch get swept into the firestorm. Brilliantly scripted by writer Dalton Trumbo (whose hiring by producer Douglas helped shatter the blacklist), with Oscar-winning photography by Russell Metty. Discussion following with actresses Jean Simmons and Nina Foch.

Saturday, November 6 - 2:00 PM

"Short Films/Big Screen – The 70 mm. Shorts Program!"

Join us for an incredible round-up of theme park films, World’s Fair and Expo shorts and more – all shot in eye-popping 70 mm.! Highlights include the simply-astounding, time-lapse journey "A Year Along The Abandoned Road" (12 min.), one of the most amazing shorts we’ve ever seen (we’ll show it TWICE it’s so good) -- plus a pair of computer-generated, motion-simulator ride films "A Trip To Mars" and "Comet Impact" (4 min. each), along with the dazzling, split-screen Montreal Expo film "A Place To Stand" (18 min.), the Benigni-esque comedy short "Tour Eiffel" (9 min.) and other gems.

Saturday, November 6 - 5:00 PM

Super Panavision 70 mm.!! Andre de Toth In-Person!

LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, 1962, Columbia, 216 min. The beautiful, near-godlike Peter O’Toole stars as the tortured, Man Who Would Not Be King in director David Lean’s absolute masterpiece – as close to perfect as a film can get. Co-starring Alec Guiness, Anthony Quinn, Arthur Kennedy and Omar Sharif. We’re very excited that acclaimed filmmaker Andre de Toth (HOUSE OF WAX, PLAY DIRTY), who worked with director David Lean for over a year on LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, will join us to discuss the making of this epic film.


Saturday, November 6 - 9:45 PM

"Visionary, shimmeringly beautiful … sheer gorgeousness in Todd AO 70 mm.!" – Kevin Thomas, L.A. Times.

BARAKA, 1992, MGM/UA, 96 min. Inspired by the Sufi word that means "breath of life," BARAKA is a mind-expanding, spiritual journey around the globe from director/cinematographer Ron Fricke (who shot the earlier KOYANNISQATSI.) Filmed without dialogue, in a stunning cascade of crystalline, time-lapse 70 mm. images, BARAKA is quite simply breathtaking. "Smashingly edited, superbly scored … speaks volumes about the planet without uttering a single word." – Suzan Ayscough, Variety.


Friday, November 12 - 7:00 PM

Peckinpah’s Masterpiece – 6-Track 70 mm. Sound!!

THE WILD BUNCH, 1969, Warner Bros., 134 min. Saddle up for an ultra-rare screening of an original 70 mm. print of Sam Peckinpah’s magnificent, ultra-violent Western – starring William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Warren Oates, L.Q. Jones and Strother Martin as a band of doomed outlaws trying to outrun history. Discussion following with actor L.Q. Jones (schedule permitting.)

Friday, November 12 - 9:45 PM

70 mm. Ultra-Action Double-Header!!

LIFEFORCE, 1985, Columbia, 101 min. Sex-starved space vampire Mathilda May terrorizes the world while looking for something to wear, in director Tobe Hooper’s gleeful, over-the-top sci-fi flick – one of the great pulp movies of the 1980’s. Steve Railsback co-stars as the lovestruck astronaut dazzled by May’s charms, with help from Peter Firth and "Star Trek’s" Patrick Stewart.

MAD MAX 2: THE ROAD WARRIOR, 1981, Warner Bros., 94 min. Hockey-mask wearing Lord Humongous whips his speed-freaks into a frenzy, while Road Warrior Mel Gibson tries to save the remnants of civilization, in director George Miller’s lean, mean, thrill machine – along with James Cameron’s ALIENS, the finest action film of the decade.

Saturday, November 13 - 6:00 PM

U.S. Premiere in 70 mm.!! DTS Digital Sound!

TOMORROW NEVER DIES, 1997, MGM/UA, 119 min. Dir. Roger Spottiswoode. Released only in Europe in 70 mm., the explosive, techno-packed TOMORROW NEVER DIES finally returns the Bond series to top form, with dashing Pierce Brosnan as Agent 007 battling media mastermind Jonathan Pryce, bedding ex-flame Teri Hatcher and sparring with fabulous Hong Kong action-star Michelle Yeoh - !!


Saturday, November 13 - 8:45 PM

Mega-Rare Screening in 70 mm.!! John Milius In-Person!

APOCALYPSE NOW, 1979, American Zoetrope, 150 min. Reluctant assassin Martin Sheen leads a boatload of surfer-boys and sauciers up-river to find renegade colonel Marlon Brando, in director Francis Ford Coppola’s magnificent, crazed, wildly surreal Vietnam film. Adapted by Coppola and co-writer John Milius from Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, APOCALYPSE co-stars Robert Duvall, Frederic Forrest, Sam Bottoms and Dennis Hopper don’t miss this rarer-than-rare screening of an original 70 mm. print of the film, courtesy of Coppola himself! Screenwriter John Milius scheduled to introduce screening.

Sunday, November 14 - 2:00 PM

Stunning Todd-AO 70 mm. Print!! 6-Track Stereo Sound!

THE SOUND OF MUSIC, 1965, 20th Century Fox, 174 min. For many, THE SOUND OF MUSIC is the 70 mm. experience, from the first silent, sweeping shots of the Austrian Alps, to Julie Andrews suddenly bursting into song like a force of nature. An Oscar-winner for Best Picture and Robert Wise’s flawless direction, THE SOUND OF MUSIC is a reason, a virtual commandment to go see movies on the Big Screen. Co-starring Christopher Plummer, Eleanor Parker, Anna Lee, Marni Nixon and Angela Cartwright, with a wonderful script by Ernest Lehman.

Sunday, November 14 - 6:00 PM

First Hollywood Feature in Todd-AO 70 mm.!!

OKLAHOMA!, 1955, MGM/UA, 145 min. Dir. Fred Zinnemann. Shirley Jones, Gordon MacRae, Rod Steiger, Eddie Albert and Gloria Grahame headline this dynamic, showstopping version of the famous Rodgers & Hammerstein musical. The first Hollywood feature released in 70 mm. – courtesy of producer Michael Todd and the American Optical Co. ("Todd-AO") – OKLAHOMA! features astonishing, revolutionary choreography by Agnes de Mille. Oklahoma originally premiered at the Egyptian Theatre. In fact, the theatre was renovated to acommodate its widescreen glory. The massive ornate egyptian columns and decorative work around the screen were removed and a giant curved screen was erected in its place. Covered with an enormous mustard yellow curtain, the new look of the Egyptian reeked of modernity. The film will be shown here at 30 frames/second -- a rare treat that can only be experienced on film, projected on the big screen.


Friday, November 19 – 7:00 PM

Burton’s Macabre Masterpiece – Only Surviving 70 mm. Print! Anthony Michael Hall In-Person!

EDWARD SCISSORHANDS, 1990, 20th Century Fox, 98 min. Director Tim Burton’s wondrous modern fairy-tale – his most heartbreaking and inventive film – stars Johnny Depp as the boy with pruning shears for hands, courtesy of inventor father Vincent Price (in his final film role.) Winona Ryder, Dianne Wiest and Alan Arkin are the suburbanites who fall under Scissorhand’s spell, in this utterly original Burton creation. Discussion following with actor Anthony Michael Hall.

Friday, November 19 – 9:15 PM

Psychedelic Sci-Fi Double-Feature – in 70 mm.!! Michael Ironside In-Person!

TOTAL RECALL, 1990, Columbia, 109 min. Future-time 2084: contruction worker Arnold Schwarzenegger tries to escape his nightmares by taking a mind-vacation to Mars – trouble is, he’s already been there, in director Paul Verhoeven’s brutally surreal, wickedly funny sci-fi film, based on Phillip K. Dick’s "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale." Sharon Stone literally kicks out the jams as Arnold’s murderously sexy "wife," with help from über-villain Michael Ironside. Actor Michael Ironside to introduce screening (schedule permitting.)

ALTERED STATES, 1980, Warner Bros., 102 min. Director Ken Russell’s hallucinatory version of the Jekyll & Hyde story stars William Hurt as a Harvard professor who explores sensory deprivation in an effort to travel back in time. "A kind of inner-space odyssey that’s terrifying in its view of primal human nature … a mesmerizing visual experience" – Ron Pennington, Hollywood Reporter.


Saturday, November 20 - 2:00 PM

Free Children’s Matinee – Super Panavision 70 mm.!!

CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG, 1968, MGM/UA, 145 min. Dir. Ken Hughes. The irrepressible Dick van Dyke stars as an inventor who transforms a broken-down car into a flying machine – to the delight of children Heather Ripley and Adrian Hall. With a wonderful score by the MARY POPPINS team of Richard and Robert Sherman, heard here in stunning 6-track sound! Please note: this sole surviving 70 mm. print of the film has faded; because of its extreme rarity, we’re presenting it here as a free screening. Tickets available at the box office the day of screening on a first come, first served basis.

Saturday, November 20 – 6:00 PM

U.S. Premiere in 70 mm.!! DTS Digital Sound!

GODZILLA, 1998, Columbia, 140 min. Japan’s favorite lizard kicks the hell out of New York City, while bumbling scientist Matthew Broderick deals with love problems and French commando agent Jean Reno, in director Roland Emmerich’s wildly-entertaining take on 1950’s radioactive creature flicks. Released only in Europe in 70 mm., this is the first (and possibly only) time you’ll ever see GODZILLA in this large-screen format – don’t miss it!!


Saturday, November 20 – 9:00 PM

In 70 mm. DTS Digital Sound!!

TITANIC, 1997, Paramount, 194 min. With Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Gloria Stuart, Kathy Bates, Billy Zane. Director/writer James Cameron resurrects the doomed R.M.S. Titanic as a shimmering spectacle of polished brass and lost love. First the most-expensive (and later the most-successful) movie in Hollywood history, TITANIC was in reality a labor of love and craft for Cameron and crew -- from cinematographer Russell Carpenter’s luminous ocean images to production designer Peter Lamont’s meticulous reconstructions of the Titanic interiors. If you’ve seen TITANIC once, twice, three times -- come see it again, in a gorgeous 70 mm. print courtesy of Paramount Pictures and 20th Century Fox!


Sunday, November 21 - 12:00 Noon

Oscar-Winning Soviet Epic in 70 mm.!! Mega-Rare All-Day Event!

WAR AND PEACE, 1968, 507 min. With Ludmila Savelyeva, Vyacheslav Tihonov, Hira Ivanov-Golovko. Winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, director (and actor) Sergei Bondarchuk’s majestic, heartstopping version of the Tolstoy novel is one of the most powerful and indelible experiences in film -- from its awesome, windswept battle scenes to its tragic portraits of 19th century Russian nobility. Rarely shown because of its 8-hour plus running time, WAR AND PEACE is screened here in its entirety, in a once-in-a-decade event!! (WAR AND PEACE will be screened in 5 parts, with intermission between each.)