Jul 3, 2012

70mm Film Festival at the Academy

Living in Los Angeles has provided many opportunities for retrospectives and classic movie screenings thanks to venues like THE NEW BEVERLY, CINEFAMILY (formerly SILENT MOVIE), THE NUART, THE CINERAMA DOME and countless others.

One summer tradition plays out at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater which is the theater of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.  Each year programmer Randy Haberkamp screens a series of movies in the best possible light - with brand new prints (when available) and plenty of great extras and guests that come with the power of the Academy and a wealth of film knowledge and love behind him.

Beginning in July, the Academy will be screening a series entitled THE LAST 70MM FILM FESTIVAL with 6 weeks of amazing titles in their gigantic screen splendor.  Each title will be accompanied with a plethora of amazing and fun pre-show curiosities, many of which may not have been seen since they were first released or produced.

It all kicks off Monday, July 9th.  Below is a listing of each movie with corresponding trailer.

For information on tickets and showtimes, visit this link HERE.  Given the fact that digital presentation is quickly making film obsolete, this may be your only opportunity to see these films as they were meant to be seen - projected from a pristine 70mm print.


IT'S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD (1963, United Artists; Directed by: Stanley Kramer)

Filmed in Cinerama, this madcap comedy with an all-star cast - actually that's an understatement, more like every working comic actor in Hollywood at the time...oh and Spencer Tracy - on a race to beat each other to a stash of loot buried under "a big W" by a now dead bank robber.  

The movie is not for everyone's taste and can get a little well...annoying at times, but worth seeing for the cast and the 70mm experience.  This movie inspired a side genre of wacky "treasure hunt" movies such as SCAVENGER HUNT (1979) and RAT RACE (2001)


SLEEPING BEAUTY (1959, Walt Disney; Directed by: Clyde Geronimi)

This is the screening I am the most excited for.  One of Walt Disney's animated classics in 70mm.  Especially good timing too with a live action film featuring the villain MALEFICANT (being played by Angelina Jolie) just went into production and the first character still was unleashed on the Internet about a week ago.

Seeing a full length animated feature - and a Disney one at that - in 70mm is a real treat.  The ending which I won't spoil here will be a sight to behold.


GRAND PRIX (1966, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer; Directed by: John Frankenheimer)

John Frankenheimer's epic racing movie starring James Garner and Eva Marie Saint makes great use of the giant screen format in some pretty exciting racing sequences.


THE SOUND OF MUSIC (1965, 20th Century Fox; Directed by: Robert Wise)

I don't know anyone that doesn't know of or hasn't seen THE SOUND OF MUSIC.  I have seen this film projected in 70mm once before at the Egyptian courtesy of the American Cinematheque and it was one of the most enjoyable movie-going experiences I have ever had.  The screening was packed, and expect this one to be as well.  THE SOUND OF MUSIC is one of those classic films that always fills the seats no matter how or where it is playing and the added extra of 70mm makes this one of the hottest tickets in town.


2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer; Directed by: Stanley Kubrick)

2001 is another film I go to pretty much every time it has screened in 70mm.  I've seen it at the Cinerama Dome and during New Year's Eve week of 2000 going into 2001 (may have even been New Year's Eve come to think of it) at the Egyptian again courtesy of the American Cinematheque.

I have a friend who insisted on sitting in the front 5 rows which he states completely blew his mind during the final moments of the movie.  Wherever you sit, you are going to be engaged in a visual and cinematic treat.


SPARTACUS (1960, Universal; Directed by: Stanley Kubrick)

Here we have back-to-back Stanley Kubrick films and the series comes to an end with a bang with SPARTACUS.  I saw this at the Egyptian during one of their 70mm festivals I think around 2000, and Jean Simmons was a guest speaker.  I went into the movie exhausted from a long day at work, but woke up very fast when the movie started and where I thought I would dose off somewhere at the hour mark, I found myself up most of the night thanks to the experience of seeing this movie projected in 70mm.

Just don't annoy your fellow movie goers by yelling out I AM SPARTACUS.  Besides, you'll probably get thrown out and banned from the theater.  The Academy (God bless them) has a strict noise policy at all their screenings.