With 3-D movies coming out almost every week now, it's not much of a rarity as it once was. There was a time when a 3-D movie was a rare occasion, when it was one of Hollywood's many new "gimmicks" to attract moviegoers away from their new Television sets and back into theater seats like CinemaScope and Cinerama. However the technique was expensive and the equipment bulky thanks to the need for two projectors to produce the effect.
Before Digital 3-D, moviegoers had to wear these to experience the effect
The 1950s in particular is known as the "golden age" of 3-D movies with Bwana Devil (1952) being the first color stereoscopic movie released theatrically through United Artists and starred Robert Stack, Barbara Briton and Nigel Bruce. The film was a huge success with studios noticing and racing to get their own 3-D features on screens.
A vintage ad for Bwana Devil explains the 3-D movie process to curious moviegoers
In 1953, Man in the Dark and in particular House of Wax, a horror film starring Vincent Price further ignited the 3-D movie craze with House of Wax also featuring stereophonic sound and in widescreen with a 1.66:1 aspect ratio. The most interesting aspect about House of Wax is the fact that director Andre De Toth was blind in one eye and couldn't actually experience 3-D.
Andre De Toth's House of Wax
The 3-D floodgates had been opened and soon came science fiction and horror movies such as It Came From Outer Space (1953) and The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), dramas like Sangaree (1953) and westerns like Hondo (1953). Even Film Noirs such as I, The Jury (1953) and musicals like Kiss Me Kate (1953) gave the format a shot as did director Alfred Hitchcock with Dial M For Murder (1954) which stands as one of the best examples of early 1950s 3-D movies.
A movie theater marquee promotes It Came From Outer Space in 3-D
In 2003, the first ever World 3-D Film Expo took place at the historic Egyptian Theater on Hollywood Boulevard. The theater had been recently restored and re-opened by the American Cinematheque (who for the record is in no way associated with the World 3-D Film Expo) and showcased many of these classic movies shown on the big screen, many for the first time since their original theatrical run. Celebrities and filmmakers were on hand to discuss the films with many festival goers flying in from long distances - even overseas - to take part. This was still before 3-D hit the regular multiplex.
A second expo took place in 2006, and now in 2013, 10 years after the original festival, the World 3-D Film Expo returns to the Egyptian. Co-sponsored by RealD who has helped restore many of these films using the newer digital process which along with several original 35mm dual-system projected prints will be screened.
It all kicks off on September 6 with an opening night screening of Hondo (1953) which stars and was produced by John Wayne and also happens to be celebrating its 60th anniversary followed by House of Wax and 25 lucky attendees will be going home with a brand new copy of the film on Blu-ray 3D (courtesy of Warner Home Video).
John Wayne in Hondo
Other screenings include the aforementioned Bwana Devil, I, The Jury, Dial M for Murder, It Came From Outer Space, Kiss Me Kate, House of Wax and The Creature from the Black Lagoon as well as The Maze (1953), Those Redheads from Seattle (1953), Robot Monster (1953) and the more recent Jaws 3-D (1983) which was part of a brief resurgence in the 1980s which included Amityville 3-D and Friday the 13th Part 3 (note from those last 3 80s titles only Jaws will be screening).
Overall there are 35 screenings including features and shorts (both live action and animated) with the festival taking over the Egyptian from September 6 through the 15th.
While other cities, states and countries all have their passionate film lovers and communities, it's another example of Los Angeles utilizing the rich cinematic history of Hollywood and the movie fans and filmmakers who make the pilgrimage here to be a part of movie history and magic.
The full schedule and links to the official website and ticket purchasing follows:
7:00pm - Hondo (1953)
9:30pm - House of Wax (1953)
11:00am - The Maze (1953)
1:15pm - Bwana Devil (1952)
4:30pm - European 3-D Cinema - 1935-1953 (Lecture and 3-D Clip Show)
7:15pm - Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954)
9:45pm - Jaws 3-D (1983)
11:00am - 3-D Animation Show
2:00pm - Robinson Crusoe [a.k.a. Robinzon Kruzo] (1946)
4:45pm - Miss Sadie Thompson (1953)
7:00pm - Dial M For Murder (1954)
9:30pm - 3-D Tribute to Chris Condon, Dan Symmes & Ray Zone featuring: The Stewardesses (1969)
7:00pm - Phantom of the Rue Morgue (1954)
9:30pm - Jivaro (1954)
7:00pm - The Glass Web (1953)
9:45pm - Dangerous Mission! (1954)
11:00am - Gorilla at Large (1954)
1:15pm - The Diamond Wizard (1954)
4:15pm - Taza, Son of Cochise (1954)
6:30pm - Kiss Me Kate (1954)
9:45pm - The French Line (1954)
7:00pm - Inferno (1953)
9:30pm - I, The Jury (1953)
3:30pm - Wings of the Hawk (1953)
7:00pm - It Came From Outer Space (1953)
9:45pm - The Mad Magician (1954)
11:00am - 3-D Rarities Show
3:30pm - Robot Monster (1953)
6:00pm - Dragonfly Squadron (1954)
9:00pm - Revenge of the Creature (1955)
10:30am - Sangaree (1953)
1:15pm - Those Redheads From Seattle (1953)
4:30pm - Second Chance (1953)
6:45pm - Money From Home (1953)
9:45pm - Cease Fire (1953)
Link for TICKETS.
Link to Official SITE.