"HOW THE WEST WAS WON"
At the Cinerama Dome
(Arclight Cinemas, Hollywood, California)

Cinerama_Dome.jpg (44274 bytes)

People keep asking me, “Where can I see HOW THE WEST WAS WON in a theater?”  Well, aside from the The Seattle Cinerama and a theater in England, the only place still capable of showing HTWWW in its original 3 strip Cinerama format is the ArcLight Cinemas Hollywood at the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood California.  (I hear tell that the Cinerama theater in Dayton is no longer showing or capable of showing HTWWW.)  I don’t know when Seattle or England will be rerunning the film, so if you have any info on that, please let me know.

The Cinerama Dome in Hollywood has been restored with a curved screen and three original Cinerama projectors, and shows one Cinerama movie a year (for a one week run), alternating between HTWWW in 2003 and 2005, and “This Is Cinerama” in 2004 and (probably) in 2006. The next showing of HTWWW at the Dome will be in 2007, most likely in conjunction with the debut of the release of the deluxe DVD edition of HTWWW that is coming out that year. There is the possibility that the surviving stars of the movie will attend a premiere at the Dome (similar to the one they attended for the 40th anniversary Dome HTWWW showing in 2003).  If you want to be kept apprised of the Dome’s schedule, subscribe to their email bulletin at www.arclightcinemas.com.

I made the pilgrimage to the Dome in both the 2003 and 2005, and after seeing HTWWW there all I can say is "WOW!"  More than any movie that I've ever seen, HTWWW is so much better in its original format in a theater than it could ever be in your home.  When I say that the difference is like night and day, I'm not kidding.  And no matter how good your stereo is, it could never deliver that great HTWWW soundtrack as magnificently as the Dome can. If you ever get the chance to see this movie in its original Cinerama format, do not pass up the opportunity!

In 2005 I created a handout (brochure) for the Dome to give their patrons during their HTWWW presentations, but it wasn't ready in time for the printers. But you can download it and print it for future reference if you want. Click here to download the file.
(This is a zipped file in Microsoft Word format. Download it, unzip it, and print pages 1 and 3. Turn the pages over, and put them back in the printer. Now print pages 2 and 4. Fold the pages in half, and put the sheet with page numbers 4-5 in the center. Now you've got a nice handbook to read the next time you’re sitting down to see the movie.

When I went to the October 2005 showing at the Dome, I had a chance to talk to the President of Cinerama, John Sittig. He told me about the upcoming DVD re-release, which he said may be released in “Smile-Vision”, which is an experimental new format where the middle of the screen is curved downward and the two corners are curved upward (so that the rectangular screen is like a smile). This will simulate the curvature of the Cinerama screen and will allow all of the height and width of the original movie to be displayed (those parts of the screen are both cropped to make it fit today’s widescreen DVD format).

The DVD is also scheduled to include a new documentary discussing the “rebirth” of Cinerama, complete with interviews of the Dome’s patrons asking them why they love HTWWW so much. They happened to be filming those interviews at the Dome the day I was there, and I even got my chance in front of the camera. It’s probably too much to hope for that I might actually appear on the DVD for a few seconds, but you never know.  It will be interesting to see what other material they can find to fill the deluxe DVD edition. If they could include the movie’s deleted scenes (discussed elsewhere on this site), that would be awesome, but something tells me that that footage is long gone. That’s all I know about the DVD. If I hear anything more, I’ll post it here. (And if you hear anything, please let me know.)

 

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