Widescreen  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

A screen with a wider aspect ratio than the ordinary 35 millimeter frame, making more effective use of the human field of view and producing a more immersive viewing experience.

History

Widescreen was first used for The Corbett-Fitzsimmons Fight (1897). This was not only the longest film that had been released to date at 100 minutes, but also the first widescreen film being shot on 63 mm Eastman stock with five perforations per frame.

Widescreen was first widely used in the late 1920s in some short films and newsreels, and feature films, notably Abel Gance's film Napoleon (1927) with a final widescreen sequence in what Gance called Polyvision. Claude Autant-Lara released a film Pour construire un feu (To Build a Fire, 1928) in the early Henri Chretien widescreen process, later adapted by Twentieth Century-Fox for CinemaScope in 1952. thumb|right|Conrad Luperti, J. Marvin Spoor, and William S. Adams with the Natural Vision camera The experimental Natural Vision widescreen process developed by George K. Spoor and P. John Berggren used 63.5 mm film and had a 2:1 aspect ratio. In 1926, a Natural Vision film of Niagara Falls was released.

In 1927, the Natural Vision process was used in the production of The American Template:Aka The Flag Maker. It was directed by J. Stuart Blackton and starred Bessie Love and Charles Ray, but was never released theatrically.

On May 26, 1929, Fox Film Corporation released Fox Grandeur News and Fox Movietone Follies of 1929 in New York City in the Fox Grandeur process. Other films shot in widescreen were the musical Happy Days (1929) which premiered at the Roxy Theater, New York City, on February 13, 1930, starring Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell and a 12-year-old Betty Grable as a chorus girl; Song o' My Heart, a musical feature starring Irish tenor John McCormack and directed by Frank Borzage (Seventh Heaven, A Farewell to Arms), which was shipped from the labs on March 17, 1930, but never released and may no longer survive, according to film historian Miles Kreuger (the 35 mm version, however, debuted in New York on March 11, 1930); and the western The Big Trail (1930) starring John Wayne and Tyrone Power, Sr. which premiered at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood on October 2, 1930, all of which were also made in the 70 mm Fox Grandeur process.

RKO Radio Pictures released Danger Lights with Jean Arthur, Louis Wolheim, and Robert Armstrong on August 21, 1930 in a 65 mm widescreen process known as NaturalVision, invented by film pioneer George K. Spoor. On November 13, 1930, United Artists released The Bat Whispers directed by Roland West in a 70 mm widescreen process known as Magnafilm. Warner Brothers released Song of the Flame and Kismet (both 1930) in a widescreen process they called Vitascope.

In 1930, after experimenting with the system called Fantom Screen for The Trail of '98 (1928), MGM came out with a system called Realife. MGM filmed The Great Meadow (1930) in Realife. However, it is unclear whether it was released in that widescreen process due to declining interest of the movie-going public.

By 1932, the Great Depression had forced studios to cut back on needless expense and it was not until 1953 that wider aspect ratios were again used in an attempt to stop the fall in attendance due, partially, to the emergence of television in the U.S. However, a few producers and directors, among them Alfred Hitchcock, were reluctant to use the anamorphic widescreen size featured in such formats as Cinemascope. Hitchcock used VistaVision, a non-anamorphic widescreen process developed by Paramount Pictures and Technicolor which could be adjusted to present various flat aspect ratios.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Widescreen" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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