The December, 1955 issue of Films In Review contained the following "review" of Fox's large format version of CinemaScope. The short article is a good example of the type of information being fed to film fans. While it contains a fair amount of accurate information, it's amazing how many glowing errors are in the article. Read the review and then the Curator's (hey, that's ME!) comments below the page.
RETURN TO CINEMASCOPE 55
Let's look at this article one paragraph at a time:
The first paragraph is basically factual, except the assumption that CinemaScope 55 printed on 35mm film is more "lifelike" than such already publicly seen systems as VistaVision and Todd-AO. The math simply won't support that assumption, though there is no doubt that CinemaScope 55 offered an excellent image.
Paragraph 2 echoes the claims made by every wide screen system to date, except Superscope. Those familiar with photographic principles know that larger photographic images yield LOWER depth of field. Only by using more light on the set can an increase in focus depth be achieved. As for light falloff at the image edges, if there was an improvement over conventional CinemaScope it had nothing to do with the larger negative area.
Paragraph 3 is rife with errors and half truths due to the fact that the writer knows nothing of the subject he is treating. His description of VistaVision is substantially bullshit. The statement that Paramount could use conventional 35mm cameras while Fox had to build all new 55mm cameras is absolutely untrue. The first two VistaVision cameras were substantially modified Stein color cameras and all others were either Technicolor three-strip cameras that were gutted and rebuilt with new horizontal film movements made by Mitchell Camera, or were completely new camera designs. Fox modifed a number of their old Grandeur 70mm cameras to handle the 55.625mm Eastmancolor negative.
Paragraph 4 is basically factual as per Fox's announced plans at that time.
Paragraph 5 states that The King and I would be shown on a roadshow basis using 55mm prints. When The King and I was released, it's limited roadshow presentations used a 35mm optical reduction print with six channel magnetic sound being reproduced by a second full coat 35mm film running in sync with the picture. All other prints were CinemaScope format with four track magnetic sound on the picture print.