American WideScreen Museum Home Page

While the first two films released in the 70mm format were inauspicious, the Technirama process saw continued use on high budget films, especially epics. The Russian born American producer Samuel Bronston, established in a studio in Spain, produced a number of very successful films in Super Technirama, including King of Kings, El Cid, 55 Days at Peking and Circus World (aka The Magnificent Showman) which was shown in the diluted 70mm version of Cinerama. Other memorable films in the Technirama process were Sayonara, Zulu, The Big Country, and The Vikings.

Seen at left, an ad from "Hollywood Reporter", August 1960 announcing the upcoming production of El Cid, one of the best and most popular roadshow epics. Co-star Sophia Loren wasn't as yet billed, but Samuel Bronston knew that including the Super Technirama 70/Technicolor info in the ad would help him obtain additional needed funding from exhibitors and distributors.

Meanwhile, Sophia Loren's biggest Italian competitor, Gina Lollobridgida, proved that Technirama wasn't reserved only for vast spectacles with casts of thousands. After all, a good image is a good image and while Loren married a producer, Lollobridgida WAS a producer and had a keen photographic sense. Gina took good pictures and Gina took good pictures, nudge, nudge.

ZULU Zulu, (1964), one of the last films made in Technirama, but a stunning example of the image quality available in the process, and a rousing good film, too. A handful of lucky viewers saw the film in 70mm. The film was produced by Cy Endfield and Stanley Baker, who also starred along with newcomer Michael Caine. Zulu is an exceptionally well made film recounting the historic battle of Rorke's Drift, between a handful of British troops and a massive Zulu army. The Curator highly recommends this film to one and all. There is a fairly wide selection of DVD videos available, many are pretty crappy, suffering with either rotten picture or poor sound, or both. Fortunately Zulu is now available on Blu-ray and it's phenomenal. The Technirama quality shines in every frame, some of which I've duplicated below.

Zulu frames to make your mouth water

From a stand on the Lord Roberts Statue in Horse Guards Parade, London, A Michael Powell camera unit carries out a last-minute check on one of its nine Technirama cameras that were used to flim this year's Trooping of the Colour. Powell was covering the ceremony for his film, "The Queen's Guards." At the same time Pathe News was filming the occasion in Technicolor.

Most references to Michael Powell's The Queen's Guards (1961) will tell you it is in CinemaScope. It was actually made in Technirama but 20th Century-Fox preferred to advertise it as a CinemaScope production. Technical information on IMDB is in error. Not the most pretigious of Michael Powell's productions.

Another Near Forgotten Technirama Film

Jack Warner had acquired the screen rights to the Karl Vollmöller 1912 play in the early 1950s and had at one time announced that Warner Bros. would produce the film version in Cinemiracle. For whatever reasons that production didn't come to pass. In 1959 Warners finally mounted the production under the megaphone of director Irving Rapper with battle scenes directed by Gordon Douglas. Beautiful young actress Carroll Baker starred in a role that she hoped would keep her from being type cast in roles similar to the one she played in Baby Doll in 1956. Her co-star was Roger Moore who was still trying to become a major star. The director of photography was the well established Ernest Haller ASC.

Carroll Baker is seen in these two production stills looking rather saintly while Technirama photographs her and the statue that becomes a central character in the film. Your Curator has not yet found a worthwhile copy of The Miracle so he cannot comment on the film itself. It did not do well at the box-office and many reviewers were not exactly enthusiastic about it. And that's probably why it's an almost forgotten Technirama film.

Photos courtesy of Roy Wagner ASC.

You are on Page 5 of

E-mail the author

©1997 - 2014 The American WideScreen Museum
Martin Hart, Curator