The World 3-D Film Expo III, which opens Friday and continues through Sept. 15 at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, has lined up some of the well-known classics of the format's heyday 60 years ago, including 1953's "House of Wax" with Vincent Price, the 1953 musical "Kiss Me Kate" with Kathryn Grayson, Howard Keel and Ann Miller, and 1954's "Creature From the Black Lagoon" with Julie Adams and the Gill-man.
FOR THE RECORD:
World 3-D Film Expo: In the Sept. 5 Calendar section, an article about the World 3-D Film Expo misspelled the name of the Arriflex camera as Aeroflex. —
The expo's producers and programmers, Jeff Joseph and Dennis Bartok, have also unearthed some real rarities, including the oldest surviving 3-D film: the 1922 short subject "Kelly's Plasticon Pictures."
"On Sept. 14, we are doing a rarities show," Joseph said. "My plan was to run the best of Expos I and II, but we found some new stuff so about half the material has never been seen before."
"It was shot in 3-D but by the time they were ready to release it, the bloom was already off the rose," Bartok said. "So it was released flat."
"I actually bought an entire film library to get that one movie," Joseph added.
Though most of the films in the festival are 35 millimeter prints, the expo is also presenting several digital restorations, including the opening-night feature, the 1953 western "Hondo" with John Wayne; Alfred Hitchcock's only 3-D film, 1954's "Dial M for Murder," and 1983's "Jaws 3-D."
Fifty 3-D movies were made in the United States between 1952 and 1955 in an attempt to lure audiences away from their television sets and back into movie theaters. The craze began with 1952's "Bwana Devil" and Hollywood quickly began turning out horror films, sci-fi thrillers, musicals, film noirs, westerns and dramas.
Even such low-budget "B" movie studios as Allied Artists got into the 3-D act. Veteran Oscar-winning producer Walter Mirisch ("In the Heat of the Night") was at the studio when "Bwana Devil" exploded at the box office.
"I figured we needed to make one too," said Mirisch, who will be appearing at the expo with his only 3-D film, 1953's sci-fi horror thriller "The Maze."
The process was very expensive.
"I talked to a cameraman and an assistant cameraman who worked on the lot and they said they didn't think it was too difficult to put a 3-D system together in three or four weeks," Mirisch said. "It worked perfectly fine."
There were camera issues on "Jaws 3-D," which finds a hungry great white finding a new feeding ground at a water park in Orlando, Fla. The thriller was made during a mini-revival of 3-D three decades ago.