Now is the time (to put on your glasses): 3-D Film Exhibition in Britain, 1951-55

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Abstract

Exhibition has been the silent partner in discussions of the three-dimensional film ““boom”” of the 1950s. Exploring this lost aspect of 3-D history through a focus on exhibitor trade journals, the article complicates existing understanding of stereo cinema before, during and after the release of Bwana Devil (1953) and House of Wax (1953). Looking at the British experience specifically, the article reveals how stereoscopic films produced for the 1951 Festival of Britain created a nascent distribution and exhibition circuit for 3-D films twelve months before the release of Bwana Devil, a circuit that was then exploited by American distributors and British exhibition chains from 1953 on. Rather than dismiss 3-D as an unsuccessful gimmick, the article uses the exhibition sector to reclaim this moment of technological experimentation, and highlight how a certain stereoscopic discourse continues to echo through modern commentary on digital 3-D.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-103
Number of pages11
JournalFilm History
Volume23
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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