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"The Bubble" (1966) on 3D Blu-ray.
on 29 November 2014
I first encountered Arch Oboler's "The Bubble" via a review in the Daily Express in 1966 in which the critic gave it a severe shoeing, whilst conceding that the 3D was pretty good.
I didn't get to see it until 1983 when the ICA screened it in all its SpaceVision glory. Now after over 30 years it's back, restored by 3D Film Archive from the original camera negative.
Lovers of good acting, coherent story, credible dialogue and logical plots should look elsewhere but those who enjoy eccentric (verging on bonkers) SF movies will love it.
A young couple become stranded in a small town, which looks suspiciously like a bunch of old movie sets and props, whose inhabitants behave like automata, repeating the same actions all day long. To make things worse, the town is covered by an impenetrable force field bubble so no one can enter or leave.
Dramatic shortcomings aside, the main reason to see "The Bubble" is the SpaceVision 3D. Invented by Robert V. Bernier and using one camera and projector, unlike the dual camera systems used elsewhere, it gave excellent 3D and widescreen without the need for masking or anamorphic lenses. Sadly, it was only used on a few other 3D movies. but it was copied and used during the 80s 3D revival. On the big screen, objects really did seem to float off the screen and into the cinema but the effect is somewhat diminished on 3D TV. Even so, the 3D FX are still great fun as various objects are thrown, poked and dangled in front of the camera.
"Under the Dome" and the 2004 SF movie "The Forgotten" all borrow heavily from Arch Oboler's odd film.
SpaceVision turned up again in "Flesh for Frankenstein" (1974) but unfortunately the movie's current owners won't pay for the necessary restoration and realignment so the chances of a 3D Blu-ray release are slim to none.