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This review is from: Cinerama Holiday [Blu-ray]  [US Import] (Blu-ray)
A friend was very keen to see once again ‘Cinerama Holiday’ which was the second of the original, 3-panel Cinerama travelogues, released in 1955. We agreed we would share the cost of approximately £25 for the dual disc package. I would keep the Blu-ray and he the DVD. The film is a parallel documentary that follows a Swiss couple on their first holiday to America, landing in Kansas; and an all American couple from Kansas who take the return flight to Switzerland for a European holiday. Betty and John Marsh visit St Moritz, the fabulous Swiss Ski resort; there are plenty of superb panoramic views and perhaps the highlight of the film, a ride on St Moritz’s bob sleigh run, which to my mind is equally spectacular to that the roller coaster- ride in ‘This is Cinerama’. They move on to Davos to experience the thrills of skiing and discover the joy of singing and “fondue” in a Swiss tavern! Can you imagine what a severe culture shock to the Americans when they discover that the Swiss don’t provide bottles of Ketchup with meals! Meanwhile, Fred and Beatrice Troller visit Las Vegas and then onto Arizona, famous for the westerns filmed there. In San Francisco, Fred and Beatrice appreciate how different America is to Switzerland, and then head east by train to New Orleans and the experience the home of Jazz!
In the second half Betty and John travel to Paris, where they meet real French people and visit some of the city's most famous sights. Meanwhile Fred and Beatrice visit Washington and from their travels take them onto New York. The finale of the film comes when the couples meet and swap stories of their travels and watch a spectacular air show, over and around an American Aircraft carrier.
This parallel travelogue works really well, though rather biased towards America. Unlike’ Windjammer’ and ‘This is Cinerama’ there are no overlong sequences and you are not left with a feeling that the film is too long! The picture quality is mostly fairly good for a film that was made nearly sixty years ago, though no where near as good as ‘How The West Was Won’. There is still an issue on the panel joins most noticeably in bland blue-sky scenes; one somehow imagines these could have been eliminated on the computer. On the extras, we see the famous film critic Leonard Maltin introducing a digital screening of this restoration in the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood 2013, at which Betty Marsh and Beatrice Troller were present (sadly their husbands were dead). Of this restoration, he commented that he thought still seeing the panel joins was part of the charm! Particular good was Return to Cinerama (22 min), which included a recent video interview with Betty Marsh York and Beatrice Troller talking about their memories of the film, interlaced with plenty of clips from the film. The other extras and behind the scenes stories are well worthwhile watching, there is even some 8mm Home Movie footage. Also a documentary, on how the restoration and reconstruction of the film from the original negatives, which were in a poor state was achieved. This is another one of those discs where the extras are almost better than the film! You also get a 28-page reproduction of the original programme. Most important of all is that it is a Region-Free release. This film looked fine projected on my 8ft wide screen and if you sat close the smilebox presentation gives the illusion of Cinerama in your own lounge. Expensive, but a really good souvenir and undoubtedly the best of the Cinerama titles I have seen from Flicker Alley.