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Seattle Cinerama Theatre

Of interest to movie buffs like me is the re-opening of the former Cinerama theatre as the SIFF Cinema downtown on 14 December.

It is now one of only two theatres in the world able to screen widescreen Cinerama movies- the other being the Pictureville Cinema at the National Science and Media Museum, Bradford, England.

Since the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood closed during Covid Bradford has been the only surviving Cinerama venue since Seattle closed following the death of Paul Allen.

Hopefully the Hollywood Dome will also reopen.

Bradford has a widescreen festival in September each year- for both Cinerama and other wide screen formats.

Posted by
226 posts

I remember seeing the first Star Wars movie there during college. it's a lovely theatre. I'm so glad it's starting to get some use after a long period of closure. Most recently it was used to premier "The Boys in the Boat," George Clooney's movie about the University of Washington men's rowing team, who won the 1936 Olympics against all odds. It opens Dec 25 and I'm excited to see it - especially living as close to the UW as I do.

Posted by
4159 posts

I am also hooked on movies, and was twelve years old when I saw this film . A close cousin to Cinerama, this was done in a closely related technique, called " Cinemiracle ". Here is a video that tells the story of the creation of " Windjammer " ( 1958 ) and the restoration of the film - The film was shown on a panoramic curved screen at the now defunct Roxy Theatre on Broadway and 50th Street in Manhattan

Posted by
8882 posts

I live in the Land of La, worked in the “biz” for 30 years and can walk to the Cinerama Dome in 20 minutes.

Remain disheartened at the lack of progress in reopening of the Dome. I’ve never understood with all the money in the industry why this film mecca hasn’t been reopened. Film lovers would throughly enjoy the overwhelming pleasure of seeing a film like Lean’s brilliant Lawrence of Arabia there.

Films are made for a big screen. Honestly no matter how large your TV screen in it doesn’t do justice to films like Casablanca, Lawrence of Arabia or Close Encounters of a Third Kind. Just doesn’t.

Realized this decades ago when I was privileged to screen a new print of Casablanca at the Stanford Theatre in Palo Alto, California. I was mesmerized.
Why? Simple answer. I’d only seen the film on TV.
TV broadcasts had commercials and the film had been edited so those ads could be shown. Thus I’d truly never seen Casablanca.

Here’s hoping the Dome can be restored and revived!

Hooray for Hollywood.

Posted by
6744 posts

Thanks for that video about the restoration of Windjammer.

I have "The Boys in the Boat" in my diary for after it's UK release on 12 January.

I have just found out that Pictureville at Bradford is currently closed as RAAC (Reinforced Aerated Autoclave Concrete) has been identified in the building.

Posted by
6788 posts

Hooray indeed. Thanks for all this and especially for the link to the Windjammer restoration.

I have very fleeting memories of my parents dragging me along with my brothers and sisters to one of the original Cinerama theaters in New York to watch it back in the day. I must have been 4 or 5 years old, and it absolutely blew me away. I recall we sat in the front row (not sure that was a wise choice, maybe they were the only seats available). It was a pretty overwhelming experience, and may have been my first time in a movie theater. The hook was set.

Now if only I could send my early childhood memories off to the FotoKem lab and Tom in in Calgary to have them do their restoration magic on those...

Some real treasures here. I can't wait to see The Boys in the Boat (even if it's not in the Cinerama).