soon emerged as a premier format, reserved for big-budget blockbusters, which could be shown at top prices on a roadshow basis in the largest, most exclusive theatres. It led the way for other 65/70 mm. processes, such as MGM's Camera 65 ( Ben-Hur, 1959), Ultra Panavision 70 ( Mutiny on the Bounty, 1962), and Super Technirama 70 ( Spartacus, 1960).
Although widescreen became a new standard, stereo magnetic sound quickly disappeared as a new technology. Movie palaces used it as an additional lure for audiences, but independent exhibitors refused to pay the added costs involved in equipping their theatres for stereo. At the same time, audiences accustomed to hearing dialogue emanate from a central theatre speaker resisted multitrack dialogue, which travelled from theatre speaker to theatre speaker. Five- and six-track sound, which accompanied large-format films, provided a more even distribution of dialogue, and continued to satisfy the needs of audiences for spectacle, but three- and four-track sound failed to catch on.
The various production and exhibition technologies introduced during the 1950s constituted a revolution of sorts in the nature of the movie-going experience. Audiences were initially overwhelmed by widescreen images in colour, which were projected on large, curved screens and accompanied by multi-track stereo magnetic sound. If the cinema can be said to have begun as a novelty with the peep-show Kinetoscope and with the projection of moving images on a large theatre screen for a mass audience, then the explosion of novel technologies in the 1950s almost amounts to a reinvention of the cinema. For the first time since the transition-to-sound era, movies spectacularized the motion picture medium, thrilling audiences with displays of its power to move them. The revolution that took place in the 1950s may well represent the last chapter in the cinema's attempt, as a medium, to recapture, through the novelty of its mode of presentation, its original ability to excite spectators.
Belton, John ( 1992), Widescreen Cinema.
Comolli, Jean-Louis ( 1980), ' Machines of the Visible'.
Ogle, Patrick L. ( 1972), ' Technological and Aesthetic Influences upon the Development of Deep Focus Cinematography in the United States'.
Salt, Barry ( 1992), Film Style and Technology: Histoty and Analysis.
To satisfy the international craze for Mickey Mouse (fuelled by a keen merchandizing campaign patterned after Pat Sullivan's exploitation of Otto Messmer's Felix the Cat), the Disney studios created 100 cartoons starring him in the ten years from 1928 to 1937. In the process they managed to homogenize the character-Ub Iwerks's original Mickey from Plane Crazy and Steamboat Willie had wiry limbs and a wicked personality that could torture cats and ladies, while the later Mickey became rounder, milder of temperament -- and virtually exhausted his possibilities. Fortunately the Mickey cartoons spawned secondary characters Pluto, Goofy, and Donald Duck who starred in their own cartoons until the mid-1950s: in fact, the best of the later Mickey Mouse cartoons, such as the 1935 Band Concert or the 1937 Clock Cleaners, derive as much energy from Donald and Goofy as from Mickey. Equally fortunately, Ub Iwerks initiated a second parallel series of sound cartoons with his 1928 Skeleton Dance: the Silly Symphonies, which explored lyrical and whimsical themes in folklore and nature. Free from the gag formula of regular cartoons, Silly Symphonies gave the Disney staff the opportunity to experiment and expand their animation skills, and they won Academy Awards regularly: the full-colour Flowers and Trees ( 1932), Three Little Pigs ( 1933) with its diverse personality characterization for animal protagonists, The Tortoise and the Hare ( 1935), Country Cousin ( 1936), The Old Mill ( 1937) with its atmospheric multiplane depth effects, Ferdinand the Bull ( 1938), and The Ugly Duckling ( 1939).
The technical advances explored in the Silly Symphonies partly arose from a rivalry with the Fleischers, who, among all the other animation studios that survived into the sound era, consistently produced excellent cartoons in the early 1930s. Unlike the Disney product, which tended increasingly to an 'illusion of life' live-action imitation, the earlier Fleischer cartoons revelled in stylization, caricature, unrealistic transformations, elaborate repetitive cycles, direct address to the audience, and illogical developments which seem inherent, distinctive properties or potentials of animation. Disney's Alice seems mundane and leaden beside the Fleischers' Koko, whose surrealistic escapades allow him to intervene in the creative process of Modelling ( 1921), or, with his prison escape in Koko the Convict ( 1926), to bury Manhattan in a