To celebrate our weekend screening of Alfred Hitchcock's classic DIAL M FOR MURDER in 3D, presented by @lwlies and @mubi we look at a bit of the fascinating history of 3D films. The 1950s 3-D Craze.
With an increasing number of Americans buying televisions, movie ticket sales began to drop and studios were desperate for new ways to draw audiences back to the theater. Some tactics they used were colour features, widescreen projections, and 3-D movies.
In 1952, radio star Arch Oboler wrote, directed, and produced "Bwana Devil," an adventure movie based on the true story of man-eating lions in East Africa filmed in “Natural Vision.” This 3-D process was developed by brother inventors Milton and Julian Gunzburg. It required two projectors to exhibit and audiences needed to wear cardboard glasses with gray polarized lenses to view the effect.
The film was a smashing success and gradually expanded to more cities over the next two months. Taking notice of the box office potential of 3-D, United Artists acquired the rights to release the film across the country.
In the wake of the success of "Bwana Devil," several other 3-D releases followed that were even bigger successes. Of them all, the most notable early hit was the horror film and technological milestone "House of Wax." Not only was it a 3-D film, but it was also the first wide-release film with stereophonic sound. With a $5.5 million box office gross, "House of Wax" was one of the biggest hits of 1953, starring Vincent Price in the role that would make him a horror movie icon.
Highlights of this 3-D boom included the musical "Kiss Me Kate" (1953), Alfred Hitchcock’s "Dial M for Murder" (1954), and "Creature from the Black Lagoon" (1954), though these films were also simultaneously released in “flat” versions for theaters not equipped with dual projectors for 3-D projection. #3dmovies #bwanadevil #dialmformurder #riocinema #lifemagazine #littlewhitelies #mubi @lwlies @mubi #alfredhitchcock