1953/1954 - Paramount Releases

by George A. Flaxman


On 28th March Paramount announced that all it's future product would be photographed with projection at a ratio of 1.66:1 in mind.

On 3rd June it was revealed that a remake was planned of The Covered Wagon in Widescreen & Stereophonic Sound, although it did not seem to have been made.

Sangaree opened on 27th may, in 3-D although the picture comenced filming flat. It was also presented in Panoramic Screen, Paramount's widescreen system name.

On 13th June came the premiere of Shane, ....On the Giant Full-Stage Screen with Stereophonic Sound. The film was, and is, a classic.

On 17th June Motion Picture Daily reported thar "Paramount Develops New 5-track Sound System (5-track Magnetic Stereophonic Sound on film) - 3 screen channels & 2 auditorium channels."

On 10th July Hollywood Reporter noted Paramount's stereo sound release plans:-
Film Format
Roman Holiday with Stereophonic Sound
The Caddy possibly with Stereophonic Sound
War Of The Worlds with Stereophonic Sound

On the same day Motion Picture Daily advertised Red Garters as also to be available with Stereophonic Sound. On 20th July both Red Garters and War Of The Worlds were touted as planned for Stereophonic Sound.

Motion Picture Herald reported Paramount's plans on 8th August as follows:-
Film Format Release
Cease Fire! In 3-D Stereophonic Sound Soon
Flight To Tangier In 3-D Stereophonic Sound Soon
Forever Female - Soon
Here Come The Girls - Soon
Little Boy Lost - Oct
Roman Holiday - 6-12 Sept
The Caddy Stereophonic Sound Sept
Those Redheads From Seattle In 3-D Stereophonic Sound Soon
War Of The Worlds Stereophonic Sound - for Panoramic Screens Oct

On 11th August Film Daily recorded that Paramount was readying 12 pictures for release with Stereo Sound. A week later these were detailed as:-
Film Comment
Casanova's Big Night Now Shooting - to be with Stereophonic Sound
Flight To Tangier Recently Completed & Available with Stereophonic Sound
Jivaro Recently Completed & Available with Stereophonic Sound
Knock On Wood Now Shooting - to be with Stereophonic Sound
Money From Home Recently Completed & Available with Stereophonic Sound
Scared Stiff Recently Completed & Available with Stereophonic Sound
Shane Recently Completed & Available with Stereophonic Sound
The Caddy Recently Completed & Available with Stereophonic Sound
The Naked Jungle Now Shooting - to be with Stereophonic Sound
Those Redheads From Seattle Recently Completed & Available with Stereophonic Sound
War Of The Worlds Recently Completed & Available with Stereophonic Sound
White Christmas Still to be Produced - to be with Stereophonic Sound

On 9th September The Bridges At Toko-Ri was announced as being shot with a wide-angle lens for exhibition at the 1.66:1 ratio and would be with Stereophonic Sound.

2nd October saw the release of Popeye - The Ace Of Space, in 3-D and Panoramic Screen (now recomended as shown in 1.85:1).

By 9th October it was reported that Paramount had been demonstrating Panaphonic Sound. This was a pseudo-stereophonic sound system similar to Perspecta Sound.

The following week, 16th, Those Reedheads From Seattle was issued in 3-D, Panoramic Screen and With Stereophonic Sound.

1st November saw the arrival of Flight To Tangier in 3-D, and this too was presented in Panoramic Screen with Stereophonic Sound.

On 14th November Paramount's plans for Stereo Sound as communicated by Motion Picture Herald seemed to have retreated somewhat:-
Film Comment
About Mrs. Leslie In Production
Alaska Seas In Production - with Stereophonic Sound
Botany Bay Completed
Casanova's Big Night Completed
Cease Fire! Completed - In 3-D
Conquest Of Space In Production
Elephant Walk Completed
Forever Female Completed
Here Come The Girls Completed
Jivaro Completed - In 3-D
Knock On Wood Completed - with Stereophonic Sound
Legend Of The Incas In Production
Living It Up In Production
Money From Home Completed - In 3-D
Rear Window In Production
Red Garters Completed
Sabrina In Production
Strategic Air Command In Production
The Bridges At Toko-Ri In Production
The Country Girl In Production
The Naked Jungle Completed - with Stereophonic Sound
The Ten Commandments In Production
Ulysses In Production
White Christmas In Production

Apparently released in 1953 was a 3-D short featuring Adolph Zukor, a Paramount executive, announcing the development of VistaVision.

On 1st january 1954 came Cease Fire!, a Korean War picture. It was released in 3-D, Panoramic Screen and Stereophonic Sound. Released with it was a 3-D cartoon short Boo Moon, featuring Casper the friendly ghost. This too was presented in Panoramic Screen.

On 6th January Variety recorded Paramount's forthcoming releases:-
Film Format
Alaska Seas Stereophonic Sound
Cease Fire! 3-D
Knock On Wood Stereophonic Sound
The Naked Jungle Stereophonic Sound

On 1st February Le Film Francais, a French trade paper advertised Caribbean, Son Of Paleface and War Of The Worlds as being available for widescreen showings, or PANORAMIQUE PROJECTION CONCAVE, as they put it!.

Also on the 1st February a Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis vehicle Money From Home was released. It was presented in Panoramic Screen but not, according to R.M. Hayes' 3-D Movies, in Stereo Sound, as Paramount had lost interest in interlocked sound and were anyway about to go over to Perspecta for their releases.

Paramount released their last 3-D picture on 10th february. Jivaro was also in Panoramic Screen, and was probably in Stereo Sound.

On 4th February news came that Paramount had been testing Magnetic Stereophonic Sound against Perspecta Sound, and by 24th they had endorsed Perspecta for future Stereo releases, with White Christmas being the first such release. On 22nd may Motion Picture Herald was still listing Red Garters as available with Interlocked Magnetic Stereophonic Sound.

On 19th June Paramount demonstrated VistaVision at the Turm-Palast in Frankfurt, Germany.

On 25th August Film Daily carried the confirmation that all Paramount VistaVision releases would utilise Perspecta Sound.

Paramount's Widescreen exhibition process was called Panoramic Screen [cropped 1.66:1, later changed to 1.85:1]. Individual exhibitors could and would project at any rate they chose, using their own widescreen adjectives. The ratio of 1.66:1 / 1.85:1 was only a recomendation, but was based on the picture having been shot with this in mind. The sound was carried on a separate film carrying the Magnetic tracks run interlocked with the picture. The standard (mono) Optical track on the print could be used in the event of a problem with the Magnetic tracks. The 3 Magnetic tracks served left, centre, and right speakers behind the screen. A surround track was not apparently included.

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