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  • Carrie Specht

3D Double Vision at the Aero & Egyptian Theaters August 2-12


Advances in digital technology and a desire to provide audiences with an immersive experience have pushed 3-D from specialty theaters to neighborhood multiplexes. Though the last decade has seen an explosion of 3-D films, efforts to bring depth to movie visuals go back a full century. The first public presentation of a 3-D motion picture occurred in 1915. About halfway between that initial screening at New York's Astor Theatre and today, 3-D experienced its first big boom as studios scrambled to compete with the then new medium of television. Bwana Devil kicked off an era that had viewers across the country donning cardboard glasses and ducking for cover as various objects seemingly shot out from the screen. This golden age of 3-D lasted just a few years in the early 1950s before theater owners tired of the requirements of the dual-strip format with two projectors running in perfect synch turned to other potential audience-grabbers such as CinemaScope (a wide screen format). Although the paddle-ball and yo-yo tricks of House of Wax and The Mad Magician (both starring Vincent Price) occasionally had the feel of a sideshow, 3-D films were also being made for more sophisticated tastes. Along with movie monsters like Creature From The Black Lagoon, their were musicals such as Kiss Me Kate, and crime films that included Man In The Dark and Inferno, which all made good use of the extra dimension on screen. Even Alfred Hitchcock tried his hand at 3-D during the glory days of the format with Dial M for Murder. 3-D experienced a renaissance in the 1980s. Genre films were particularly well represented in this second wave of 3-D, from horror franchises (Friday The 13th Part III, Amityville 3-D) and killer critters (Jaws 3-D, Rottweiler) to sci-fi quests (Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone, Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn). And of course, every big blockbuster if the day seems to get a 3-D revamp once it proves financially viable (Black Panther). Use the image above to check out the full lineup. Additionally, running at LACMA from July 15, 2018- March 31, 2019, a companion exhibition "3D: Double Vision" is the first North American survey of 3D objects and practices. Featuring artifacts of mass culture alongside historic and contemporary art, the exhibition addresses the nature of perception, the allure of illusionism and our relationship to accompanying technologies and apparatuses as it traces the generational cycles of 3D across 175 years.

So, get your headache medicine ready and be sure to duck, as the world of 3-D comes for you.

#AmericanCinematheque #EgyptianTheatre #AeroTheater #3D