3 D Films in SHEFFIELD CINEMAS, THEATRES & MUSIC HALLS Posted May 11, 2010 In view of the current vogue for 3-D movies, I thought that I would add some more detail to the earlier posts. In fact, very few 3-D films were shown in Sheffield back in the 1950's, and I can only find references for 8 of them. The process had been started in 1952, by an American producer named Arch Oboler. He filmed a cheap jungle quickie called "BWANA DEVIL" ( starring Robert Stack) which had nothing going for it, except the new process of 3-D. The ads promised you "A Lion in your lap, and a lover in your arms !". The film was a sensation in the States and Warner Brothers - looking for a way to combat the onslaught of television in the early '50's - quickly took up an option on the process. (I can find no record of this movie ever having played in Sheffield at that time.) Warners made their first 3-D movie in 1953 - "HOUSE OF WAX" (starring Vincent Price), and it was a MASSIVE hit, all over the world. It was the first 3-D feature seen in Sheffield, and it played at the Hippodrome from Sept. 7th to 19th, 1953. You wore a special pair of glasses in order to see the illusion of depth, and these cost an extra sixpence. Several other 3-D movies followed, all playing at the Hippodrome. These were: "SANGAREE" - with Fernando Lamas & Arlene Dahl (Dec 30th, 1953 to Jan 5th, 1954) "THE CHARGE AT FEATHER RIVER" - with Guy Madison & Frank Lovejoy (Jan 18th to 23rd, 1954) I believe that this is the Western that the guy in the earlier posting remembers seeing back then?) "CEASE-FIRE" - a curious, semi-documentary film about the Korean War, with real soldiers, and no stars.(April 26th to May 1st, 1954) "HONDO" - with John Wayne & Geraldine Page (One of the best 3-D movies made) - (May 24th to 29th, 1954) "KISS ME KATE" - Kathryn Grayson & Howard Keel (June 7th -12th, 1954) "THE PHANTOM OF THE RUE MORGUE" - Karl Malden & Claude Dauphin (Aug 23rd - 28th, 1954) The last of the Warner Bros 3-D movies was Hitchcock's "DIAL "M" FOR MURDER" (Sept 13th - 18th, 1954), but this was shown here "flat". Interest had quickly begun to wain in 3-D, and people didn't like having to wear (and pay for!) the special glasses, complaining of eye strain and headaches. It was also apparent that the new process that 20th Century Fox had been developing - CinemaScope, was going to be a huge success, and Warners soon bought a license from Fox and went into CinemaScope production too, as did nearly all the other Hollywood studios. Warner's first CinemaScope movie was - "THE COMMAND" - with Guy Madison. It ran at the Hippodrome from October 18th to 23rd, 1954 M.G.M.'s first CinemaScope film - "KNIGHTS OF THE ROUND TABLE" - with Robert Taylor & Ava Gardner) quickly followed it, running from Dec. 1st to 6th, 1954. Other studios too produced 3-D movies, but most of these were only shown "flat" here. Most notably Universal's "THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON" which played at the Cinema House. The Gaumont showed several others - "MONEY FROM HOME" with Martin & Lewis, "THE FRENCH LINE" with Jane Russell and "THOSE REDHEADS FROM SEATTLE" with Rhonda Fleming. All of these "made in 3-D" films were shown "flat", and not in 3-D. The only other Sheffield cinema that I can find a reference for having shown 3-D films was - the Essoldo, Sheffield Lane Top. They had the Sheffield premiere of "IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE" from Feb.15th to 20th, 1954, and subsequently played several of the above 3-D films. (Later on, the Essoldo was also the first suburban cinema to show CinemaScope films in Sheffield.) That was more or less it for 3-D here. The process came, and went within the space of a year. CinemaScope had proved to be the winner, and films like "THE ROBE", "HOW TO MARRY A MILLIONAIRE", "THREE COINS IN THE FOUNTAIN",etc,etc were MASSIVE hits, all over the world....and Sheffield ! By the way, the film mentioned in the earlier posting that was shown on ITV in 3-D, in October, 1982 was Columbia's weak effort - " FORT TI " - with George Montgomery. This did play at several local cinemas in the '50's, but not in 3-D. CinemaScope, and Stereophonic Sound were here to stay (at least until the late 1960's), and "THE ROBE" ran for 8 weeks at the Palace, Union Street, from February, 15th to April 10th,1954. An unprecedented run at that time. Oddly enough, the second CinemaScope movie - "HOW TO MARRY A MILLIONAIRE" (Marilyn Monroe,Betty Grable & Lauren Bacall) beat "THE ROBE" into Sheffield by two weeks - playing at The Gaumont from 1st to 13th February, 1954. The reason for this being that....normally, the Gaumont would have the first runs of 20th Century Fox, Columbia, United Artists and Universal's movies (with the Hippodrome taking Warner Bros, M.G.M. and Paramount's fims)......in the main. However, J.Arthur Rank told Fox that he would take their CinemaScope films, but he couldn't tell the difference between Stereophonic Sound and the normal mono......so, he didn't want to go to the extra expense of installing that in all his theatres. Fox said "No way!....you can't have one, without the other. It's a package". So, foolishly, Rank said "I'll leave it then" ! (he later relented). Fox then approached independent cinemas in each city to be the exclusive exhibitor of their sensational new product, and the Palace, Union Street was the winner in Sheffield.... and that is where nearly all the early CinemaScope films were first seen here. Notice the selling point in the early ads for CinemaScope......."You see it without the use of special glasses". In later years, other studios tried to revive 3-D in one form or another, but with little success. It proved to be a gimmick that the public soon grows tired of. I wonder how long today's 3-D trend will last for ??????