These two ambitious new releases from Flicker Alley represent an enormous labor of love by Cinerama aficionado Dave Strohmaier and a handful of technically savvy cohorts. The humble, home-made “making of” documentary about restoring This is Cinerama on the disc bears witness to their Herculean efforts, bringing color, clarity, and uniformity back to the film, often one frame at a time. (A background documentary on the making of Windjammer was produced in Norway and features some of the youthful crew members who made that unforgettable journey more than half a century ago.)
This is Cinerama and Windjammer are offered in the “Smile-Box” format that approximates the curved screen that made Cinerama so distinctive. Each film comes with a gallery of bonus features and behind-the-scenes material.
Just for fun, the producers have included the “breakdown” reels that were ready to be run at a moment’s notice if the cumbersome multi-projector presentation broke down. It’s fun to watch Cinerama host (and co-producer) Lowell Thomas ad lib about the making of the film and cue Mr. Projectionist to restart the feature several different times.