Although 3D has been around since 1915, and although it has had a resurgence in the early part of this century, every film buff knows that the golden era of 3D was the early 1950s.
For the rest of this week we’re going to highlight a some of the “classic” 3D films of those years. But first a quiz.
We emphasize going in that we are focusing not on the sleek, sophisticated 3D effects of, say, James Cameron’s 2009 epic, Avatar. No. We fondly recall the days, when studio minions, terrified by the new audience-grabbing power of mainstream tv, churned out all sorts of pictures in the 3D format, a go-to gimmick employed in near desperation. Audiences would love it, they said. Often they were right.
Never mind that theater spectators had to grapple with primitive cardboard 3D glasses — that refused to stay in place — to obtain the full visual effect. 3D did for a while spice up the box office picture. We recall its Fifties commercial application with much fondness.
Ok, on to our 3D Quiz.
1) Question: What was the first movie in the 3D format? a) 1903’s L’arrivee du train; b) 1922’s The Power of Love; c) 1952’s Bwana Devil; or d) None of the above.
2) Question: 1953’s House of Wax made Vincent Price almost a household name. The horror outing also featured a future mega-star. Which one? a) Raymond Burr; b) Charles Bronson; c) Neville Brand; or d) Steve McQueen.
3) Question: Which one of the following big-name directors experimented by making a suspense film in the 3D format? a) Preston Sturges; b) Billy Wilder; c) John Ford or d) Alfred Hitchcock.
4) Question: Which of the following studios released the following 3D titles — Inferno, It Came From Outer Space, Sangaree and Melody — as company firsts in the format? a) Universal; b) Columbia, c) Disney; or d) 20th Century Fox.
5) Question: Only westerns, horror or monster movies were made in the Fifties and released in 3D? a) True; b) False.