How much did you know about Fifties-era 3D?
Did you recognize Vincent Price (above) administering to Phyllis Kirk in director Andre de Toth’s trend-setting, 1953 horror outing, House of Wax?
The movie was notable because, among other things, it was the first 3D movie to feature stereophonic sound. It also featured Price as an over-the-top villain who made the most of the picture’s technological assets.
In fact, House of Wax turbocharged Price’s screen career, solidifying his identification as a horror star and earning him the informal title of “King of 3D.” He went on to star in three other titles in the format, 1954’s The Mad Magician and Dangerous Mission, and 1955’s Son of Sinbad.
And, House of Wax also boasts of an interesting character performance by one Charles Buchinsky, later known as Charles Bronson. He play’s Price’s faithful servant, Igor. (Sound familiar?)
Ok, on to the answers 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.
Answer: Filmmakers from the beginning were fascinated by the possibilities of showing films in three dimensions. The first 3D outing is said to be (a) the short film from France’s Lumiere brothers showing a train barreling through a station. The first commercially released 3D title is said to be (b) The Power of Love. So you get full credit for both answers.
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.
Answer: As mentioned above, (b) Charles Bronson.
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.
Answer: Although John Ford is credited with directing the final scenes in 1953’s Hondo, a western with John Wayne, the answer we are looking for is (d) Alfred Hitchcock, who employed 3D effects in his suspense thriller Dial M For Murder, costarrring Grace Kelly and Ray Milland.
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.
Answer: 20th Century Fox released its only 3D title, Inferno starring Rhonda Fleming, in 1953. Universal’s debut film in the market was 1953’s It Came From Outer Space. Paramount’s first was 1953’s Sangaree (see below). Disney’s debut was its 1953 release, Melody.
5) Question: Only westerns, horror and monster movies were made in the Fifties and released in 3D? a) True; b) False.
Answer: b) False. Columbia Pictures conceived of the bright idea of presented The Three Stooges in such 3D titles as Spooks and Pardon My Backfire. Both worthy of another look.