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This Is Cinerama (1952)

A standard screen B&W prologue during which Lowell Thomas shows how, from the dawn of history, mankind has attempted to create the illusion of depth & movement by artistic, mechanical and ... See full summary »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »


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Credited cast:
Lowell Thomas ... Narrator (voice)


A standard screen B&W prologue during which Lowell Thomas shows how, from the dawn of history, mankind has attempted to create the illusion of depth & movement by artistic, mechanical and photographic means. Cinerama format opens with Rockaway Playland Roller Coaster, then Temple Dance from "Aida", views of Niagra Falls, Long Island Choir - an early test of CineramaSound in B&W -, Canals of Venice, Edinburgh Military Tattoo, bullfight and musical performance in Spain, Act II finale of "AIDA" at La Scala Opera House, Milan. "Intermission 15 minutes" Act II commences with a sound demonstration - "we call it stereophonic sound" says LT. Then to Cypress Gardens, Florida, for trick water skiing and boating scenes. The last half of Act II- "America the Beautiful"- is viewed from the nose of a low flying B-25 aeroplane. Finally, credits. Written by David Coles <mitchell@zeta.org.au>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The film with a new dimension See more »




G | See all certifications »






Release Date:

5 January 1955 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Esto es Cinerama See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


(2012 restoration)

Sound Mix:

Cinerama 7-Track


Black and White | Black and White (Sepiatone)| Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.59 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


A twelve-minute prologue featuring Lowell Thomas was presented in black-and-white in the 1.33:1 academy ratio in order to exaggerate the stark contrast once the curtains parted to reveal the Atom Smasher sequence in full 2.59:1 widescreen aspect ratio in color and stereophonic sound. See more »


In the otherwise wonderful "America the Beautiful" segment, Yosemite Falls is called Bridal Veil Falls in the narration. Also, the Sierra Nevada mountains are said to be in western California, not eastern, which is their correct location. See more »

Crazy Credits

There are no opening logos or credits; not even a title. There is a three-minute musical overture before the curtains open, followed by a 12-minute black-and-white prologue narrated by Lowell Thomas. Thomas says the title when he introduces the film process: "Ladies and gentlemen... this is Cinerama!". All of the credits, title included, are at the end of the film. See more »

Alternate Versions

The film was fully restored in 2011 by the newly re-christened Cinerama Inc. and David Strohmaier from one of the few remaining exhibition prints. The 26-frame-per-second frame rate was slowed to 24-frames-per-second, with the audio pitch-corrected to mask any distortion, resulting in a slightly longer running time. This version was released on a Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack by Flicker Alley in the fall of 2012 for the 50th anniversary of the film's release. In 2015, the film was restored for a second time, this time from the original camera negative. Both versions use Strohmaier's patented 'Smilebox' process to keep the curvature of the Cinerama screen. See more »


Features The Kiss (1896) See more »


America the Beautiful
Music by Samuel A. Ward
Lyrics by Katharine Lee Bates
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Grand old spectacle, and worth seeing.
17 October 2002 | by goodellaaSee all my reviews

When shown as intended this showcase demonstrates the potential of the Cinerama systems, their limitations, and gives a glimpse of the world as it was in 1952 in spectacular show-biz style. It is a technically interesting and fun documentary. Viewable only on the big screen with three projectors, the real thing, not a simulation, ladies and gentlemen, Cinerama! Having just come from seeing it at the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood, I'm in the mood to hawk its virtues. It must be admitted that technological advances are rapidly bypassing this type of system, but it is a grand and brazen promotion that deserves to be dragged out periodically to show how it used to be done. As with any other art, seeing it in person IS the real thing. Great date movie. It includes Edisons short "The Kiss" and most of "The Great Train Robbery" as part of its introduction, to give us something with which to compare Cinerama, plus some history of the development of photography as a popular art. We start right off with a whiz-bang roller coaster ride, and proceed right on through the Triumph from "Aida", presented in wonderful operatic splendour by the company at the La Scala opera house. Boy did I go for that. After intermission we went to Cyprus Gardens to view its 1952-style wonders, including the famous Auquacade (a dance, stunt and comedy show on water skis). The grand vistas of our America (including industrial might) are displayed in spectacular fashion with edifying narration. Lots of fun stuff like that to show off the extra big, clear picture and a sound system of close to modern theatrical quality, at least to my ear. I was glad to have the experience, and am happy that this document exists.

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