Lowell Thomas searches the world for natural and man made wonders and invites the audience to try to update the ancient Greek list of "Seven Wonders of the World."Lowell Thomas searches the world for natural and man made wonders and invites the audience to try to update the ancient Greek list of "Seven Wonders of the World."Lowell Thomas searches the world for natural and man made wonders and invites the audience to try to update the ancient Greek list of "Seven Wonders of the World."
Because what is espoused to be an epic travelogue to document both the seven wonders of the natural and man-made world...is really nothing other than a veiled propaganda film, on par with the work of Leni Riefenstahl.
As we are whisked around the world on the Panamerican Cinerama jet, which provides us with all the stunning aerial footage contained in the film.
We hop from continent-to-continent, and nation-to-nation, as Cinerama's pr man Lovell Thomas offers us his voice of god narration.
Though, on top of all the natural beauty, and wonderful exhibitions of cultural entertainment, we are forced to endure a plague of political and colonial propaganda.
From the pro-American portrayal of GI's in Japan (of all f-ing places), to pro-Zionist and pro-Saudi shilling (shudders), European colonialism in Africa, the brutal subjugation of Elephants in India...and a bull-dookie claim that Niagara Falls is an American icon (I seem to recall them losing the War of 1812, but it wouldn't surprise me that many of you believe otherwise, after watching this film).
These elements tend to detract from- if not completely overshadow- the magnificent shots of Venezuela's Angel Falls and the Amazon Rainforest, "Rhodesia"'s Victoria Falls, the deserts of Arabia, and my personal favourite, the flyover of an unnamed East African volcano.
As well as the aerial shots of the civilized world, which include Rio De Janeiro, the Vatican, Sheeba, Istanbul, Athens, and, of course, the incredible flyunders of New York City's four main bridges.
And the ground coverage of Japanese musical theatre, a fight between a mongoose and a cobra, a runaway train in Darjeeling, cinema's first look inside the church of the Vatican, and a cruise through the mighty redwoods of California...among others.
Parts like that whole segment lauding American oil interests, just make the whole thing come off as one giant commercial for big oil, and the USA in general.
Which is disappointing, because it otherwise had so much potential to be something timeless and ageless.
Being one of the first films created and released on the incredible blend of technologies that make up Cinerama.
Which include it's triple-projection, stereophonic sound, and trademark curved screen...that immerses you right in the action, with things shot from a first person perspective.
What could- and should- have been one of the best documentaries ever made, ends up like some sort of forced re-education experiment, to sell you the American dream.
Which we all know is a lie.
Like most of the claims made in this film.
It just hasn't aged well.
7.5 out of 10.
- Nov 19, 2020