Seven Wonders of the World (1956) Poster

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8/10
First movie I remember seeing
robplunkett216 May 2006
This was the first movie I remember ever seeing in a theater. It was the Cinerama Dome and it was shown in grand style complete with a program. Cinerama was supposed to the be the IMAX of its age. It was shown on a special screen that was higher and extended farther than was normal. I imagine the experience was lost when it was shown in a regular theater. Pop kept saying how great it was that they showed it in a way that made you feel you were there. I had no basis upon with to compare it to the normal movie-going experience.

It was basically a travelogue, but a good one, I recall, at least to a four-year-old. I've never seen it rerun or on video or DVD etc. I don't know how anybody under 50 could possibly have an opinion on it.
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10/10
The best of the five USA-produced Cinerama travelogues
bbmtwist3 May 2017
Warning: Spoilers
This was the third (of five) USA-produced Cinerama travelogues and it is in my opinion the best. (The fourth, Search For Paradise, was the worst and ended Lowell Thomas' participation in the series.)

The premise being to travel the world, encountering nature and man made "wonders," is a good one and there are more locations and sights in this film than in any other of the series.

Note: timing on the DVD case and on the IMDb site is incorrect at 106 minutes. When the exit music ends the film has played for two hours, one minute and 35 seconds.

Five of the seven continents are visited – they save Australia for the fifth travelogue (South Seas Adventure) and Antarctica is not even mentioned.

We begin in the sands of Egypt with the only survivor of the original ancient seven wonders, the pyramids and Sphinx. A brief plane ride down New York's East River and under its many bridges and we are off to South America to view the Angel Falls in Venezuela and Rio de Janeiro.

Next is Japan with vastly overlong processions and dances by parasol-twirling pink ladies (ten minutes that quickly become boring) and a theatrical performance with more ladies (pink and red) and an amazingly off-key soprano.

Mainland Asia is next with a visit to Angkor Wat, Menares and the Ganges, a temple cobra dance, a bridal procession, the Monkey Temple (again with dances) and a final battle between a cobra and a mongoose. Guess who wins!

The Taj Mahal is next and then the very best sequence in the film, a small train climbing the winding hills out of Darjeeling, India, that loses its breaks and becomes a runaway train, careening down the hills, twisting and turning. One of the very best "you are there" sequences in Cinerama history, as terrifying and exciting as the famous roller coaster ride in This Is Cinerama. Note: this had to have been filmed with the camera at the back of the train as it climbed, then had the film reversed and speeded up. There is no way centrifugal force would not have forced the train from the track, destroying the cameras and the cameramen if filmed in reality.

Act One ends in a nauseatingly pro-Christian aerial tour of all the places mentioned in both old and new testaments of the Christian Bible. Thomas gets to pompously declaim as if he were a nineteenth century priest from the pulpit. This lasts eleven minutes. Act One comes in at 1 hour, three minutes and thirty seconds.

Act Two begins in Africa with visits inside a volcanic crater and views of hippos, elephants, crocodiles and flamingoes (a gaffe here in the narration that spouts that the critters are alligators – only found in North and South America). We see the Watusi tribes dance, then on to Rhodesia and an aerial view of the Victoria Falls.

A most interesting view of an American oil line laid down in Saudi is followed by an American baseball game played by the children of the Royal House.

Since Europe was well covered in Cinerama Holiday, we briefly tour the Mediterranean area, visiting Athens, Naples, Pisa and Rome.

Religion rears its head again in an extended sequence involving Pope Pius XII and his blessings and benedictions with a peasant family trying desperately to arrive in time, but failing to do so. A reprieve is provided.

A final return to North America and our wonders: Niagara Falls, The Empire State Building, Hoover Dam, our bridges, the Grand Canyon and the giant Sequoias – brings the film to a close.

Except for the act-end propaganda sequences re the Christian religion and its practices, the film is an excellent travelogue, well edited and constantly maintaining interest. The runaway train sequence is a true stand-out.
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9/10
An important piece of film history
Oscar Luis26 March 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Let me say it straight away: this film has to be seen on a very large screen.

The spirit of Cinerama was to present films on such large screens (3 actually)that people would feel they actually were in the locations 7 Wonders presented to them. Some sort of Imax's grandfather!

All this, of course, to get the best effect.

The film itself has highs and lows and it is very personal how the different scenes will impact on you. For me, aerial scenes weren't so interesting. On the contrary, those scenes were the camera is on the ground are terrific, showing in many cases not only extremely exotic places but also a time gone by.

Comparing to the way blockbusters are edited today some scenes are a bit too long (Japanese dancers, at the Vatican and maybe one more). But again, those scenes where the camera is on the streets filming every day life are in my opinion, priceless.

Spoiler ahead?

There is a nasty scene of a baby elephant taken from its mother and then being trained to be used as transportation. I hated to see it and I hated to hear the mocking commentary.

All in all, I am going to treasure this film as I do with my favorite editions by Criterion and Masters of Cinema.

If you care about the world and you like nostalgia too, this time voyage around the world will make you happy.

Totally, utterly recommended!
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10/10
Another Cinerma classic
cynthiahost16 November 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Finally on DVD and Blu-ray, the restored version of Seven wonders of the world.It was wonderful with Lowell Thomas as the narrator. Where in a small little screen he tells you and I where we are going to see. The surviving of the sen wonder of the world.Then the curtains open up to large smile box screen with the Stereophonic sound of Emil Newman's music and from a plane's perspective showing Egyptian pyramids back on the 1950's.Even a American oil company and an oil pipe in the Saudi Arabian desert,where it pumps 1 million dollars a day for the king of Saudi and American boys are boy scouts,in that country is viewed as one of the seven wonders of the .You see an aerial view of Rio with Rio carnival type music as the back ground with a good beat.What I really enjoyed was the Japanese segment with the Takarazuka Dancers.They do an out door elaborate dance with the use of the fan.Costume in traditional Geisha out fits.This proceeds to the Takarazuka theater where one of the singers in 1950's , in modern pink dress starts to sing ,which proceed to the finishing of the dance on the stage.Then the Cine Crew proceed to Africa,where they meet the seven foot tall Watusi tribe.A dance is performed for the king of the Watusi and his Belgium ambassador and the Cinerama crew by Watusi dancers including a famous Watusi dancer in Africa ,the Nijinsky of the Watusi dance Butera.Pope Pius the 12th shows up the give fellow Romans a blessing from Vatican city.Later on Lowell and the crew go back home to show Americas wonder of the world,like Hoover Dam ,New York City.Lowell goes up to one average women at a picnic area and ask what she thinks is the seven wonder of the world.She points to her seven kids.This proceeds with a chorus singing, "This is my country.What Wonderful 1950's American patriotic propaganda Cinerama classic.11/16/14
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