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Windjammer: The Voyage of Christian Radich(1958)

Sixty years ago, Cinerama—the widescreen process requiring three cameras to film and three projectors to present—had a rival with the premiere of this thrilling documentary presented in Cinemiracle. Although a superior system, using mirrors in the shooting and projection to eliminate Cinerama’s sometimes jarring joins between filmstrips, the process was only used for one film, with Cinemiracle eventually being bought out by Cinerama. The one film it produced, however, was a stunner. Cameras follow the voyage of the Christian Radich, a three-masted sailing ship, from Oslo to the Caribbean to New York City and Portsmouth, NH, then back to Norway. The voyage took 239 days and covered 17,500 miles, with stops at various ports of call to capture the local culture, a submarine training mission and concert performances by Pablo Casals and the Boston Pops Orchestra. Producer Louis De Rochemont III was a pioneering documentarian who had helped create The March of Time, a series of short films compiling newsreel footage, expert commentary and dramatizations from 1935 to 1951. When he moved into feature films, he specialized in films that adapted true stories shot in documentary fashion like The House on 92nd Street (1945) and Boomerang! (1947). After collaborating on Cinerama Holiday (1955), he set out to bring the new Cinemiracle system to the screen and continued producing short documentaries until the late ‘60s. (d. Bill Colleran and Louis De Rochemont III, 142m, Digital Cinerama)

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