Cinema is the most technologically advanced art. All artistic discoveries throughout its 125-year history are connected and conditioned by technical innovations.

In the early 1990’s, Thomas Edison showed how photographs could move. On December 28, 1895, Louis and Auguste Lumiere introduced the world to the cinema hall and the film show. In 1927, the screen began to speak (or rather, sing). In 1935, cinematography blossomed with all colors (not only in Hollywood with “The Vanity Fair”, but also in Moscow with “Grunya Kornakova”).

And in the late forties of the twentieth century, television began to develop rapidly in America. Philistines rejoiced: there was no need to go out. The sharks of the film business panicked: cinema attendance was rapidly falling. They should immediately made up with something. And they managed.

Exactly seventy years ago, in 1953, the wide screen appeared. To see the vast territories of prairies, to feel the scale of historical upheavals and enjoy the breathtaking panoramas of modern skyscrapers, people had to get up from the couch, put on their pants and go to the cinema hall. Attendance has increased greatly.

Cinemascope, a new invention of Californians, instantly became world famous. In the middle of 1955, the first show of wide-screen films in the USSR took place in the Moscow cinema “Khudozhestvenniy”. Those were three popular-science movies – “Festive Moscow”, “Wonderful City” and “Under the Southern Sun”. In 1956 Alexander Ptushko’s fairy tale “Ilya Muromets», the first Soviet wide-screen fiction feature, was released.

The glorious storyteller continued to work in a new format. Together with Finns he made “Sampo” – a film adaptation of the ancient “Kalevala”. The Soviet-Indian friendship responded with the first co-production – the wide-screen “Journey Beyond the Three Seas”, and the Soviet-Chinese friendship – with the film of the officially recognized director Efim Dzigan “Wind from the East”. Western, the most American of film genres, is represented by productions featuring two greatest masters of the cowboy screen epics. The legendary John Wayne will appear in the leading role in “McLintock!”. The outstanding director Sam Peckinpah will show his first, not quite independent work, “The Deadly Companions”.

And Federico Fellini in “La Dolce Vita” will vividly demonstrate how, in the hands of a brilliant maestro, the above-mentioned artistic discoveries arise from technical discoveries.

Sergey Lavrentiev

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