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“The Robe” introduces Cinemascope

Cinemascope, it was claimed, would give 3-D effects without expensive lenses and costly alterations to projection equipment.

Theatres needed special screens developed by Cinemascope’s creator, 20th Century-Fox.  The screens were 64 feet wide and 25 feet high and curved to a depth of five feet, giving the feeling of being surrounded by the action.  Accompanied by stereophonic sound, Cinemascope, it was claimed, would engulf the viewer.

Cinemascope used 35mm film and a single, conventional camera.  A special anamorphic lens compressed the images to fit the width of standard film.  When it was projected with a corresponding anamorphic lens on the projector, the distortions disappeared.

The first Cinemascope feature, “The Robe,” was highly successful, convincing 20 Century-Fox and others that Cinemascope was a good investment.