The see image on FIREFOX hit image and then hit view image. It opens the picture up.
THE BUBBLE (1966) Arch Oboler. http://www.3dfilmarchive.com/home/The-Bubble
In a recent review of a documentary film produced in 3-D the writer said, “The 3-D of this film is not the 3-D of plastic glasses films. It sweeps by the viewer.”
What the writer does not know is that the 3-D in both films is the same. The thing is that conventional aesthetic taste restricts action in foreground space (Z-Space) on the theory such action takes you and I out of the movie.
From Ray Zone’s STEREOSCOPIC CINEMA AND THE ORIGINS OF 3-D FILM I learned this battle between the purveyors of good taste in 3-D film making and the bad taste of those who relish off screen effects goes back to the origins of 3-D Film. The first movies were rejected until the film makers brought in movies that highlighted foreground action.
Both Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali said, “It is good taste not bad taste which is the enemy.” I’m with them.
The first movie I saw that used 3-D was THE MASK (1961) which had segments in anaglyph (red and blue) 3-D.
Arch Oboler’s THE BUBBLE (1966) was the first polarized 3D movie I saw. While the story left a lot to be desired I loved the 3-D.
A shortened version of THE BUBBLE has been available for years in both anaglyph and field sequential 3-D. The quality of the image was not itself exciting.
Thanks to THE 3-D FILM ARCHIVE the image of this film is now as exciting as is the use of 3-D.
In fact, for 3-D Film Makers, THE BUBBLE is a Bible.
THE BUBBLE. This image shows the film as it now is. If you have one of the old copies of this film from other source you can appreciate the work done by THE 3D FILM ARCHIVE in cleaning up dust, dirt, splice lines, etc., on this picture. They have done a great job. The film lives.
(http://soliddd.com/pdf/Single-Camera_Single-Lens_HPA_Feb2011.pdf) which allowed for the first time a single film strip 3-D presentation. He and Bernier had high hopes for the medium. Those hopes were not to be realized.
Bernier rode hard on Oboler. This film stands as a document in how to use 3-D from the man (Bernier) who most understood the medium. That makes THE BUBBLE of vital interest to everyone concerned with the entertainment value of stereo cinema.
THE GREEN LANTERN, for example, failed to light up the box office as expected. The problem with the film is that it never lived up to its visual potential. Had the battles in the picture used foreground space the way Martin Scorsese did in HUGO the film would have been dazzling.
THE BUBBLE is low budget which shows more often than it does not. It was made at a time when the view, incorrectly, was that audiences did not like 3-D Movies. The critics may hate them. The public has always loved them. The great thing is that Oboler and Bernier, despite their lack of money, were able to pull off the technical feat that this film represents. This is 3-D at its best.
THE BUBBLE. Things really come out at us. Arch Oboler used the technology developed by Robert Bernier to do this without causing eyestrain.
THE BUBBLE is in digital side by side 3D. I made these anaglyph screenshots solely to let you see how pronounced the emergence effect is in this film. This is considered EXTREME bad taste by 3D Film makers. They have thought that way since the dawn of 3D. Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso said, “It is good taste not bad taste which is the enemy. ” I am with them.
THE BUBBLE is the fifth of six releases that have benefited from the work of THE 3-D FILM ARCHIVE. Their resources were employed in the release of THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON (1953)–Thanks to them we are getting the film in the right format, MAN IN THE DARK (1953), INFERNO (1953) Region 2 only, DRAGONFLY SQUADRON (1954).
3-D FILM ARCHIVE also own archival 35mm materials on several hours of shorts, tests, trailers and cartoons dating back to the dawn of stereoscopic cinematography. They include Kelly’s Plasticon Pictures: THRU’ THE TREES, WASHINGTON D.C., the earliest extant 3-D demonstration film from 1922 with incredible footage of Washington and New York City; Lumiere’s “L’Arrivée d’un Train” first shown at the Academie des Sciences in Paris in March 1935; NEW DIMENSIONS (aka MOTOR RHYTHM) the first domestic full color 3-D film originally shown at the New York World’s Fair in May 1940; THRILLS FOR YOU, a fascinating promotional film for the Pennsylvania Railroad, first shown in May 1940 at the Golden Gate International Exposition in San Francisco; BOO MOON, an excellent example of color stereoscopic animation from December 1953; DOOM TOWN, a controversial anti-atomic testing film which was mysteriously pulled from theatrical release after a few play-dates in July 1953; THE MAZE coming attraction trailer with fantastic 3-D production design by the legendary William Cameron Menzies, and many more. These rare and historic shorts will be released by Flicker Alley on 3-D Blu-ray in 2015.
Producers of classic 3-D Films who would like to get their work on Blu-ray are encouraged to get in touch with THE 3-D FILM ARCHIVE. They do great work at one thirtieth of the cost the majors pay.
THE BUBBLE hits the shelves November 11. Reserve your copy. This is 3-D that is 3-D!
For a deeper look into Arch Oboler and Robert Bernier:
Ray (3-D) Zone interviews Arch Oboler;
Why would there be great public interest at this time in 3-D?
Well, you know, in life unless one is born with defects, the average person with two eyes sees in three dimensions from early infancy. Even then one scans and looks at side objects. Three-dimension is really the natural form. Once a person has been exposed to three dimensions no matter how badly done, unless their eyeballs are torn out of their sockets by very bad three-dimensional techniques, they want it again and again.
How far does your own interest in 3-D go back?
Well, it goes back very far. My father bought me one of the early Bell & Howell cameras in Chicago. At the time, as soon as I learned that motion pictures had started out in three dimensions, great experimenters, including the sainted Edison, had tried to introduce the financiers of the time, who were putting up the money for the nickelodeons in three dimensions. From that time on I was very much interested in 3-D.
It wasn’t until I met a man named Robert Bernier, a colonel in the United States Army, that I really felt that I met 3-D in the fullest. Colonel Bernier was on the Eisenhower staff during World War II. Bernier was assigned to work on three- dimensional maps for reconnaissance, and he had a very good notion on how to get three-dimension without the defects of the two-camera system.
I’ll parenthesize to say that, as you well know, in their eagerness to get 3-D on board, many of the entrepreneurs in town had reverted to the two-camera system. I originated printing it on one film in Hollywood with a picture called The Bubble (1966). Although we shot it on one film, the exciting part to the theater was that it was projected on one film. One strip of film, unlike Bwana Devil (1952), my first 3-D picture, where we had to do it with interlocked projectors for the left and right eye.
So that’s when I really got interested with Bernier. I had made a 3-D picture, as I said, but that was to my mind pseudo-three-dimension, because it was, again, the entrepreneurs. A very fine camera technician by the name of Friend Baker had the idea for the two-camera system. It was not original with him, but he had done a very fine job of putting it together on an aluminum block. He tried to interest a man by the name of Gunzberg, who was a small-time Hollywood writer who had a brother who was an ophthalmologist. But he thought so little of 3-D, he wouldn’t put a nickel into the system.
Finally, Gunzberg came to me, and I broke up the kiddie’s piggy bank, and I got the money together and put it into a practical use. But that to me was not the answer, I repeat. The Gunzbergs tried to make everything very mystic with their “Natural Vision” name and covering the cameras with canvas so no one could look inside to this mysterious thing that they had wrought.
As time went by, the inventor, Friend Baker, was shoved into the background. The people who originally talked to him suddenly became the inventors. Nevertheless, I knew at once, with a slight knowledge of optics, that it had to be done better. What I did was I took fifty thousand dollars of the loot that I had gotten out of Bwana Devil. At that time, fifty thousand would be like spending half a million now. And I went all over the world. I investigated the 3-D inventors. I got to know them all. And they were all con men. Except ten. Out of a hundred, I’ll say ninety were absolute confidence men. As with all fields of science, as you know, the confidence men enter into the beginnings of an endeavor.
Out of the ten that I felt were legitimate, Bernier really had the only system worth considering. I can read blueprints, and I saw at once that he had a good system. It took about fifteen years from the time he first talked to me to build his system. He started as usual. All inventors will say, “It will cost a dollar and a half or so to get this lens made.” It ended up costing me personally, and I don’t make no bones about it, six hundred thousand dollars. Which is an awful lot of money for a writer, as you well know. You have to write an awful lot of words to earn that much money. After taxes.
The system that Bernier came up with, Space Vision, to my mind is still the best system. It still makes the most sense. All the others have proven themselves to be secondary. I don’t know any of them that have put out a picture practically, sensibly, controllably, so that the director, rather than guessing at what’s going to happen, can set dials and know what’s going to happen, as you can with Space Vision.
My own feeling, however, about three-dimension is that its future, as we know it now, is limited. Because in the distance there is the look of the laser. Holography has got to come. It’s got to happen. I know that there are seemingly insurmountable problems before it can happen. But, again, in the history of inventions there are always three steps—the original concept, the implementation from the concept, and the practical use.
From the time that Zworykin came up with the cathode tube, and this is with some other nods to people who worked on the cathode tube, from that date to the time the television tube became a practical thing was at least forty years. It was at least forty years from the time that RCA first poured millions into the development of TV.
As we all know, there are institutions that are pouring money into holography here and abroad. So the breakthrough is bound to happen. After making Bwana Devil, I used to go around and talk about three dimensions. I would say, “Until there is a new basic principle, we’ve got to use something that gives the left eye one image and the right eye one optically and mixes them in your visual brain center. There has to be a new principle, and, ladies and gentlemen, that is not on the horizon.”
Well, it was on the horizon all the time. And we know it’s here. If we weren’t going out into space. And if we weren’t concerned about fission and fusion, it would be here already.
Holography will wipe out optical three-dimension as we know it today, completely. I’m sure that you have seen holographic results. Even stills. It’s very exciting, fantastic.
For my own prophesy (and I can only say, immodestly, that my ancestry traces back to a prophet who stood on a temple wall and made certain pronouncements) I’ll simply say, “Let me stand on this mythical wall and make a pronouncement. We will have in our living rooms a pinpoint of light coming through the ceiling that will send our messages into the room, our dramas, our musicals, our lectures. We will have a little control by our side and we will adjust them. And we can adjust them to Lilliputian images or to fantastically huge images of goddesses. We’ll have a twenty-foot goddess in our room. And we’ll walk all around her and see her in every dimension.” That will be the future of three-dimension as we know it, out of holography…
As you well know, these things are a matter of timing. Life itself is a matter of timing. You’re there at the right time with the right thing, as I was with Bwana Devil. I just happened to be there when the theaters needed different product.
I’ve got a much better picture, in terms of photography and three-dimension, sitting right here. It’s never been shown. It’s infinitely better than Bwana Devil. It’s perfect for three dimensions. So much so that the people at the brain trust for Hughes, before he died, said, “It is the ultimate in optical three dimensions. It can’t get any better.” I got the report. Still have it. They thought it was the ultimate in three-dimension.
Was this also to be shot in Space Vision?
Yes. It would be shot correctly.
Three-D is only as good as the person directing the controls.
It’s so easy to become an expert. Bernier was the man. I would figure the shot. He would say “No.” Then we would argue about it. Sometimes I won. Mostly, I lost.
When Bernier died, with him died the censorship of what you should or should not do in 3-D. I learned about how to handle a frame, what cuts off and what doesn’t, from Bernier.
I spent a year with Space Vision before I made a picture. The first shot I wanted for The Bubble was a B-17 flying out into space. I quickly discovered that even in the miniature it didn’t work because there is the psychology of three-dimensional viewing. The mind will refuse to accept that which it thinks is impossible. To put it simply, the audience would accept a wing coming out, but they would not accept an airplane.
And I ran tests with questionnaires. And a certain number, we in the know, would accept it. Well, the best one of all was this: it was Valentine’s Day, and I made a Valentine with a boy and girl kissing. I zoomed it out into space and they didn’t see it. Because they didn’t understand how their heads could be cut off.
The projectionist saw it all right. Bernier saw it. I saw it. But the rest of the people didn’t see it.
The future of 3-D, unfortunately, at the present time, is in the hands of people who don’t particularly care. That’s why I’m looking forward to the future of holography, which can be any size. There is no frame line with holography.
Good filmmaking starts with the written word. I’ve written a script called The Borgia Emerald that is the ultimate in three dimensions. It uses all the safeguards, all the expertise I’ve learned over the years. And it’s written for the Space Vision camera.
I sold out Space Vision to EMI, but I have the right to use the lens. The funny part of it is that if I wrote a horror story (and you’re talking to the guy who was known on radio for horror), I could outgore them! I could play you records that would cause you to stop eating for a week. If I did that for motion pictures, I could get any money I want. Unfortunately, I don’t want to do that with three-dimension. I’ve gone way beyond that.
So I wrote a story that is the ultimate in 3-D, and I can’t get the money to make it. Maybe I will. I don’t know. I thought I would have gotten the money just like that.
When Bwana Devil opened, I had to buy the silver screens. Or I had to seduce the theater owner into putting three hundred dollars into it. When I did Bwana Devil, I walked into the State Theater in New York, right on the main drag, and there were lines for blocks. I walked into the theater on opening day. When they started the film, there was no 3-D whatsoever. In the crowded theater, I walked straight down the aisle up to the screen, put my hand out, and the screen was wet!
They had just wet the screen with aluminum paint. And it was the wrong kind of aluminum paint. I went upstairs to see the manager and asked him, “What the hell are you doing?”
I finally got him to change the screen, but not for a couple of days. Meanwhile, the critics in New York didn’t see the film in three-dimension. Arid they were very kind. They imagined they saw 3-D. It’s an old story.
In terms of 3-D, until there is some artistic level of choice of stories in the studios, we may have the same reaction to the present 3-D excitement that we had back in the Bwana Devil days. The audience will become surfeited with gore, with bad stories. The only hope for 3-D is that someone will come along with taste and understanding and do a good story without regard for the extremes of 3-D, using it in terms of the story itself. It’s so easy to get so seduced by the wonders of going into space that you forget about the story.
And again—how shall I put it nicely—there are so few good movies in two dimensions that maybe I’m reaching for the impossible when I say let’s have one in three dimensions.
A good friend of mine, Frank Lloyd Wright, had all the trouble in his life architecturally that the world of 3-D has. But he always stuck to the precept that you had to start not with the concept of doing something madly, offbeat, but doing something that was right for the purpose for which you were doing it—a house, a museum. We talked about 3-U, because I was just starting with it shortly before he died, and I talked to him about the need for story, story, story.
It didn’t come off the first go-round. I doubt that it will come off on the second go-round. But I sure wish it will come off on the third! I hope the viewing audience will have patience enough. From what I’ve seen up to this point it’s kind of terrifying. –3D FILMMAKERS Conversations With The Makers Of 3-D Films, Ray Zone,
Stephen Gibson is a Los Angeles resident and die-hard 3-D movie fan who found a way to make 35mm 3-D feature films in the 1970s. Steve’s claim to 3-D fame is that he is the first filmmaker to make feature-length 35mm 3-D films in color anaglyph (also called polychromatic anaglyph). In the following interview, Steve discusses how he founded the Deep Vision Company to make and distribute color anaglyph 3-D films. He discusses 3-D filmniakiflg from both technical and business standp oints, and he also reveals just how passionate he is about stereoscopic cinema: “I got started with Bwana Devil just like everybody else who was in that time frame. We said 3-D is the way to do it. My dad knew Arch Oboler. So there was a film connection there right away, even though he knew Arch Oboler from the radio days…When Arch Oboler produced The Bubble, I went up to the Ivar Theater and I saw it. 1 thought that this was where movies should go. Arch Oboler was a very charming guy, a nice man, and I thought he really was a visionary, and I saw the vision. I thought 3-D pictures were the next logical step. The closest you can come to it is Other than that there is nothing else like it. There is no other entertainment domain other than three-dimension pictures where you can become involved and captured.”—Steve Gibson, (3D FILMMAKERS Conversations With The Makers Of 3-D Films, Ray Zone).
The Bubble (Arch Oboler Productions; December 21, 1966). Filmed in Space- Vision Tri-Optiscope 4-D (single strip over-and-under 2.35:1). Producer, writer, photographic designer and director Arch Oboler. Director of photography Charles F. Wheeler. Director for Space-Vision technology Colonel Robert V. Bernier. Space- Vision licensing The Tru-D Company. Film editor and music supervisor lgo Kanter. Music Paul Sawtell and Bert Shefter. Producer’s assistant Jerry Kay. Associate producer, production manager and art director Marvin Chomsky. Sound Alfred Overton and Carl Daniels. Rerecording Don Minkler, Bill Mumford and Buddy Myers at Producers Sound Service, Inc. Sound effects Edit-Rite, Inc. Lighting Don Stott and Harry Hopkins. Head grip Arthur Brooker. Second grip Henry Briere. Camera crew Donald Peterman, Fred Pearce, Serge Haignere and Robert D. Sharp. Script supervisor Dorothy Hughes. Assistant director Richard Dixon. Makeup Harry Thomas. Special effects George Schlicher and Samuel Dockery. Color backgrounds George Guard, Joe Chavez and Mobile Colorfx of Hollywood. Titles and optical effects Consolidated Film Industries. Cameras Mitchell Camera Corporation. ¶A Midwestern Magic-Vuers production. An Arch Oboler film. Copyright 1966 by Midwestern Magic-Vuers, Inc. Filmed at CBS Studio Center and on location in Southern California. Dimensional Color (Eastman Color by Consolidated Film Industries). Westrex recording system. 112 minutes. Cast: Michael Cole (Mark), Deborah Walley (Catherine), Johnny Desmond (Tony), Virginia Gregg (ticket cashier), Olan Soul (watch repairman), Chester Jones (newspaper vendor), Victor Perrin (taxi driver), Kassie McMahon (doctor), Barbara Eiler (Talent). Reedited to 94 minutes and rereleased in 1972 by Sherpix, Inc., as a Louis K. Sher presentation with an MPAA PG rating. This version was retitled Fantastic Invasion of Planet Earth and rereleased in March 1977 by Monarch Releasing Corporation as an Allen Shackleton presentation advertised in Stereovision 3D. Currently available in polarized 3-D on videocassette from StereoVision International.
COMMENTARY: Arch Oboler made a number of weird little films, not the least of which was the groundbreaking Bwana Devil (q.v.). He was a supporter of 3-D until his death in 1987 and produced three features and one short in that format. I’m sure he would have gladly done another one had he been able to, and he was forever the optimist about the future of stereoscopic films. (He hated the fact so many producers chose to make X rated 3-D films instead of mainstream features.) From the very first he felt a perfected single film format would be the savior of 3-D, and he spent quite a bit of money trying to prove his ideas were correct. With Spacevision (then called Space-Vision Tri-Optiscope 4-D) Oboler believed he had the perfect stereoscopic system, and in many ways he was correct. Unfortunately, he was unable to get others to see the benefits of the process, (at least in the sixties and early seventies) and his two films utilizing it, The Bubble and Domo Arigato (q.v.) were anything but successful. The Bubble has been called just about everything but entertaining. While many have lavished praise on the use of Spacevision, they have berated the film mercilessly, and I believe too cruelly, for the most part. The movie wasn’t very entertaining, it did seem to drag- partly due to the bad score which got a bit bothersome at times and the cast wasn’t very interesting. Had it been a book signed by any number of cult authors it would be called a classic, but as a film it simply wasn’t well-liked. The story wasn’t very involving and there was much that seemed lacklustre about the whole show. Yet it was at least as good as fifty percent of The Twilight Zone episodes with which it is most closely compared, and better than most sci-fi films from the same period. (Many have said it was just an expanded Twilight Zone—type story which would have been better in 30-minute TV format. Yet the story could not be told in so short a time. Actually it’s more like an episode of The Outer Limits.) I’m not sure exactly why the film is so often belittled. It wasn’t all that talky, and it had a few interesting, though minor, action scenes. The 3-D effect was spectacular throughout, and several scenes drew gasps from audiences. While it wasn’t very engrossing storywise, it still was an okay movie, quite acceptable for its modest budget and offering a rather unusual storyline that, rather bewildering to me, wasn’t a sci-fi freak’s dream come true. (I am forever amazed by these SFers who complain about such films as Star Wars because they aren’t cerebral enough and then knock every sci-fi movie that does rely on an intelligent story premise. On the one hand they claim they want “a true science fiction story” and not “mindless action-adventure yarns,” but on the other hand they browbeat sci-fi films that take the very approach they swear is what they want.) I don’t like this film a lot, but I am not one of its detractors in any real way. To me it was just an average sc-fi tale made a great deal more viewable by fantastic 3-0 staging. It is in fact one of the absolute “must see” stereoscopic movies.—R.M. Hayes, 3-D MOVIES, A History and Filmography of Stereoscopic Cinema.