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Yesterday I finally saw a motion picture in 3D that I have been waiting for years to see in 3D.

That picture is CEASE FIRE (1953), the latest restoration from The 3D Film Archive.

We owe Digital 3D to PUFF THE MAGIC DRAGON. Lenny Lipton, in 1959, wrote the poem that became the hit song made popular by Peter, Paul and Mary. He put his immense royalties into advancing 3D   (     ). He is the author of Foundations of the Stereoscopic Cinema, which remains the definitive book on the subject, wherein he enunciated the creative method of stereoscopic cinematography used by theatrical filmmakers and also the principal of binocular symmetries, the fundamental engineering theory for stereoscopic system design.

Lipton’s work opened up the door for 3D motion picture making farther than it had ever been opened.

We owe this and many other first rate 3D restorations to Robert Furmanek and the crew at The 3D Film Archive. As a result of their work I am able to see classic 3D motion pictures better than people saw them in first release.

For this presentation the crew at The 3D Film Archive also admirably re-worked the film’s soundtrack. The sound at my Cineforum in Toronto is up there with the best in the city. Film students have stated, “I seldom feel a film’s greatness in film class. I often feel it at Reg Hartt’s CINEFORUM.”

I sure felt the greatness of this film as I watched it yesterday.

We are living in a golden era of film preservation and presentation.

I am constantly upgrading the equipment here. I have two Optoma 3D projectors plus a BenQ SP920. Chandler Levack wrote The Cineforum is the best place in Toronto to take a date. It is also the best place in Toronto to see a 3D Motion Picture.

Many were amazed when I left 16mm film presentation and went digital. The problem was that I could not get my 16mm projectors reliably serviced. Then, when I saw my first dvds of films I had seen often in 16mm I recognized at once that both the picture and sound quality were way beyond what 16mm could deliver. Many folks don’t give much thought to the quality of the on screen image. Realizing the factory settings are way too bright (with 16mm it was hard to get them bright enough), I lowered them so that the blacks look nice and rich as they should.

When I first discovered digital 3D over ten years ago I surfed the web buying multiple copies from different sources of everything out there. The small price of dvds and Blu-rays in comparison to buying 16mm prints encouraged this.

I also got the technology to convert 2D video to 3D so I could convert 2D dvds of classic 3D films and get an idea of how they should look.

That was a very small idea when I compare the results between those conversions and the real 3D on screen in CEASE FIRE which, at times, is breathtaking, the more so as this picture was filmed under live combat conditions. No filmic re-creation of battles, like those 2D to 3D conversions I did, comes close to having the emotional wallop CEASE FIRE possesses.

Warner Brothers possesses one of the finest 3D libraries in the medium having their library, that of MGM and also RKO. So far they are sitting on most of their titles which is a shame.

Thus I am eternally grateful to Robert Furmanek and the people who support his work for bringing these titles to the home screen.

Coming up is 1953’s THE MAZE as well as Paramount’s SANGAREE and a new edition of their wonderful 3D RARITIES.

My work with film in Toronto began in the 1960s. I was inspired by the work of Henri Langlois at the Paris Cinematheque. THE CINEFORUM is more than just a place to see old movies. I have an extensive library of books, dvds, Blu-rays and more. There is the largest animation collection and the largest digital 3D collection in Canada sitting on the shelves here. THE CINEFORUM is a resource. I also acquired several wonderful digital 2D and 3D cameras to encourage others to use them. So far that encouragement is falling on deaf ears.

Bosley Crowther, in his review of CEASE FIRE states the three-dimensional process, is superfluous and annoying. Nothing has changed over the years since the 1950s. Critics still heap contempt and disdain on the 3D process. The Toronto Star’s Peter Howell regularly writes that 3D deserves to be dead. He is not alone.

Not the public, though. The public embraces 3D. Historian John McElwee confirms that CEASE FIRE received 452 bookings in 3-D (a total of $264,000 in domestic rentals) and 11,570 flat bookings ($571,000 in domestic rentals). Those figures reveal 46% of the total domestic rentals came from 3-D bookings which comprised a small fraction of the playdates. If more theatres had played CEASE FIRE in 3-D, it would have possibly done much better at the boxoffice.

3D is not a gimmick. It is an extremely useful and under used film making tool.

Musicians I have filmed in concert resist 3D until they see the results on the screen.

3D film making has its own language. That is a language yet to be discovered. Watching films like CEASE FIRE in an environment designed to do them justice will make the discovery of that language a more palpable reality.

Those of you with home 3D systems can order CEASE FIRE from Amazon:     .–Reg Hartt 2017–11–22.


An In-Depth Look at CEASE FIRE

by Ted Okuda


One of the most unusual (and least known) 3-D movies ever made, CEASE FIRE began as an idea by director Owen Crump, who was well-qualified to spearhead the production.  In the early 1940s, Crump scripted military-themed short films for Warner Brothers, in conjunction with the U.S. Army’s Department of Public Relations.   During World War II, as a colonel of the Signal Corps, he supervised production for the First Motion Picture Unit in Culver City.  Later, he produced the documentary short ONE WHO CAME BACK (1951), about the air evacuation of wounded U.S. soldiers who fought in the Korean War.  The film was sponsored by the Disabled American Veterans, in cooperation with the Department of Defense.

“What seemed to limit the film actually enhances it now. Surface impression is of soldiers trying to act and some falling down on that unaccustomed job, which of course was whole point of the till-then never-tried exercise. Yes, there had been G.I.’s on camera before, as background and even speaking support to, for instance, John Wayne in Sands Of Iwo Jima, but Cease Fire! had dog faces as the whole show, and who can complain where entirety of the cast is the McCoy? We adjust to the amateurs right off because none stand out as pros, all earning nod for game effort at showing what they’d gone through in combat. Fact that some would end up casualties is further boost to verisimilitude. Wallis should have gotten documentary awards for doing Cease Fire!.

“When you look at this 3-D 1.66:1 1080p transfer, from the first frames you can tell this movie was never meant to be seen flat. When the barrel of that artillery battery stares down the camera and fires the opening credits – you know you’re in for some truly beautiful 3-D imagery. Even that intro with General Clark offers up some terrific 3-D space for a scene that only provides context for the film without serving the actual narrative. It’s pretty wild. There are a few sequences like the previously mentioned artillery barrel that would fall in line with the expected “pop-out” gimmick of 3-D, but the rest of the film looks more in line with a well-shot documentary of sorts. Under the filming conditions, you can sense that Crump was earnestly trying to provide viewers a true “what it’s like over there” experience of the war. From beautiful scenic battlefield shots to the men in their foxholes, the 3-D image never falters.”

“Despite an initial string of successful 3-D engagements in major cities, CEASE FIRE did not perform to its full potential at the box office. Historian John McElwee confirms that it received 452 bookings in 3-D (a total of $264,000 in domestic rentals) and 11,570 flat bookings ($571,000 in domestic rentals). Those figures reveal 46% of the total domestic rentals came from 3-D bookings which comprised a small fraction of the playdates. If more theatres had played CEASE FIRE in 3-D, it would have possibly done much better at the boxoffice.

“The 3-D Film Archive was given the task of restoring this obscure film that has rarely been shown anywhere in 64 years and has been out of circulation for many decades. Speaking with restorationist Bob Furmanek, he gave me some insight into how this production was filmed:

“’Considering the hazardous filming conditions, the 3-D cinematography is superb. There are occasional flat shots due to one camera malfunctioning but these guys were working in rough and dangerous terrain with the bulky Paravision rig mounted on a tank. The soldiers are shooting real ammunition and the explosions are certainly not safe and controlled studio pyrotechnics!’

“’Knowing this information in advance of viewing the film gives the audience real appreciation to the exceptional production value and its level of realism that is depicted on the screen. Everything one is watching is absolutely real.’

“The most exciting thing I can tell you about Cease Fire is that it ranks among the best 3D titles available in present day. After all, it was produced at a time where careful attention was given to choreographing scenes in a manner that would yield an effective stereoscopic reproduction of reality. Shots are taken from behind brush, rocks or trees in an effort to provide a vast sense of space between foreground and background objects. This is one of the more intensely rich 3D presentations, often proved by the increased level of screen distortion seen when removing your eyewear.

“This would be a good time to quote this passage from the 3-D Film archive article:

“”Hal Wallis championed the 3-D format and felt it was ideally suited for the subject. On March 14, 1953, Boxoffice reported: “Wallis declared he and his associate Joseph Hazen ‘do not regard 3-D as a passing fancy, nor do we believe that its interest relies on a so-called gimmick value.’”

THE SCREEN IN REVIEW; Ruggedness of Foot Soldiers’ War Depicted in ‘Cease Fire!’ 3-D Film at the Criterion


Published: November 25, 1953

A robust, hair-raising realization of the ruggedness of the foot soldiers war in the ugly hills of Korea is provided in Owen Crump’s “Cease Fire!” a shot-on-the-spot battle drama that opened last night at the Criterion. Filmed in the three-dimensional process, which is superfluous and annoying, in this case, it is an admirable job of screen reporting, a match in the fact-fiction field to the official combat documentary, “This Is Korea.” released two years ago.

With a skeleton crew of technicians, Mr. Crump went to Korea last spring with the idea of doing a picture that would manifest the nature of war and the irony of the expression, “A quiet day on the front.” The permission and cooperation of the Department of Defense was obtained and the area occupied by the Seventh Division was set as a locale. A cast of “actors” was assembled from actual Army combat personnel, and Mr. Crump began his brand of shooting, both on the front and in the immediate rear.

Adventures of a Platoon

The line of dramatic action laid down as the basis of the film was that of the perils and adventures of an infantry platoon, sent out under the command of a lieutenant to do a reconnaissance patrol behind enemy lines. And since the cessation of hostilities appeared imminent at the time it was contrived so that the action of the drama would appear to occur on the day of the “cease fire.”

To the credit of Mr. Crump and his associates, including the soldiers who comprised his “company,” their achievement—though largely re-enactment—must be said to have a harsh, authentic ring. From the routine selection of the detail to undertake the job to the final assault upon a hilltop and the decimation of an enemy force, the operations of the detail are vivid and plausible. And though the soldiers who do the performing demonstrate no professional acting skill, their crude and cryptic behavior is as G. I. as the uniforms they wear or the formidable paraphernalia of rifles and grenades they tote.

Viewpoint Is Objective

Capt. Roy Thompson Jr. as the lieutenant, does perhaps the most effective job of suggesting individual tension, because of the decisive nature of the role he plays. But other of the men—including some who were subsequently wounded or killed—manifest the personal idiosyncrasies of an average platoon of G. I.’s. No profound human drama is attempted, except in the instance of one man, a Korean attached to the outfit, and this appears slightly contrived. Thus, the viewpoint is kept objective, which is best for such a film. Anxiety is not stirred for any individual, but it is strong for the welfare of the patrol.

The one phony aspect of the picture is a bit of occasional by-play worked in when the footage was taken over by Hal Wallis for a Paramount release. This is a scrappy patter of rueful comments in which a group of newspaper correspondents presumably indulge, while waiting at Panmunjom for the armistice on that last day of the war. It is supposed to point up the irony of that final “quiet day” patrol, but it only points up the irony of trying to gild the courage and sacrifice of men. And the latter is what is presented, in a blunt, honest way, in this film.

Incidentally, this is the picture from which the administrators of the Production Code compelled the removal of three “hells” and a “damn.” That is certainly an irony about which nothing need be said.

Clark, Infantrymen Are Guests

Gen. Mark W. Clark, former Supreme Commander of the United Nations Forces in Korea, and nine combat infantrymen who enacted featured roles in “Cease Fire!” were guests of honor at the premiere last night.

After the screening, which was attended by a large audience, including military leaders, Government officials, United Nations delegates and entertainment figures, General Clark and the Korean veterans, numbering one officer and eight enlisted men, were introduced in a stage ceremony and later honored at a Paramount reception at the Astor Hotel.

CEASE FIRE:, a semi-documentary drama in stereoscopic form; screen play by Walter Doniger; based on a story by Owen Crump; directed by Mr. Crump; produced by Hal Wallis for Paramount Pictures. At the Criterion.
Lieut Thompson . . . . . Capt. Roy Thompson Jr.
Patrol Sgt. Goszkowski . . . . . Cpl. Henry Goszkowski
Elliott . . . . . Sgt. Richard Karl Elliott
One Ton . . . . . Sfc. Albert Bernard Cook
Mayes . . . . . Pvt. Johnnie L. Mayes
Kim . . . . . Cheong Yul Bak
Stratt . . . . . Sfc. Howard E. Strait
Bad News . . . . . Pfc. Gilbert L. Gazaille
Hofelich . . . . . Pfc. Harry L. Hofelich
Owen . . . . . Cpl. Charlie W. Owen
English . . . . . Cpl. Harold D. English
Pruchniewski . . . . . Pfc. Edmund J. Pruchniewski
Wright . . . . . Pvt. Otis Wright
Carrasco . . . . . Pfc. Ricardo Carrasco

2D to 3D Conversion programs:

Ray Zone 3D Books



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