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Cinematic AppealsThe Experience of New Movie Technologies$
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Ariel Rogers

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231159173

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231159173.001.0001

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“Smothered in Baked Alaska”

“Smothered in Baked Alaska”

The Anxious Appeal of Widescreen Cinema

(p.19) 1 “Smothered in Baked Alaska”
Cinematic Appeals

Ariel Rogers

Columbia University Press

This chapter argues that widescreen cinema enabled the close contact between the viewers and the film spectacle, including the spectacle of technologically enhanced screen bodies. Publicity and advertising for Cinerama and CinemaScope utilized the idea of audience participation to communicate the appeal of the new systems, linking them with the contemporary theater. Both marked an attempt to legitimize film, and evoked movements in avant-garde theater aimed at “bringing audiences away from their inactive state as compliant observers.” The investment in and knowledge about the onscreen illusion rendered thrilling and frightening widescreen spectatorship, providing viewers with firsthand experience of the powerful new technology that was transforming life outside the theater.

Keywords:   widescreen cinema, technologically enhanced screen bodies, Cinerama, CinemaScope, audience participation

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