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Hollywood’s first 3-D Wave, 1953-1954

August 6 – November 26, 2023

Presented in association with The 3-D Film Archive.

Includes 3-D restoration premieres of ROBOT MONSTER; I, THE JURY; CEASE FIRE!; THE DIAMOND WIZARD; and more!

In 1953, seventy years ago, 3-D conquered Hollywood. After years of speculation and experimentation, stereoscopic movies finally caught fire, luring audiences away from their televisions. Within the first few months of the year, every major studio was looking to explore the third dimension in every movie genre: horror (HOUSE OF WAX, THE MAZE), Film Noir (MAN IN THE DARK, I THE JURY), big-budget musicals (KISS ME KATE), musical melodramas (MISS SADIE THOMPSON), thrillers (INFERNO, DIAL M FOR MURDER), monster movies (CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON), slapstick comedy (the Three Stooges’ SPOOKS and PARDON MY BACKFIRE), animation (Bugs Bunny, Woody Woodpecker, Casper The Friendly Ghost and Popeye cartoons), war pictures (CEASE FIRE!), Westerns (HONDO, GUN FURY, TAZA SON OF COCHISE, WINGS OF THE HAWK), and sci-fi A pictures (IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE) and Z pictures (ROBOT MONSTER).

Some of of Hollywood’s top directors jumped on the band wagon: Alfred Hitchcock, Budd Boetticher, William Cameron Menzies, Roy Baker, George Sidney, Jack Arnold. Douglas Sirk, Raoul Walsh, and André de Toth (the latter two each with a single functioning eye that prevented them from enjoying the final effect). Nearly fifty 3-D feature films were produced in the years 1953 and 1954 alone, but the craze soon came to an abrupt end, aced by a newer and more enduring movie vogue: CinemaScope. But those two years can now be looked on as the Golden Age of 3-D Movies and Hollywood's first great 3-D Wave.

Images courtesy 3-D Film Archive.

This festival includes both 3-D evergreens and New York premieres of stereoscopic restorations by the 3-D Film Archive.  

Special thanks to 3-D Film Archive Founder and CEO Robert Furmanek, Mike Ballew, author of Close Enough To Touch: 3-D Comes to Hollywood, Jeff Joseph, Greg Kintz, Jack Theakston and Sean Thrunk.


Films in this Series

Film Forum