BOXOFFICE magazine April 29, 1950
THIRD DIMENSION PICTURES
URGED AS ANSWER TO VIDEO
N. A. Taylor, Circuit Head, Calls on Hollywood to Perfect Technique
TORONTO- Hollywood, "because of it's fear and bewilderment," is overlooking third dimension motion pictures as "the quickest solution to the problem of home television as a threat to the future of the motion picture theatre," N. A. Taylor, president of Twentieth Century Theatres, asserted here last week.
HEADS CIRCUIT OF 60 THEATRES
After referring to the "ominous stories" in the tradepress about the part home TV is playing in reduced theatre patronage, he said: "Having spent my entire life in this industry, I wish to declare my abiding faith in its future. However, one cannot know the facts and fail to agree that movie attendance would be better in TV areas if television were not available."
The company which Taylor heads one of Canada's Big Three circuits, operates more than 60 theatres, among them many first runs in leading cities. His interests include the Exhibitors Booking Assn, Inter Theatre Services and International Film Distributors. He is a former president of the Motion Picture Theatres Assn of Ontario, which he helped found. Regarded by many to be the leading figure among the Canadian industry's younger exhibition executives, he is a graduate of Osgoode Hall, Toronto, the Dominion's best known law school.
"Third dimension motion picture films in which actors, properties and scenery will be shown in their actual physical proportions and depth, instead of their present flatness, thereby giving the patrons a degree of realism never known in the entire history of the screen," he asserted.
WIDE DIVERGENCE ON TV
"In the last few months the tradepapers have been full of ominous stories about the part home television has played in the decline in movie attendance. Some of our colleagues are optimistic enough to say that the industry will survive the inroads of television; most think that it must marry television if we are to stay in business. There are even those who say that the day of theatre exhibition will soon be over. "Some outstanding showmen have said that television will be a boon to the theatre. it may indeed bring us a profitable sporting event occasionally, one which is taking place at almost the actual time the patron is looking at it. But a stage show televised on the screen cannot have the entertainment value of a motion picture musical in color. The stage show is relatively stationary, since it is in a fixed location and showmen know that, unless the circumstances are exceptional, the movie patron can't stand the same situation or character in a screen closeup for more than half a minute. Motion pictures are only good when they have a minimum of talking and a maximum of action, tempo and changes of scene.
"But that same stage show, unacceptable now when filmed as it is, may be completely acceptable when photographed in third dimension.
"Make this test. Buy or borrow one of the modern stereoscopes and get some scenes in color. You will immediately appreciate the startling realism and fantastic illusion of actually seeing a live person before you. Put that person into movement in your imagination and you will have some idea of what third dimension can be like on the screen.
"Third dimension will have an entirely new technique and appeal. Just imagine 'South Pacific' on your screen in sound, color and third dimension or some beautiful outdoor film you have seen. Or outstanding dramas. With third dimension available, the technique of the motion picture would encompass all the values of the stage, yet have the motion picture's advantage of limitless movement and changes of scene.
"Third dimension has already made much progress technically. Why don't the major studios, whose revenue has declined because of television, give financial support to the quickest possible development of third dimension? Under the urgency of a threat to its safety the democratic world advanced technological development at an undreamt of pace. We face a threat to our industry's safety. Cannot we recognize the urgency and develop as quickly as possible third dimension films as a practical form of entertainment?
"Yes, television will provide serious competition for us but it will not be ‑able to compete with third dimension motion pictures for the attention of the public; They will cost more to produce but they will certainly outdraw anything in our movie houses now. In addition they will make plausible the reshooting of all the great films of the past. They will be beautiful in color, realistic in appearance and dramatic in effect.
"We have been fortunate that some new development always came in time to stimulate greater public interest in our business‑talking films, cartoon comedies, color. We have advanced behind the scenes also safety film and other achievements in sound and photography.
"I believe that awareness and immediate financial support can make practical soon the next great advance in entertainment and technique third dimension photography. That, not the marriage of movies and television, will guarantee the future of our industry."