Though Hollywood does not want to let go of the premium ticket prices, they should face the reality. We have actually approached the nadir of the recent wave of 3-D films, evidenced by the fact that now the prospect of a multi-dimensional release provokes less awe, and something closer to “aw crap!” Here, try this on for proof. Famed director Baz Luhrman recently announced he will be filming a new version of The Great Gatsby. It has Leonardo DiCaprio in the lead, it will staged in Australia, and filming begins in August. Great. Also, it will be filmed in 3-D.
However, more anaglyphic news broke this week. Another Aussie – documentarian Phillipe Mora – announced that he has recently made an in-your-face discovery. He says that he unearthed some interesting footage while researching his latest effort, entitled How the Third Reich was Recorded, about the manner Nazi Germany filmed their own history. Mora has made a previous jarring discovery in this realm. For his 1973 film Swastika he had revealed color footage discovered of Der Fuhrer and Eva Braun. Now he – along with Hitler — has another genre covered as well.
While rummaging through some Germanic film archives he came across what are literally 3-D films created by the Nazi information ministry, that which had been operated by Joseph Goebbels. He has two 30-minute propaganda films which were made back in 1936, and the black-and-white reels are in fact in three dimensions. This is a rather impressive find, considering these films predate the major Hollywood studio 3-D releases by more than 15 years. (Bwana Devil became the first 3-D feature-length motion picture in 1952.)
The movies are, as described by Mora, “Hilarious – but really, really creepy.” They are seemingly innocuous in nature, he says, but then you understand what is being shown is the perfect nature intended to represent their envisioned society. “No wonder the Germans didn’t know what was coming,” said Mora. The films are “completely non-political but highly political. It’s all, ‘What a fantastic time we’re having.’ ”
One film is entitled Six Girls Roll Into the Weekend and centers on the travails of the titular Aryan gals toddling around in their Mercedes Benz, of course. The other film is So Real You Can Touch It, which is said to feature gripping footage, such as bratwurst cooking on a grill. The methods used to create the images appear to be rather low-tech in scope.
The Nazis’ technique was to use standard 35mm film split down the middle to capture two images. Then in the projection phase the images were shown through a prism lens to generate the dual image needed when viewing. Mora says the results are very impressive. “This is bloody amazing that they did this so simply and so well. It’s beautiful, crisp imagery.” The most amazing thing of all may be that seventy five years later critics would say the exact opposite about what they saw with The Last Airbender.