Warning! These 1950s Movie Gimmicks Will Shock You

Welcome to summer movie hell—another blockbuster season filled with costly digital effects that disappoint more often than they surprise. During a University of Southern California film symposium in June, two directors guilty of creating this trend, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, predicted the imminent collapse of their mega-budget film industry. In its place, they suggested a future of immersive technologies, where theaters would offer thrills you couldn’t get via Netflix.

“Guaranteed to upset your stomach: No one admitted without a vomit bag.”


In fact, Hollywood tried this more than 50 years ago, when filmmakers like William Castle pushed the boundaries of the movie-going experience to make it more interactive. Equal parts technical innovation and publicity stunt, the gimmick craze of the 1950s put special effects in your face and under your seat, literally: Some audiences got a whiff of the action in scented screenings, while others were jolted out of their seats by electric buzzers.

Richard Peterson, who’s the director of programming for the Smith Rafael Film Center, says that features we take for granted today, like surround sound and widescreen projection, were initially seen as novelties. Even color was originally a gimmick. “In the 1920s,” explains Peterson, “before they had full Technicolor, they had what’s called two-color Technicolor, and films like ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ had these two-color sequences.”

Read more –Warning! These 1950s Movie Gimmicks Will Shock You – Collectors Weekly

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