As pertaining to motion pictures, describes any film that exploits, in its marketing or promotion, the use of stereoscopic (3-dimensional) filmmaking techniques.

This blog is my notepad as I research a nonfiction book spotlighting 3-D genre films of the last century. While the book will focus primarily on films from the 60's, 70's and 80's this blog has no restrictions.

All articles on this blog are copyright 2010-13 of its author,
Jason Pichonsky, unless otherwise stated.

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“As a magician I too wear a mask. A mask of illusion or the ability to make illusions seem to be reality. But then what is reality, or super reality. What surprises await you in the 3rd Dimension…”       

Harry Blackwell Jr.
Mystic Magic (1982)

Twelve years after the release of The Mask, Julian Roffman revisited both the film and the 3-D process. This time the production was called Mystic Magic and featured the magician Harry Blackwell Jr. and his wife Gay. Mystic Magic is little more the original film converted to a 3D Video Process (simply a red/blue anaglyphic conversion to videotape) that added a set of four interstitial segments; each devoting as much time instructing viewers on the set up their colour televisions for an optimal 3-D viewing as it did to the comic quips and magic of Blackwell. The mysterious hooded figures from The Mask’s dream sequences are present, as is much of the dry ice fog, but unfortunately these newly shot sequences lack the dream logic of the films original sequences and are pretty standard television “variety show” fare for the early eighties.
A 3-D setup test for audiences at home.

3-D Magic?
Mystic Magic, an embarrassing example of Julian Roffman’s directorial abilities, was likely made more for the money than the love. With the directing assignment, Roffman also sold the rights for The Mask to a Los Angeles company 3D Video Corporation operated by Dan Symmes. 3D Video Corporation had developed a method of displaying 3D on television via a full colour anaglyph conversion. Most of the fondly remembered TV broadcasts of 3D in the 80’s had been done by 3D Video Corporation. Earlier 50’s 3-D films like Gorilla at Large and Hondo --seen in the fifties in full colour dual projection—received the anaglyph television treatment in the early eighties. The system worked, but just barely. To many variables came between the master tape and what the viewers saw at home, and the results were often poor. These television versions have contributed to the erroneous belief that retro 3-D films were screened with red and blue glasses and that the current standard of 3-D is an entirely new system of showing 3-D. (In fact, the only thing new is digital film-making the theory and practice for making 3-D images haven’t changed they‘ve just been adapted to this new technology.)
It is also highly likely that this conversion of The Mask, stripped of the Mystic Magic segments, is the source of all the video versions that have been available to this day.

But seeing is believing… so I present a sample.

3D Video Corporation quickly went bankrupt as the eighties wave of 3-D came to a close but the damage had been done. When film’s like Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1995) where released they chose to incorporate anaglyph 3-D. Now just to defend Dan Symmes (a very passionate 3-D professional and historian); while his company 3D Video Corporation’s television anaglyphs have hurt 3-D’s perception in the public’s mind, he has also done much to defend its reputation, including helping to create The 3-D Film Preservation Fund and presenting two 3-D World Expos (in 2005 and 2007) which screened just about every film made in the 50’s in glorious dual projection.

1 comment:

  1. Very cool--did not realize that it was Roffman that shot these!