The 23rd annual Widescreen Weekend takes place at the National Science and Media Museum from 10-13 October 2019, with a selection of classic, contemporary, cult and rare movies to showcase a raft of widescreen formats and cinema technologies.
Passes for the festival, which brings visitors from around the world together to experience one of the most eclectic cinema programmes available under one roof, go on sale from today (22 May) at scienceandmediamuseum.org.uk/widescreen-weekend.
This year’s highlights include a new 70mm print of The Sound of Music (1965), the film in which Julie Andrews won audiences’ hearts as the young nun-turned-nanny Maria. On its release The Sound of Music was an instant box-office hit, featuring timeless songs by Rodgers and Hammerstein, and topping Gone With the Wind as the highest-grossing film to date. It went on to win five Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director (Robert Wise), and Best Original Music Score.
Also screening are two Marvel superhero films released 20 years apart in an action-packed double bill: Blade vs Black Panther.
Blade (1998) is considered to be the first commercially successful Marvel Comics film adaptation, arguably paving the way for the all-conquering Marvel Cinematic Universe’s ‘Infinity Saga’ of 22 films, which included Black Panther and culminated with Avengers: Endgame this year.
Screening from a 35mm print, Blade stars Wesley Snipes as the title character, who protects humans from vampires, and is celebrated for its darker take on the superhero genre. Black Panther (2018), showing in IMAX, stars Charles Boseman in the lead role, and is one of the most critically acclaimed features in the MCU series. It is the first superhero movie to get an Academy Awards Best Picture nomination.
Alongside these, the festival is screening Ice Station Zebra, the 1968 espionage thriller originally photographed in Super Panavision 70 format, directed by John Sturges, and starring Rock Hudson and Patrick McGoohan. Among many memorable examples of innovative cinematography is the first continuously filmed dive of a submarine.
The increasingly rare thrill of seeing films on film will again take centre stage during Celluloid Saturday – a full day dedicated to showcasing the qualities of non-digital screenings across an eclectic mix of genres and eras. Widescreen Weekend will also welcome back guest curator Sir Christopher Frayling, who will be making a special selection of films set in ancient times.
Festival Director Kathryn Penny said: “Widescreen Weekend is all about celebrating technological innovation and all styles of genres in cinema – as long as the films are big and bold. This year is no exception – we’re showing a new print of what some say is the most popular musical of all time, The Sound of Music; we’ll see what difference two decades of technology have made to superhero films in Blade vs Black Panther; as well giving the chance to see as a classic of cold-war suspense on the big screen.
“This year we’re also extending the student pass price to anyone who’s under 25, which offers four incredible movie-packed days for £80. And, of course, we continue to be the only venue outside the USA where the public can see Cinerama.”
The full programme is due to be announced on 14 August 2019.