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The 3D Films Of The 1950s

3D movies were a huge success in the early 1950's as movie studios tried to fight the effects of television. The 3D effects of the movies wowed moviegoers and made them want more. Studios put out a ton of 3D movies in the 1950's. Some of the movies were decent and some of them were downright dreadful.

Although 3D movies are very popular right now, they have been around for a long time. The 3D process was brought to the movie screen first back in the 1920’s, but became popular in the 1950’s. The birth of television in the early 1950’s started to affect attendance at movie theaters. Studios searched for an answer to attract people back to the theaters and found the answer in the 3D process. Although the fad only lasted 3-4 years, it helped get people back into the theaters. Here are some of the most notable 3D movies of the 1950’s.

Bwana Devil (1952)

Bwana Devil was a drama based on the true story of the man-eating lions disrupting the building of the Uganda railroad. This was the first movie to start the 3D movie craze of the 1950’s. The 3D process was so embraced by movie audiences that lines for the movie would stretch down the street. Oddly enough, this movie has never been legally released on VHS or DVD.

House Of Wax (1953)

House Of Wax was the first 3D movie in color that was released by a major movie studio. It starred Vincent Price as the wax figure sculpture in a museum in New York. Warner Brother made this movie in 3D to follow in the footsteps of the smash hit Bwana Devil. House Of Wax was considered a great technical success that utilized the stereoscopic 3D process in a way that impressed both critics and moviegoers alike

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Robot Monster (1953)

Robot Monster is considered by many to be one of the worst movies ever made. It was created in just 4 days with a budget of less than $20,000 and was filmed entirely outdoors. The monster itself is just a man in a gorilla costume with a diving helmet. If you want to see a movie that is almost void of any production values, then this is it.

Kiss Me Kate (1953)

Kiss Me Kate was an adaptation of a Broadway musical of the same name. The movie was filmed in 3D using the most advanced method of stereoscopic 3D that was available at that time. A 3D musical was not very common, but Kiss Me Kate has been hailed as a great success and a prime example of fully utilizing the technology of the time.

It Came From Outer Space (1953)

This classic 1950’s science fiction film was a typical cold war paranoia movie. A spaceship from outer space crashes in the Arizona desert and the occupants try to repair it before the earthlings discover it. This was Universal’s first 3D film and some of the best effects come at the very beginning of the movie. When the film was first released to home video in the early 80’s the VHS version was also in 3D and came packaged with the special glasses.

Hondo (1953)

In Hondo, John Wayne was trying to avoid a confrontation with the Apaches, but they capture him anyways. Hondo was noted for being John Wayne’s 3D movie and was famous for the knife fight between Wayne and an Indian where they lunge at the camera. Hondo was released in 3D for only one week and then re-released in 2D. The film was subdued as far as 3D effects go, but who can resist watching John Wayne in 3D?

Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954)

After the success of It Came From Outer space, Universal decided to release Creature From The Black Lagoon in 3D. The movie was another well-crafted gem by Jack Arnold and become another hit for Universal. Creature From The Black Lagoon was restrained in its use of 3D, and wisely chose not to throw things at the audience for effect. The movie did so well that 2 sequels followed it.

Dial M For Murder (1954)

Dial M For Murder is an Alfred Hitchcock movie that was adapted from a stage play. Although the movie was shot in 3D, most of the theatres only showed it in 2D. 3D films were going out of style by 1954 and a lot of people were unaware that the movie was shot in 3D. The 3D version was re-issued in 1980.

Revenge Of The Creature (1955)

Revenge Of The Creature was the first sequel to the smash hit Creature From The Black Lagoon. It was the first 3D sequel to a 3D movie and was one of the last movies of the 1950’s 3D phase. The movie is notable for being the screen debut of Clint Eastwood.

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Comments (3)

There are some classic 3D films here. Television scared the hell out of the studios in the 1950s, thus precipitating such novelties as 3D, CinemaScope, VistaVision, et al. It turned out movies, television and even radio could coexist. There's a history lesson there.

The truth is, I have not viewed a movie in 3D yet. Maybe I should really try to see one.

Good article, and many people thought 3D was new, so very topical.

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