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Big Scope

While there were plenty of new technologies — eight-tracks, Betamax, the Gremlin — that failed to outlast the '70s, CinemaScope was perhaps the decade's most tragic casualty. CinemaScope used special lenses to compress images during filming and spread them out fuller, wider and with greater detail during projection. It died due to the advent of easier-to-use equipment, but CinemaScope films still have a distinct artistic look.

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston's four-part series of movies filmed in CinemaScope kicks off this week with Big Wednesday (1978), the coming-of-age story of three California surfers (Jan-Michael Vincent, William Katt and Gary Busey, before seeing Busey shirtless would cause vomit to swell up in your throat) whose carefree days are cut short by the Vietnam War. With its noteworthy performances, social relevance and well-polished script, this film is to surfing flicks what Easy Rider is to motorcycle movies. Be wowed by a retro genre, retro stars and retro technology today at 7:30 p.m. 1001 Bissonnet. Other films in the series are California Split, The Andromeda Strain and Alien.
Fri., July 21, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., July 23, 7 p.m.


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