14. WINDJAMMER (1958) ^ One of the most commercially successful documentaries of the 1950s was this beautifully photographed record of the Christian Radich, a ship which sailed around the world as part of an educational program for teenaged Norwegian naval cadets. “Windjammer” is noteworthy as the first and only title filmed in the wide screen Cinemiracle process, which involved a three-headed camera and triple projection set-up which looked suspiciously like Cinerama. ^ WHY IS THIS FILM NOT ON VIDEO? Reportedly, the original prints and negatives from the Cinemiracle footage no longer exist. A “flat” print of “Windjammer” (originally meant for exhibition in flat CinemaScope screen rather than the curved Cinemiracle screen) exists, but no interest has been expressed to date for bringing this fractured version of the wide screen production to home video.
15. BEHIND THE GREAT WALL (1959) ^ In the late 1950s, China was off-limits to Americans. However, some Europeans had access to the Communist giant and Italian filmmaker Carlo Lizzani took his cameras to China to document how Mao Zedong’s revolution changed the way of life in the world’s most populous nation. At the time, this was the only color film footage showing China to the West. Lizzani’s film, titled “La Muraglia Cinese” in Italy, was picked up in U.S. and redubbed “Behind the Great Wall.” However, a curious novelty was added to the film for its U.S. run: AromaRama, in which different scents corresponding to the action and settings on the screen were pumped into the theater via the air conditioning system. Why a documentary on China was in need of olfactory stimulation has never been explained. ^ WHY IS THIS FILM NOT ON VIDEO? While AromaRama can obviously not be reproduced for home video viewing, “Behind the Great Wall” suffered from the unexpected opening of China to the U.S. following President Nixon’s dramatic visit to Beijing in 1972. The Lizzani film was primarily a novelty glimpse into a forbidden land for its time, but since China is no longer off-limits the film has long since been forgotten.
Get the complete list in the next part of NEVER ON VIDEO II: THE NEXT TOP 20 “MISSING” MOVIES>>>