This 1956 travelogue exists solely to show off the cinematography splendor of the ultra-widescreen Cinerama process. While it must have been spectacular to witness in a theater, where the audience was all but enveloped by the massive curved screen and stereophonic sound system, it is considerably less than overwhelming to view on a small screen.
The plotless film is based on the notion of compiling a list of the seven wonders of the 1950s world. Beginning with a visit to the Pyramids (the sole surviving site of the original Seven Wonders of the World list), the film flies over the New York skyline and makes stops in the vast ecosystems of South America and Africa, as well as in the tranquil gardens of Japan and challenging deserts of Yemen. The Taj Mahal gets a quickie visit, and even Pope Pius XII makes a brief appearance during a stop in Rome.
By contemporary standards, the film is a bore – it comes across like a dreary vacation tour where nothing of interest happens, despite the constantly changing scenery. Also, this was never meant to be seen on a small screen, no matter how digitally advanced that screen could be – all of the camera trick effects are lost in transition. And even though the production has been remastered from the original camera negative and carefully presented on a “Smilebox” curved screen that suggests the original Cinerama projection dimensions, there are still highly visible seams and blotches that separate the three panels of the Cinerama screen.
If there is going to be a Cinerama-inspired Blu-ray/DVD release, then please make it the still-elusive “The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm,” which is in strong need of a major restoration effort. This crummy film is a waste of time.