The history of Cinemascope
Ever since its first stirrings in the 1920s – when French inventor Henri Chrétien developed and patented his film process called ‘anamorphoscope’ – and on through the format’s true birth in the 1950s, CinemaScope has held its own as a format in an ever-changing world. However, in the America of the 1950s, TV was eating into cinema’s audience. Studios and cinema owners needed a new weapon to impress audiences. Spyros P. Skouras, president of 20th Century Fox at the time, green-lighted the creation of CinemaScope movies – the first one being the classic sword and sandals epic, The Robe. The format was a hit, delivering an experience movie fans had simply never had before. And the cinemas loved the format, because it was relatively easy to move over to the new system – all they needed to do was fit an anamorphic lens onto their existing projector. Plus, as a technician was always on-site,
maintaining and aligning the projectors was no problem at all.