3-D FEST Rating: NNN
The promise of three dimensions from a movie screen could only have been born of desperation. Rolled out by the movie studios to combat the rise of television, it was followed by CinemaScope, Surround Sound and Raquel Welch. The Royal's week-long 3-D festival zeroes in on its early-50s heyday, when Alfred Hitchcock resorted to shooting Dial M For Murder in 3-D, only to have the phenom fade by the time the movie was released in 1954. André De Toth's Vincent Price chiller House Of Wax (1953) is one of the best of 3-D's first wave, delivering all the frights the format promised (and later inspiring Second City's Dr. Tongue). The Royal also includes the grasping 3-D sequels of the 80s - Steve Miner's Friday The 13th Part 3 and Joe Alves's Jaws 3-D - along with Mei Chung Chang's crazy, reckless Revenge Of The Shogun Women.
It all makes great back story for Spy Kids 3-D. Now when is somebody going to improve on those damn cardboard glasses? (August 15-20, Royal)