AFI Catalog of Feature Films
Movie Detail
Name Occurs Before Title Offscreen Credit Print Viewed By AFI
Cinerama Holiday
Alternate Title: The Thrill of Your Life
Director: Robert Bendick (Dir)
Release Date:   1955
Premiere Information:   New York premiere: 8 Feb 1955; Los Angeles premieres: 7 Nov and 14 Nov 1955
Production Date:   Dec 1953 and Feb--May 1954
Duration (in mins):   119
Print this page
Display Movie Summary

Cast:   Martin Weldon (Narrator )  
  As themselves: Betty Marsh    
    John Marsh    
    Beatrice Troller    
    Fred Troller    
    Margarete Bertsch (Skiier)  
    Larry Mohr    
    Odetta Felious    
    Dartmouth College Glee Club    
    University of New Hampshire Glee Club    
    Henry A. LeRoy Jr.    
    Second Free Mission Baptist Church congregation    
    Jolly Bunch Social and Pleasure Club    
    Tuxedo Marching Band    
    Oscar "Papa" Celestin    
    Original Tuxedo Dixieland Jazz Band    
    Bertely Studer    
    Ernst Berchtold    
    Boys' Choir of the Cathedral of Notre Dame    
    Garde Republicaine    
    U.S. Naval Academy Choir    
    Art Buchwald    

Summary: Two couples, John and Betty Marsh from Kansas City, and Fred and Beatrice Troller from Zurich, Switzerland, meet at the St. Louis Airport just before embarking on separate vacation adventures. The Marshes are en route to Europe, while the Trollers will simultaneously explore the United States. The Marshes first travel to St. Moritz, Switzerland, where they witness the bobsled run, the “Holiday on Ice” skating show at the Suvretta House as well as local scenery. In the U.S., the Trollers tour the West by motorcycle and experience the entertainment and casinos of Las Vegas, Nevada, a cattle ranch at the San Carlos Apache Reservation in Arizona, and dinner at the Top o’ the Mark in San Francisco, California. They then board the California-Zephyr train on the Western Pacific Railroad and, from the vantage point of the “Vista-Dome” section of a train car, view the scenery of Colorado. The Trollers continue to Chicago, Illinois, then on to New Orleans, Louisiana, where they attend a music-filled service at the Second Free Mission Baptist Church, visit the Lafayette Cemetery where they witness a funeral, and attend a music performance by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band at the Absinthe House nightclub. Their travels in the South are followed by a visit to New England where they attend a Deerfield, New Hampshire, country fair, and tour the Dartmouth College campus in Hanover, the highlight of which is a performance by the glee club. While the Trollers explore the varied cultures of the U.S., the Marshes board the funicular railway to ski the Parsenn slopes in Davos, and later indulge in traditional Swiss food and music. The Marshes then journey to Paris, France, where they see the Arc d’Triomphe, hear a mass at the Cathedral of Notre Dame and are visited in their hotel room by renowned journalist Art Buchwald. The Marshes also enjoy a performance of the opera Les Indes Galantes , hear music at the Lido nightclub and attend a fashion show held by designer Jacques Fath. Their exploration of Paris continues with a visit to artist Germaine Richier’s studio and art class, attendance at the traditional Art Students’ gala “Ball of the Four Seasons,” and a stroll in the Luxembourg Gardens, after which they watch the Garde Republicaine performing at the Coeur d’Honneur monument at Les Invalides, among other entertainments. After visiting the nation’s capitol of Washington, D.C., the Trollers conclude their grand tour in New York, where the Marshes have arrived by the Queen Mary steamship. Having traveled for a total of six months each, the couples now reunite to discuss their vacations. Following their meeting, they attend a special screening featuring Cinerama footage of the U.S. Navy’s “Blue Angels” jet fighter pilots taking off from, and landing on, the aircraft carrier Lake Champlain ; a large fireworks display in Alton Bay, New Hampshire; and an incandescent Bessemer furnace at the Bethlehem Steel Company. 

Production Company: RD-DR Corp.  
Distribution Company: Stanley-Warner Cinerama Corp.  
Director: Robert Bendick (Dir)
  Philippe De Lacy (Dir)
Producer: Louis de Rochemont (Prod)
  Otis Carney (Assoc prod)
  Borden Mace (Assoc prod)
  Thomas Orchard (Assoc prod)
Writer: Otis Carney (Adpt)
  Louis de Rochemont III (Adpt)
  John Stuart Martin (Narr)
  Art Buchwald (Addl dial)
Photography: Joseph Brun (Dir of photog)
  Harry Squire (Dir of photog)
  Jack Priestley (Cam op)
  Gayne Rescher (Cam op)
  Erik M. Rondum (Cam)
  Richard C. Babish (Cam)
  Harvey Jenkins (Cam)
  A. D. O'Quinn (Grip)
  Mike Mahoney (Grip)
Art Direction: Joy Batchelor (Art dir)
  John Halas (Art dir)
  Herbert G. Andrews (Art dir)
Film Editor: Jack Murray (Film ed)
  Leo Zochling (Film ed)
  Fredrick Y. Smith (Film ed)
  Peter Ratkevich (Ed administration)
Music: Morton Gould (Orig mus score)
  Van Cleave (Addl mus)
  Jack Shaindlin (Mus dir)
  Robert McBride (Asst mus dir)
  Angelo Ross (Mus ed)
Sound: Richard J. Pietschmann Jr. (Sd eng)
  Rolf Epstein (Sd eng)
  Fred Bosch (Asst sd eng)
  Ray Sharples (Asst sd eng)
  Avery Lockner (Sd)
  Richard Vorisek (Sd)
  Stuart Rodger (Sd)
  Lovel S. Ellis (Sd eff ed)
Special Effects: International Fireworks Company (Spec eff for finale)
  Bethlehem Steel Company (Spec eff for finale)
Production Misc: Wentworth D. Fling (Tech supv for Cinerama, Inc.)
  Coleman T. Conroy Jr. (Tech asst)
  Maurice Delille (Tech asst)
  Marcel Gilot (Tech asst)
  Harvey Genkins (Tech asst)
  Raymond Lemoigne (Tech asst)
  Michael Mahony (Tech asst)
  Martin Philbin (Tech asst)
  Marcel Policard (Tech asst)
  Charles Byron (Prod staff)
  Philip Donoghue (Prod staff)
  Robert Fabian (Prod staff)
  William Hocker (Prod staff)
  Waring Jones (Prod staff)
  Francis Keenan (Prod staff)
  Martin Maloney (Prod staff)
  Francois Mesliere (Prod staff)
  Jean Pages (Prod staff)
  James Petrie (Prod staff)
  Georges Regnier (Prod staff)
  Michael Roemer (Prod staff)
  Stanley Schneider (Prod staff)
  Hans Sommer (Prod staff)
  John Walsh (Prod staff)
  John Wingerter (Prod staff)
  Louis de Rochemont III (Prod staff)
  Nino Bibbia (Boblsed driver)
  Lt. Comm. Bud Gear (Pilot)
  Max Bertsch (Tech adv for skiing seq)
Country: United States
Language: English

Music: Selections from The Mass by Francois Couperin; "Les Indes Galantes" from Les Fleurs, feste Persane , music by Jean-Philippe Rameau, libretto by Louis Fuzelier, adapted by Henri Busser and Rene Fauchois; "Ballet of the Skis" and "The Cinerama Holiday Theme" by Morton Gould.
Songs: "Fandango," music and lyrics by Johnny Bradford and Frank Perkins; "Santy Anno," traditional; "Luminous Pearl and Magnolia," traditional; "Men of Dartmouth," composed by T. W. Allen; "Come to the Fair," music and lyrics by Easthope Martin and Helen Taylor; "Down by the Riverside," traditional; "When the Saints Go Marching In," music by James M. Black, lyrics by Katharine E. Purvis; "Tiger Rag," music by Original Dixieland Jazz Band, lyrics by Harry DeCosta; "Sentiberg Jodel," traditional; "Hop Sah Sah Waltz," traditional; "Sur le pont d'Avignon," traditional, arranged by Frank Engelen; "Les marroniers de Paris," composed by Claude Bolling; "Holiday in Rio," music and lyrics by Terig Tucci; "Sambre et Meuse," music and lyrics by Robert Planquette and Paul Cezano; "Hail to Our Land," music and lyrics by James Peterson and Jack Shaindlin.
Composer: Original Dixieland Jazz Band
  T. W. Allen
  James M. Black
  Claude Bolling
  Johnny Bradford
  Henri Busser
  Paul Cezano
  Francois Couperin
  Harry DeCosta
  Frank Engelen
  Rene Fauchois
  Louis Fuzelier
  Easthope Martin
  Frank Perkins
  James Peterson
  Robert Planquette
  Katharine E. Purvis
  Jean-Philippe Rameau
  Jack Shaindlin
  Helen Taylor
  Terig Tucci
  Terig Tucci
Source Text: Inspired by the article "America Through a French Looking Glass" by Renee and Pierre Gosset in Realites (Aug 1953).
Authors: Renee Gosset
  Pierre Gosset

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Stanley-Warner Cinerama Corp. 7/2/1955 dd/mm/yyyy LP5635

Physical Properties: Sd: Cinerama Laboratories
  col: Technicolor
  Widescreen/ratio: Cinerama

Genre: Documentary
Sub-Genre: Travelogue
  with songs
Subjects (Major): Americans in foreign countries
  Voyages and travel
Subjects (Minor): Air shows
  Chicago (IL)
  Choirs (Music)
  Dartmouth University
  Fashion shows
  Jazz music
  Lafayette Cemetery (New Orleans, LA)
  New Hampshire
  New Orleans (LA)
  New York City
  Notre Dame Cathedral (Paris, France)
  Paris (France)
  St. Moritz (Switzerland)
  San Carlos Indian Reservation (AZ)
  San Francisco (CA)
  United States. Navy

Note: The working title of this film was The Thrill of Your Life . Cinerama Holiday was the second feature film to use the Cinerama widescreen process. Although the film was not viewed, according to the LAT review, the film opened with a black and white sequence in standard 35mm, during which the Cinerama process, and its development, was featured. The footage continued in black and white during the Marshes’ airplane flight to Switzerland. When the airplane traveled into a cloud formation, the image broadened to Cinerama and shifted into Technicolor. After the plane emerged from the clouds, the Swiss Alps were in view. Sequences mentioned in reviews or news items that are not referred to in the synopsis include the following: in Paris, a visit to The Louvre Museum and the Lido nightclub, a performance of a Molière play, a review of the cadets at St. Cyr military school and a marionette performance of the fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood ; in San Francisco, a musical performance at The Tin Angel nightclub, a cable car ride and Chinese-American musicians at a club in Chinatown; in Colorado, scenes of Gore Canyon and the towns Grand Junction, Bond, Kremmling and Glenwood Springs.
       The DV review notes that Cinerama Holiday also featured a scene in which John Marsh slips away from his wife for an unexpected visit with former Navy peers, and adds that there was an intermission break that preceded the sequence in Paris. The intermission may have followed a segment in Switzerland; however, the exact sequence of events in the film prior to the intermission has not been confirmed. Cinerama Holiday marked the feature film debuts of Betty and John Marsh, and Beatrice and Fred Troller, none of whom was a professional actor. According to a Var news item dated 13 Jan 1954, Betty Marsh was located through a University of Kansas City drama class. The pressbook notes that the Stollers were suggested by a Swissair airline representative, who knew Fred Stoller because of his advertising work on behalf of the airline. Both couples were selected by producer Louis de Rochemont after he auditioned numerous others.
       The pressbook adds the following information about the production: Shooting began in Paris at Napoleon’s tomb in Les Invalides. The Vista-Dome railroad car was specially modified so that the Cinerama camera could fit, as well as other accommodations, including the construction of platforms for interior and exterior filming, and the installation of clear glass on the dome so that the color photography would not be adversely affected. The U.S. Navy cooperated with the filmmakers for the “Blue Angels” sequence, and approximately 675,000 feet of film was utilized for during production.
       HR news items add that Cinerama Holiday cost approximately $2,000,000 to make. Invitational preview screenings were held as early as Jul 1954, according to a news item dated 30 Jul 1954. Paramount Pictures loaned composer Van Cleave for the production. Cinerama Holiday was shot entirely on location in the featured locales. According to an article in AmCin , several skiiers and sledders sustained injuries from various accidents during filming in Switzerland. MPH recorded that Cinerama Holiday was the top-grossing film of 1955 and, according to a 13 Jan 1955 HR news item, the motion picture was exhibited regularly for sixty-one weeks at the Warner Theatre in New York. For further information on the Cinerama process, see the notes for This is Cinerama (below).

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
American Cinematographer   Jan 56   pp. 32-33, 52-53, 55, 58.
Daily Variety   9 Feb 55   p. 3.
Daily Variety   11 Apr 1956.   
The Exhibitor   23 Feb 1955   p. 3925.
Film Daily   9 Feb 55   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   28 Dec 1953   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   6 Jan 1954   p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter   9 Feb 1954   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   12 Feb 1954   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   29 Apr 1954   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   26 May 1954   p. 2, 8.
Hollywood Reporter   30 Jul 1954   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   8 Dec 1954   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   13 Jan 1955   p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter   8 Feb 1955   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   9 Feb 1955.   
Hollywood Reporter   22 Mar 1955   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   13 Oct 1955   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   11 Nov 55   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   15 Nov 1955   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   27 Jan 1956   p. 3.
Los Angeles Times   13 Feb 1954.   
Los Angeles Times   25 Apr 1954   magazine section.
Los Angeles Times   27 Sep 1955.   
Los Angeles Times   13 Nov 1955.   
New York Times   13 Dec 1952.   
New York Times   13 Feb 1953.   
New York Times   12 Dec 1954.   
New York Times   9 Feb 55   p. 31.
New York Times   21 Apr 1955.   
Variety   13 Jan 1954.   
Variety   9 Feb 55   p. 10.

Display Movie Summary
The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
Advanced Search
Support our efforts to preserve hisotory of film
Help AFI Preserve Film History

© 2017 American Film Institute.
All rights reserved.
Terms of use.