John Ford’s ‘The Searchers’ in 70mm at the 2024 MoMI Festival

John Ford’s classic Western “The Searchers” is back on the big screen — and this time, in 70mm.

IndieWire can exclusively unveil the full lineup for Museum of the Moving Image and MUBI’s ninth annual “See It Big: 70mm” film festival, with “The Searchers” headlining. The annual summer 70mm series is New York City’s only festival of 70mm films. The festival takes place from July 18 through August 18.

Ford’s “The Searchers” in 70mm will make its East Coast premiere after the print debuted at the American Cinematheque earlier this year. From July 18-21, the 1956 masterpiece will be presented seven times in a new restoration and newly struck 70mm print. The film was scanned from the original 35mm VistaVision camera negative for this print and has been approved by The Film Foundation, which was founded by Martin Scorsese. (He’s credited “The Searchers” for being a direct influence on his Oscar-winning film “Taxi Driver.”)

In addition to “The Searchers,” 70mm prints of Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey,” Jacques Tati’s “Playtime,” Ron Howard’s “Far and Away,” and Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” will all screen.

MoMI explains the analog widescreen 70mm format “delivers a remarkably crisp, luminous image and great color fidelity with a higher resolution and more light hitting the frame,” especially compared to digital projection.

Nolan and other auteurs have specifically opted for 70mm releases. In the case of Nolan’s Best Picture winner “Oppenheimer,” the film was shot in 70mm and IMAX.

The “See It Big: 70mm” series is co-programmed by its curator of film Eric Hynes, associate curator of film Edo Choi, and Reverse Shot co-editors Michael Koresky and Jeff Reichert. The festival is supported by a Market New York grant awarded to Museum of the Moving Image from Empire State Development and I LOVE NY/New York State’s Division of Tourism through the Regional Economic Development Council initiative.

All screenings will take place at Museum of the Moving Image in the Sumner M. Redstone Theater, 36-01 35 Ave, Astoria, NY, 11106. Advance tickets are available at movingimage.org.

Check out the full lineup below.

EAST COAST PREMIERE

The Searchers 

The Searchers

July 18–July 21
Dir. John Ford. 1956, 119 mins. U.S. New 70mm print from a restoration by Warner Bros in collaboration with The Film Foundation. With John Wayne, Jeffrey Hunter, Vera Miles, Ward Bond, Natalie Wood.

Martin Scorsese has claimed that he watches this film, arguably western master Ford’s greatest achievement, every year, and with good reason. Its epic story sweeps from the American Southwest to the Canadian border as it tracks Wayne’s increasingly unhinged quest for his beloved niece, kidnapped in a raid years before. Wayne’s Ethan Edwards is as neurotically obsessed as DeNiro’s Travis Bickle. Thanks to this staggering new restoration, screening here in a newly struck 70mm print, scanned from the original 35mm VistaVision camera negative and approved by The Film Foundation, making its East Coast big-screen debut, The Searchers has never looked more richly beautiful.

Notes about the restoration from Warner Bros.: The Searchers was filmed in VistaVisionand released in 1.85. WB’s Motion Picture Imaging scanned the original 8 perf 35mm VistaVision camera negative in 13K with all restoration work completed in 6.5K. The 70mm film print was created at Fotokem by filming out a new 65mm negative. WB’s Post Production Creative Services restored the original mono audio mix. InventureStudios created the DTS-encoded deliverable of the restored audio to playback flawlessly with the 70mm film print. The Film Foundation has approved this newly restored version.

Playtime 

July 25–July 28

Dir. Jacques Tati. 1967, 115 mins. France. 70mm. With Jacques Tati, Barbara Dennek, Rita Maiden. Tati’s artistic ambitions knew no bounds—for this bank-breaking comic masterpiece, he built Tativille, a sprawling set that was virtually an entire city. The iconic M. Hulot arrives in this ultramodern metropolis and stumbles through its many architectural absurdities. Playtime is wall-to-wall with brilliantly choreographed jokes and astonishing compositions; Tati crams so many sight gags into each frame that they’re impossible to catch on the small screen.

Preceded by Here’s Chicago! The City of Dreams (Dir. Ted Hearne. 1983, 13 mins. U.S. 70mm print preserved by the Chicago Film Society with funding from the National Film Preservation Foundation.) This 70mm travelog, which screened nearly every day at the Water Tower Pumping Station from 1983–1993, features breathtaking shots of the city by helicopter, offering “Where’s Waldo” scale opportunities for watching the city’s inhabitants.

2001: A Space Odyssey  

August 1–August 18

Dir. Stanley Kubrick. 1968, 149 mins (plus intermission). U.S. 70mm. With Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood. As brilliantly engineered as the space program itself, Stanley Kubrick’s mysterious and profound sci-fi epic—“the ultimate trip”—is about nothing less than the beauty and the banality of civilization, blending cool satire, an elaborate vision of the future, and passages of avant-garde cinematic inventiveness. Set in a future that is already the past, 2001 envisions space travel as both hilariously routine and mind-bending, a journey to the infinite and beyond that forever changed the way we see the universe and cinema itself.

Tenet 

August 8–August 17

Dir. Christopher Nolan. 2020, 150 mins. U.S./U.K. 70mm. With John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Kenneth Branagh. Operating at the height of his technical powers, Nolan returned to cinemas in the wayward summer of 2020 with his grandest action spectacle to date—though many were not able to see it on the big screen due to the pandemic. Echoing the muscular, stripped-down mode of his WWII drama Dunkirk, yet inspired by the James Bond films of his youth, Nolan crafts an international espionage thriller whose seemingly inevitable doomsday scenario can only be averted through the manipulation of time, culminating in a set piece so technically precise yet frenetic that it demands to be seen as big and loud as possible.

Far and Away 

August 10–August 18

Dir. Ron Howard. 1992, 140 mins. U.S. 70mm. With Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Thomas Gibson, Robert Prosky, Barbara Babcock, Clint Howard. Howard’s rollicking widescreen melodrama about Irish immigrants pursuing fortune and glory in late-19th-century America gave newlyweds Cruise and Kidman a pair of juicy dramatic roles and a procession of dazzling landscape backdrops. Cruise pours his blood and sweat into the role of Joseph Donnelly, a tenant farmer who falls for Kidman’s Shannon Christie, the daughter of a cruel landlord; the two run away together to the “New World,” only to battle poverty amidst Boston’s bare-knuckle backrooms and burlesque halls. Far and Away was the first Hollywood film shot on 70mm in a decade.

SOURCE: IndieWire

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