A good film, in the opinion of many movie
critics, is one which evokes a positive emotional response. The
noted playwright, Maxwell Anderson, likened such a response to
a religious experience.
If this is the criterion for judging films,
then there is an extremely good film being shown hourly in the
Billy Graham Pavilion. The avowed purpose of "Man in the
Fifth Dimension" is to move viewers to receive Christ as
Savior and Lord -- right there and then. Certainly, this is a
call to a positive emotional response, whose demand for immediacy
and importance of decision is without precedent in film annals.
But judging from the lines making their way to the counseling
rooms behind doors at each end of the screen, it is a successful
The film, the focal point of the "crusade
in Flushing Meadow," is shown in a red-carpeted, gold-draped
theater which seats 400. The exterior brick walls of the theater
are striking photo presentations in themselves. They are lined
with 14 photographic enlargements which trace Mr. Graham's worldwide
crusades. Two backlighted panels are four feet by 20 feet, and
12 panels are nine feet by four feet.
Made by Mr. Graham's own World Wide Picture
Company, the 28-minute, 70mm Todd-AO color film was filmed at
spiritually significant locales throughout the world, and details
the story of man from the Creation. It closes with Mr. Graham's
call to make a decision for Christ. During the first year of
the Fair, it is estimated that more than one million people will
see the film.
A unique feature of the film presentation
is a simultaneous translation system, similar to that in use
at the United Nations, to reach visitors from abroad. Speaking
in English, Mr. Graham is heard narrating the film. A control
built into the arm rest of each chair in the air-conditioned
theater can switch the sound track to a choice of six different
languages which are heard through a plastic earpiece: French,
Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Japanese and German. The multi-lingual
seven-channel system was installed by Round Hill Associates.
It is hoped that in the second year of the Fair, eight-channel
translation will be possible.
"Man in the Fifth Dimension" took
seven months to shoot, and was World Wide Pictures' most ambitious
effort to date. Scripted by James F. Collier, it was produced
by World Wide's president, Dick Ross. Mr. Ross was an American
Film Festival Blue Ribbon winner for the movie "Africa On
The Bridge," a documentary of the Billy Graham Crusade in
the emerging continent.
Filming took the company from Mount Palomar,
where footage was shot through the great 200-inch telescope there,
to the Holy Land. Interior scenes were filmed at Paramount's
Studios in Hollywood.
Visiting the Holy Land can be a moving experience
for anyone. But tensions between Israel and the Arab world can
make location shooting there difficult.
The religious rift splitting the Holy Land
was felt when Mr. Ross and Jim Collier went from the Jordanian
side of Jerusalem, through the Mandelbaum Gate to the Israeli
sector for some advance location scouting. The rest of the crew
remained behind at the Ambassador Hotel in Jordan.
"We were at the King David Hotel, not
more than a couple of hundred yards from the Ambassador,"
Mr. Ross notes. "but because of the restrictions on communications
between the two countries, we couldn't call our friends to tell
them of our plans.
"Finally, we called our London office
and had them relay the message. We had to span continents to
communicate with friends less than a quarter of a mile away."