It’s a general misconception that the first major studio 3D film to be cinematically released was Warner Brothers’ 1953 horror “House of Wax” (which came out in the US on Blu-ray in 2013). In fact the first major studio 3D release was “Man in the Dark” from Columbia Pictures. The film was rushed into production and shot in just 11 days in order to get it rush released and into cinemas ahead of “House of Wax”. In fact Bwana Devil actually preceded both of them, however United Artists was not considered a major studio in the early 1950s.
Man in the Dark (1953) is a classic film noir, complete with tough-guy protagonist (Edmond O’Brien), heart-of-gold moll (Audrey Totter), and plenty of underworld action—but with handsome stereoscopic imagery directed by the prolific Lew Landers (The Raven). Focusing on a thug who undergoes brain surgery to eliminate his criminal tendencies, the film utilizes spectacular 3-D effects to simulate the newly decent hero’s disorientation as he tries to remember his life of crime, even as he is pursued by former cohorts who want in on the spoils of his latest robbery.
The film is available for pre-order on 3-D Blu ray now from Screen Archives, in a limited run of 3000 units.