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The 1950s: 'Golden Era' of 3D

The 'Golden Era' of 3D began in 1952 when a gory low-budget flick, Bwana Devil, became an overnight sensation, with audiences queuing round the block to see man-eating lions feasting in 3D.

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The earlier anaglyphic system, which used glasses with coloured lenses, made it impossible to produce 3D films in the full colour that audiences demanded.

The solution came with the invention of a polarising 3D system. This used transparent, polarising filters for its 3D glasses which filtered out light that was polarised into either the horizontal or vertical plane, ensuring that only the correct image reached each eye. This was the system that lay behind Bwana Devil's success. Full-colour 3D was born!

Desperate to fend of competition from the newly-popular television, the movie industry jumped at the new technology. The following year's House of Wax, starring Vincent Price, saw 3D's popularity reaching new heights. It was followed by a flurry of sensational features including Creature From The Black Lagoon, plus westerns like The Nebraskan and romantic comedies such as Kiss Me Kate.

But the 1950s craze proved short-lived. 3D blockbusters began to fall out of favour as some viewers complained of headaches caused by the new polarising 3D glasses. Alfred Hitchcock's Dial M For Murder, originally filmed in 3D, was only released in 2D.