Cinebox/Colorama/Cinejukebox Films

The Cinebox was an Italian film jukebox that debuted in 1959 and entered the market in Europe almost simultaneously with the Scopitone. It entered the U.S. market in the spring of 1963, well before Scopitone, but was never as popular there as Scopitone. In 1965, the Cinebox was renamed Colorama in the United States. In 1966, it was completely redesigned as the ultra-stylish Cinejukebox.

Most of the Cinebox films that I am aware of are Italian or British, but there are at least a few French and American films, and recently I learned of the existence of a number of Spanish films. Most of the Cinebox films I have seen are printed on either Kodak Safety Film or Technicolor Safety Film; the Spanish films that I have seen tend to be on Gevaert stock. All but one of the Cinebox films I have seen have had an optical soundtrack.

The films have some technical peculiarities, due to the construction of the Cinebox. Like Soundies (the films made for the Mills Panoram film jukebox in the 1940s), Cinebox films were printed so that the image is projected backwards when shown on a normal 16mm projector. The soundtrack is also printed in a non-standard manner, with the result that the sound lags behind the image by about half a second when projected on a normal 16mm projector. Perhaps because of these oddities, or because the Cinebox was never as popular in the United States as the Scopitone, Cinebox films are much harder to find than Scopitone films.

ColoramaIn the summer of 1965, there were reportedly 612 films available for the Cinebox. Please let me know if you know of titles that are not listed here. Many thanks to Michele Bovi for providing the list of Italian Cinebox films included here.

An article in Italian about Cinebox (courtesy of Michele Bovi)


Frankie Avalon at the Cinebox




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