Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Scent of Mystery Comes to Video

The New York Post’s Lou Lumenick has the story: “Elizabeth Taylor’s forgotten Smell-O-Vision adventure arrives on video.” He’s talking about Scent of Mystery, the first (and only) film to use the revolutionary Smell-O-Vision process promoted by Mike Todd, Jr. and his father. Elizabeth Taylor (then married to Todd, Sr.) was an investor in the technology and makes a cameo appearance in the movie. (Your Hollywood trivia of the day: Mike Todd, Sr. coined the word cameo.)

I researched the story of Smell-O-Vision—and its rival, AromaRama—for my book. Along the way I interviewed inventor Hans Laube’s wife and daughter, and saw a prototype of his scent-generating device, along with all the promotional material for the film’s premiere. It’s a great story in the history of technology.

Until now, Scent of Mystery was only available in a badly butchered VHS of a television mashup version. I’m looking forward to seeing the newly restored re-release. Sure, it was slightly corny even for 1960, and unspools at the leisurely pace of that time. But I look forward to viewing it end-to-end while imagining all the odors (there are lots of them).

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