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August 09, 2013


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"so, yeah; we talked during the movie"

No. You whispered.


Of course, 2666 has a nice passage on how home cinema has taken over the "church" function from the cinema house. And that was back in the 480i days! With no 5+1 sound!

Personally on the topic, I'm more of a Catholic than a Protestant. Home cinema is fine, but the public cathedral is far richer. At the same time, I do still find the 2666 argument to be not invalid. There are many paths to god.

(But anyone who doesn't recognize the Cinerama Dome as Mecca is an infidel.)


Nice to hear that Colonel Blimp played so well. The Red Shoes may be the Archers' greatest artistic expression, and Black Narcissus may have the most palpable atmosphere and jaw-dropping photography, but the richness of Blimp, from the script to the cast to Powell's clever touches (the gymnasium and the taxidermy wall being the most obvious) just puts it at the top for me.

Not sure if your intention was to open up the floor here, but my most transcendent theatre experience was a couple months over a year ago (I'm cheating). I've probably mentioned this here before, but during the intermission of Out 1: Spectre at the Cinemathéque in Paris, it was announced that Jacques Rivette was in attendance, and was sitting right in front of me. Knowing I was watching with him, seeing through his eyes and wondering how much he missed the deceased Berto and Rohmer, how much he was reflecting on his own life and career...it didn't matter that my French wasn't good enough to understand all the dialogue.

pete bishop

Recalling Scorsese, re: movie houses as churches:

"[W]hen I was a little younger...I wanted to be a priest. However, I soon realized that my real vocation, my real calling, was the movies. I don't really see a conflict between the church and the movies, the sacred and the profane. Obviously, there are major differences, but I can see great similarities between a church and a movie house. Both are places for people to come together and share a common experience. I believe there is a spirituality in films, even if it's not one which can supplant faith. I find that over the years many films address themselves to the spiritual side of man's nature [INTOLERANCE, GRAPES OF WRATH, VERTIGO, 2001]. It is as though movies answered an ancient quest for the common unconscious. They fulfill a spiritual need that people have to share a common memory."

Watching VICKI while typing this up. Some wino just shushed Jeanne Crain and Elliott Reid for talking in a theater (while, from the sounds of it, McPherson is interrogating Laura on the screen).

Pete Apruzzese

Thanks, Glenn.

" The exhilaration of it carried into the lobby afterwards; octagenarians with their walkers and impossible-to-miss gleams in their eyes, speaking to each other animatedly; they had just seen something. "

That is what we tried to do as much as possible, when it worked it was a great feeling.


Glenn Kenny said: "Ford is not to be underestimated, even in less than optimum circumstances...and his command of the large frame was unquestionable. Damn."

Damn right. I avoided "Cheyenne Autumn" for years because of its bad rep. Finally saw it on DVD and was impressed.

Arnie Beaumont

I've enjoyed these series of posts. It amuses me to think of the classical, orchestral concert in a similar context: it was in the old days quite a noisy affair, with people socializing the whole time, leaving and arriving; folks would spontaneously break out into applause at a particularly delightful musical moment, and would demand encores of individual pieces or movements that were well-received.

Things changed gradually in the 19th century, when in the midst of the quasi-spiritual Romantic view of art and the artist, listeners became more pretentious, and the symphonic concert became religious experience under the batons of Liszt and Wagner. Finally by the end of the century and into the 20th, Mahler demanded complete solemn quietude during the performance.

It is difficult at times having to restrain one's emotions as one is expected to at a classical concert, remaining completely still, quiet, and waiting for the proper moments to cheer. At times I truly wish it could be something more spontaneous. On the other hand, I've been as annoyed with the people who won't stop whispering or the guy who won't stop coughing as anyone.


I saw 'The Vikings' on the big screen (sort of) at my High School of all places. They used to show us all a movie (on celluloid in a old projector) in one of the assembly halls before we broke for summer. As it was an all-boys school we loved every minute of it, I think you could call the communal atmosphere of adolescent glee transcendent.

At the same school I had an English teacher show us Lindsay Anderson's "If..." in a class. It was the 70s.

Arnie Beaumont

I also forgot to mention how excellent it was to find "Cheyenne Autumn" as one of your great recent film experiences. Very underrated Ford. I find it difficult to talk about Ford these days with the youth, either because they heard from someone that Ford was a racist or just because it's hard to introduce people to classic Hollywood or classic Westerns. But a lot of their resistance is removed when they actually watch Stagecoach or My Darling Clementine and are confronted with that level of film making. Wonderful to hear that the audience was just as won over by Cheyenne Autumn.

Jeff McMahon

You know, I live in Los Angeles, but I'm not crazy about the Cinerama Dome. The acoustics are wonky and if you're not sitting in a fairly small section of the center, the sightlines aren't great. But my best experience in it was a screening of How the West Was Won a few years ago, which seemed the best way to see it.


LondonLee: My high school used to show movies in the '70s too, in the theater where we had various assemblies and put on plays. CHEYENNE AUTUMN was one of them, in fact, along with THE CAINE MUTINY, THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM and TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, among the ones I recall seeing. It was awesome.


We saw GUNFIGHT AT THE OK CORRAL one year which led to a lot of pretend shooting in the playground after, and THE GYPSY MOTHS which had a flash of boobs in it* that caused much consternation among the boys and teachers (but for different reasons)

*Just looked it up and the boobs belonged to DEBORAH KERR of all people!


I'm glad the Cinerama Dome still exists and it's great for seeing actual Cinerama films (in the last decade I've seen How the West Was Won, This is Cinerama and The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm), but otherwise I avoid it in favor of the other Arclight screens.

One minor but really irritating feature of the Dome -- if you look at their seating chart, it looks like there's a wide open space in the middle of the front section between rows FF and GG.

There isn't. I bought a Brothers Grimm ticket for that row on-line, assuming it was the front of a section with some leg room, only to find it was right in the middle of a large block of seats. Bad Dome.



That would be "Eloge de l'amour", not "Eloge d'amour" :)

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