I'm not baffled by an intermission as much as I find it odd that anyone would want a movie to stop for a short amount of time during the movie. I've never watched a movie and thought how much I was enjoying the story and that a short break would somehow enhance the movie. That being said, if I had seen movies with intermissions, I'm sure I would have a fond memories of them and the theater going experience of that era.
Just to clarify, I have no problem with them retaining the intermission on video. If there was an intermission in the theaters then the disc should maintain it. While I want the movie to continue, I would even watch the intermission in deference to that being the way that it originally played.
I certainly get the idea of creating suspense with a 'cliffhanger' intermission (I'm a huge proponent of watching serialized TV shows week to week rather than watching an entire season in a few days because I think it enhances the serialized storytelling experience) but it seems needless when we're talking about a story that runs a total of about 3 hours.
There was an "enhancing the experience" element to those intermissions of the past that I don't think anyone has mentioned yet. If it has been alluded to elsewhere in this thread, forgive me for repeating it here:
Assuming the length of the film warranted it, the break not only allowed for a trip to the potty and another (or first) trip to the concession stand but, quite memorably in several instances that I experienced first hand, gave us the chance to turn to one another to remark on how great it has been so far. Consequently, it "enhanced" the communal experience in that it encouraged us to share our enthusiasm for what has come already. Yes, there was a time when filmmakers were so confident in what they had delivered at roughly the half-way mark that they could insert a formal break in the narrative to give us all a chance to express our appreciation for it among our friends and family.
I can recall times when what we had watched just before that intermission break was so good, so impressive, we could not wait for the lights to come up during that break so we could turn to one another and share our thoughts. It made the event more fun and enhanced the experience! Notable examples off the top of my head were the intermission breaks during LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, THE SOUND OF MUSIC, FUNNY GIRL, 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY. The first "half" of those particular movies before the intermission was so good, so impressive, we were bursting with enthusiasm and could not wait to talk about it. And it is as if the filmmakers knew very well that what they'd delivered up to that moment would not only deserve our enthusiasm but would give us the chance to share it and thereby enhance the enthusiasm for what was to come.
Providing something great and then teasing the audience by making them wait a few moments for the rest was an element of showmanship that filmmakers of the past understood very well. That second dimming of the lights and second curtain opening generated a well-earned second shot of adrenaline for those movie-going events.
Dare I say...it might not speak so well for modern fare that there would not likely be very much positive to talk about, to enthuse about at roughly the halfway mark, even in the biggest budget, most supposedly "prestigious event" offerings, to survive an intermission break much less for the audience reaction to be improved by one. Of course, that is just my opinion about it.