"Around the World in 80 Days" at the Academy Theater

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jonathan Burk, Nov 20, 2002.

  1. Jonathan Burk

    Jonathan Burk Second Unit

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    [​IMG]
    Monday night, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences screened Around the World in 80 Days in its series of screenings of Best Picture Oscar winners.
    The evening started a little early, on account of lengthy running time of the film. At 7:00, we were treated to a 15 minute "highlight reel" of the Academy Awards broadcast from that year, hosted by Jerry Lewis. I enjoyed Yul Brynner's speech for his King and I win: "I hope this isn't a mistake, because I won't give it back for anything in the world."
    We then heard, as curtain music, a recording of Doris Day singing "Que Sera" from The Man Who Knew Too Much. This was followed by a brief speech from lyricist Ray Evans, who recounted meeting Alfred Hitchcock only briefly about the song, and the surprise it was to win the Oscar. Also nominated that year was Cole Porter, who was the strong sentimental favorite. It was fun to hear the joy in Ray Evan's voice as he reminisced about the evening he won, and his passion for being a song writer.
    Next was a trailer for next week's show, Bridge on the River Kwai. It's nice to know that even 46 years ago, trailers gave away the whole film [​IMG].
    And every week, we also get to see the Oscar winning animated short from that year. In the last few weeks, we've seen a lot of Tom & Jerry, Looney Tunes, and some Disney and Mr. Magoo. This night, it was Mr. Magoo in "Mister Magoo's Puddle Jumper". Having never seen Mr. Magoo before this series, I was mildly amused, but it didn't get the laughs that Tom & Jerry and the Looney Tunes regularly earn. There were some odd sound "fluctuations" for the first few minutes of the short, but they soon disappeared, and we were able to enjoy the widescreen Mr. Magoo to its fullest.
    And finally, after an introduction by the series' producer Randy Haberkamp, the film started. This was a Technicolor IB print from 1963, with "sync" 4-track magnetic sound. The intermission card appeared to be in French, so it's possible this was a foreign print. Not having seen the movie, I can't speak to any scenes that were missing, but there were a few edits in the middle of music cues and scenes that suggested some kind of missing footage.
    The film started with a 1.33:1 introduction by Edward R. Murrow, were he briefly discusses Jules Verne and his futuristic visions. We are shown a few minutes of George Melies' A Trip to the Moon, and then a shot of a "modern" 1950's era rocket lifting off. I can't remember what the whole point of this was, other than it being similar to the This is Cinerama intro. When the movie finally started, the curtains pulled back (the Academy Theater always masks everything properly), and we were in business.
    I found the movie to be thoroughly enjoyable, and not once did I look at my watch and wonder "how much longer?". There were a few scenes that kind of dragged on (like the bull fight in Spain), but in general the movie was much better than I expected. The print was very good, with only a few scenes visibly marred. Several shots had a "fringing" of red and blue (I felt the desire to find the remote and perform a convergance [​IMG] ), and each reel change brought a huge change in contrast and color. But in general, the color and clarity were excellent, with few scratches or signs of physical damage. I can't imagine seeing this film on a television (letterboxed or not), given its travelogue scenery. The sound fared better than the picture, which is to say it was excellent. It was dynamic, clear, and...well...it just sounded darn good. I quickly got tired of the heavily panned dialog (at times it was the aural equivalent of a ping pong match). I also enjoyed the score immensely, and look forward to picking up a copy. While some may argure that there were more deserving films that year (also nominated were Friendly Persuasion, Giant, The King and I, and The Ten Commandments), I wouldn't accuse ATWI80D of being undeserving if you haven't seen it on the big screen.
    As an added bonus, during the intermission, we were treated to 50's era Drive-In concession ads. They were hilarious.
    The series is now picking up steam, as we've crested the era of widescreen, stereophonic sound films. Coming up are brand new prints of Bridge on the River Kwai and Gigi, and 70mm presentations of My Fair Lady, Lawrence of Arabia, and the newly restored The Sound of Music, among others. Tickets are only $5, and can be purchased 6 weeks in advance. Even though Monday night had sold out in advance, there were still plenty of empty seats left when the movie started.
     
  2. Peter Kline

    Peter Kline Cinematographer

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  3. RobertR

    RobertR Lead Actor

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    I sent in a request for a Ben Hur ticket, and will likely do the same for at least Lawrence. The Academy Theater is superb, one of those venues that puts to rest the notion that ANY video format is as good as the best film.
     
  4. Adam_S

    Adam_S Producer

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    I sent in the mail order form for tickets to Bridge on the RIver Kwai almost five weeks ago, but still haven't gotten my tickets returned to me [​IMG]
    And I really really wanna see BOTRK on the big screen!
    Adam
     
  5. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    I'm planning to go to LA in late January/early February to see My Fair Lady and Sound of Music (I didn't know the latter film was being/had been restored, I can't wait to see the new print). I wish there were more vintage movie screenings like this in the southeast. The southeast needs a revival house, for as good as DVD or HDTV may be, there is still none better than film.

    I saw Lawrence in 70mm in London, England at the National Film Theatre in July 1999, and I was blown away. I see why Dan Rather said he refused to watch this picture on a TV set; I thought to myself that no DVD could do it justice.
     
  6. SteveP

    SteveP Second Unit

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    Directional dialogue was considered an ESSENTIAL part of widescreen configurations by the people who developed these processes and is fondly remembered by many of us old enough to have experienced these films in their original sound formats.

    The recent "Sing-A-Long" print of SOUND OF MUSIC was an ABORTION that did no justice to how this film originally looked and sounded. If Fox is making a restoration effort on this film, I hope it will get some kind of broad release in '05, the picture's 40th anniversary.
     
  7. RobertR

    RobertR Lead Actor

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  8. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    I refused to see the Sing-Along TSoM, as I have no desire to sit in a theatre for 3 hours while people with the vocal ranges of Britney Spears try to second-guess Julie Andrews' illustrious voice.
     

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