Before home cinema....

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Sean Campbell, Oct 14, 2003.

  1. Sean Campbell

    Sean Campbell Second Unit

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    I was talking about movies with my grandfather the other day. He's now in his 80s but still has clear recollections of going to the cinema on a regular basis back in the late 1920s and 1930s. One of his most vivid memories is of seeing King Kong on its original release back in 1933. Kong obviously made a big impression on him as ever since I was a kid, I can remember him talking about his experiences at the cinema on that day 70 years ago. He remembers the posters just inside the main door and the friends he was with. He even remembers the colour of the carpet and the price of the chocolate he bought.
    It got me thinking...
    Back then there was no home cinema. Television existed only in a very primitive form and was mainly for the rich. So most people would only get to see a movie once. Imagine seeing a movie you really enjoyed but not seeing it again until many years later ( although he bought his first tv in the 60s, my grandfather didn't see King Kong again until I bought him the video in the mid 90s ). Imagine how such a movie would haunt your dreams for years. Imagine how it would gain almost mythical status within your mind.
    By being able to buy DVDs so soon after the cinema release are we missing out on the 'magic' of the early days of cinema?
     
  2. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

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    Yes.
     
  3. Vickie_M

    Vickie_M Producer

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    Nice story about your grandfather!

    Yes, but it's a good tradeoff, to be able to see movies whenever you like. The only downsides to home video are

    1) the people who avoid seeing movies in the theater

    Not every movie needs to be seen in the theater, but many do. If you saw The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring in the theater and thought it was a bad movie, well, I disagree with you but I (reluctantly) respect your opinion. If you only saw it at home and thought it was a bad movie, then your opinion is, to me, less than meaningless. While I think that good movies are good movies whether they're seen in the theater or a 5" b&w TV, films like Titanic, The Matrix, Moulin Rouge and Lord of the Rings really should be seen on the big screen to fully appreciate. I myself never really appreciated Citizen Kane until I saw it on the big screen on an anniversary tour. I'd tried to watch it several times on TV and got bored. Seeing it in the theater was when I finally said "I GET IT! Now I understand why it's so highly acclaimed!"

    However, now I'm glad that it's on DVD so that I can watch it whenever I feel like watching it.

    2) and how video caters to those with short attention spans

    There are just too many distractions, and the pause and stop button are too easily accessed. Good movies suffer because of it.

    Otherwise, the video revolution has been a godsend for film lovers. When I was a kid I'd read stories about how Hollywood movie moguls and stars would have parties and then retire to the "screening room" to watch the latest releases. I'd turn dark green with envy, and I used to dream about having my own screening room and movie library.

    Well, now I do! Yay! [​IMG] (But I still go to the theater ALL THE TIME)
     
  4. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

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    Thanks, Vickie. Your post explains perfectly what my simple "yes" reply tried to do.

    While I think all movies are best seen on the screen - and I put my money where my mouth is (visit Big Screen Classics for a glimpse how) - I love being able to own excellent quality copies of my favorites (and not having to deal with 16mm and 35mm equipment in the home anymore!)

    Pete

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Dennis Pagoulatos

    Dennis Pagoulatos Supporting Actor

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    I had zero appreciation for Blade Runner until seeing a restored 70mm Director's Cut print at Radio City Music Hall a few years ago. It's in my top 5 sci-fi films of all time now!

    I agree 100% with you Vickie!

    -Dennis
     
  6. Kimmo Jaskari

    Kimmo Jaskari Screenwriter

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    The reason we don't want to go to the cinema is that increasing numbers of people who do go think they are at home. They talk, use cellphones and just plain act like morons, destroying the movie going experience.

    Yes, usually you do manage to get some movie magic going on in a movie theater, but it is disturbingly common to have someone annoy the crap out of you due to being inconsiderate.

    When that happens to me these days I tend to curse under my breath and vow never again to leave the comfort of my home cinema. Fortunately, until now I have always changed my mind later...

    Still, I'm sure it was a much bigger experience earlier to go to the movies. When you couldn't see large amounts of movies easily, every one must have been a real revelation. I do remember myself when Star Wars first came out; I saw it three or four times in the theater and was absolutely awestruck by it. It is rare these days to see any movie that has such a profound impact on me - probably due to me being much more jaded these days.
     
  7. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    Nice post Vicki—I agree with you and Peter (though I’ve never had my own 16mm, much less 35mm projector).

    A regular part of my early childhood was the Saturday matinee. Usually a serial installment, such as Flash Gordon, a cartoon (or two), a cowboy movie (Roy Rodgers, Gene Autry and such) and a second feature, often also a western.

    As I got a bit older, I was allowed to go to a Friday night film—which I considered a very big deal. And I changed my Saturday’s to a theatre that had regular features instead of kids sutff.

    My wife and I still prefer seeing films at the theatre, and we rarely encounter rudeness. Living in Dallas, I have a lot of options, and by now have eliminated venues that seem to draw an inconsiderate crowd.
     
  8. ChuckSolo

    ChuckSolo Screenwriter

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    I guess Lew and I are in the same era time wise. I remember waiting all week to get my allowance so I could go see the latest John Wayne movie or the newest Ray Harryhausen flick in Dynamation. I think most of us older folks would probably still remember when there was a "Cry Room" so that mother's could take crying babies out of the main theater and still enjoy the film. Back then people very rarely talked during a film although smoking was allowed in the theater which was very annoying, especially in a military town which was the case where I grew up. Multi-Plexes were unknown until I got into high school and then a multi plex had from 2 to 4 theaters and no more. Usually one of those theaters had a huge screen, the others were much smaller. Today, I still enjoy going to the theater, especially the stadium seating kind. I enjoy my HT and usually only buy movies that I really enjoy and which have great PQ and sound. Still, I think to really experience and enjoy a great film, a large theater screen is a must and nothing beats the atmosphere in a really nice cinema.
     
  9. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    I'm going for a No!

    The talking/phones/whatever today used to get stopped quickly once upon a time. Now they just let it go. There should be at least one usher in every room with a flashlight that can pinpoint and remove anyone disturbing the rest.

    I'd be interested to hear just how big your grandfather's screen was. I used to love going downtown to the Fox. I even got a ride up to the projection booth once - it wa on the 10th floor! Now that was a screen!

    Glenn
     
  10. Robert Floto

    Robert Floto Supporting Actor

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    Sean,

    What did your grandfather think of Kong after seeing it again on video?
     
  11. Sean Campbell

    Sean Campbell Second Unit

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  12. Yee-Ming

    Yee-Ming Producer

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  13. Joe Road

    Joe Road Agent

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    Speking of movie going experinces, i just now got back from the 40th anniversary print of "It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World" at the Cinnerama Dome in Hollywood. The audience was great and their laughing and applauding everytime someone came on screen was just something you could never get at home. It made the movie ten times funnier with the audience. The new print was gorgeous, and the GIANT WIDE screen and awesome sound were no match for even the best home theater set ups. I think this was the best movie goin experience of my life.

    Alot of the people in the movie showed up too. I saw Edie Adams, and Stan Freeberg, and even though they wern't in it, (obvioulsy) Billy Bob Thorton and Robert Downey Jr were there too.
     
  14. ThomasC

    ThomasC Lead Actor

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    It seems like IMAX is one of our last hopes. I don't think any multiplex could possibly compete with its massive picture and incredible sound system. I can't wait to see The Matrix Revolutions in IMAX!
     
  15. Joe Road

    Joe Road Agent

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    Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't IMAX NOT display it's films in OAR? Aren't you missing some picture information or stretching the film to fit the screen?

    I'd rather see a film on a regular OAR BIG screen like the Cinnerama Dome or the Chineese Theater in Hollywood or Edward's big Newport in Newport Beach CA.
     
  16. Paul_Sjordal

    Paul_Sjordal Supporting Actor

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    I still have vivid memories of seeing Star Wars for the first time.

    Mostly because I was living in Japan at the time and it was really bizarre seeing a movie with English dialog and Japanese subtitles. Also, I remember the Japanese audience bursting into laughter every time someone in the movie mentioned Chewbacca's name ("baka" means "idiot" in Japanese). Lastly of course, there was the magic of being a kid and seeing that movie for the first time and having my young little mind blown.

    Oh, and the line to get in was very long, but then everything in Tokyo involves waiting in long lines.
     
  17. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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  18. Jason Borchers

    Jason Borchers Second Unit

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    .
     
  19. ThomasC

    ThomasC Lead Actor

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    I think The Matrix Reloaded was the first film not made specifically for IMAX to be shown in its OAR. I hope it's a sign of things to come.

     
  20. Joe Road

    Joe Road Agent

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    AFAIK?
     

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