Tuesday, October 4, 2005

We Got Electricity and Runnin' Water and Everything!

A new theater opened about six months ago in Appleton. Called The Big Picture, it has a screen measuring 60 X 80 feet, and the seating is such that nobody is very far from this gigantic screen. The image appears so huge you almost can 't take it all in, which is fabulous for immersing you in the movie experience. It's a beautiful, state of the art facility.

This is all well and good. But, like an IMAX theater, there are just a limited number of films released for this kind of 70mm projector, and all their programming has been focused on adventure stories, much like you'd see on the National Geographic channel. And at $8.50 for an hour long show, it just hasn't shaped up as a place a parent takes their kid on a weekly basis. What seemed like maybe a questionable premise for a town of 70,000 quickly becomes a dubious business proposition.

Now, as though someone had engaged me with a secret mind meld (actually, there were many requests registered, mine not among them), The Big Picture recently announced a new initiative: their "Great Movies Series," where they will play each week a movie from the American Film Institute's 100 Greatest Films. The showings of these classic films are interspersed with their regular programming, with matinees on Saturday and Sunday, and a showing Tuesday nights at 8:15. Apparently, special 70mm versions of these films are available, so that a second projector was not needed to show these classics.

This announcement made me giddy as a Republican with a loaded firearm! Week One was "The Sting."

Week Two, "Casablanca."

This week's show was "An American in Paris."

And next week will be "Citizen Kane."

How cool is that? I own all these films on DVD (as my wife reminds me when I blow yet another $20 to see a movie I could watch at home for free), but seeing them in the theater--especially this theater--is another thing altogether. This is magic.

And here everybody thought we ain't got no culture here in CheeseLand.

Speaking of old movies, I have to raise my glass to Turner Classic Movies' latest print ad campaign for the Classics. (I tried to find some of these posters online, but was not successful.)

The latest one for North By Northwest shows the famous image of Cary Grant running from the crop dusting airplane, with the following caption:

When you barely miss your plane, that's FRUSTRATING. When your plane barely misses you, that's CLASSIC.

My favorite was for Hitchcock's Psycho:

A grown man living with his mother, that's PATHETIC. A grown man living with his dead mother, that's CLASSIC.



kari said...

that movie line-up is fantastic!!!

matty said...

Glad to see film preservationists hard at work. How do they blow those 35mm prints to 70m format? Must of cost some serious mulah. A little too far for me to travel but I'd definitely pay the ticket price to see Bergman and Bogie that big. If they ever show some classic Bardot in 70mm let me know and I'll fly up!