I've been wanting to write this post for a long time. Back in March, Turner Classic Movies teamed with Fathom Events to bring Casablanca back to theaters. Since then, the two entities have brought multiple films - Singin' in the Rain and The Birds, for instance - back to the big screen. For one reason or another, I had not been able to catch a single one of them.
Until the monster got me...Frankenstein's monster, that is. I was lucky enough to win a pair of tickets (from the amazing blog True Classics) to go see the double feature of 1931's Frankenstein and its sequel Bride of Frankenstein. I am lucky enough to have a girlfriend who enables my appreciation for classic movies and agreed to go with me.
I am going to forego giving an extensive review of the experience, instead deferring to the opinions of two bloggers I trust who also saw the double feature - Cinematically Insane and Out of the Past. As Will from CI said, it was a great experience seeing the films on the big screen and the other people in the theater were extremely reverent of the cinematic gold; however, it was, at times, "immensely frustrating" in that the low quality of the restorations showed their age, a flaw more noticeable on the big screen.
One great thing about these theater screenings is that they are preceded by exclusive interviews - usually hosted by TCM hosts Robert Osborne or Ben Mankiewicz - that are relevant to the movie you are about to watch. The interviews that ran before Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein featured a conversation with Osborne and Boris Karloff's daughter, Bela Lugosi's son and renowned film make-up artist Dick Smith from this year's TCM Film Festival. As somebody who has wanted to attend the Film Festival for a few years now, it was awesome to be able to view a snapshot of the experience.
As a classic film fan, it is no surprise that seeing an old movie in the theater - simulating what it might have been like when the movies first cam out all those years ago - is enjoyable to me. But what would a classic movie amateur get from it?
Well, one great thing about seeing any movie in a theater is that you can't turn it off and you can't walk away from it, allowing you to fully look at a movie and take in all of its high points, as well as its flaws. Also, TCM and Fathom choose the movies that they screen for a reason: they are all great movies that were pivotal in paving the movie-making landscape for future films. In other words, a person who is being introduced to classic movies isn't going to be viewing a stinker, or essentially something that would turn him or her away for good.
For anybody interested, the next upcoming screening is To Kill a Mockingbird on Nov. 15.