Your recent piece on inept screenings of old movies reminded me of a couple of horrific screenings I have been to.
I once saw The Third Man where the projectionist couldn't understand the Academy ratio of the film so expanded the picture so it filled the width of the screen. This caused the top of the picture to be projected onto the ceiling of the cinema and the bottom to spill over the first few rows of the stalls with only the centre of the picture hitting the screen. This had the effect in medium shot of everyone having their heads cut off, or in close-up just showing their nose. Needless to say it was money-back-time.
But even worse because it was my local art house cinema I saw Hitchcock's '39 Steps' expanded from academy to widescreen with the resultant distortion. When I complained they told me it was the new digital projection and they couldn't alter it. But the really scary thing I was the only one that did complain. Oh the sad lonely life of a suffering film buff.
All the best
Retro responds: We all have similar war stories, Mark. When I was working in a theater during my high school days, we had a very old projectionist named Mandrake who tended to doze off inside the locked projection booth. One time he didn't wake up in time to start the main feature. The theater wasn't in the best area and the local populace began screaming. The theater manager and I kept pounding on the projection room door...Startled, the projectionist awoke suddenly and presented The Valachi Papers without remembering to bring back the curtains. Thus, the entire first reel was shown on the curtains themselves. This Mandrake was no magician!- Lee Pfeiffer
The film adaptation of John Carter of Mars as been widely derided, but reader Jason Lenzi defends its attributes.
Hey Cinema Retro (and Lee Pfeiffer in particular!)-
Jason Lenzi here, I wanted to drop a note and tell you how much I continue to enjoy the CINEMA RETRO website. I check in on it every other day or so.
Something's stirring at the multiplex right now that's right up CR's alley: JOHN CARTER. Being the classic pop culture experts you are, I don't need to tell you about the history of CARTER, it's inspiring storytelling as we know it for the past 100 years, and the dozens of false starts a JC movie has had over the years. But it finally got made, and then subsequently ignored. Doomed from the start, there has already been miles of coverage given to all the ways the promotional department at Disney messed up, from the shortening of the title to the loathsome ad campaign. Before it's release, all the naysayers started calling it "the disaster of the year", or something to that effect. Which is a shame, because the deck became remarkably stacked against a great movie.
The kind of movie that DOES NOT get made anymore. Bursting with creativity, intelligent, action packed and beautiful to look at, for all it's faults and horrible marketing, JOHN CARTER is a refreshing throwback to the blockbusters of yesteryear, like RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. And I feel it's going to go down like THE ROCKETEER from the same studio, 20 years ago: it will become a classic that the world will catch up with a decade later.
But something very interesting is happening. The box office is great overseas, and while it had a tepid opening weekend (which in itself was a miracle considering how poorly it was promoted), the Hollywood Reporter is reporting that box office has increased from Monday to Tuesday. And a new website, www.thejohncarterfiles.com, has been launched, and this weekend they're urging everyone to hit the theater again for a 'Take a Friend to Barsoom' weekend. There's even a Facebook page urging the studio to make a sequel.
I'm writing to CR about all of this because I felt this is the kind of film you guys would get behind, and thus would get behind the fan campaign. I've been part of a podcast, called 'Geek Shall Inherit', and for the past several weeks I've been preaching the gospel of JC, and now that I've seen it and love it, will be doing more of the same. Because the world needs more movies like JOHN CARTER.
Just thought you'd like to get to Barsoom with the rest of us!
Retro responds: Jason, we always have a soft spot in our hearts for courageous movie fans who stand up and defend movies that are widely derided by others. Frankly, I haven't seen the film, nor do I intend to, but that's primarily due to a lack of time. I share your respect for The Rocketeer, which remains an underrated gem that is just aching to be rediscovered.
CLICK HERE FOR THE WRAP'S COVERAGE OF THE FILM'S PROSPECTS FOR PROFITABILITY
FYI…”The Poseidon Adventure”
(1972) is FINALLY coming to blu ray on April 4th, as are several
other ship disaster movies around the same time. No doubt these are a tie-in
with the Titanic 100th Annivesary and Titanic (1997) re-release to
Anyway…thought I’d pass on the
news about TPA….hopefully you guys will do a special issue for “The
Poseidon Adventure” in the future…Dec. 12th will be the
40th anniversary since it’s release and this film has a huge
cult following…would love to see a whole magazine devoted to it (just a
wish and suggestion…haha) I believe there is to be a 40th Anniversary
showing on the Queen Mary in Long Beach California and hopefully lots of the
former stars of the film will be there…and of course the die hard fans of
Take care and look forward to more great
Thanks so much,
Retro Replies: Thank YOU, Todd, for the kind words and support. You'll be happy to know that we're all Poseidon fans here at Cinema Retro and although we won't have a special issue dedicated to the film, we are already working on major coverage for later this year. We've got some super images for the issue and some rarities including the Poseidon Adventure Viewmaster set. We're glad it's due out on Blu-ray- should look magnificent. Can't wait to hear Ernie Borgnine scream "My Linda!" in hi def format! - Lee Pfeiffer