"When faced with a problem you do not understand,
do any part of it you do understand; then look at it again."
~(Robert A. Heinlein - "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress")

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Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Marquee (Updated)

(Originally posted Thursday, 30 Aug 2012 - Updated below)

This pretty well mandates where I will be late this Friday evening (Aug 31) and past midnight. ...
Taken Thursday afternoon, 30 Aug 2012

That is the River Oaks theater, of which I've written before in The Zen of Firefly and Serenity ... and "You keep using that word.

It is our Mecca for art films. The listing at the right is for the normal daily schedule, and is pretty representative of what they schedule.  The panel on the left is usually for whatever they schedule for their weekend (Friday and Saturday) midnight specials.

And what does that panel promise this weekend? ...

I first saw Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) (but not in 3D) as a kid in San Antonio, in the mid '50s, at a 16mm showing in an elementary school.  I recall watching it with my hands over my eyes, peeking through fingers. (Not at all sure how that kid would have handled the "chest burster" scene from "Alien" 25 years later.)

So, YES, I'm going. But, I've had several instances of seeing again something I fondly remembered from years ago only to discover that I was remembering it as better than it actually was.

I'll try and keep my expectations within reason and hope for the best. :-)

For those in Houston, here's the latest Midnight Movie schedule ...
Right-click on it and Open in New Tab for easier reading.

Update - Tuesday 04 Sep 2012 - I went to see it that Friday night.

As I feared above, I remembered it as better than it actually was. Not bad, but the movie a twelve year old kid watched peeking through his fingers might now be considered as "quaint".

The worst part of the experience was watching it through cardboard 3D "glasses" with red and blue plastic filters to see through. Just trying to keep them in place was a serious detraction.

To give the movie a fair shake, I got the DVD (not 3D, so much clearer and less headache inducing). From one of the bonus extras on the DVD, I learned that the original 3D process they used in the '50s used two separate projectors for the left eye and right eye images, through polarizing filters and had polarized lenses in the glasses to make for a better viewing experience.

I knew about polarizing, but did not know about the separate projectors (assuming they had put the double images on a single film as they do with the two-color process - which was the version shown at the River Oaks).

The use of two simultaneous projectors made for a much brighter picture, but was a nightmare for the theaters, as they had to be in perfect synchronization for it to work. Get out of sync by just a few frames and the image went to Hell when any motion was involved (as did the viewer trying to watch it).

I saw one of those polarized 3D movies when it first came out (a western called The Charge at Feather River (1953), which of course had things coming at you in 3D, including a rattlesnake strike) and it was a thing of beauty.

But very few theaters could afford projectionists professional enough to handle the complexities of properly showing the films. I'm pretty sure that's a major reason for 3D dying out for such a long time. Modern day digital equipment makes it possible for a minimum wage projectionist to manage it without screwing up (although one should never underestimate the possibilities in that regard).

Bottom line on "Creature":  An underwater version of King Kong (1933), with one of the most iconic monster suits in movie history ...


(Screencaps from DVD)

Pleasant dreams. :-)
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1 comment:

GW said...

I love those old horror movies, even the one's played for laughs. Yes, they are quaint by today's standards, but I still would go to the theater if they ever showed them. I have never been to one of the old 3-D movies, however. Just as well, the best horror films were all black and white.

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