Monday, October 1, 2012

Vintage 007 On The Big Screen!

This past weekend I caught a double bill of DR. NO and GOLDFINGER at the historic Landmark Loews Jersey City movie palace.  Both films are classic Connery Bond adventures with DR. NO being the first, setting the stage for the series to follow.  GOLDFINGER definitively crystallized the franchise with the format and style that pretty much all the subsequent films adopted to varying degrees.
I know most nostalgia and hardcore cinephiles don't want to hear this bit of sacrilege but-  good riddance to 35mm projection!  With blu-ray at home and 4K digital theatrical projection, it can be a chore to sit through the unspooling of older 35mm prints.  What's worse is that the viewer is a virtual slave to the projectionist's skills or lack thereof.  Both 007 features were constantly plagued with focus adjustments and framing errors where heads were routinely cut off!  Also, reel changes and the variances of projection bulb luminosity have now become an assault on the senses and definitely distract from the total viewing experience.  How this was tolerated and accepted as 'normal' in the good ol' days I'll never know! Those scratchy head and tails are pretty hideous too.  Anyway, 35mm projection can still be pleasant and hipster-nostalgic if the projectionist is good and the 35mm print is pristine or so rare that you just don't care.  Having the Bond blu-rays at home it was the communal big screen experience that counted.  What also enhanced the weekend's presentation was the cool lobby display of 007 memorabilia and the excellent and highly knowledgeable onstage introductions by CinemaRetro magazine editor Lee Pfieffer.   Be on the lookout for their upcoming Bond special issue! 
For Halloween, the Loews is going all out with a Friday and Saturday horror marathon:  William Castle's HOMOCIDAL, CARNIVAL OF SOULS, MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE, DRACULA, HORROR OF DRACULA and THE SENTINEL!  Sadly, all of these screenings compete with the local Chiller Theatre Expo!

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