On an unrelated (but sort of related) matter...
TCM has had a 4-day "classic film festival" here in LA
, whose final day was today. About 100 or so wonderful films shown morning, noon and night at the 7 or so participating theaters in Hollywood. You can buy a complete pass for the whole event, or you can go to stand-in-line and hopefully buy individual tickets for individual movie screenings on an as-available basis.
Anyway, today I made it my business to get up at dawn in or order to get to the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood (adjacent to the Arclight) an hour before the 9:15AM showing of "How The West Was Won", in order to pretty much guarantee I would get in (and I did, of course). This is the 50th anniversary of the 1962 release, and it seemed a fitting tribute to get aired during this TCM Festival at a theater capable of presenting it properly.
It was shown in its "true original theatrical release" Cinerama version
, including 15-minute intermission and musical overture at the start of each 1/2 as well as the closing music. The Cinerama Dome in Hollywood
is one of the two remaining Cinerama theaters in the country, and has state-of-the-art projection and sound (30 speakers ring the arena, not counting the remarkable speakers behind the screen).
It really was a terrific experience (crew of 5 presents it, 3 projectionists, 1 on sound, and 1 booth supervisor... not a single glitch while showing its 18 miles of film), filled with nostalgia. Every time another "dead person" actor appeared on the screen (as a "child", being 50 years ago when the film was made) the audience applauded adoringly.
But the real extra special treat came at the end of the movie, when Robert Osborne came on stage to interview Debbie Reynolds (was one of the very few people left from the movie who's still alive) who was a special guest for the screening. Lasted about 30 minutes, and was really something. I didn't know she had two pregnancies during the filiming (which lasted about 2 years), and was originally not intended to be in the last section of the movie (when her character was an old great-grandmother) but only in the first section (when she was a young lass). Also, she hung out with Thelma Ritter who had a really filthy mouth but was a great deal of fun. Didn't know that two stunt people drowned during the filming of the river rapids sequence, and that another stunt person lost 1/2 his leg and one eye and was severely and permanently injured during some unexpected happenings during the filming of the train de-coupling and that whole sequence.
Anyway, just had to share that with the readers of this thread, as I thought you'd appreciate how all-around special this opportunity really was. Even the stunt man (now an old man) who DOUBLED FOR DEBBIE REYNOLDS ON THE HORSES was in the audience, and was asked to stand up to take a bow.
Great picture, excellent presentation (the left and right 1/3 strips were bright and clear, with the center 1/3 being just a bit darker... but all in all these analog film prints are 50 years old, so you just have to accept it), and some truly terrific "special effects" sequences which were obviously real and not CGI (buffalo stampede, and train sequence).
They had an exhibit of posters from all the Cinerama movies in the lobby, along with various cameras, projectors, film cans, etc.. Very entertaining.
Incidentally, for those who care and for which it might be applicable, the Cinerama Dome is having a "Cinerama film festival" of its own in September. I don't know what the details are yet, but I'm sure more will be made available as the summer approaches.