You say you wish your kids could see "Ben Hur" on the big screen, the way it was meant to be seen?
You say "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" should have been left alone instead of Steven Spielberg himself hacking it up three years later to create his "Special Edition"?You say you've never had the pleasure of seeing a Charlie Chaplin movie in a theater where hundreds of people laughing around you could make you feel like the world's not such a bad place after all?
Well, the Deseret News and Cineplex Odeon Theaters are about to help you remedy the situation.
Beginning Friday a classic "Golden Oldie" will be shown each day for a week at the new Cineplex Odeon Holladay Center Cinemas - seven movies that are among the greatest ever made.
And the best part? Admission is free when you present at the box office the Deseret News ad for this special movie series. (You must have an ad; no photocopies allowed.)
The first ad usable for admission is in this section today, and subsequent ads will run every day for a week beginning next Thursday. Each ad is good for two free admissions to any of the listed films. Admission is on a first-come, first-served basis.
Here's the schedule:
"Close Encounters of the Third Kind" (Fri.)
"Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" (Sat.)
"Modern Times" (Mon.)
"Singin' In the Rain" (Tues.)
"Ben Hur" (Wed.)
"An Affair To Remember" (Thurs.)
Each film will be shown only one day, but there will be three to five showings each day. The Holladay Center Cinemas, located north of the Cottonwood Mall on 4800 South (Murray-Holladay Road), is a new six-plex that, despite modern decor, hearkens back to another era when theaters were plush, spacious and comfortable. And the screens are quite large, unlike so many multi-plexes these days.
The films chosen for this series were pared down from a much longer list, and some of them are not first choices. But the seven to be shown are all excellent movies.
Some of the more obvious omissions are "Gone With the Wind," "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial," "The Sound of Music and "Fantasia," all of which were among our first choices. But there are reasons they were left out.
Ted Turner now owns the MGM library and is not allowing "Gone With the Wind" to be shown theatrically - or in any other showcase. He has said publicly many times "GWTW" is his favorite movie and one of the reasons he bought MGM in the first place was so he could own that film. Recently he also bought out the CBS TV broadcast rights as well and plans to kick off his new cable station, TNT (Turner Network Television), with "Gone With the Wind" Oct. 1.
Universal won't allow "E.T." to be shown theatrically right now because it doesn't want to diminish its audience for the October release of that film on video for the first time.
The only 35mm print available for "The Sound of Music" is in such lousy condition that when it was shown for a similar promotion in Los Angeles last year much of the audience - people who got in free - left in disgust after the first half hour. (Quite a few other films we considered had similar problems, the most common being "bleeding prints," movies that have lost their color and are now completely pink or red.)
And Walt Disney Pictures simply refuses to allow any of its animated classics, such as "Fantasia," to be shown outside the regular seven-year release pattern.
Other films were eliminated from this series because they are shown often on television or because only 16mm prints are available (the Holladay is equipped for 35mm and 70mm) or because they are readily available on video. It could be argued that most of the movies we will be showing can be rented at any video store in town - but then how many movies are not available on video these days? These seven were selected for a variety of reasons:
First, we were guaranteed that all the prints for these films are in perfect condition - no skips, pops, washed-out color or other technical problems.
"Close Encounters" is the original film released in 1977, not the reworked 1980 version that is the only one generally available these days. "Butch Cassidy" is a locally made movie with great Utah scenery that benefits from a big-screen showing. "Casablanca" is one of the greatest romantic adventures ever filmed and an example of artistic black-and-white photography that deserves a silver screen showcase.
"Modern Times" is hilarious, and seeing it with an audience only enhances its enjoyment (and reaffirms the genius of Charlie Chaplin) - and it's not really a silent movie, as it has sound effects and a wonderful musical score written by Chaplin. "Singin' In the Rain" is acknowledged as the best musical ever made, and its vivid color and production numbers lose much on television.
"Ben Hur" is an admired epic (and winner of 11 Oscars, more than any other movie ever) that is often shown on TV in an edited down form (usually cut from its original 3-hour, 45-minute length to 21/2 hours) and loses most of its scope and power from the size of the small screen and commercial interruptions.
And "An Affair To Remember," a delightful romantic comedy with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr, is one of the most requested movies in video stores locally - and it is not available on video. (And though it has been on cable TV in recent years, it hasn't been shown on Salt Lake television for quite some time.)
It's hard to please everyone, of course. But we hope you'll find some of the films among these seven to your liking.
And we hope you'll have a great time at the movies, courtesy of the Deseret News and Cineplex Odeon Theaters.
(BU) QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Jean Marsh, veteran British actress who plays the evil queen in "Willow," quoted by L.A. Times writer Michael Cieply in his Cannes Film Festival report of a news conference where some 300 members of the international press grilled George Lucas, Ron Howard, Marsh and other members of the cast, on the subject of Lucas' penchant for merchandise tie-ins:
"We would all pay not to be on T-shirts and things."