When's the last time you heard an audience break into spontaneous applause during a movie?
That occurred Tuesday night during the showing I attended of "Singin' In the Rain" at the new Cineplex Odeon Holladay Center Cinemas, after Donald O'Connor's "Make 'Em Laugh" number about halfway into the film.During the 10 years I've been reviewing movies for the Deseret News I can't remember that ever happening. (he next time you hear someone say, "They don't make them like that anymore, you'll know what they're talking about.)
"Singin' In the Rain" was part of the week of free movies co-sponsored by the Deseret News and Cineplex Odeon Theaters, and to call it a roaring success would be to understate.
The films were shown in a 225-seat auditorium in the plush new six-plex (o the north of the Cottonwood Mall on 4800 South) and by Tuesday every screening - the first around noon each day, the last around 9 p.m. - was sold out.
Actually, "sold out" isn't the correct term since the shows were free (ith an ad from the Deseret News), but there was standing room only for every showing of "Singin' In the Rain" Tuesday," "Ben-Hur" Wednesday and "An Affair to Remember" Thursday.
In fact, for "Ben-Hur" a second 225-seat auditorium was opened up (he theater has an interlocking system that allows one print to be shown on two screens at the same time) and still filled every seat for the 4 and 8 p.m. showings.
Here are the specific numbers for all you statisticians out there:
The program got off to a slow start, with "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" on Friday bringing in only 280 people all day. "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance" did well on Saturday, however, with 703 throughout the day, and the evening shows filling the house. On Sunday, "Casablanca" dropped to only 254 moviegoers, though the Chaplin comedy, "Modern Times," did fair business with 530 on Monday.
But as word spread about these great films being shown - and, no doubt, the fact that they were free - the audience numbers picked up tremendously for the rest of the week:
On Tuesday for "Singin' in the Rain," every show was filled - 1,027 in attendance. On Thursday, the same for "An Affair to Remember" - 1,029. And on Wednesday, for "Ben-Hur," the two theaters took in 1,239 admissions.
On the whole, it was a tremendous success, and to those who attended we thank you, and to those who were turned away because the shows were filled, we apologize.
How can we make it up?
Perhaps by doing it again - very soon.
Keep reading these pages.
SPEAKING OF OUR old friends at Cineplex Odeon, their Centre Theatre downtown, the subject of last week's diatribe about sound problems, has been repaired. The problem had to do with old equipment, and as one piece would blow out and have to be replaced, another would blow out and have to be replaced. It was a cycle that plagued the theater for three weeks after the opening of "Willow," but it has now been corrected.
Friday I was given a tour of the Centre Theatre's projection booth, shown the old boxes and wires that were torn out and the new boxes and wires that replaced them, and I sat in the theater and in the balcony to listen to the sound system for myself.
The stereo was excellent, the dialogue was clear - even during the loudest battle scenes - and the overall presentation was much better than it has been in the past few weeks.
So once again the recommendation for "Willow" is, if you want to see it, see it in 70mm and hear it in Dolby Stereo at the Centre. One of Salt Lake's best theaters is once again at its best.
ALL YOU "DUNE" fans, and we know you're out there, are in for good news and bad news about the commercial television premiere of that 1984 science fiction epic based on the beloved Frank Herbert novel.
The film, of course, flopped at the box office and was criticized for being too long and dark and often incomprehensible. But the filmmakers have often said in interviews that if the enormous amount of footage that was cut from the theatrical release could be restored it would be a much better movie, just as "Star Trek - The Motion Picture" was improved with additional footage for its commercial TV bow.
The good news is that it will happen this week when "Dune" is shown on Ch. 13 in two parts, Monday and Tuesday evenings at 8 (nd repeated the following weekend). About an hour of never-before-seen footage will be added to the film for this showing.
The bad news is that director David Lynch didn't do this recut himself and is apparently not happy with the result. He has asked to have his name removed from the film for this showing, so the Director's Guild standard pseudonymn - Allen Smithee - will be credited instead.
AN ETIQUETTE SPECIALIST has named those celebrities with the best manners, with Ronald and Nancy Reagan at the head. The Gorbachevs would no doubt agree.
But there was only one movie star on the list - James Stewart.
Singers Dolly Parton and Lionel Richie and TV star Johnny Carson were also on the list, but no other movie folk.
Not even Sean Penn?
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Clint Eastwood, according to an article in the "Outtakes" column of the Los Angeles Times Calendar section two weeks ago, sent this message to Sonny Bono after the latter's election win as the mayor of Palm Springs, Calif.:
"Do you need a councilman? An Unemployed Politician."
THE "CROC" REMAINED on top, but "Rambo" fell a notch.
"`Crocodile' Dundee II" held on to the No. 1 spot in its second week on the box office charts, earning another $121/2 million. "Rambo" earned another $71/2, but was beat out by Tom Hanks' comedy "Big," which took in more than $8 million.
The Chevy Chase comedy "Funny Farm" also did well, coming in fourth, and knocking "Willow" down to fifth place.
Here's the latest national "top 10" countdown, according to Variety, the show business trade paper:
1. "Crocodile" Dundee II, $121/2 million (471/2 million, two weeks).
2. Big, $8 million (irst week).
3. Rambo III, $71/2 million (321/2 million, two weeks).
4. Funny Farm, $51/2 million (irst week).
5. Willow, $5 million (251/2 million, three weeks).
6. Colors, $11/2 million (40 million, eight weeks).
7. Beetlejuice, $11/2 million (64 million, 10 weeks).
8. Friday the 13th, Part VII - The New Blood, $900,156 (17 million, four weeks).
9. Moonstruck, $612,475 (761/2 million, 25 weeks.
10. Good Morning, Vietnam, $540,891 (1201/2 million, 24 weeks).