Archive for September 4, 2019

Flyblown

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , on September 4, 2019 by dcairns

What you see here is my ticket to A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM at the Regent Street Cinema, Britain’s oldest picture house, and the cup of coffee I got FREE with said ticket, a deal which now establishes this venue in the firmament of my favourite cinemas.

The 35mm print of Richard Lester’s film was practically pristine — you could see MORE FLIES than ever before — Lester had the Spanish set stuffed with real food which rotted and attracted swarms of the little buzzing background artistes. Film projections of musicals are always risky because bad splices can ruin a song like nothing else. This was smooth as my Americano.

The fly in the ointment was the projection, which cut off the top and/or bottom of the frame, giving an unwanted Sergio Leone effect in the closeups, sometimes reducing the image to Jack Gilford’s panicked eyes, or removing important bits of action during the visual gags. But projections of Lester films are rare, and I’d never seen this big, so on the whole I’m still delighted at having the opportunity and I bet the technical problems had been fixed by the second show. You could see the poor projectionist trying to figure out which bit of the frame to crop (correct answer: none).

This evening I tried to see Costa-Gavras Z, a perfect film for this particular historical moment, but it was sold out, annoying because I could trace the exact wrong turn that resulted in me being ten seconds too late for the last seat in the Lumiere. grr.

But still — Lester, Roeg, Sondheim, Mostel, Gilford, Silvers, Hordern…

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