Cinerama Dome and ArcLight Cinemas

6360 Sunset Boulevard,
Los Angeles, CA 90028

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JimRankin
JimRankin on June 1, 2005 at 12:05 pm

Don K.’s discussion is right on the nose, and it will be intersting to see what developes now that big business virtually ‘owns’ the govenment. Much more discussion about his is in the FORMUS of the site: www.bigscreenbiz.com

Manwithnoname
Manwithnoname on May 31, 2005 at 9:59 pm

To answer Eric’s inquiry, there is no question that the Dome is THE place to see any film. When the Lord of the Rings trilogy played here the 35mm print image was huge and the sound was perfect. Was it distorted? Some, because the film was not shot for presentation on a curved screen. Impressive? More so than any other theater currently running film in L.A. including the Chinese. I have not seen a digital presentation in the Dome but it is advertised as filling the entire Dome screen which, as noted above, is 86 feet wide. The “black boxes”, while quality houses, can’t come close to that kind of experience. Make sure you sit in the center section on the main floor. This section always sells out first and for good reason.

Don K.
Don K. on May 31, 2005 at 9:31 pm

Saw HOW THE WEST WAS WON at the Cinerama Dome and I was duly impressed. Beyond that, I like the black boxes at the Arclight, they fulfull a real need for quality screening rooms.

As much as I love quality vintage single screen theaters, the real question is whether or not motion picture exhibition as we have known it will survive. This is an age of changing public tastes. We are on the verge of a new era of on demand program delivery via a high speed internet connection to home theater systems, as well as High Definition DVD. Increased demand will bring down the price of High Definition Home Theater systems. Then the marketplace for motion pictures will change dramatically.

The only kind of motion picture exhibition that stands a real chance in this brave new world will be a high quality presentation. Of course, the Federal Government may have to allow the media conglomerates that own the movie studios to own a larger stake in movie exhibition. While that may seem to run counter to present Federal Anti-Trust law, it may be the only way traditional movie exhibition can survive. The movie studios still need a theatrical launch for their releases. Media conglomerates probably have the political clout to get their way in the current political environment. While I am not an advocate of corporate control of government by any means, movie studio investment in exhibition may be the way of the future. Allowing media conglomerates a 49% interest in exhibition may be the only way that movie theaters can survive in a changing marketplace.

The Arclight Cinemas could be part of the way of the future.

johnmontgomery
johnmontgomery on May 28, 2005 at 8:10 pm

If HOW THE WEST WAS WON will play this fall at the Cinerama Dome, I will unquestionably drive to Hollywood from Albuquerque to see it. I think if I could choose how I wanted to go out of this world when I die, it would be while sitting in the middle of the front row watching the end of HTWWW!!

et415
et415 on May 28, 2005 at 10:58 am

I have some friends from NYC and London coming into town on June 9, and they want to see Star Wars. So of course I’m taking them to the Arclight. My question is whether to put them in the Dome or one of the other theaters. Does the digital projection make a significant difference? Does the curved Dome screen distort the film? Where’s the best place to sit?

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on May 4, 2005 at 6:56 pm

I’ve been lucky to have seen “How The West Was Won” and the 40th anniversary print of “It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World” here in 2003. In addition, I’ve seen my fair share of current Hollywood fare as well. I will never forget the first time I saw a film here (Terminator 2 on Opening Day 1991). I love this place!

Manwithnoname
Manwithnoname on May 4, 2005 at 2:37 pm

Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back will play here on 6/1 and 6/10 respectively. 2 tickets will be given away to the AFI tribute to George Lucas at the first screening. It does not specify if the screenings will be in the Dome or not.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on May 4, 2005 at 1:44 pm

John: I’ve heard talk that HOW THE WEST WAS WON in 3-strip Cinerama is coming back to the Cinerama Dome sometime this fall. It’s worth the trip from anywhere!

One other thing about Alfred Newman’s excellent score for GREATEST STORY – for many years I thought the music heard while Max Von Sydow was carrying the cross on the way to Calvary was some of the most beautiful film music I’d ever heard. Years later I found out that it was not part of the original score at all, but the opening music to Giuseppe Verdi’s “Requiem”. It still fits that scene perfectly. I envy you getting to see that movie on that screen.

johnmontgomery
johnmontgomery on May 4, 2005 at 12:22 pm

I saw IT’S A MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD here when the theater first opened, then THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD several times. The last film I thought was awesome, and I must have been among the only youngsters (and adults for that matter) at that time who thought the film amazing. Once I had my brother take me for an evening show (my brother was a minister), and I remember forcing him to sit in the very first row dead center, so that the power of th screen would overwhelm us. I have forever after almost ALWAYS sat in the first several rows of any theater, as I’m convinced that that’s the location of maximum impact. I also remember attending the film on enough occasions that I was able to buy all three folios of the gorgeous large-scale color photographs from the film that were offered in the lobby along with the souvenir book. I loved to sit at the front of the theater before the show started and smell the fresh-printed odor of the souvenir book—some vintage copies of souvenir books in general still retain that odor, even when I’ve purchased them on eBay. In any event, I considered (at the age of 14!) the GSET’s souvenir book to be the most artistically-produced of any souvenir book in the history of motion pictures (it’s only rival in my adolescent opinion was LAWRENCE OF ARABIA’s).

My family had something of an indirect connection to composer of the film’s score. Ken Darby, Alfred Newman’s collaborator, was the son of my junior high school English teacher. My mother, who worked as a highly respected music teacher and choral director for the Santa Monica school system, and who was renowned enough that the Santa Monica city council shut down operations for the day when she passed away, collaborated with Alfred Newman on at least one occasion to produce the popular Stairway Under the Stars. The highlight of the program was Alfred Newman himself conducting the rousing closing music from CAPTAIN FROM CASTILE, which has gone down in soundtrack history as “Conquest.” You better believe I was in the audience that day.

One of the things that my mother said about the music to GSET has always stuck in my mind, primarily because I couldn’t believe it was true. She told me that the main theme from the score was lifted from a Classical composer (I believe it was perhaps Bach). I genuinely loved the film score and didn’t believe her (there were a lot of things I didn’t believe her about in those days, much to my deep regret).

Years later I had a chance to visit the Cinerama dome with my own children, just before the Archlight rennovations (I have yet to see in person what they did to the place). The film showing was WILD WILD WEST with Will Smith—not a particular popular film. There were maybe three or four additional audience members in the theater besides myself and my son and daughter, so we pretty much had the run of the theater and could explore all we wanted to. Naturally, I grabbed the center seats in the very first row, just as I did more than thirty years ago.

Now, WILD WILD WEST was not a particularly great movie, but after seeing it projected on (only about 2/3rds) of the curved screen and overwhelmed by the stereo system, we all came away thinking we had just watched the greatest movie ever made!! We live in Albuquerque where movie screens are puny by comparison. I just don’t think that kids nowadays realize how great the impact of even mediocre films can have when shown at colossal scale—the way films were meant to be seen in the golden age of widescreen cinema. Imagine what viewing a full-scale three-strip Cinerama film like HOW THE WEST WAS WON in an original Cinerama theater can do to the senses! How we’ve given up so much simply for the sake of convenience. Students in my college art history classes just can’t believe that films used to be 3 ½ hours long or what could keep an audience fascinated that long. It was the magnitude of the bid screen to be sure!

jmarellano
jmarellano on May 2, 2005 at 6:32 pm

So Agreed Chris. Glad to see you!

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on May 2, 2005 at 5:57 pm

I think it’s funny how these 20 year old kids are complaining about Star Wars playing here instead of at Graumans. Of course Graumans is the living legend. But anyone who knows their movie theatres knows, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the Cinerama Dome is the best movie theatre in LA…if not the whole darn country. It will be a pleasure to see Star Wars here in 2 weeks!

VincentParisi
VincentParisi on April 25, 2005 at 11:03 am

Yes that would be a great idea. To install a larger curved screen maybe 65 to 80 ft with a curtain. Suitable for all formats much like the NY Capitol after Cinerama was installed there until it’s demise. So that between first runs they could show all types of widescreen restored classics so they could make money instead of being dark.
But of course that would make too much sense. I’ve found in life that for the most part that when it seems as though people don’t know what they’re doing they really don’t know what they’re doing.

RobertR
RobertR on April 25, 2005 at 10:46 am

Well that was just the temporary Cinerama screen, I’m talking about a permanant curved screen to use for all formats.

VincentParisi
VincentParisi on April 25, 2005 at 9:13 am

They did Robert in ‘73 and it was pathetic.

RobertR
RobertR on April 22, 2005 at 8:03 pm

I wish they would put a curved screen in the Ziegfeld to make the experience more exciting. I never understood since it opened why they went with the flat screen.

tomovieboy70
tomovieboy70 on April 22, 2005 at 7:28 pm

The Cinerama Dome is one of the last remaining venues on Earth that can properly exhibit both three-strip Cinerama as well as 70mm Super Cinerama. As such, it should be revered. It also happens to be the most spectacular place in the 21st century to see a movie. It brings back memories of all the roadshow houses of yester-years that are gone, gone, gone. I have been fortunate enough to see “El Cid” in 70mm, “This is Cinerama” and “How the West Was Won” in three-strip, and “Mad, Mad World” in 70mm Ultra Panavision at this venue. Once in a lifetime experiences in our age of mini-screen multiplexes. The presentation this past Christmas of “The Phantom of the Opera” was a stunning thing to see and hear at this theater, even if it was 35mm anamorphic and DTS Digital, it still played like gangbusters. Fabulous theater like nothing else around. Not even the Ziegfeld in New York, a superb late-era 70mm roadshow house, can compare with the sweep of the Dome…

Manwithnoname
Manwithnoname on April 7, 2005 at 1:22 pm

Wow….I just kinda like the place. :–)

JimRankin
JimRankin on April 7, 2005 at 1:13 pm

Vincent is, of course, right; the demise of most real motion pictures is part and parcel of the demise of our culture, though it is not just caused just by greedy and slovenly people, no matter how much they have spent on their clothes from Rodeo Drive. The reason is multifaceted and peers into the very fabric of humanity itself, and is therefore beyond the scope of this forum, sad to say. With today’s modern communications, however, it no longer takes any immigration of peoples anywhere to influence the nature of film or most anything else; blight in the aesthetic sense travels even more quickly by electronic media than automobiles. I must agree that most of today’s films if they could be seen in such as the ROXY and other true palaces, would be so dwarfed in significance that the audience would indeed see such films as “ludicrous.” However, the “glass and steel box fungus” of ‘architecture’ which Vincent refers to is not so much a cause of the demise of the glorious palaces, as a symptom of the cultural degeneration which Vince refers to. Merely read the short novel form 1980: FROM BAUHAUS TO OUR HOUSE by the noted writer Thomas Wolfe, and you will notice the real reason that the ‘fungus’ spread so quickly through the architectural garden that we once enjoyed, complete with movie palaces blooming right and left. (Of course, we cannot forget that it was television which did the major damage to those palaces along with other cultural phenomena of the “black fungus.”)

VincentParisi
VincentParisi on April 7, 2005 at 9:38 am

Jim the aesthetic which governs our black box rooms also governs the criminal blighting of our neighborhoods everywhere. The northern immigration from the south in the 70’s which destroyed the lower middle and middle class fabric of so many of our cities has now transformed itself into glass and steel box fungus which is eating away at what was left.
Most of the films made today would be ludicrous if presented in a movie palace or even a single screen 60’s theater. Their stripped down faux intensity(where nothing really happens which is ad nauseum the point) is the critical and audience rage. For goodness sake people just wait for the DVD.
Would you really want to see Sideways or Million Dollar Baby at the Roxy or the Cathay Circle?
By the way these black boxes are not cinemas they are screening rooms.

JimRankin
JimRankin on April 7, 2005 at 8:04 am

On the “About ArcLight” portion of their web site is this statement: “ArcLight Hollywood’s 14 new auditoriums begin with a “black box” design aesthetic which favors undistracted viewing over opulence….” Statements such as this are found throughout the new, aesthetically-challenged wunderkind that populate most of our cinema world these days, where they give lip service to the beauty of the palaces, but then turn around and dismiss them with statements such as the above. MANIFESTLY: if a film is so weak or unappetizing that the viewer can be ‘distracted’ by an opulent decor, then the film should be seen as the culprit, not the decorations! It is only the supreme arrogance of the filmakers that makes them assume that anything put on a screen should automatically command the complete attention of each and every member of the audience. Those few of greater humility will acknowledge that much of what comes upon screens these days is self-indulgent crap where pretension masquerades as art. Give me a gorgeous ‘palace’ to see a move along with good projection and sound and service, and I will then have something to occupy my time and justify the stiff admision fees when portions of a film are bad or dull, and there will ALWAYS be portions of any film that do not command attention at every second. The ArcLight and other such screening rooms should never be called theatres, but only cinemas at best. They may not be ‘cheap’ as the previous post explains, but in no sense was their expense evident in the decor, for true ‘decor’ they never have had.

elstree6
elstree6 on April 6, 2005 at 6:20 pm

Lest anyone read this comments page and get the wrong idea from edward’s post: “…too cheap to spend on any interior decor. Many film lab screening rooms are nicer than some monsterplex mini-theatres” — this is simply not the case with the Arclight.

Yes, the decor is aesthetically minimalist. But, I can assure anyone that Pacific Theatres was not being too cheap when designing the Arclight. These are, simply put, the best public screening facilities. The picture and sound quality is top-notch and, even better, the auditoriums are the best-designed with the viewer in mind. There is not a bad seat in this house, no matter where you sit (unless you may be sitting in the seperate first three rows, but as someone else already pointed out, these are MUCH FURTHER away from the screen than one would assume). I prefer sitting in the middle, but I’ve had tickets in the upper or lower corners and the view is still fantastic. Plus, these are not mini-theatres, as stated in edward’s post. The Dome and a number of the black-box screens are huge, with a couple of the black box screens of medium size and few more being the smallest size. BUT, here’s the thing — the smallest of those is still a good sized screen (about the size of most multiplex medium screens). As someone who is quite picky about paying $10 to see a movie on a screen smaller than my tv set, I was thrilled to find out that even the least-known art house film is playing on a great sized screen with perfect sound. (The Grove has a similar set-up, as far as the size of their screens)

As a writer/producer, I’m thrilled that the Arclight is around. Yes, I love going to the old palaces! The El Capitan, Chinese, Egyptian, and The Orpheum are all amazing. I’m still hoping for more of the old Broadway theatres to be renovated and reopened (and the Warner Pacific to the general public!). But, when it comes to presentation perfection, I can’t imagine going anywhere other than the Arclight.

Manwithnoname
Manwithnoname on February 25, 2005 at 7:01 pm

Peter, I again think at least one of my posts has vanished but I can assure you “How the West Was Won” will eventually return. I saw it during it’s first 2 week engagement here and it was a historic event. “This Is Cinerama” has played twice although the second time was for 2 days only. Keep checking their website www.arclightcinemas.com When it, and any other of their many special events, are scheduled you will find it there. Will probably be an announcement on this site too.

PeterJohn
PeterJohn on February 25, 2005 at 6:10 pm

Can anyone out there answer a question for me? It concerns the film HOW THE WEST WAS WON.

I was six years old in 1963 and one of the first motion pictures which made an impression upon me was HOW THE WEST WAS WON. Although I was only a child I remember being awe struck by it’s grandeur.
I have hoped for many years now that I would some day be able to relive the Cinerama experience of this film. As much as I appreciate the efforts nowadays of DVD producers to present films in their original wide screen format, it still doesn’t translate very well where HOW THE WEST WAS WON is concerned. While recently visiting a web site devoted to the making of this film, I learned that it had played about a year and a half ago at the Dome. Being relatively new to Los Angles it was the first time I had heard of the Cinerama Dome. I was so disappointed to learn that I had missed it. My question is; Do they ever bring films back to the Dome once they’ve played? I would assume since HOW THE WEST WAS WON is one of the most famous of the Cinerama productions that this would be the case, but I would appreciate it if anyone out there has knowledge of how they plan their scheduling. Also; Is there any kind of mailing list that one can sign up for to keep abreast of their schedule?
They seem to be rather difficult to contact by phone. Whenever I call the number at the top of this page(323-466-3401)the phone just rings off the hook. There isn’t even any voice mail. So if anyone out there could be of help, I would truly appreciate it. Thank you all.

Regards,

Peter John

Englewood
Englewood on January 10, 2005 at 1:52 pm

During my time playing in the Marine Band at Twentynine Palms (CA), we played a swearing-in enlistment ceremony at the Cinerama Dome in 1965 or ‘66. We played for the swearing in of the “Bob Hope Platoon.” Hope couldn’t make it so one of his daughters, Nora, if I remember, stood in for him. First there were some speeches followed by an public relations film about the Marine Corps, showing scenes from Vietnam and the Dominican Republic. (There was a revolution occuring at the time and the Marine Corps went sent in to keep order.) Then came the swearing in of the Bob Hope Platoon, about 30 guys. Immediately after, they had roll call. Two guys were missing. After being sworn in, the platoon would head to Marine Corps Recruit Depot at San Diego.
That was the only time I was ever in the Cinerama Dome. Anytime I drive by it, I think of that day.

Knatcal
Knatcal on January 6, 2005 at 11:31 am

I am sorry “William” but in December of 1996 “Evita” did only play at the Cinerama Dome in Los Angeles before its general release in early 1997. Sometimes reality differs from an idolized, isolated view of history.