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The original two Rittenhouse Theaters were the oddest. Long boxes with a small screen. Yes, the screens were masked to produce smaller “wide screens”. Think today’s flat screen TVs – only further away from the viewer. I remember seeing The Graduate there. Saw same movie later at a neighborhood theater and the movie seemed more panoramic. I refused to see the re-release of West Side Story. After seeing it in Super Panavision and 6-track at the Midtown Theater, why pay the same price to see it in 3mm/mono on the Rittenhouse’s small screen? Yes, MONO sound only when I saw David Lean’s Passage to India there which was recorded in Dolby Stereo. Dolby Stereo was finally added to the three theaters when the middle theater was built.
My favorite film at the Arcadia was Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I went to see the film twice. It seemed odd to me that this small theater was equipped with 70mm projection in the 1970s. Yet I saw a Jaws sequel here in 70mm – same smaller screen – but very sharp and clear.
SethLewis should have seen the Goldman in the 1960s – a wide angle auditorium with a great view of the large screen. Very clean & well-maintained, the best projection and sound. Other large, great theaters with reserved seat 70mm movies: Boyd, Stanley, Midtown, Randolph (after Cinerama renovation) and Cinema 19 (former Viking).
What happened in the 1970s as Center City deteriorated was VERY SAD.
There was no “deeply curved” screen at the Goldman, but a very large flat screen. Add Todd-AO version of The Agony and the Ecstasy, Half A Sixpence (35mm mono). The Longest Day was presented in CinemaScope (b&w 35mm 4-track). I saw all the movies from Spartacus onward.
Todd-AO: Can-Can, The Alamo, Sound of Music
Super Panavision 70: West Side Story, Lawrence of Arabia
70mm blow-up: Far from the Madding Crowd, Oliver B&W: Diary of Anne Frank (CinemaScope 4-track)
Regular run: Raintree County (Camera 65 – 35mm mono) Mary Poppins (35mm 4 track). I saw them.
The Stanley Theater was renovated in 1959 in SALMON not GRAY color – draped walls, screen, rocking chair seats, carpeting – all in the same SALMON color. Reopening premiere was Pillow Talk. The Stanley was upgraded to 70mm projection at that time, and many movies were roadshown there in the 1960s including Thoroughly Modern Millie. Not all were in 70mm. Hawaii was in 35 mm mono. The Great Race was not reserved-seat and was presented in 35mm.