Cinematical discusses movie theater movies

posted by Michael Zoldessy on June 5, 2008 at 10:50 am

The always entertaining blog Cinematical, touches on the topic of films within films over the years and the bloggers experience as a projectionist.

The earliest movie that I’m familiar with that significantly involves a theater is Buster Keaton’s “Sherlock Jr.” The silent comedian plays a projectionist who falls asleep on the job then has a dream in which he literally climbs through the movie screen and into a detective film. A similar idea of breaking the boundary between auditorium and screen is used in Woody Allen’s “The Purple Rose of Cairo” and in John McTiernan’s “The Last Action Hero,” both of which involve a movie character who manages to leave his respective film within the film. But nothing tops Keaton’s screen-entering stunt, which utilizes special effects that still astonish more than 80 years later.

Comments (7)

Eric Friedmann
Eric Friedmann on June 5, 2008 at 12:23 pm

Two of my favorite films that feature movie theaters and the moviegoing experience are SUMMER OF 42' in which Hermie and his friends attend a screening of “Now Voyager” and THE MAJESTIC, where the entire town enjoys some of the best B-movies of the ‘50s every Saturday night.

JAlex on June 5, 2008 at 5:31 pm

Don’t forget the British “The Smallest Show on Earth.”

Paul Noble
Paul Noble on June 6, 2008 at 10:56 am

There was an MGM/Hal Roach “Our Gang” short, possibly from the early 40’s, called “Mighty Lak A Goat” in which the Little Rascals go to the movies after having being splashed with mud and horse manure. The stench is so great that the actors on the screen are nauseated and leave the film they’re in!

Eric Friedmann
Eric Friedmann on June 6, 2008 at 1:32 pm

Paul, I remember that one. The movie they were watching was called “Don’t Open That Door”.

jon6444 on June 9, 2008 at 8:20 am

Don’t remember the title but I believe it was a Hitchcock film with Carey Grant…it had a chase scene through Radio City Music Hall during a screening!!

ChrisB on June 14, 2008 at 11:10 pm

That was “Saboteur” with Robert Cummings, not Cary Grant (1942), although “North by Northwest” (1959) with Cary had its similarities in theme.

MPol on July 12, 2008 at 5:39 pm

North by Northwest is a cool film. Although I first saw it when it was first out of date, I enjoyed it immensely also. I also enjoyed “The Birds”, despite warnings by the theatre box-office person that, since I own a small green macaw, that my attitudes towards birds would be adversely changed forever. Not so!! I’ve seen “the Birds” a couple of times and still love my McGee (the Noble Macaw). I’ve seen “The Birds” in the Brattle Theatre, as well as North by Northwest, which I also saw in college at the B. U. Theatre when they still showed movies.

It seems to me that pretty much all movies were theatre movies before going on TV, being videoized, or made into DVD’s, no?

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