That Sinking Feeling......
This article first appeared in
The 70mm Newsletter
Mr. David Page, Bristol, England
Issue 53 - June 1998
February. Weather is awful. Work is too busy.
So.....time for a break. What to do? Where to go? The answer comes in the
form of a conversation with young Hauerslev (editor and general dogs body of
this oft-maligned publication) and it's decided. I shall visit Copenhagen
and see "Titanic" in 70mm. I mention to friends at work
that I'm going to see "Titanic". They all agree it would be great.
"Where are you seeing it?", I'm asked. "At the Imperial
Bio", I answer. There are some puzzled looks. "Where's
that?", they enquire. "Copenhagen", I replied in a
matter-of-fact way. Like a bunch of parrots, they all repeat the name with
incredulity, "Copenhagen!!!???.......but the film will be in foreign
and you won't understand a word that's being said will you?".
Leaving my puzzled friends behind, wondering why the hell I'm travelling all
the way to Denmark to see a film when it's 'on at the local Roxy'! Of course
I could have seen the film in 70mm in London at the Odeon, Leicester Square,
but I really do not like the cinema nor their policy of not allowing enough
time between shows for the audience to comfortably be seated.
So off I fly to Copenhagen and find that Thomas has tickets for the 11.30
a.m. show the next day (Saturday). Upon arrival at the cinema, Thomas has
arranged for us to look around the projection box and meet the
projectionist. I was very impressed with the way the projection area and
equipment was kept. Not a crumb in sight! Down in the auditorium, I was
surprised at how very similar this cinema was in general design and shape to
the 'Empire' in London's Leicester Square. I sat dead center and watched the
house slowly fill. Something that always impresses me whenever I visit
Copenhagen is the above average standard of appearance and behaviour there.
Very different, sad to say, from my experiences at home here in England.
I have to report that the film was a great experience, viewed that day at
the Imperial and thanks for that are due to the faultless projection,
fantastic sound and a superb cinema. I am not a 'cinetech' person, but I do
know that it's not just the film itself that creates the whole experience. A
bad cinema can ruin the best film in the world. I confess to thinking
beforehand that maybe the print would not be that wonderful, being a blow-up
from 35mm. However, I need not have been concerned, as the print was crystal
clear and sharp. Better, of course, than any 35mm could ever be. As for the
film, well it did scoop a sack-load of Oscars as was expected, but for
probably some of the wrong reasons. Much was made of the computer generated
effects, particularly those of the camera apparently 'flying' over the ship.
These I found to be the weakest moments but no-one could fault the
incredible amount of work that was done to recreate the interiors and
exteriors of the ship. The acting was almost certainly better than the
script but in the end, the question you have to ask is - did it work?...did
it achieve what it set out to do? Of course it did. Pick holes in it if you
will, but it was a great piece of cinema and I - like so many others - came
away wanting to understand more about the ship and some of the events of
that disaster. It was a film that cannot easily be forgotten.
Back home, I reflected on another super visit to Copenhagen. However, as
friends were quick to remind me, it was a lot of money to spend "just
to see a film". But they didn't know what I knew ... I didn't have to
pay for the cinema ticket!! What a bonus!
Further in 70mm reading:
A Titanic Day Out
"Titanic" Gets a Record 14 OSCAR
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