At the Movies, In the Movies

Open, general discussion of silent films, personalities and history.
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silentfilm

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At the Movies, In the Movies

PostThu Dec 18, 2008 3:33 pm

While there's plenty of movies that cover filmmaking, there are not nearly as many that are about going to the "movies". I guess the most famous silent film is Buster Keaton's Sherlock, Jr., where projectionist Buster falls asleep during the film, but his ghost goes down on stage and tries to enter the film.

Another favorite of mine is Charly Chase's Movie Night (1929) where Charlie tries to sneak Spec O'Donnell in as a child, and his daughter gets a bad case of the hiccups.

I have not seen Harold Lloyd's Luke's Movie Muddle (1916) with Lloyd as the theater manager and Snub Pollard as the projectionist.

Edwin S. Porter's Uncle Josh at the Moving Picture Show (1902) has a country rube being enraged by the kissing on the screen and attacking the movie screen.

Alfred Hitchcock's Sabotage has quite a few scenes in a movie theater. In one particularly effective scene, Sylvia Sydney learns some really bad news while a Disney Mickey Mouse cartoon is being shown.

And Mack Sennett's A Movie Star (1916) has Mack Swain going to a theater to watch himself in a movie.

Can you think of any others?
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boblipton

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PostThu Dec 18, 2008 3:56 pm

You mention MOVIE NIGHT. Chase also tried to turn it into a feaure later, as NEIGHBORHOOD HOUSE.


And there's that lovely sequence in THE GOOD FAIRY in which she is a movie usher and looking at an absolutely horrid movie.


Bob
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Frederica

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PostThu Dec 18, 2008 4:10 pm

boblipton wrote:You mention MOVIE NIGHT. Chase also tried to turn it into a feaure later, as NEIGHBORHOOD HOUSE.


And there's that lovely sequence in THE GOOD FAIRY in which she is a movie usher and looking at an absolutely horrid movie.


Bob


The Purple Rose of Cairo.

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Arndt

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PostThu Dec 18, 2008 4:12 pm

In the German comedy WO IST COLETTI of 1913 (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0003565/) detective Coletti offers to pay anybody who can track him down the sum of 100,000 marks. He spends the rest of the film pursued by a mob. At one point he hides in a cinema only to see the whole previous pursuit speeded up in front of him on the screen right up to the point where...he hides in a cinema.
I finally managed to see this film a couple of weeks ago.
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Jim Reid

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PostThu Dec 18, 2008 4:13 pm

Peter Seller's "The Smallest Show on Earth".
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PostThu Dec 18, 2008 4:47 pm

"Luke's Movie Muddle" is a 1 reeler with Lloyd as a crass theater manager of a run-down little fire trap. There would seem to be many duties to perform in such a job, such a selling tickets..etc.., but Luke seems more interested in giving all of the women patronage special attention by personally escorting them to seats which he then plops down next to. On the other hand all of the men who attend get rough treatment. Snub is his projectionist who sits in a loft that is accessed by a ladder and enjoys smoking next to the flammable nitrate while ignoring reel changes. Luke makes many fast trips up and down that ladder trying to keep the show playing so he can resume with his flirting. Eventually a fire does break out and everyone makes a hasty exit.

Robert Benchley's short "A Night At The Movies" - (1935) perfectly encapsulates the trials and tribulations of attending the movies during the mid 30's, from trying to ascertain the correct start time of the feature to scary, staring kids inside the theater.

Laurel & Hardy's wive briefly go to the movies in "Sons Of the Desert" - (1933) to get their minds off their worries when they believe their husbands have been lost at seas. There is a funny gag when they enter and take a seat. The entire audience is watching a race car film and everyone's heads move in time to the action - including the wives who immediately join the crowd.

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Rodney

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PostThu Dec 18, 2008 4:58 pm

There's a great going-to-the-movies scene in Hoodoo Ann. There's a nice but short movie-theater gag at the end of Fairbanks' The Nut, though it stays in the lobby. ("Two please.")

Let's not forget the Revenge of the Kinematograph Cameraman, though I can't remember the name of the equivalent Roscoe Arbuckle short where he flirts with a girl, gets filmed, then takes his wife to see the film. Something like Fatty's Feckless Fling...

Others include Mabel's Dramatic Career... Show People... A Cottage on Dartmoor (where one of the films is a talkie)... Walt Disney's Puss in Boots (which features an orchestra accompanying the Rudolf Vaselino film Throwing the Bull) Those Awful Hats... and isn't the end of The Crowd in a movie theater?
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Mike Gebert

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PostThu Dec 18, 2008 6:07 pm

Dillinger (1945), Dillinger (1973)...
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Danny Burk

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PostThu Dec 18, 2008 6:36 pm

A COTTAGE ON DARTMOOR, with the irony of the film-within-a-silent-film's audience watching a talkie.

SHOW PEOPLE, viewing scenes from one of "Peggy Pepper"'s slapstick comedies.

Edit: whoops, I see that Rodney already covered these...
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Rodney

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PostThu Dec 18, 2008 8:03 pm

Danny Burk wrote:...SHOW PEOPLE, viewing scenes from one of "Peggy Pepper"'s slapstick comedies.


...and of course they also view Bardelys the Magnificent, which I've been spending time with lately (the score is compiled! Next task, photocopying the orchestra parts...)

Incidentally, in my opinion, Bardelys is a much better film than you might think from King Vidor having his unsophisticated heroine smitten with it in Show People.
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PostThu Dec 18, 2008 8:15 pm

There's MAN WITH A MOVIE CAMERA, Joan Crawford tracking Harry Langdon's progress in the walking race via movie-house newsreels in TRAMP, TRAMP, TRAMP, Chaplin's "King Shadov" watching widescreen trailers ("Man Or Woman?"). Don't know if HELLZAPOPPIN' qualifies ("Stinky Miller--Go Home").
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PostThu Dec 18, 2008 8:18 pm

Those Awful Hats, Tillie's Punctured Romance and the Popeye cartoon where some kid in the theater throws a can of spinach to Popeye.
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radiotelefonia

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PostThu Dec 18, 2008 8:29 pm

The film LA BARRA DE LA ESQUINA starts with a tango singer performing in a big theater, that turns out to be a movie theater since one of his friends managed to get into the show by sitting next to the projector.

Then, the singer (Alberto Castillo) begins to sing the title song when the film flashbacks to 1919 to a few images of, reportedly, a Pearl White serial, then children trying to get into an old theater and a child trying to get in with his dog.

You can also see a poster of Chaplin's SHOULDER ARMS in the scene.

I'll put the sequence online during the weekend.
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PostThu Dec 18, 2008 8:35 pm

The opening scenes of "Lady Killer" - (1933) shows James Cagney working his job as a movie theater usher. It's very regimented and it's not long before the cocky Cagney gets canned. There is a scene where the manager brings his troops up to the rooftop for spot inspection before the doors are opened. My Dad told me stories of being an usher as a kid and those tales look very similar to this scene. My Dad called his manager a drill sargeant and it wasn't long after that job that he joined the army.

Gary J.
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PostThu Dec 18, 2008 8:59 pm

I forgot Bed and Sofa, where a couple goes to a Moscow cinema, though we don't see the show.

If we get into talkies there are too many to list, of course. One of the Gold DIggers of... movies involves creating Busby Berkeley routines to open movie shows (considering that most movie theaters had almost zero backstage space, this requires quite a suspension of disbelief), Singin' in the Rain opens and closes at movie premieres (the opening having a nice large silent film orchestra in the pit), Sullivan's Travels has a key scene in a makeshift cinema. The Cat's Meow has rushes from Marion Davies films screened on the yacht. Even Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow starts at a screening of The Wizard of Oz...
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PostThu Dec 18, 2008 9:25 pm

PENNIES FROM HEAVEN (1981), where Arthur & Eileen (Steve & Bernadette) are watching FOLLOW THE FLEET (1936), and then they turn into Fred & Ginger...I just love the hell outta that movie, the last MGM musical, and a criminally underrated one at that.
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silentfilm

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PostThu Dec 18, 2008 10:01 pm

I forgot that one of my favorite films, Cinema Paradiso spends about half of the film inside a movie theater!

The IMDB does not list many silents with scenes in a movie theater, but tons of sound films...

http://us.imdb.com/keyword/movie-theater/?sort=release_date
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PostThu Dec 18, 2008 10:13 pm

Garson Kanin's film TOM, DICK, AND HARRY (1941) opens with a "happy ending" inside a movie theater.

Although it's not in a theater, THE SPIRAL STAIRCASE (1946) opens with the showing of the very early silent film THE KISS in a hotel parlor.
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PostThu Dec 18, 2008 11:09 pm

The Tingler! Featuring scenes from Tol'able David as well as a general depiction of a 1950s silent movie revival house.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TtQTVLutDWI
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Jim Reid

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PostFri Dec 19, 2008 12:13 am

The Majestic. Jim Carrey's father has a print of The Big Parade.
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Harlett O'Dowd

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PostFri Dec 19, 2008 9:20 am

Jim Reid wrote:The Majestic. Jim Carrey's father has a print of The Big Parade.


Bonnie and Clyde escapte to see Golddiggers of 1933 after their first murder.

The Fan has a murder in a movie theatre.

Singin' in the Rain, of course...
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boblipton

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PostFri Dec 19, 2008 9:27 am

Speaking of Cagbey, FOOTLIGHT PARADE.

Bob
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PostFri Dec 19, 2008 11:45 am

There's also the hilarious Pete Smith short, MOVIE PESTS (1944) with Dave O'Brien.

Many WB cartoons poke fun at movie-going, including BACALL TO ARMS (1946) and HARE DO (1949).
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PostFri Dec 19, 2008 1:14 pm

Also speaking of Cagney don't forget "Taxi". He and Loretta Young go on a double date with George E. Stone and Leila Bennett. They see "Her Night of Love", which was apparently filmed especially for "Taxi". He shows Loretta a thing or two about lovemaking!

Beforehand Leila Bennett sees an ad for "The Mad Genius" with John Barrymore and wonders what he's mad about. She also mentions Lil Dagover as having a sexy name - of course Lil Dagover was at that time over in the US making a film for Warner's so Warner's was getting a bit of product placement there! Incidentally Lil's Warner's film "The Woman from Monte Carlo" also had George E. Stone in the cast!
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PostFri Dec 19, 2008 2:16 pm

The finale of Prix de Beaute
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PostFri Dec 19, 2008 3:15 pm

Porky's Preview, Sullivan's Travels, The Last Picture Show, and what's the one where Snub Pollard tries to watch a movie from the front row and the screen looks all stretched?
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stairstars

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PostFri Dec 19, 2008 3:32 pm

"Summer of 42" where they are watching "Now, Voyager".

"Blazing Saddles" finale where they are watching themselves at Graumans.

Also, at the same locale "What Price Hollywood?", "A Star is Born" and "Day of the Locust".
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CoffeeDan

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PostFri Dec 19, 2008 3:33 pm

Another Cagney picture (is there a pattern here?):

In WHITE HEAT (1949), Cody Jarrett's gang eludes the police by turning into a drive-in theater (the picture was AIR FORCE).
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PostSat Dec 20, 2008 9:48 am

Though technically it's not at the movies, there is the famous private screening of QUEEN KELLY in SUNSET BOULEVARD.
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greta de groat

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PostSat Dec 20, 2008 10:48 pm

Here's an offbeat one--in Across the Pacific (1942) Humphrey Bogart goes in a theater that's playing a silent Japanese film. Philip Ahn is in the audience and gets murdered. I only saw that little bit of it, so i have no idea what was going on.

Has anyone mentioned One Foot in Heaven yet?

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