Did you ever patronize revival houses run by people like the late Richard Schwarz in New York City? Richard had previously been in the business of acquiring, restoring and selling used 35 MM projectors that could project a true image, at the true speed, of silent films.Mike Gebert wrote:Well, I guess I've never seen a silent film then.
When he acquired the lease on Manhattan's 275+-seat Thalia Theatre, he'd periodically show silent films -- at their intended projection speed, since he was the main projectionist at that theatre -- using adequate carbon-arc settings (used to concern me, when I hung out in the projection booth with Richard and his merry band of characters, that the silver-nitrate film would catch fire) to an audience that had lined up around the block to get into that tiny location.
That's what I thought revival houses were about; more so than showing "art" films. But when his landlord allegedly kept harrassing him to get Richard to give up the valuable lease, he did give up when he told me he was threatened by a thug armed with a handgun, and bought the Cinema Village building, to run films from his massive collection, from other collectors (on loan), from questionable sources (I did not write "stolen"), etc. Buying theatre buildings had proven to be a bad bet after The Roaring 20s, and Richard soon couldn't pay the mortgage and sold it.
The silent movies were made to be shown in theatres, and that's still where they should be shown. As old age has crept up on me and my mobility is shot, I don't travel to the bottom of the world (lower Manhattan) any longer and don't know if silent films, projected faithfully, are being exhibited down there.
Hard to believe Richard died 27 years ago, at age 39. Time flies. But I can't fly in order to avoid Manhattan traffic and the failing New York City subway system, to get to the downtown "art" theatres here, if they still show silent films as intended by the creators. (The Thalia has been gutted and a smaller version, in its original home, reopened under other management as the Leonard Nimoy Flying Saucer or something...) My opinion of the new management is not printable. With all the screens available in the plexes, one would think each multiplex would dedicate one screen and a projection booth to genuine films, especially silent films...but I guess too many of us are under doctors' orders not to buy the slop sold at the plexes concession stands...
If we'd only promise to purchase popcorn covered in motor oil with a couple of pounds of candy and 96 ounces of toxic soda...we might start a trend to bring back silent films to theatres.