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LuckyDan

Your most memorable movie theater experience?

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Mine was watching "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" at a dollar movie house packed with people. Everyone was cheering-on McMurphy against Nurse Ratchet and when Chief... well did the first surprising thing he did - applause broke out. And when the finale came, it was comparable to being at a championship football game and seeing your team score the winning touchdown with no time left. I'll never forget it.

 

Anyone else have a particularly memorable night at the movie theater?

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At the Cinerama Dome circa 1990.

70mm, six-track stereo print of "West Side Story".

Pure Ectstasy.

 

Kyle In Hollywood

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At the drive-in. (joke)

 

Actually, it was seeing "The Wild Bunch" on the big screen for the first time...I already loved the movie and watching those boys being "wild" in that beautifully restored theater...well, I can't describe it.

 

Close second, "The Third Man" at the same theater. Love that zither music!

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My, but you ARE a southern girl, aren't cha? Thanks for the reply.

 

P.S. You, too, Hldyhkjk

 

Message was edited by:

LuckyDan

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I have a gazillion of them. The most disturbingly memorable experience was while seeing Shoot the Moon at San Francisco's huge Northpoint theatre. There were two women sitting in front of us. One was behaving more and more erratic as the movie progressed. During the scene with Albert Finney at the tennis court, I realized the woman was going into a seizure. She was down on the floor, poor thing, and I ran to the lobby to get help. I went to the snack counter and asked them to please call an ambulance for the woman. They asked what was the matter with her, and I replied, "I don't know; she's having a seizure. Please call them now." The attendant said, "We can't call an ambulance unless we know what's wrong." I was stunned by this asinine policy. It took far too long, but I was finally able to convince them. They stopped the show and helped the woman to the hospital. I never found out how she was. The theatre gave us passes to see the movie another time. And we did; but when the tennis scene arrived again, it was chilling to see it and remember that horrible night when the patron became so ill.

 

Now you weren't expecting that story were you. Maybe I should have answered "what was my most memorable cinematic experience"...

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Other than that, Mr. Burley, how did you like the movie?

 

What an experience.

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I realized the woman was going

> into a seizure. She was down on the floor, poor

> thing, and I ran to the lobby to get help.

 

I had the same experience at a theater, however I was the one having the seizure. We went to see Independence Day and my husband noticed that I was doing redundant movements with my hands and was unresponsive. I missed most of the movie because after a seizure you have to sleep. I don't have fall, flop and froth seizures so most people didn't know, thank heavens. I would have hated to have ruined everyone's afternoon. Just too many strobing lights in it.

 

Another memorable experience was when one of my kids was about 3 and we went to see Beauty and The Beast. She felt the need to go to the restroom, stood up and yelled at the projectionist to stop the movie NOW because she had to PEE..NOW. I tried to become invisible but didn't make it.

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It's my seventh birthday. It's August and hot as the dickens. No air conditioning in our house. My mother decides that for the occasion, she'll take me to the movies. Do we go see something from Disney like Swiss Family Robinson, Miracle of the White Stallions, or even Old Yeller?

 

No, Mom takes me to see Seven Days in May. Am I bored, fidgety or completely lost by the adults jockeying to take over the U.S. government by force? No. I loved it. I was terribly flattered that Mom thought that I probably had the smarts to catch on to the labyrinthian plot points. I seem to remember Mom and I discussing what parts of the constitution were relevant to the tale during the drive home. And, no, I didn't grow up to be a hard core conspiracy theorist, but I've definitely always had a soft spot for Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Fredric March and Ava Gardner.

 

It never occurred to me until years later that my mother (who had four kids), had probably had her fill of cheery Pollyanna type kid flicks by the time her youngest (me) came along. Not to mention the fact that she may have sought out the theatre with the most ferocious a.c. that August. Thanks Mom, I think.

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Seeing Led Zeppelin's "Song Remains the Same" like

about 13 times (not in one day!) when it came out in the late 70's.

The Hillside Theater (the one that's gone now, there were two) had a killer sound system.

It was across the street from the long extinct Playback - "The Electronic Playground" and right down the street from Proviso West High School

where we spent most of our time cutting classes and running from truant officers.

Those were some wild times.

 

It's a movie that I have little to no interest in seeing these days.

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I was spoiled by the campus theater while in college. Everyone was quiet when the movie was serious, we had fun during comedies, there were no screaming babies, and no food or drink was allowed. Years ago, I went to see "Schindler's List". While I sat there crying through much of the film, I listened to people slurping drinks, munching popcorn, talking, and worst of all, laughing. Really, they were laughing. I left there so angry that, other than taking kids to Disney movies, I have never returned to a theater. While I may be missing the intended effect of the big screen, I prefer a more controlled environment where I can actually enjoy a film. Picky? You bet!

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Patful, you've reminded me of election night in 1980 when my college campus theatre showed Bedtime for Bonzo starring of course, a chimp, Walter Slezak, Diana Lynn, and, oh yes, the president-elect that night, Ronald Reagan. Needless to say, the student audience didn't behave with the dignity or solemnity that the day demanded and most of their loudly mouthed replies to the innocuous flick cannot be repeated on a family website.

I'm sure that a good time was had by all though. And Reagan, whether you like him or hate him, emerged with his dignity intact. Though it's probably just as well that he got out of acting profession, (at least formally).

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Seventeen years old and seeing Star Wars for the first time.

The rumble during the first opening scene. I had never "felt" a movie in a theater like that before.

Absolutly stunned by everything in the picture- the effects, the sound, and the breakneck pace. It was, at that time, the most amazing thing I had ever seen on the big screen.

Now, this was when the movie first came out, and no one was expecting anything special from it.

I must have gone back to see that film 15 times that year. No great record, but something I had never done before or since.

It was the also the first movie that I had ever seen such huge line ups for.

It was an amazing thing to see as the movie caught on with the general public, and it went from just a little sci-fi film to become STAR WARS - an industry in itself.

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"Other than that, Mr. Burley, how did you like the movie?"

 

I'm afraid the experience was so traumatic, it's difficult to separate the film from the experience. When we went to the movie the second time we were still haunted by the first experience. I'll be avoiding Shoot the Moon from now on...

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When I was in college, I could often be found in the campus cinema. The place was usually packed with film fans who loved classic films. These were pure film screenings; no ads, no trailers... sometimes an introduction by a professor (one of the professors owned one of Rick's white dinner jackets from Casablanca and he'd wear it whenever that movie was shown).

 

One damp winter night I was at a screening of Drums Along the Mohawk, the audience was surprised to see a trailer starting. It was a space action/adventure that no one had heard of. It seemed crass as we were preparing to watch Claudette Colbert, and the audience was incensed -- booing, hissing and throwing popcorn at the screen. The trailer was, of course, for Star Wars.

 

Five months later I found myself in line to watch Star Wars at the El Rey. It was opening night and the line slunk around the block. I was disgusted when I arrived at the box office to discover they'd raised the price of admission to $3.50! Disgruntled, I entered the theatre swearing I'd never pay that amount again. And I was right -- now we pay $10.00. ;)

 

George Lucas had the audience wrapped around his pinky, of course. The audience loved it, gasping and cheering in unison. I'd been a fan of the Buster Crabbe serials, so Star Wars was right up my alley. That was a big night.

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Rainee, I had a similar experience at "Amadeus." Not a siezure, but an attack of claustrophobia. The theatre was one of those low-ceilinged, narrow affairs with every seat filled. I had never had such an attack before, but Ijust knew that I had to get out of there. On that occasion, my sister had come to visit me and she had been wanting to see it. I felt bad that she had to wait till another time. That was about 20 years ago, and I've only had one or two other "attacks" like that since.

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Snarfie, we do think alike. I was a huge Led-head in the 70s and when TSRTS came out, I had not yet seen a Zep concert. The showing I went to didn't have more than a dozen people in the theater, so there wasn't much in the way of audience interaction. I don't think I saw it more than once though. And I have no interest whatever in seeing it now. As much as i love Page and the boys, that movie is just plain disappointing.

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> Rainee, I had a similar experience at "Amadeus." Not

> a siezure, but an attack of claustrophobia. The

> theatre was one of those low-ceilinged, narrow

> affairs with every seat filled. I had never had such

> an attack before, but Ijust knew that I had to get

> out of there.

 

I hate those theaters, they are little more than a boxcar and I can see why you had an attack. Hope you enjoyed Amadeus when you eventually did see it. I finally saw the rest of Independence Day and I was kind of glad I missed most of it.

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I saw Independence Day in Montreal. The showing was at 1am and it was sold out. The movie was dubbed in french with no subtitles and the audience roared when the White House exploded. Another movie experience I won't soon forget...

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> I saw Independence Day in Montreal. The

> showing was at 1am and it was sold out. The movie

> was dubbed in french with no subtitles and the

> audience roared when the White House exploded.

> Another movie experience I won't soon forget...

 

I kinda have the feeling more than French Canadians cheered in that scene. I thought the explosions where the highlight of the movie. God knows the script and the acting wheren't. About 2 weeks after we went to see ID we went to the same place to see something else, forget what. ID was in the the adjoining theater (common wall) and we heard this rumble and roar. My husband leaned over and said "they just blew up the White House"

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My most memorable was taking a large dose of a halluginogenic substance before going to see "Star Trek: The Motion Picture." I was becoming seriously disturbed by my hands for some reason, and I felt a huge sigh of relief when the movie started. I could deal with Klingons.

 

My best was taking a date to a revival of "The Big Sleep. There was no one around when we went in, so I made some noise. A guy came out of the back, and I asked him if he was showing the movie. "Sure, if you want to see it," he said, so we sat there in the middle of a deserted theater watching Bogie and Bacall.

 

When my girlfriend and I went to see "The Two Towers," there was a man behind us talking in Farsi with a low voice through the whole movie. I turned around to ask him to be quiet, and saw that he was watching the movie but murmuring to another man sitting beside him. I realized that he was translating for his friend, and didn't have the heart to ask him to stop.

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I gotta million of 'em I tell ya'. I gotta million of 'em.

 

DARBY O'GILL AND THE LITTLE PEOPLE-1959. This was the first movie that I ever saw in a movie theater. My mom dressed us all up and took us, on two street cars, to the Boulevard Theater in Baltimore. There was a young Scott in the cast of this Disney flick who was just getting noticed in the business. His name was Sean Connery. So way to go Mom! My first theatrical experience was with the Man Who Would Be Bond!

 

A HARD DAY'S NIGHT-1964. At the time my local theater, the Paramount, charged $.25 for children under 12 and $.50 for adults. They charged an outrageous $1.25 for this first Beatles movie, plus they sold tickets several days in advance. I bought my ticket as soon as they went on sale. The movie opened August 11, 1964 with an exclusive evening premiere at 7 PM. I stood at the box office starting at 4:00 the day of the show. I was the first in line. When the doors opened at 6:30 I shot like a missile to the first row. From the illumination of the first frame to the last of the closing credits there was an almost continuous tsunami of adolescent girl screams that washed over me in crashing waves. I could feel their sound waves in my bone marrow and fillings. When I finally stumbled out of the theater that evening it was like going through a religious experience. Their passion, their hysteria, their yearning left a permanent impression on my DNA. More than 40 years have elapsed. I can still feel those screams. I think they'll be the last sounds I hear as I die.

 

HELP/A HARD DAY'S NIGHT-1966 Well I really wanted to hear the actual dialogue - something I could never do when these two Beatle's films debuted. So, during the summer of '66 they ran them as a double-feature. I walked into the Paramount at 2:00 that afternoon. I left at 11:00 that night. I sat there and watched them over and over and over again. This time without the screaming. This was about 20 years before VCR's became widely available, so if you wanted to watch a movie several times that's how you did it. I remember that in between features they run a long boring travel film for Jamaica. They also ran a trailer for a re-issue of THE YELLOW ROLLS ROYCE. I hated them. To this day I've never seen THE YELLOW ROLLS ROYCE or traveled to Jamaica.

 

HOW I WON THE WAR-1967 I went to see this film for two reasons. First off, John Lennon was in it. Secondly, it was directed by Richard Lester (the guy who directed HELP and A HARD DAY'S NIGHT). It starred Michael Crawford, who'd later gain fame as Broadway's PHANTOM. When I walked into the theater that day I was ambivalent on the war in Vietnam. When I left not only was I opposed to Vietnam, I realized the very insanity of war. This film converted me into a pacifist with its dark look at the insanity of war in this bitter comedy. It's as though someone flipped a toggle switch in my head. I saw the movie again about 5 years ago. I still thought it was a pretty good movie. But good enough to change my entire world view? Well, those were very turbulent times. Some movies are sort of like funny stories whose hearers respond with polite chuckles and puzzled expressions. Ya' hadda be there.

 

STRAW DOGS-1971 This ultra-violent Sam Peckinpah flick had a little audience assistance when I saw it. Just across the aisle from me sat a large burly man in a very loud suit. There's no nice way to say he looked, for all the world, like a pimp. He had some sort of weird method of watching scenes of violence. Each time the Dustin Hoffman character did some act to defend his self the "talent agent" across the aisle would say very audibly something like "Ooooh, 10 points!" Or "Aw man, 20 points!" The point system kept steadily ratcheting up until the scene with the bear trap. When he saw that he banged the back of the chair of the delicate senior citizen seated in front of him (who somehow managed to hang on to his dentures) and bellowed out "50 POINTS!" Decades before movies evolved from video games this audience-savant turned a movie INTO a video-like game. He's probably a studio exec now.

 

TERMINAL MAN-1974 This is a solid little piece of sci-fi based on a Michael Crichton novel. I saw it at the (by then) crippled Paramount Theater. Mall miniplexes were eating neighborhood theaters alive. A couple of years later the Paramount would close forever. I was sitting, watching this movie, as the one and only audience member in this massive cave of a theater. A quick plot overview - George Segal was a man with a tragic brain disorder. He'd have violence-seizure - that is to say seizures during which he'd tear apart anyone unfortunate enough to be in his presence. Doctors had implanted a gizmo in his brain to over-ride the seizures. Bet you'd never guess it tragically malfunctioned! There's a scene where we see him begin to seize up. He's talking with his doctor, played by Joan Hackett. She's not leaving! My heart began to race as I saw what was about to happen. Now she starts up the stairs but it's too late. He grabs at her ankle as she tries to climb up away from him. As I watched I suddenly realized what I was doing. I started miming climbing gestures at the empty air in front of me. I was never so glad to be alone in a movie theater in my life!

 

Well, I have plenty more, but I've written enough. I'll close with one more, that I claim ancestrally. This actually happened to my grandmother.

 

FRANKENSTEIN-1931 My grandma wasn't exactly the poster child for mental health. She spent decades in and out of the mental hospital (the same one that housed two of her brothers and where her father died). So that has to be born in mind as I relay the following. She was in a local theater in Baltimore watching a first-run of Universal Studio's classic take on Mary Shelley's story. The lifeless stitched together corpse of the creature has just been elevated through the castle roof as prop man Kenneth Strickfaden's lightening generators arced all around. The Karloff/corpse is lowered back to the lab with no apparent consequences. Just then his hand flutters slightly. Before a crazed Colin Clive can start proclaiming "It's alive! It's alive!" Grandma leapt to her feet, pointed to the screen, and shouted "Oh my God! He's coming to life!" With that she fell into a dead faint. I'm glad she didn't last into the current CGI era. She'd be leaping top her feet constantly now.

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I think my most memorable movie theater experience is one I can't repeat here. But if you are talking about involving the movie itself, I might say Disney's Beauty and the Beast. I saw it at the El Capitan in Hollywood, one of the most beautiful theaters there is. During the film, the audience burst into applause after almost every song.

 

I hate walking out of new film and saying it is a classic, but that is what I did with B&B. When I got back to my apartment building, I was talking with the manager of the building and told her she should go see it. She casually mentioned, "Oh, did you know that Paige O'Hara (who is the voice of Belle/Beauty) lives in this building?" I swear my jaw must have dropped all the way to the floor. I did get to meet Paige, and we became friends. Her husband is Michael Piontek and he appeared as Raoul in the long-running production of Phantom of the Opera when it was here around that time. They ended up getting a house somewhere and we lost contact, but she was a real sweetheart, I can tell you. As nice as can be.

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