This is the next entry in a Theatre… a Movie… and a Time, a series that was begun here. The other day, okay… it was Easter, I took my two teens with me to the movies. They to the only place in the city playing Goro Miyazaki’s anime feature, From Up On Poppy Hill. Me? I went to see the war drama Emperor — in the smallest venue at The Landmark Theater complex. This memory will address none of those movies, but of sitting somewhere much like that.
“No, you submit, do you hear? You be strong, you survive… You stay alive, no matter what occurs! I will find you. No matter how long it takes, no matter how far, I will find you.”
[pictures are care of the Cinema Treasures site]
September 25, 1992: Perhaps, I’ve been employed at the same place for over 35 years for selfish reasons. I’ve enjoyed working for the same people much of that time. In fact, I met my wife here. And each of my kids were born at this same medical center that has engaged us both. Oh, and two movie complexes eventually arose in the two blocks to the east of this location. Coincidence?
The most interesting of the two, the Beverly Center 13 Cinemas, offered something hard to explain. Or justify.
“Opened on July 16, 1982 by Cineplex, the Beverly Center then contained the most screens of any theater in the United States and had a total seating capacity of 1,879. The theater, located at the top of this Los Angeles shopping mall that borders Beverly Hills and West Hollywood.”
Sure, mega theater complexes today are a dime a dozen. Back then? Not hardly. Plus, only two of the cinema’s theaters were anything close to current capacities. Most were of the itty-bitty variety. Like being in someone’s living room, with movie screens the size of what would be a large flat panel TV of today. With an opening in the back wall for the movie projector. Home theater before the term ever surfaced.
The most strangely intimate public setting to watch a film. But I, and others, did just that. Right there. So when Michael Mann’s newest, The Last of the Mohicans, opened on this Friday date, I marched myself across the street after work, bought an early evening ticket, and sat myself down in such digs. No one in their right mind would call it a movie hall, though. Especially since it had barely a few short rows of theater seating.
Luckily, the film was so good, action and story-wise, I almost forgot where I was. Almost. Such places are more commonplace now. Sadly. Oh, and those two movies complexes I spoke of, no trace of either exists today beyond images in the ether.