Saturday, July 13, 2013

Watching Citizen Kane in A Movie Palace

I'd never seen the movie "Citizen Kane" before this month.

Somehow the idea had gotten into my head that the first time I saw Kane should be not on video but in a theater. And somehow I stuck to that idea from whenever it first came to me, probably in college, up to the present. I think I'd had a few chances to see Kane on a big screen which hadn't worked out in the intervening years. Finally, I set aside time to go see it at the Ohio Theatre as part of CAPA's Summer Movie Series. Not even car trouble kept me from finally getting to go see Orson Welles' famous movie.

Before the movie, at intermission, and after the movie there was live organ music. The Ohio Theatre's organ is bright white (bright enough to make taking a photo of it with my phone difficult) and it raises and lowers into the orchestra pit. I remember, as a child, finding that fascinating and disturbing. (Even the phrase "orchestra pit" suggested something that was more suited for Indiana Jones than musicians to my young mind.)

For the Ohio Theatre was part of my childhood. This landmark theater across the street from Ohio's statehouse was somewhere I went many times on school field trips and with my parents. It truly deserves the phrase "movie palace." It's elaborately decorated, full of golds and deep reds. Going into the Ohio Theatre is radically different from attending a movie at a multiplex. It's truly an experience and one which I want to make sure to share with my children sometime soon.

Stairway up from the basement lounge to the main floor.

Main lobby

Decoration at the top of the proscenium arch.
As for the movie itself? It didn't disappoint. I was engrossed throughout the film and there were a number of great lines in the screenplay by Welles and Herman Mankiewicz. Thanks to Charles Schulz and Peanuts, I knew the "secret" meaning of Kane's dying word, but that didn't impair my enjoyment of the film. I do wonder, though, how that ending would have struck me if I had been unaware of it.

Around the time I was in college, Kenneth Branagh was a young wunderkind director who was often compared to Orson Welles. Branagh's "Dead Again" has long been a favorite of mine. (Come to think of it, that's one I'd love to see on the Ohio's big screen!) While watching Kane, there was a scene that reminded me of a similar scene in Dead Again. In both movies, a younger man is interviewing an older man -- specifically an older journalist -- who is in a convalescent facility. In both, the older man begs the younger for a cigar or cigarette. I'm not the first person to have noticed this similarity, but it made me smile.

I had a great time at the old movie palace. I'm grateful for the people who ensured that this building is in the condition it is today and for that long-ago decision of mine to wait to see Citizen Kane on a big screen. It was worth the wait.

No comments:

Post a Comment