Locus Focus: Take One Hundred and Sixteen!
This month, we're looking at movie houses within
Make that a real theatre within a real theatre . . . but with an odd sense of unreality.
Edward Davis Wood, Jr. was a real Hollywood director, and so any movie about his life requires scenes in real Hollywood locations. A quick online search will tell you that his project Bride of the Monster premiered at Paramount Theatre--the same place which got to be the first to screen Orson Welles's Citizen Kane. What the Internet is silent about, however, is whether the audience really did "tear up the place" . . . and try to attack Wood and his actors . . . and then stampede out of the theatre, before the movie even started.
Well, okay, they most likely didn't. Just as Wood most likely didn't meet his idol Welles and receive encouragement from him to keep going--which is another scene in the film! (Wouldn't both moments be notorious Hollywood history by now, if they had?) Indeed, I'd put a bit of money on the possibility that the near-feral audience was another homage to Welles, who actually did cause a panic with one of his own productions . . . which you might remember from a "Two or Three" Book Club foray into classic radio!
But while Welles had, in one sense, the ideal audience for his adaptation of The War of the Worlds, it took Wood a long time to find an audience worthy of his own efforts. Yes, he was a really bad director who probably still deserves to have mainstream movie lovers throw popcorn at him . . . but he was also worthy of an Oscar-winning Tim Burton biopic and has acquired a cult following that the majority of auteurs can only dream of. Many of the fans whom Wood won after his death would have loved to have been at the Paramount Theatre on opening night . . . and well, even I wouldn't turn my cultured nose up at a modern Ed Wood film festival.
Ed Wood may have been a commercial flop, but I kind of love it. The only thing that I wish were different about it, is the cinema where it premiered. It just seems wrong for Burton and company not to have gone for the El Capitan Theatre, which is, of course, the renamed Paramount Theatre (which had been, in Wood's day, the renamed El Capitan Theatre--because El Capitan was also its original name). If they had done that, they would have had the real renamed theatre within the real renamed theatre. (The thought is killing me!!!)
I totally forgot to end last week's post with a question, so I hope that this one makes up for it . . .
Question of the Week: Do you like being part of a big audience when watching a movie?