Well, last night was the big night. The Palace Theater in Albany is quite nice. The entire downtown was decorated with Christmas lights. A stranger to this town might think it’s a nice locale, but unfortunately if you travel about 3 blocks west of the theater you enter a run down slum with a healthy amount of random violence.
They restored the marquee of the Palace a couple of years ago. Seeing it illuminated and announcing the arrival of Kane was quite thrilling. The interior is a tad run down, but it has retained a vintage look that adds to its charm. Nothing inside screams 2006. Nice architecture. A grand ceiling. You know, the usual old time theater essentials. It takes you back to when entertainment was respected and people had more class.
I was not sure what sort of print they would have. It turned out to be a very watchable one, although with a lot of dirt and debris. It looked like the “News on the March” newsreel footage some of the time. During the snowy scenes outside the Boarding House it looked like little Charles was standing in a black sleet. But that was fine with me. I’ve been spoiled by DVD. It’s a nice change of pace. I don’t know if this is the 50th anniversary re-release print or not. It certainly looked dirty. As for the brightness, it was darker than the DVD, I suppose, but I could still see Joe Cotton quite clearly in the projection room. The sound system was strong and the voices and music echoed through the vast theater. The screeching bird sent most of the audience jumping out of their seats.
The screen was a decent size. I remember when the title came on and feeling a little bit of electricity run through me, since I had never seen it displayed so largely. The film was projected in a manner to utilize as much of the screen as possible, but the end result was valuable information being lost at the top and bottom of the screen. I’d say about 10% of the picture was off the screen. It was a tad distracting at first, but I got over it. They were doing the best they could.
There was a decent amount of people there. A good showing for a Wednesday night. Plenty of people with taste in this town. A couple of lines got a rumbling of laughter from the audience. “You’re too old to be called anything else” and “I’m drunk”. They were also amused by the breakfast scenes illustrating the decaying of the Kane’s marriage.
When we reached the scene when we enter Mr. Thatcher’s library I heard a distant melody begin. But no, this was not the sweet sound of Bernard Herrmann’s score; this was some lowlife slime bucket down in the front with a cell phone. Can you believe the nerve? I was irate. But it was over soon enough, so I pushed it out of my mind and enjoyed the show. The next interruption was an intermission, which brought the film to a screeching halt right in the middle of the Kane/Leland scene following the election. The scene was literally split right down the middle. A happy animated reminder to go to the lobby came on. I didn’t mind a touch of old fashioned goodness, even if it did disrupt this vital scene (“I told you I was drunk”).
Later, we were in the bedroom following Susan’s suicide attempt when, once again, this time from behind me, some rat fink with a cell phone again! The audacity! I can understand being irresponsible during Scary Movie 4 or something, but c’mon, this is CITIZEN KANE! Why not go urinate on the Mona Lisa while you are at it? I really can’t stand these people who are so self absorbed that they think their phone calls and their worthless, unimportant conversations are more important than the viewing pleasure of hundreds of others!!!!
I got my emotions back under control and enjoyed the rest of the film without incident. All said, it was a terrific experience and I’m glad I went. The theater also gave me their film schedule for the next 6 months. Many more classics are on the way. On the Waterfront. Rear Window. Apocalypse Now. Looks like I’ve got somewhere to go on Wednesday nights for a while.