There is something special about seeing a movie you love in its true home.
It's amazing how many of my favourite films I haven't seen on the big screen. As a child of the 1980s, I discovered my favourite movies on Betamax and VHS.
But there is something really cool about seeing a much-loved film on a huge screen in a proper cinema. It feels like the film has come home. You can luxuriate in the image and sound and at times you feel like you are watching the film for the first time. It's a revelation.
I have seen a few old movies on the big screen in the past few months because of an amazing season at Hoyts cinemas. I am not shilling for Hoyts, but the Pop Culture Classics season they have been running every Sunday evening is the bargain of the century. For $15 you get popcorn, a coke, a choctop and a ticket to a stone cold classic that blows away most of the current movies showing on other screens. I highly recommend it. Next Sunday is ET and the Sunday after that is Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Last night, I went to see Jaws on the big screen for the first time. It was an immaculate print, fully restored to celebrate Universal's 100th anniversary. I always loved Jaws as a child, watching particular scenes again and again with my sister and friends to give ourselves a scare. This scene was a particular favourite:
But the suspense and the shocks come at you with far greater intensity on the big screen. You can also appreciate all the subtle details. The shooting star that scratches the night sky behind Chief Brody when they are at sea, the intense, overlapping dialogue and the colour and detail of the early beach scenes. I think Jaws is the ultimate monster movie, but that is perhaps a discussion for another day.
I had a similarly intense experience seeing two other much-loved movies on the big screen for the first time.One was Die Hard, the other was Lawrence of Arabia.
I was 13 when Die Hard came out at the cinema, way too young to sneak into an 18 certificate movie. When I finally tracked it down on VHS, it was the first 18 certificate I ever saw. Seeing Die Hard on the big screen was so much more satisfying than squinting at a slightly blurry VHS.
I was able to appreciate the cinematic scale of the movie. The way the sun sets and dusk falls in the first act and the lush, grand scale of the thing. It was awesome.
Talking of cinematic scale, Lawrence of Arabia was also a whole different experience in a cinema.You really haven't seen Omar Sharif coming out of the heat ripple until you have seen it properly projected. What a trip.
The grandeur and beauty of Lawrence of Arabia can only really be appreciated in a cinema. You realise why Steven Spielberg called it a "miracle of a film".
So, I recommend you take every chance you get to watch a much-loved classic in its true home. You won't regret it. Anyone else been enjoying the Hoyts season of old movies? Do you think cinemas should show more old classics?
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