Heeere’s Johnny! (280th new thing).
February 3, 2012 § 1 Comment
On Day Two Hundred Eighty I saw one of the last 35mm screenings of Stanley Kubrick’s classic The Shining at the Plaza Theatre. It was another sold out show put on by Splatter Cinema. Actually, it was also the first time I had seen the film from beginning to end.
My first memory of watching any portion of the movie was as an eight year old, at Stacey Kelly’s house. I was spending the night and the film came on TBS’s evening programming. We were in her basement, blankets up to our eyes as we watched the creepy sisters beckoning to Danny. I don’t remember seeing much more than that, although it was certainly enough to haunt my dreams for the next several nights. I couldn’t even tell my parents for fear that I would never be able to watch a scary movie on basic cable again.
Thus, seeing the film shown at the Plaza was doubly exciting. Perhaps I would get scared all over again. The print we were going to watch was quite possibly the final one ever released to the public from Warner Bros. (thanks to studios systematically destroying all of their old film due to the increasing cost of storing the precious rolls).
It was kind of a big deal.
We sat close to the front, in the second row at the left of the screen. Not ideal, but the excitement of seeing The Shining with an audience full of fans erased all anxiety about the neck cramp I was sure to have two hours later.
When the movie began, I could tell right off that the print was old. The colors were faded, dust and scratches ran across the screen like ants at a picnic. Yet the beat up film had an immense amount of character, and the idea that this was one of the last times it would be viewed in public made the scratches practically invisible, maybe even adding to the value of the experience.
I loved the film. Why hadn’t I watched this all the way through before? It was a classic in building suspense without quick cuts and fast pacing. Plus there were all of the cult classic lines that sent the audience into trills of laughter (“Heeeere’s Johnny!”).
I’m very glad that I was able to experience The Shining at The Plaza, in 35mm. And next time the film is airing on cable TV, I have the feeling that I will watch it all the way through.