Posted by vp19 on 2014.06.10 at 09:25
Current mood: ecstatic
Few things bring greater joy to a Carole Lombard fan than to watch her cavort, larger than life, on a theater screen in a group experience with fellow audience members. It’s even better to see her in action in a venue that conceivably could have shown that film when it initially ran.
Lombard fans in Oregon’s capital of Salem have a chance to do just that tomorrow night when “Hands Across The Table,” one of her better comedies — and arguably her best film for Paramount — is shown at the historic Elsinore Theatre, which nearly was a decade old when “Hands” was released in the fall of 1935.
Most movie palaces of the ’20s had an exotic appearance to them. In contrast, when the Elsinore opened in 1926, its exterior resembled a Tudor Gothic cathedral (a la Elsinore in “Hamlet,” hence its name), attractive yet austere:
Its interior was similarly Gothic in tone, but seeing it today, restored and in color, makes one realize just how spectacular it must have been, and is now:
The Elsinore was threatened with demolition in 1980, but a “Save The Elsinore” committee kept it from the wrecker’s ball and held a series of free events to promote the venue during the ’80s. It had been kept in reasonably good shape over the years, so while renovations were made, they were minimal compared to other classic-era theaters, and a fully restored Elsinore was opened in 2004.
The theater seats 1,275, and while it’s mostly used for concerts these days, films are an integral part of its schedule. “Hands” is part of a classic movies series held on Wednesdays, and tickets are only $5. That Wurlitzer organ played by Rick Parks in the last of the three interior shots will be heard May 18, when the Elsinore presents a trio of silent comedies — Harold Lloyd in “Now or Never” (1921) plus Stan Laurel & Oliver Hardy in “That’s My Wife” (1929) and “Putting Pants on Philip” (1927). For more information on the series, go to http://www.elsinoretheatre.com/events/film_series.html.
I don’t know whether that’s the size of the screen the Elsinore uses for its movies…but in a wonderful venue such as this, in the midst of an enthralled audience, that screen certainly will seem bigger when “Hands” plays on it.