Give 'em the Old Razzle-Dazzle
But did you ever consider the projectionist as a performer? How about a disco artist who manipulates sound by hand turning the discs? It's a performance art! In the days of hand-cranked cameras and hand-cranked projectors, there was actually flexibility in filming and projecting. That, of course, is a totally lost art!
Most importantly, silent movie frames used the maximum area of 35mm film. The picture quality when the films were new was superb. But when sound on film came in, the image size of each frame had to be reduced to make room for the soundtrack. The result was grainier movies, with scratches and imperfections having to be magnified to fit the same size screens. But who noticed that with the blare of sound?
COLOR! I remember the sensation, when the magic moment came in a black-and-white film when the scene smoothly dissolved to brilliant color! A heavy question about color movies is their life expectancy. With the original Technicolor process the shooting was actually on panchromatic and orthochromatic black & white negative film stock, with every third frame of film being exposed through a revolving three color filter. The black and white negative could indefinitely produce color prints with the original brilliance… as long as the equipment to do it will exist. Nowadays, a film must be preserved with a digital master.
CinemaScope and the widescreen shape. The easiest way to dramatize the movie experience after the threat of TV was to widen the screen. It would have been much more difficult and expensive to make the screens also higher, and CinemaScope could fill a large wide screen using the same little 35mm film. With an anamorphic lens, a tiny 35mm frame was stretched to fill a very wide screen, gifting us with magnified film grain and other artifacts, covered up by ever louder stereophonic sound. The perfectly suitable classic screen shape was now on its way out. TV itself had to struggle with its original round cathode ray picture tubes, with the picture forced into an awkward and unnamable shape, until finally a square cornered rectangular flat screen tube was developed. But now, that ideal shape has totally succumbed to the newly mandated wide screen standard.