These days, the evaluation of a good movie house tends to begin with questions like, “How big is my seat?” “How many cup holders are attached to it?” Or, “Are there six or eight channels in that sound system?” We ask these questions not only because we have become accustomed to viewing films in this manner, but also because there is a symbiotic relationship between what we see on the screen and the theater in which we watch it.
Naturally, there are all kinds of movies and video not suited for the blockbuster viewing experience, which is why it’s important to house these films in environments that complement the content and shape of a film. Last Saturday, for example, I spent part of my afternoon at the Museum of Moving Image watching the last episode of a Captain Marvel serial inside Tut’s Fever Movie Palace (1986-1988), a small, playful theater that plays down the movie’s crackles and pops and accommodates its short length with a modest sound system and seating arrangement. The space also represents a nod to early film sensibility as it contains a wealth of references to cinema and architecture from 1920 to 1950.
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