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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Film Handlers' Forum   » DUNKIRK 70MM WITH CURTAINS (Page 1)

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David J Hilsgen
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 161
Registered: Aug 2004

 - posted 07-31-2017 01:24 AM      Profile for David J Hilsgen   Email David J Hilsgen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Just wondering how many theatres, showing Dunkirk in 70mm have curtains, we have waterfall curtains here at willow creek in plymouth ,mn.we also play the music from the movie before show start & we do not show ads, i also do a curtain call between the trailers & feature, we get a great response from our customers on our presentation.

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Terry Monohan
Master Film Handler

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From: San Francisco CA USA
Registered: May 2014

 - posted 07-31-2017 10:15 AM      Profile for Terry Monohan   Email Terry Monohan   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thanks David glad you still use curtains plus to close after the trailers and open on the main feature is great. Hope you project the image on the curtains not the screen when the curtains open and close. In the SF Bay Area there are a few theatres that have showed Dunkirk in 70mm film in the last few weeks. The huge 'Grand Lake' in Oakland CA even has two sets of curtains and they go up plus a organ pre show by the organist 'Jumping Jack Robert' on the weekend. In SF we have the 'Drafthouse New Mission' with nice new red drapes that look great when they open and close. The Drafthouse gang are working on getting some blue/red led lights on them for a nice color wash. Thanks again for keeping some sort of showmanship going these days. Many cinemas leased to companies like 'Landmark', once the curtains are broke they just leave them open and you look at a old white screen when you come in. Many young new candy managers I ask, why don't you close and open your curtains they tell me they run ads before the movie starts. Big deal, show the ads then close the curtains and open on main feature. Most can be programmed into the computer to do this. They would balk at doing the curtains cues after the previews. Many of these guys are lazy, don't care and think drapes are old fashioned. The Orinda Theatre in Orinda CA also has some great curtains that the union projectionist knows how to use them.

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Julian Antos
Film Handler

Posts: 58
From: Chicago, IL, USA
Registered: Nov 2009

 - posted 07-31-2017 04:07 PM      Profile for Julian Antos   Email Julian Antos   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The Music Box Theatre has beautiful red waterfall curtains, but sadly we do not use them for extended 70mm engagements because we put a larger screen up in front of our native 1.85 proscenium. I wish we could have it both ways! We do have a colored screen wash which slowly fades out as the film starts, mimicking the effect ... nothing worse than a bare white screen IMO.

I went to the Zigfield Theatre in NYC for the first time shortly before they closed and saw whatever the most recent Mission Impossible movie was. I stayed until the end *just* so I could see their curtains close over the MPAA blue band, but alas they did not.

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Scott Norwood
Film God

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From: Boston, MA. USA (1774.21 miles northeast of Dallas)
Registered: Jun 99

 - posted 07-31-2017 06:36 PM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Somerville has double curtains (a red guillotine and a gold traveler). One of the other 70mm venues in town--Coolidge Corner--has a red traveler.

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Frank Angel
Film God

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From: Brooklyn NY USA
Registered: Dec 1999

 - posted 08-06-2017 07:54 AM      Profile for Frank Angel   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Angel   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
We have a deep wine-red velour main rag that flies and a cream satin traveler on the screen. I've only used them together a few times, but didn't quite like the effect. Since we always start every show with a WB cartoon followed by the trailers, the deep red velour main curtain sapped up too much of the projected image. We always project the opening WB Merry Melodies logo on the curtain (as Terry mention - first frames on the opening curtain is the way to do it), but the WB logo plays too fast and with the velour curtain, you don't see it well enough and it's gone before the curtain is full opened. Using just the cream satin screen curtain (traveler splits) you see the movie footage very well. And yes, of COURSE you have a curtain cue between everything before the feature and the feature. The curtain before the feature imparts the feeling that an important event is about to creates a mood.

And yes, I know it's old school, but years ago, I was handed a Manager's Handbook at Interstate Theatres in Texas...Austin, actually -- the State Theatre there;I think it was on Main Street. Anyway, they had an entire chapter on use of the curtain and the curtain warmers; the heading was CURTAIN PROTOCOL. And there was a line in that chapter that never left me: "The mortal sin of presentation is for an audience to ever see a naked screen. The screen is a window to things wonderful, not a wall that ruins that illusion." And yes, one of the many rules in that chapter was that the curtain will be used in front of the feature regardless of what plays before it.

This stuff was so sacrosanct that when the curtain motor broke, the manager assigned TWO ushers to position themselves back stage at the curtain pull and 15min before the cues. Why, I asked do we need two guys back there? He told me (then a very green, assistant manager), you assign a second one just in case the first idiot forgets, and you get them there 15min before the cue because one time or another, one or even both of them will be late. He told me that if the regional manager comes in (evidently that guy could pop in unannounced at any time) and sees the curtain not working or not working properly or, yipes, is confronted with a Naked Screen, all hell will break loose and you'll wish you weren't the AM on duty.

BTW, that WB Merry Melodies logo hitting a shimmering curtain as it opens and with that great, uplifting logo music gets applause every time. Adverts, on the other hand, easily get booed (not at my thearte...we don't run adverts, just trailers...BIG difference). At DUNKIRK the other nite, we had to sit thru four effin TV commercials. Hey, want to make me feel good about your diabetic-causing soda, give me a large Coke free when I walk in the theatre and it will make much more of an impression on me than making me sit thru your damn TV commercial...extended length no less!

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Victor Liorentas
Jedi Master Film Handler

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From: london ontario canada
Registered: May 2009

 - posted 08-06-2017 10:56 AM      Profile for Victor Liorentas   Email Victor Liorentas   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I have Beautiful Gold curtains with red stage lights on a motorized dimmer! I saved and imported the curtains from a now demolished palace downtown London Ontario.
Now if I could just get a print of Dunkirk I'm all ready to go! [Smile]

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Jim Cassedy
Phenomenal Film Handler

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From: San Francisco, CA
Registered: Dec 2006

 - posted 08-06-2017 12:01 PM      Profile for Jim Cassedy   Email Jim Cassedy   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Frank Angel
when the curtain motor broke, the manager assigned TWO ushers to
position themselves back stage at the curtain pull and 15min before
the cues

I too was taught the "no naked screen rule" when learning this biz.

So, once, many years ago, when the curtain motor broke down on opening
weekend of a big flick, and I wanted to maintain the 'presentation standards',
I wanted to have one of the house staff manually handle 'curtain duty',
at least for that weekend, until we could get the motor fixed.

The house manager was OK with it, but "The Union" threw a fit. Opening the
curtains, they said, was my "my job" and my responsibility. However, since,
technically, I couldn't leave the booth to open them myself, nor could I be
in two places at once, if the theater manager wanted the curtains opened/closed,
we could bring in two guys @ $37.50/hr (or whatever the union minimum wage
was at that time) to do so. Noooooo problem!

While it was frustrating, I certainly understood The Union's position.

. . . and I'm sure that had The Internet & Film-Tech been around back then,
somebody attending the show that weekend would have gotten online and
posted a comment noting that the presentation was flawless but whining
about the curtains not opening or closing.

I'm just pointing out that sometimes, things happen, or don't happen, for
a reason, & those reasons often aren't always as simple as they might seem.

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Jonathan M. Crist
Jedi Master Film Handler

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From: Hershey, PA, USA
Registered: Apr 2000

 - posted 08-06-2017 12:12 PM      Profile for Jonathan M. Crist   Email Jonathan M. Crist   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The Roxy Theatre in Northampton PA uses curtains at every show.


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Paul Linfesty
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From: Bakersfield, CA, USA
Registered: Nov 1999

 - posted 08-06-2017 01:28 PM      Profile for Paul Linfesty   Email Paul Linfesty   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Frank Angel
Since we always start every show with a WB cartoon followed by the trailers, the deep red velour main curtain sapped up too much of the projected image.
I don't think I've ever seen this before in any theatre with two curtains. The grand drape (as some refer to it as) was always opening in combination with some lighting changes and the first image would hit the screen on the title curtain. The Fox in Bakersfield had the same curtain combination as you describe. But I have been in a number of theatres that had two 9or more) curtains, and the image never hit the screen until the final curtain was ready to open.

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Frank Angel
Film God

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From: Brooklyn NY USA
Registered: Dec 1999

 - posted 08-06-2017 09:57 PM      Profile for Frank Angel   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Angel   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yah, I am thinking we probably could have tried that, but I only toyed with it for a few engagements because unlike the screen curtain which is motorized, the main rag is manual and that means an extra stage hand on call and as Jim points out, adding extra crew is not something management jumps for joy about. Back then I was just a projectionist so had little say about budget matters. Our satin screen curtain looks so spectacular with purple and gold washes from the wings which catch the folds, that I was happy with just the one curtain.

And sure, people like to make the argument that you don't NEED a curtain to show a movie which is true, just like you don't NEED table cloths in a restaurant to serve food, unless of course you want to maintain some modicum of class.

GREAT picture, Jonathan; thanks!

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Monte L Fullmer
Film God

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From: Nampa, Idaho, USA
Registered: Nov 2004

 - posted 08-07-2017 03:14 AM      Profile for Monte L Fullmer   Email Monte L Fullmer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
We had the waterfall and the scrib curtains.

When the waterfall started to rise and about half way up, we opened the dowser.

After a few seconds, we would open the scrib curtain.

Now, since we had dual adjustable maskings, we had a cue on the last preview to close the scrib, change maskings, then changeover cue to the feature reel.

At start of feature, open the scrib again.

Closing, we closed the scrib about 20 sec before last image, then another cue to drop the waterfall.

No one was allowed to see a bare screen.

Showmanship at its best!

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Frank Angel
Film God

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From: Brooklyn NY USA
Registered: Dec 1999

 - posted 08-07-2017 08:54 PM      Profile for Frank Angel   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Angel   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Monte -- You're giving me goosebumps; I am applauding out loud here!

I just don't understand how people in effin SHOW BUSINESS no less, can't see the value in that kind of spectacular presentation. It certainly can't be the cost. It's a one-time budgetary item that goes in with the construction and the cost of the screen; thereafter you barely have to think about it. We put in our masking and curtains in 1991 and they've only needed an occasional pulley and stop adjustment, a bit of grease every so often and a small tear to be sewn. That's it: it's not rocket science. And ours is even old-OLD school technology -- motors and cables and chains. Nowadays the motors are up on the track itself; no cables or chains -- they're smaller, more reliable, set-it-and-forget-it kind of thing. How much did that block long display wall cost to install and maintain, just to show bubbly soda and popcorn kernels. Now doesn't THAT go an extra mile to enhance showmanship.

And Monte, what is a scrib --never heard that term before.

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Thomas Hauerslev
Master Film Handler

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From: Copenhagen, Denmark
Registered: Aug 2000

 - posted 08-08-2017 02:00 AM      Profile for Thomas Hauerslev   Author's Homepage   Email Thomas Hauerslev   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
2OO1 screening procedure by MGM

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Brad Miller

Posts: 17687
From: Plano, TX (36.2 miles NW of Rockwall)
Registered: May 99

 - posted 08-08-2017 02:10 AM      Profile for Brad Miller   Author's Homepage   Email Brad Miller       Edit/Delete Post 
Interesting that they are specifically asking for blank screen there.

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Rick Raskin
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1089
From: Manassas Virginia
Registered: Jan 2003

 - posted 08-08-2017 07:13 AM      Profile for Rick Raskin   Email Rick Raskin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I remember seeing "Doctor Zhivago" in 70mm at the Warner Theater in DC. After the Entr'acte music the house lights dimmed and the theater what filled with the sound of screaming train whistles. I thought 'what the hell is going on' but then the curtains parted in perfect synch with the image of an expanding tunnel entrance. WOW! That was showmanship.

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