200 rollers, 2200' of threading leaders. Interlocking.
November 19, 2015 1:26 PM   Subscribe

This post was deleted for the following reason: Poster's Request -- frimble

That's crazy. Crazy geekiness.
posted by Chuffy at 1:35 PM on November 19, 2015

"That's the most illegal move in the history of cinema!" - Jack Valenti
posted by straight at 1:47 PM on November 19, 2015 [6 favorites]

Back in the olde days of film cinema (early 2000 tbh), sometimes studios would only send us one print for two screens, so we'd have to thread it through two projectors. This meant that some people got to see the midnight showing about 30 seconds than the other suckers patrons.
posted by mmmbacon at 1:56 PM on November 19, 2015 [10 favorites]

Love this. We had a setup like this for the ten screen theatre that I used to work in and we were always curious about what it would take to get it going and it's fascinating to see this. I can see setting this up and letting it room as a (most geeky) test, but man doing something like this for active screenings with paying customers would give me the worst 3 hour long bout of anxiety imaginable.
posted by dogwalker at 2:06 PM on November 19, 2015 [10 favorites]

Wow, that was awesome. Thanks for posting it!

I once did a four house interlock back in the mists of time* when I was a hotshot projectionist. This was in the pre-platter era where we ran everything off of twelve thousand foot reels and automation didn't allow for much more than cueing sound and the house lights. Between each projector was a set of accumulator rollers that gave you enough slack to run pell-mell down the hall (jumping over or diving under the film stretching across the hallway) and start up the next projector. If your timing was off then the rollers ran out of room and your film broke. Interlocking two houses was common for summer-movie-club but no one in institutional memory had done three or more. That is until I decided that one summer morning was too sedate and it was worth risking my job tempting fate. It's still one of the most exhilarating things that I have ever done.

posted by djeo at 2:07 PM on November 19, 2015 [38 favorites]

As someone who has also worn a projectionist's hat, I tip it to the sheer insanity on display here.
posted by NoxAeternum at 2:19 PM on November 19, 2015 [4 favorites]

Didn't Warhol do this back in 1966 or so?
posted by jonp72 at 2:26 PM on November 19, 2015

I once fuck up so bad at my job as a projectionist that about half a platter of Hoop Dreams ended up on the floor. I think that's the coolest thing I've done, projector-wise.
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 2:30 PM on November 19, 2015 [7 favorites]

We only had to do this a few times and I was always a wreck because while we had good projectors (Christie), our platters (Strong, which should all be burned in a cleansing fire if they still exist) were very unreliable. Still, this brings back some lovely memories of my movie theater days, thanks!
posted by killy willy at 2:33 PM on November 19, 2015 [2 favorites]

Two friends dropped King Kong right before the midnight showing. The whole reel just fell apart. There was no midnight showing.

The worst thing I ever did (projectionist-wise): I set Anchorman on fire. I melted about five seconds of the movie (nobody bought a ticket for that particular showing and so nobody noticed for a long time). The next showing, some guy was back was a repeat showing, and got LIVID that we had "edited" the movie and cut a scene. We were just impressed that he noticed.
posted by mmmbacon at 2:36 PM on November 19, 2015 [5 favorites]

We dropped a print late one Thursday night moving it between projectors. I don't remember who stumbled but I'll never forget who had to stay extra late to get it all put back together for the first showing that morning.
posted by djeo at 2:45 PM on November 19, 2015

The worst thing I ever did (projectionist-wise): I set Anchorman on fire.

No, I think that's the BEST thing you ever did (projectionist-wise)...

I haven't seen this much geekiness since the ham radio club meeting that was hosted at a A-band cellular company's main switch...
posted by randomkeystrike at 2:46 PM on November 19, 2015 [4 favorites]

How do you start all the projectors at once so the film doesn't tear?
posted by dilaudid at 2:50 PM on November 19, 2015

Man, randomkeystike, I don't think you get it.
In the panoply of movie theater employees projectionists were the top of the totem pole. We were cool. Nay, we were rock stars.

Well, I was anyway.
posted by djeo at 2:54 PM on November 19, 2015 [6 favorites]

I tail-wrapped "Dances With Wolves" at the Thursday midnight print test. Chewed that piece of shit to ribbons. That was a long night of splicing. Let's just say that those theater patrons saw a rather "creative" edit of the film.
posted by Optamystic at 3:09 PM on November 19, 2015 [3 favorites]

Oh man, Dances With Wolves was *huge* too! It damn near filled up the entire platter.
posted by djeo at 3:14 PM on November 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

I love projectionist fuck-up stories because the name of the movie lends such gravity or comedy to the story.
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 3:21 PM on November 19, 2015 [20 favorites]

While everyone is here, I'd like to ask how many times the Thursday print review actually revealed a problem with the print? Out of the hundreds if not thousands of prints that came through our theatre, we only had one that was problematic. (The first reel was the French overdub version, had to cancel the first couple Friday screenings until the replacement arrived.)
posted by dogwalker at 3:32 PM on November 19, 2015 [3 favorites]

Not a projectionist, but I've worked at a movie theater for a long time, and -- that's the worst usage of the "101" suffix I have ever seen.

On preview: we're a slightly different venue because our main programming is all first-run independent, foreign, or classics. But back when we were still always on 35mm, we would get a bad print about 2-3 times a year. Sometimes mangled or badly cut, most of the time just dirty.
posted by penduluum at 3:36 PM on November 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

Because I worked for an incredibly cheap chain, our projectors were...probably about twice my age. And they had all sorts of issues.

Like slowly devouring a copy of Pirates of the Caribbean. (I think it lasted about a month.)

Or requiring jury rigged ventilation.

I was so happy when a rival chain came in (I had long since left for saner pastures at that point.) The sad thing was that the new city manager (they had two locations) wanted to make a go of it, but by that point, they saw the writing on the wall.
posted by NoxAeternum at 3:39 PM on November 19, 2015

dogwalker: Never. Six plus years and not once did we find something wrong. I saw so many bad movies back then...

Mind you, mandatory screenings were enforced because somehow a print was assembled out of order but that happened right before my time.
posted by djeo at 3:45 PM on November 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

Just reading the description is giving me premonitions of ex-projectionist anxiety dreams. I used to work at a platter system place held together with JB weld and prayer, which mostly held up but occasionally failed catastrophically (thirty minutes of Caché crumpled on the floor, anyone?). I had dreams where I'd show up to work and the projectors were missing. Still kind of miss it though.
posted by felix grundy at 3:51 PM on November 19, 2015 [5 favorites]

dogwalker: We had a problem with the sound strip on a random kids movie, but that was it,. There were also lots of movies I had to unwind and resplice because I'd put a reel upside-down in the middle of the film, so the Thursday-night screening was crucial.
posted by mmmbacon at 3:53 PM on November 19, 2015 [2 favorites]

I swear to god I've seen either this exact thing or another demonstration of the technique, and I thought it was on Mefi way back in the dawn of recorded history. Like 2003.

That being said, it's a brilliant technical solution to the problem. I'm kind of surprised the film can hold up under the weight.

AV kid nerds assemble!
posted by Sphinx at 4:07 PM on November 19, 2015

Speaking of Thursday night print tests, THIS FUCKING SCENE IN GREMLINS 2 damn near gave me a heart attack.
posted by Optamystic at 4:11 PM on November 19, 2015 [22 favorites]

dogwalker: new prints? Never with a print *I* assembled, but I once had to go to a funeral, which meant my #2 assistant (the one who was deluded that she knew EVERYTHING) assembled a print with the second reel tail to tail with the first reel. The good news is that that movie was 'Ruby' starring Danny Aiello --- it's okay if you've never heard of it, it mercifully sank quickly out of sight like a lump of rock in a lake.

Older/used prints are a whole 'nother story though. I once had to assemble a raggedy 15-year-old print of some Thai? Cambodian? movie that had no heads or tails, no markings I could read (just something half-rubbed-off that had been scribbled onto the print in Thai or whatever..... I did my best, and consider it a win that I had all reels heads up and only one out of order. Cost me a TON of splicing tape patching that sucker though.

And yeah, interlocks SUCK. Worse I ever ran was one print through projectors, all while my boss was complaining all four weren't running perfectly in sync: "WHY is #4 running behind #1?!?"
posted by easily confused at 4:19 PM on November 19, 2015 [3 favorites]

[several minutes of topology so demented my brain can barely process it] "From here, the interlock starts to get complicated." [head explodes]
posted by Horace Rumpole at 4:41 PM on November 19, 2015 [3 favorites]

Wow Optamystic. I guess the people who had heart attacks from that scene are no longer with us. That is totally screamingly funny--volleyball indeed.
posted by hexatron at 4:42 PM on November 19, 2015

So late 2000, which film would this be? I can't think of a single one out of the latter half of that year that'd warrant screening on all 16 screens. That smacks of this being an opening night special event, but I can't think of any from that period that would have warranted one, except for perhaps How the Grinch Stole Christmas, or Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
posted by radwolf76 at 5:36 PM on November 19, 2015

I love this thread, it's all like

<shit I don't get> <more shit I don't get> Short Circuit 2 <shit I don't have a clue about>
posted by Rhomboid at 6:03 PM on November 19, 2015 [12 favorites]

Speaking of Thursday night print tests, THIS FUCKING SCENE IN GREMLINS 2 yt damn near gave me a heart attack.

So that didn't come with a giant yellow warning label on the can, or anything?
posted by randomkeystrike at 6:13 PM on November 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

How do you start all the projectors at once so the film doesn't tear?

n seconds of slack between projectors?
posted by zippy at 6:31 PM on November 19, 2015

Sigh, I miss seeing movies on 35mm. I loved being able to hear the faint ratchet sound from the projector and watching for the reel change markers. Plus, the movies looked better.
posted by octothorpe at 6:36 PM on November 19, 2015 [5 favorites]

Awwwww, "Digital cinema will never be this fun."
posted by unknowncommand at 7:16 PM on November 19, 2015

So, any ghosts in your theaters or booths? We had ghosts (or a lot of ghost stories or whatever) and I've always wondered if this were a movie theater phenomenon?
posted by mmmbacon at 7:52 PM on November 19, 2015

Oh wow, I only got a little taste of this when I worked for a film festival in Delaware. We had the use of several theaters in the local multiplex, which was built in a "T" shape so that the entrance, concessions etc. was at the crossbar of the letter and the 16 theaters were arranged down the long end, 8 to a side. The projection "booth" was actually a long corridor one story up, and the projector windows peeked outwards.

EVERY SINGLE ONE of the 16 theaters could be interlocked with A SINGLE PRINT if needed, a feat I'm told would mean that by the time the first scene reached the last theater, the starting theater would be 15 or so minutes into the movie.

During my time at that festival, we only used it to screen the director's cut of Donnie Darko in 2 theaters at the same time, just once because we had to send the print back the next day.

While I understand the desire for digital projection -- it's basically an attempt to dummy-proof movie exhibition -- I respect O.G. projection like car enthusiasts respect those who build hotrods -- it's a finicky beast that will chew your print (and maybe your fingers) if you don't have the right finesse. It turns the exhibition of art into an art form all it's own.
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 8:04 PM on November 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

So late 2000, which film would this be? I can't think of a single one out of the latter half of that year that'd warrant screening on all 16 screens. That smacks of this being an opening night special event, but I can't think of any from that period that would have warranted one

Pretty sure this is just a couple of dudes stringing a print through all the theatres just so see if they can. Doesn't look like there's a paying audience. It smacks of supreme geekiness to me.

So, any ghosts in your theaters or booths? We had ghosts (or a lot of ghost stories or whatever) and I've always wondered if this were a movie theater phenomenon?

Yeah we had ghosts. Supposedly some guy died in the hallway outside theatre 4 and haunted the place.
posted by dogwalker at 8:11 PM on November 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

I was the head projectionist of a eight screen theater from 1996 to 1999. I would normally replace a few reels a week on new movies. We would replace them for scratches lasting more than a few seconds or a single spot of discoloration. But I also removed cement splices and I think I was the only one that ever did that.

The worst night I ever had was when I dropped a print of The Game when I was just moving it down one platter. I was tired and stupid and didn't ask for help. The middle just fell out and it became a ball of pain. It took around a hour to accept that I was going to need help putting it back together. 10 Hours and eight very angry managers and projectionists later we managed to play the 2.25 hour movie in under two hours. A lot of film was lost. For some perspective, it is around a mile a hour of 35mm film. Hundreds of splices were made.
posted by johnpowell at 8:20 PM on November 19, 2015 [7 favorites]

Wow, I was not expecting to find that video even slightly interesting given I don't know the first thing about the projectionist's job, but I was transfixed. I never really got why a/v geeks were one of those geek castes you heard about in 80s movies but I guess this totally answered my question. These guys are hackers de luxe.
posted by town of cats at 9:15 PM on November 19, 2015 [2 favorites]

Yep, I worked a booth with a ghost: it was a 1914 theater, but all the guys down at the union thought the ghost was one of the old members who'd died on the job, in that booth, around 1960 or so. They based their ID on the ghost's behavior: about once a year when I (one of the first female projectionists in this area, and certainly the first in that theater) would be working extra late, I'd hear this gleeful laughter and **SOMEBODY** would pinch my butt, even though I was the only person in the room if not the building. The old guys figured they knew EXACTLY who it was.
posted by easily confused at 3:37 AM on November 20, 2015 [3 favorites]

The haunted missing stair?
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 6:15 AM on November 20, 2015

Last Christmas I took my in-laws to see my favourite film at a local cinema that shows old films in 35mm. Mark Kermode was doing the introduction and mentioned that skilled projectionists were dying out since the skill was in so little demand. When we came out my Brother-in-Law dropped into the conversation that he was a trained projectionist. He used to work on the IT support for Buckingham Palace and the Royal Collection there, and they trained him in case the Queen ever wanted to watch a film.
posted by biffa at 6:24 AM on November 20, 2015 [13 favorites]

My dad or someone at his law firm represented a projectionist in a worker's comp case who had a breakdown after flubbing one of the first showings of Independence Day back in the summer of 1996 - packed house, everyone screaming at him, that kind of thing. I don't know how the case went, but that idea became a bit of personal short-hand for serious work-related stress.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:45 AM on November 20, 2015 [4 favorites]

late eighties..16mm projectionist at a porn theatre..10 hrs of continuous showing of 3 porn films...hand crank rewinding...no break...6 nights a week...4 years...you're welcome
posted by judson at 8:09 AM on November 20, 2015 [10 favorites]

the desire for digital projection -- it's basically an attempt to dummy-proof movie exhibition

Attempt is always the right word before dummy-proof; I feel the honor of inevitably adding futile should come from personal experience.
posted by Dr Dracator at 8:24 AM on November 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

Digital projection is also exponentially cheaper on the distribution side. The cost of striking and shipping even a handful of prints was pretty insane. Being "easier" to run the material digitally is a bonus on top of being cheaper, but I'll argue that smaller errors are even more distracting to me because there's less of an excuse for why it's not perfect.
posted by dogwalker at 8:42 AM on November 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

You guys are the best. I only had one auditorium so my best/worst film encounter just came from cheapness and the internet. I had to move a film from the middle platter to the lower platter to build another film. We didn't own clips so I just fed it though the rollers and on to the bottom platter and stuck a stick under the speed control roller train thing. I then went to smoke and surf the internet. I came back to a ball of film about the size of a medicine ball. I spent the next 5 hours sitting on the floor cutting and splicing. I think I only lost about 2 mins total of film. We later bought clips.

The most fun I ever had with film was Nelson Algren: For Keeps and a single day, a Lookingglass theatre production at the MCA. I ran 5 16mm film projectors, including the MCA's big Christie, that stopped and started multiple times throughout the show and just for fun pointed at different screens for different parts. When I was hired I was told by the director that I would never do the show perfectly and I never did. It was beautiful though.
posted by Uncle at 3:02 PM on November 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

Weird, that's the theater I went to in high school.

I didn't think it was in Aurora, but that's because there's a little outpost of Aurora surrounding just this shopping center. How odd.

What fun though, Mr. Nat who once upon a time was an amateur projectionist enjoyed it!
posted by nat at 5:15 PM on November 20, 2015

I'm still catching hell, nearly 20 years later, for putting a reel on backwards in the middle of Night Falls on Manhattan in 1996. I put the movie together, and didn't stick around for the Thursday night after hours screening. My friends, who all worked at the theater, and who I still see regularly, rub this mistake in at least twice a year.

It's hard to even talk about the time I was closing alone and somehow ( tripped, bumped into the film, who knows?) broke the Star Wars reissue and then cut my hand on the splicer and was freaking out so much because I had to go into the theater and try to explain to a bunch of Star Wars fans, why they wouldn't be seeing the rest of the movie that night.
posted by JennyJupiter at 6:07 PM on November 20, 2015 [2 favorites]

Man, this all takes me back to when I worked at a theatre and regret that I was only there after the transition to digital. We had switched over a few years before I got there, so all the mangers and old guard talked about it but we rarely saw it. We actually still had two screens doubled up with a digital and film projector for the odd movie we still got on film (Inglorious bastards being the only one I remember.) and none of us could do the work to prep it, so they'd bring in a former employee to do it. He was an older bearded hippy type who'd worked the theatre in the 90's when it was a kinda scummy weed and booze den, chain smoked red pall malls, braided beard, whole nine yards. He was treated like a god, he had seen literally all the movies, had amazing stories and put films together like it was trivial. His name was Greg. God bless you wherever you may be.

I don't have any fun stories about film, but the hard drives we were sent were fun. They come in little ruggedized cases with little locks on them by way of courier, and they were encrypted/compressed so you had to sit around for hours will the server did whatever it did. It's all much more inscrutable. Since it was digital we didn't require viewings, and that meant they never happened except for big movies. I really enjoyed them and wished we'd done more, but if you have the option of going home to sleep you will. The hard drive of one of the saw movies was dropped down a flight of stairs sans protective box and was somehow gotten to work before a midnight showing. Best the modern era can do.

All theatres have ghosts, its universal. We had something in theatre 6. It was always cold, even in the summer (and the theatres got hot in the summer, humid sticky hot.) movies that showed fine in the bigger rooms would sometimes get weird yellow lines across them, and this occurred despite a bunch of techs looking at the projector. I personally, a doorman, quietly asked one of the lifers about it after cleaning it for a month or two and always feeling creeped out and gross when in there and he immediately knew what I meant. He said it had been haunted at leadt since he got there 8 years ago, and that even customers will complain if they're in there alone or in a small group. We had a 'rescue manager' for a month and some after the last terrible one was fired, the kind that jumps from trouble spot to trouble spot, and he brought it up himself. He said every theatre he's worked at had a haunted spot in it somewhere, and he'd probably been to dozens. If we had to clean up after a scary movie in it someone would come down to help so you didn't have to spend time alone there. There's no story to it, we had people die in other theatres while I was there and nothing is every as creepy as theatre 6. I'd rather sleep a night in the exact spot I watched an old lady die of cardiac arrest (the second Madagascar movie has a body count. I also escorted a passed out drunk from it on a Sunday morning, then watched him get into a car from the doorway. Not a healthy movie it seems.) than in theatre 6.
posted by neonrev at 10:38 PM on November 20, 2015 [3 favorites]

Movie theatre jobs are the best.
posted by neonrev at 10:38 PM on November 20, 2015 [2 favorites]

I may be late to the projectionist party, but about 3/4 of the way through a long comment I made last year about working at the Brew & View in Chicago is a story about how a jammed projector and melting frames freaked out a bunch of stoned/tripping people watching the original Charlie & the Chocolate Factory.
posted by chambers at 9:18 PM on November 21, 2015 [2 favorites]

Digital projection is also exponentially cheaper on the distribution side. The cost of striking and shipping even a handful of prints was pretty insane.

I used to work in a UK arts centre that included a single screen cinema. a part of my job was to sign for films as they came in. Films would turn up in metal box about 20" on a side, heavy, unwieldy and having to be sack trolleyed everywhere. These were replaced in the 90s with big green heavy duty plastic boxes, which were still a pain in the bum but at least had less in the way of sharp corners and hard points to whack your shins. Older stuff that had been in circulation for a while still came in metal boxes. Longer films had to be sent in 2 boxes.

They all came via courier, and often we had to keep an eye out to ensure we got that night's film as in demand films would have a fairly narrow window for transport between cinemas. Frankly they were a pain. Shipping was pricey and not totally reliable. It took a fair amount of staff time to sort them out, before they even got to the projectionist's booth.
posted by biffa at 4:08 AM on November 22, 2015

How are movies distributed now? Is it still hard drives being shipped around the place, or has the internet made it such that movie houses can download them from distributors? I have no idea how movies work. I envisioned old-time, reel to reel type projectors, like the kind where the end of the tape goes 'whacka whacka wacka" when you reach the end of the reel.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 10:55 PM on November 22, 2015

There are two ways I know of - either the movie is sent via a ruggedized hard drive, or they use a dedicated link to transmit the movie to the theater.
posted by NoxAeternum at 6:59 AM on November 23, 2015

I was a projectionist in a 12 screen starting around the time this video was taken! That AV Geek with the microphone could 100% have been me,* and that little "digital projection will never be this fun," at the end sums up a lot of the feeling of being in that time and place. We were in our early 20s, and building skills and relationships around a craft we loved, loved, loved that very obviously had no future. Bittersweet.

I damaged my own print of Caché, as it happens! Left the tape on the tail and burnt a hole in the end of the credits. Oops!

We had a ghost, of course. We didn't know it well, but late at night, closing alone, people who had worked there for years had a tendency to get lost in the bowels of the place. It was a 12-screen theater in 3 floors, which meant it was a 6 story building, with a complex series of filthy white access corridors. People swore up and down that late at night they would leave the third floor to the 2nd floor booth, and descend the stairs only to find themselves in the 3rd floor booth again. Happened to me, too. Spooky stuff at 3 in the morning.

Fond memories. Thanks for sharing.

*I could never have accomplished what is showcased in this video, to be clear. Holy crap, son.
posted by Phobos the Space Potato at 9:19 PM on November 23, 2015 [2 favorites]

Movie theatre jobs are the best.

True indeed. I worked in (and subsequently managed) an art house place in the late eighties/early nineties. It bonds people like nobody's business: I left in September 1990, more than a quarter century ago, and some of my coworkers I am still close enough that they were at my wedding this fall. One in the wedding party, even.

Projectionist was the only job I did not do. The projectionists were this remote subclass who held themselves aloof, like priests in a mystery cult. Two things come to mind, though:

1) Once we played host to a road show by one Reg Hartt (previously). Anyone who has lived in Toronto in the last forty years or so will be at least peripherally familiar with Hartt, a film historian with eclectic tastes, an encyclopedic knowledge of twentieth century film and what one might term an abrasive manner. Mostly he screens things like Nosferatu and Diygas Sirk melodramas and now-pulled racist Warner Brothers cartoons from WWII in his Cineforum venue, which is essentially his living room with some folding chairs and an admission charge. Once in a while he takes his show on the road, which is where this tale takes place: he was screening a bunch of short films in our cinema and going up onstage between each one to introduce it.

After one one of the films, he went up to complain to the audience that the focus had been off on the previous reel (he said nothing to the staff, and I did not notice any problems) and harangued the audience about this for a couple of minutes at least, saying that the amateurish projectionist was clumsily robbing them of the evening they had paid to experience. He said, "If you see the focus off in any other film tonight, I want you all to scream 'FOCUS! FOCUS!' at the top of your lungs until she feels like doing her job." He then gave his spiel for the next piece, but in his high dudgeon, neglected to tell everyone that this one was in soft focus. So at his request, the audience spent the next fourteen minutes screaming and robbing themselves of the evening blahblahblah while he tried belatedly to wave them off, in what looked like a man conducting an orchestra while being attacked by bees.

He went up afterward and admitted his mistake, and the whole embarrassing incident was almost worth it just for that. Watching Reg Hartt do sheepish is like watching Bootsy Collins do restrained or Michael Bay do nuanced. Not quite enough sheepishness, though: Reg Hartt never returned.

2) On a night off, I was there taking in the early feature, the largely forgotten 1989 period drama Old Gringo. It was a passable enough film, although a little opaque in its narrative choices: at east one major plot point left unresolved, another character perishing offscreen and appearing as a corpse in a subsequent scene with no explanation of how he died.

I sat in the back row, as was my wont. When the credits rolled, I jumped up and propped open the exit door to the lobby to let the audience back out. The manager that evening hissed at me, "What are you doing?!?" I replied that I was propping open the doors to let the audience out, obviously. She said, "No, there is still twenty minutes left!" I looked back over my shoulder: credits still rolling, orchestral music swelling, audience standing up and leaving. The thing had come to a bumpy end but it was definitely telegraphed as the end of the story.

Later I learned that the projectionist had inadvertently omitted the penultimate reel, shortening a two-hour runtime to 1h 40 m. To this day, I have only ever seen 83% of that movie.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:12 PM on November 24, 2015 [5 favorites]

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