To the editor:
I love the new reclining chairs and spacious seating of the newer theaters. My back escapes feeling increasingly irritated and I don’t have to awkwardly squirm my way through the aisle to get to the bathroom. But watching a black-and-white film at a vintage theater like The Cabot in Beverly obliterates such creature comforts and exposes the power and longevity of such spaces.
I watched “Suddenly” (1954) with Frank Sinatra last Wednesday for free, as part of the theater’s collaboration with The Film Detective to show classic films monthly. They introduced the historical theater (approaching its centennial birthday) and the film. Then, the house lights dim and the screen brightens.
Sitting in an old theater, its ornate decorations, streaming projector light, and even limited camera quality are not flaws in the experience but bonus features. As one sits there, munching on popcorn, slurping soda, and seeking the right balance between salty and sweet, one gets lost in the screen and its story. I did not live at the time when the film was released, but the viewing at the Cabot provokes some of the experience filmgoers of yesteryear partook. And simply put, it’s magical.
The Cabot is quickly becoming a happening place with world-class events and performances. I hope it continues to succeed. I also hope they continue with these classic film events and that even more people attend to enjoy a slice of cultural history and movie magic.