For a Clearer View of the Screen
CINEMA TALK                                        GLOSSARY - OP ED: TJ EDWARDS/GARAN GREY - INTERVIEWS - FORUM



Most dictionaries don't explain this variation on the term.  Beginning with the word SHOWMAN, meaning someone who has a talent for creating a great show, Showmanship is the nearly lost art of enhancing an audience's experience, to make the show an engaging, exciting, memorable experience. A good example of a showman would be Walt Disney.  Another would be Michael Todd - both knew that attention to countless small details goes a long way in creating a memorable experience.



The sign outside a building that identifies a cinema and/or its features.

Not to be confused with: Marquis = a European nobleman or royalty.



A gala event celebrating and publicizing the opening of a movie.

Not to be confused with: Premier = the First, in order, position, or importance.



The practice of presenting movies in special engagements, exclusive to one of the best theatres in each of the larger cities, selling higher priced reserved seat tickets in advance. A limited schedule of showings (once nightly with one or two matinees on weekends) that usually include an overture, an intermission, and exit music.  Often shown in 70mm, with stereophonic sound, these engagements could run up to a year or more before being released wider at regular prices.  Essentially handling a film like the touring company of a Broadway show.  Movies presented this way include THE SOUND OF MUSIC, BEN-HUR, MY FAIR LADY, SPARTICUS, AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS, etc.  This was a very classy practice that elevated a movie showing to a memorable event.



In England, it seems the word THEATRE is generally reserved for legitimate (live) performance venues, while movies are viewed in a CINEMA.  Since there is nothing at all theatrical about most modern multiplexes, I feel they really don't deserve to be called theatres.  Therefore, the word Theatre will be generally reserved here for the nicer, more traditional single screen venues, while Cinema will be used to refer to a bland room with a blank screen hung on the wall.



THEATRE, the original spelling, referring to a place where performances are staged, dates at least as far back as Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language, published in Great Britain in 1755.   For philosophical and nationalistic reasons, American Noah Webster pushed for spelling reform in the US, introducing or creating Americanized spellings, such as THEATER, in his 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language.  Many of Webster's proposed spelling changes never caught on.  The original, classic spelling, "Theatre" is still used widely throughout Europe, and by most legitimate (live) theatres in England and the United States.  Back when moviegoing was an event, the superior venues used the classic "RE" spelling.  To many people, the original spelling became a mark of class. While many people today use the Americanized spelling: THEATER, Cinema Sightlines, being a strong proponent of a more classic theatrical experience, prefers the original spelling: THEATRE.                         



Many times the words "restored" or "restoration" are applied to what is simply a new print of an older film. A true restoration involves a film for which elements have been damaged or deteriorated, requiring, at huge effort and expense, close examination of all available elements, then painstaking cleanup and repair work, resulting in fresh new elements that new prints can be struck from. Examples of true restorations: LAWRENCE OF ARABIA and MY FAIR LADY.

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