Is cinema facing a digital dark age?

Is cinema facing a digital dark age?

The following is an edited version of an article originally published in the Toronto Star on Sunday, January 29. As the conversion to digital projection is taking place in theatres all over North America, I wrote this as part of my on-going examination of the movie-goers interaction with film. In October, 2010, a digitally colourized version of George Melies iconic 1902 film, A Trip to the Moon (Un Voyage Dans la Lune), was shown at…

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From Chaplin to The Artist: Music and silent film as enduring allies

This article was originally published by CBC Music on February 29, 2012. It appears here in a slightly edited form. On the screen of the Museum of the Moving Image, Charlie Chaplin’s iconic Tramp character prompts roars of laughter from the audience. The film is The Immigrant (1917), and the seats of the Brooklyn-based theatre are filled with children seeing a silent film for the first time. Their eyes are wide, beaming, and the laughter…

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The Birth of a Nation: How ugliness changed Toronto’s movie-going landscape

The Birth of a Nation: How ugliness changed Toronto’s movie-going landscape

It’s no secret that D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation is one of the most racist films ever made — a declaration not lost on Toronto audiences when it premiered at the¬† Royal Alexandra Theatre on September 20, 1915. The film, a revisionist account of the American Civil War, the Reconstruction period that followed and the creation of the Ku Klux Klan — all of which vilified the African-American population —¬†played at Bell Lightbox…

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The Great Candy Bar Uprising of 1947

The Great Candy Bar Uprising of 1947

The thought of modern-day kids protesting the price of candy bars — let alone anything — seems inconceivable. No matter how pricey multiplex food courts get, people just keep gobbling and sipping away. But years before concessions became common-place, independently owned cigar stores and candy stores such as Laura Secord or Jenny Lind often flanked downtown or neighbourhood theatres and they continued to do so long after snack bars came to vogue in Toronto in…

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The Imperial Drabinsky

This week, the final curtain fell on a decade-old debacle in Toronto when former theatre impresario Garth Drabinsky was found guilty of fraud and forgery in an Ontario court. A modern day mogul, Drabinsky produced several staples of Canadian cult cinema like The Changeling and The Silent Partner; with Cineplex Odeon and Nat Taylor he built the first megaplex cinema; and after being ousted from Cineplex, he created Livent, a live theatre production company which…

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