It’s been just over a week and I’ve finally been able to gather my thoughts enough to bring you a full write-up of all the fun and games which happened at the Coolidge Theatre in Boston, when Viggo Mortensen came to town! We have three parts of TORn’s write-up to bring you, plus links to some wonderful footage from other sources. If you’re a Viggo fan, you’re in for a treat!
To begin with, on Sunday 4th March The Coolidge hosted a screening of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. As fans know, it is always special when you get to see these films on the big screen, surrounded by fellow geeks; and there are few better cinemas for atmosphere than The Coolidge. It is an independent movie house which is everything a cinema should be – wonderful, knowledgeable staff, beautiful decor, comfy seats and wide-ranging programming. Whenever they can, the folks at The Coolidge show movies on 35mm film – they still have actual projectionists working away to bring you what you see on the big screen! (This meant that, whilst we saw the extended editions of Fellowship of the Ring and Two Towers, Return of the King was the theatrical edition. The 35mm prints of the extended editions for the first two movies were made for ‘Trilogy Tuesday’ in 2003, when Return of the King was released; so there are no 35mm prints of the RotK EE in existence.)
Following the release of the blu-rays last December, we have started to get used to seeing these movies in crystal clear, vibrant hi-def. For me, however, the original prints have a richness and softness which is lacking in the sharpness of high-definition. 35mm offers a depth of vision, an almost golden or sepia warmth, which seems appropriate for Middle-earth. The Coolidge’s main theatre also has wonderful sound, so my seat vibrated as the balrog roared and I felt the need to cover my ears at the Witch King’s piercing shriek – perfect! The sold-out house of fans – almost 450 of us! – all seemed to enjoy revisiting these old friends as much as I did.
In the breaks between movies, it was a pleasure to meet fellow theatre goers, such as Duncan, the chap in the picture above – he had brought with him his pride and joy, a huge theatre banner from France, and was lucky enough to catch a moment with Aragorn himself and snag a signature! It was also fun to spot things on the big screen – I see something new every time I revisit these movies. (Next time you see a screening of this print of the Two Towers EE, watch out for the credits – apparently Denethor is played by ‘John Nogle’!!)
This was a knowledgeable crowd of geeks! Applause, laughter and cheers rang throughout the theatre – and even Figwit’s one line in Return of the King got its own hurrah! But nothing could compete with the huge shout which went up when Viggo Mortensen decided to surprise us all by appearing to introduce the final film. Everyone leapt to their feet and applauded like mad. (Mortensen said the next day that it was rather overwhelming – more on what he had to say in the next report.) As reported last week, the King himself told us he is also a fan of these movies, and then sang his coronation song for us; for anyone who missed it last week, you can see that footage here:
A good time was had by all – and now we were ready to hear more from Mortensen when he returned to The Coolidge the next day! More in part two…