A few months ago, I was watching yet another episode of the famous “In The Actor’s Studio” series. This time, it was an interview with Robert Redford. Among other things, he was asked about his opinion on the way modern cinema has evolved. And, the answer left most of his young audience (including me), somewhat dazed.
Bob started talking about the way cinema used to be a socio-cultural event, back in the ol’ days. This was a time when a ticket cost less than 50 pence. But, in exchange for that princely sum, the audience could enjoy two cartoon films, two short films, one news cast (usually covering the war), and two main feature films!
Just going to see a movie in the theatre used to be a memorable family event in itself!
Then, slowly and steadily, movie owners and distributors discovered the extra income they could make from adopting an assembly-line approach where you fill a movie-hall with a packed audience, show them a movie show, and get them out as fast as possible, only to fill it up all over again. The evolution of that thinking, eventually, led to the modern-day “multiplex” phenomenon where four or five screens would do the same thing, in one venue itself. In fact, these days, the trend has reached new heights with even the snacks and drinks being served to you, in your seat, during the intermission!
Now, most of us born on the younger side of the ’70s would not have dreamt of such a phenomenon, were it not for stories like these handed-down from one generation to the next. For all its conveniences, I’m sure, many people of Bob’s age would not be too pleased with the way modern cinema has “evolved”.
What a wondrous experience it would be to go see “a movie” in the good ol’ days…