Each week, The Exhibitionist comments on the latest news, trends and innovations related to the theater industry, or it discusses long-continuing problems with and complaints against cinemas in general, or it simply relates a specific moviegoing experience of yours truly. But rarely does this column get into the subject of actual movies. Well, seeing as there's not much new in the industry this week, and seeing as I'm fortunately not being dragged to see Sex and the City and therefore have no experience to relate about being a sole male in an auditorium packed with women, I figure this is a perfect time to bring up actual movies. Not just any movies, though: I'm presently only interested in discussing movies about, set in or prominently featuring movie theaters.
The earliest movie that I'm familiar with that significantly involves a theater is Buster Keaton's Sherlock Jr. The silent comedian plays a projectionist who falls asleep on the job then has a dream in which he literally climbs through the movie screen and into a detective film. A similar idea of breaking the boundary between auditorium and screen is used in Woody Allen's The Purple Rose of Cairo and in John McTiernan's The Last Action Hero, both of which involve a movie character who manages to leave his respective film within the film. But nothing tops Keaton's screen-entering stunt, which utilizes special effects that still astonish more than 80 years later.