Movies in the Movies: More 'Hellzapoppin''

An oddball film is "Hellzapoppin'." Not only do the characters break the "fourth wall" and turn to speak to the audience, but they also break the space-time continuum, shouting off-the-cuff instructions up to the projectionist inside the theatre with you and the other audience members.

Amazingly, and, perhaps, the most outrageous notion to swallow, the booth operator is paying attention to the picture. Projectionists spot check the screen and sound, yes, but seldom follow along with the action. There are other duties and too much noise in the machine room, maybe food.

Furthermore, in the farce, the *live* projectionist can somehow redirect the already printed camera work on the fly, while satisfying the various whims of the two-dimensional black-and-white people weaving inside the photoplay, unprofessionally abandoning the script at this particular performance.

Physics, logic, thespians, technical equipment, and projectionist unions don't bend like that, but here they do, weirdly and wildly.

It's surreal. It's crazy. "It's," as Olsen and Johnson remind us, 'Hellzapoppin'!'"

My favorite gag amidst the insanity is when, due to a movie projector problem, the image jumps out of frame, causing a noticeable obstruction. This condition displays itself with the bottom section of one picture from the celluloid appearing on the screen above the top section of the next frame of the film.

After the visual disruption happens during "Hellzapoppin'," the cast is irate, although they are not too angry to pitch in to help. The taller players raise their arms over their heads and try gallantly to push the black frame bar all the way up past the top of the screen. It budges in the impossible spirit of accommodation.

Funny? We projectionists adore the concept -- with caveats. Some shake heads and say, "@*#%!," and others are preoccupied on dreams of clocking out and lottery tickets....

Continued From: "Movies in the Movies: 'Hellzapoppin''"

To Be Continued...

Related: "Movies in the Movies: 'Breakfast at Tiffany's'" | "Movies in the Movies: 'Girls! Girls! Girls!'"
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