Monday, January 07, 2013

Captain Flash on DVD

 I receive and watch a DVD from Netflix every four days or so. One of my discs last week was The Projectionist. I'm not surprised if you never heard of the film; even though it dates back to 1971, I first learned of it only recently myself. Its being such a secret is a shame because the film has quite a bit of both charm and panache.

Chuck McCann plays the title nebbish and the movie follows him from his New York City movie house projection booth to his small apartment and it makes sure to show all his stops in between, especially the ones he imagines! This is a Secret Life of Walter Mitty plopped down right in the middle of late 1960s counterculture, with precursors of what Zelig and Forrest Gump would do years later.

Mr. McCann's imaginary avatar is a costumed hero named Captain Flash; he envisions himself as the good Captain interacting within the celluloid frames with the characters in Casablanca and other classics. My curiosity was piqued when McCann was shutting down his projectionist booth one night and popped off excellent impressions of old-time actors one after another. I looked up the gentleman to see what he's been up to for the last four decades, and his resume includes a great deal of voicework for cartoons (including some for Thundarr the Barbarian which Jack Kirby also worked on in the early 1980s).

This is not a movie for kids because of a couple of the scenes (nice going, counterculture), and I wouldn't say that every comics fan should see it, and I won't even go so far as to call it a good movie. But I found it interesting and I liked it and I believe any serious student of film should experience The Projectionist.


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