Temple of Film: 100 Years of the Egyptian Theatre (2023) Movie Script

[pleasant music plays]
[Guillermo del Toro] A great movie...
will take you places
you could not imagine.
And if it happens at a temple,
a building dedicated to it,
the experience is transcendental.
Opera has palaces,
the ballet has palaces,
painting has museums.
Cinema deserves that magical realm,
which was the great movie palaces.
Like any other holy building,
you go to a theater
to recapture a spiritual moment.
- [roars]
- [shouting]
[soaring music plays]
- [screams]
- [shouts]
[music softens]
[del Toro] We're storytelling animals.
Every notion we have,
notion of love,
country, belonging,
they come from a story.
And the only art that can encompass
any human experience is cinema.
When we can experience a movie
in the environment
that you can surrender yourself,
it engulfs you,
heals, elevates,
connects with your soul.
So, for me, the Egyptian is a temple.
[music fades out]
Many times I've been at the bottom.
I'm about to quit the job...
[chuckles] ...of life,
and I go, "This is meaningless."
And cinema has lifted me up.
With the right drama,
the right horror movie,
the right cartoon.
Can be a Capra.
Merry Christmas!
[del Toro] Can be a Keaton.
And it just shakes you.
Come on!
[Autumn Arkapaw] Raging Bull.
Thin Red Line...
[shouts in Japanese]
...Road to Perdition.
Those are the movies
that stick with me the most.
It feels so real to me,
like I feel like I'm now
in this magical world.
That's actually happening.
The experience of
going into the dark with strangers
and having this group hallucination,
and coming out the other end of it
a different person.
It is a group experience,
and it gives you permission to feel it.
[Arkapaw] The theater itself,
the space at which your film is shown,
all feeds into how people
are relating to your film.
Oh wow!
With the Egyptian, you go in there,
and it's like, "Game on."
[Johnson] The whole experience
is the show,
including walking up
to the facade of the theater,
taking you back to the imagined glamour
of Hollywood past.
[del Toro] It's a grand outing
to a different reality.
You are transported to a place that has,
if not great architecture
by the historical accuracy,
certainly grand architecture.
[Arkapaw] The bravado
of the theater is felt.
You're engulfed in that whole environment.
As a person who completely believes
in spirits and ghosts
and energy contained within spaces,
it's like those buildings have memory.
[Pete Hammond] My father
was actually there
on the opening night
of the Egyptian Theatre.
It was Robin Hood.
And he said, "I saw Douglas Fairbanks."
It was a big night.
It was a very special thing.
[Leonard Maltin] I fell in love with it.
It became my favorite place
in Hollywood to see a movie.
[Rene Lagler] I would tear
1,316 tickets every night.
It was fun.
It was exciting to be a part of all that,
especially the premieres.
The red carpet, the flowers.
Most of the stars,
Marlon Brando, and all those people,
they would come to the theater.
We were proud to be a part
of something that was special.
[announcer] Ben-Hur,
opening at the Egyptian Theatre.
It's already proclaimed
as the entertainment experience
of a lifetime.
[man] There were lots of great premieres
that happened there in the '60s...
How do you do?
...and the '70s, like Alien...
...the early '80s.
[deep rumbling]
[Peyton Hall] I drove by the Egyptian.
The building had big holes.
I think that we need to keep
the Egyptian forever.
This is such a fundamentally
important place
in the invention of how
we experience movies.
The American Cinematheque courageously
went forward on the rehab project
to save the history and character
of the Egyptian Theatre
and to make it work again.
[del Toro] The first time
I experienced King Kong was on a TV.
Many of my generation,
and generations subsequent to mine,
have experienced most of
their audiovisual storytelling on TV.
[tense music plays]
When I experienced Vertigo
on the big screen,
I realized I had never seen it.
Even though I had seen it
many times before,
the size of the screen,
that's one of the most important things.
In any temple, surrender is key.
At a moment's notice, your world changes.
[Arkapaw] I love Apocalypse Now.
I can always go back to a theater
and watch that.
I was just being so affected in a theater
by these kind of epic films.
We have a sinner with us here.
[Arkapaw] Seeing There Will Be Blood
and going, "I wanna do that."
That film was amazing.
That's why I became a DP.
I'm always thinking about,
"Will people love to see this
in a theater?"
[Ben Tucker] I remember
my first black-and-white movie,
which was Miracle on 34th Street,
and learning that I liked old movies too.
I get it now, more than ever,
how great it is to watch a movie
with a really good audience
in a packed house.
What's special about the Egyptian
is its ability to run nitrate-based film,
which is very unusual.
There's only a handful of theaters
in the United States
and in the world
that can run nitrate film.
Movies are as delicate as vampires.
They need darkness to exist,
and they are dependent on a very,
very strange body chemistry.
[Arkanaw] I always like the OG,
kind of unique film print projection
because I like texture,
and I like imperfection.
There's something about it
that feels more special.
[del Toro] The experience is different.
There is something beautiful
about the flickering.
We're trusted by the studios,
and the archives, with their best prints.
You're looking at prints
that are closer in generation
to the original negative.
[Johnson] We should be championing places
that are showing great older films,
because it's a incredibly vital experience
that changes people's lives.
[del Toro] I remember seeing
Los Olvidados, Buuel's movie.
And I came out completely transmogrified.
I thought, "That was done
by a filmmaker in Mexico."
"I can talk about my reality in my mind
or my place of birth through cinema."
[Johnson] I remember going to a theater
and seeing Harold Lloyd's The Freshman.
To see this film from 80 years in the past
bring the house down...
That's probably the best experience
I've ever had in a theater
watching a comedy.
[del Toro] Peter Bogdanovich used to say
there are no old movies and new movies.
Just movies you've seen
and movies you haven't seen.
And for me, to be moved by Mervyn LeRoy...
The bigger they come,
the harder they fall.
- [del Toro] ...by Douglas Sirk...
- Put down that phone.
Would you like to speak to him yourself?
I'll tell him you're here.
...they had to wait for me.
Any way we can preserve those experiences,
the way they wanted it to be screened,
it's a sacred duty.
[Hammond] The Egyptian needs
serious remodeling,
and it's getting it,
and that's thanks to some of the money
from Netflix and American Cinematheque.
At the Egyptian, we are working on
a very good recreation and preservation
of what was there in 1922,
so that the Egyptian is there for people
to come and have this experience.
One, please.
[del Toro] Certainly, in cinema,
there are screening rooms that are cold,
and there are screening rooms
that are warm.
Those are the best places to see a movie.
If it's a great movie, it's great.
If it's a bad movie, it's not that bad.
The Egyptian, even though it's enormous,
it's a really warm room.
[Taylor] There is a magic to the Egyptian.
Feeling all of these incredible
filmmakers that came before you.
That history gets passed down,
inspires a new generation.
You can still go to the Egyptian
and still see some of the movies
that played there decades before.
[wondrous music plays]
[del Toro] There's a covenant
with cinema at the Egyptian
that you get renewed every time
you're there as an audience member.
And as a filmmaker,
you feel that covenant with the audience.
[wondrous music continues]
You have a direct line with the origins
of cinema at its most grand.
[wondrous music continues]
The Egyptian is there
to have a spiritual moment with film.
[wondrous music crescendoes]
[energetic music plays]