With its two auditoriums and daily screenings, the Michigan Theater sometimes resembles a more commercial movie theater, especially when it rolls out an intelligent entertainment like Elizabeth: The Golden Age, which opened today (October 12, 2007).
The Michigan has such high hopes for this film that it has scheduled more daily screenings, including a 4:30 p.m. showing this afternoon that I attended right after getting off from work. What a fun way to start the weekend!
Elizabeth: The Golden Age continues the Michigan’s habit of presenting upscale mainstream films, like Dreamgirls, Pride & Prejudice, and The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Elizabeth opened at many other theaters in the Ann Arbor/Detroit area.
The Michigan also helps filmgoers enjoy the fall movie season, when theaters screen many films that have more depth than the big budget releases of summer and Christmas. Last October, the Michigan showed both of the Academy Award-winning lead performances of 2006, in The Queen (Helen Mirren) and in The Last King of Scotland (Forest Whitaker).
The Michigan Theater previews for Elizabeth: The Golden Age made me really look forward to seeing the film, with its stirring dramatics, sumptuous costumes, and dramatic battle scenes. As I settled into my balcony seat in the main theater, I was treated to a preview for another interesting-looking movie—the World War II drama Atonement.
Elizabeth: The Golden Age had a rich texture that added to the cozy, involved feeling that I got as I escaped into the Michigan from the cool weather of the last few days. The film’s glowing texture also was in tune with the golden light of the autumn afternoon that I had enjoyed on my drive to the theater.
From my balcony seat, I could see the architecture of the Michigan’s Historic Auditorium merging with the look of the film—the arches, grilles, balconies, high ceilings, polished gold, royal crests.
In some scenes, walls would angle symmetrically towards the sides of the screen, lining up with the auditorium walls, making us all feel more inside the film.
And really, this was no accident. It was a beautiful marriage of form and content that might have been born in the mind of a theater architect of the 1920s as he looked at photographs of old English cathedrals.
The full effect continued as I walked out of the auditorium, with the end credit music following me into the Grand Foyer, which looked even more magnificent, when seen with the afterglow from watching Elizabeth: The Golden Age.
As I walked down the grand staircase, I could see both floors of the Grand Foyer. I took in different views of the foyer’s beauty, as I descended into the happy Friday night sounds of people enjoying another visit to the Michigan.
Copyright © 2007 by Robert Hollberg Smith, Jr.