Hollywood Theatre preserves film history with return of 70mm

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Portland's Hollywood Theatre has been working for the last year to get its two 70mm film projectors back up and running.

Now that the projectors are back in commission, the theatre is celebrating with five screenings of "2001: A Space Odessey."

The 70mm film format has gone by the wayside in recent years thanks to digital technology. Some directors have used it in recent years, but the true classic films are rarely seen in the large format anymore.

Dan Halsted is the Head Programmer at Portland's Hollywood Theatre. He's been working to acquire missing parts for the two projectors that are considered classics themselves.

"These are really rare machines," he says. "They stopped being made in the mid-1960s, so it was really complicated and took a long time to track everything down."

The 70mm film print is a beast on it's own. It's takes both projectors to run it, and while one projectionist can handle it, it's a workout.

"The film was shipped on 10 different reels, and weighs about 450 pounds," says Halsted.

But the goal of bringing back the 70mm format will now put the Hollywood Theatre in a unique group, Halsted adds.

"There's only maybe a dozen theaters across the country that can play 70 millimeter, so it's puts us kind of in the top tier of film venues across the country."

The theatre will run "2001" this Friday, March 20, through Monday, March 23. Tickets were $12, but quickly sold out on the Hollywood's website.

If you miss this first screening, the theatre is planning to show more and other films in the future. While nothing is set yet, they're working on scheduling "Vertigo," "Lawrence of Arabia," and when it comes out, the new Quentin Taratino film. The modern day director is shooting his newest project on the classic film format.

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