Finally, my long awaited first foray into the wide, wonderful world of foreign films! I just got around to seeing The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (in Swedish with subtitles) and let me tell you, it was really good! The movie stayed very true to the book and it was something of a novelty seeing a movie with subtitles.
For a little background: the movie is based on the first book in Stieg Larsson’s Millenium trilogy of the same name. Followed by The Girl who Played with Fire and The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a fantastic book and great start to a really fascinating mystery. The three books almost read as one, and I guarantee you won’t be able to put these down once you start reading.
But, I digress. As Swedish novels with a Swedish author, all three movies have been made in Swedish, with English-language adaptations on the way starting in 2012. The second movie in the series is now out in limited release (it’s currently showing in Cambridge at the Kendall Square Cinema.)
As a foreign film not in wide release, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo wasn’t shown at Showcase Cinemas or AMC. I had to head to Arlington’s Capitol Theatre, my first time seeing a movie there. This six-screen theater was first opened in November 1925 and it was a FANTASTIC place to see this. Though the movie is now out on iTunes and on Netflix, part of the reason I wanted to see it on the big screen was because of the theater I’d be seeing it in (and it was much easier to read the subtitles, as they were so large!)
A little history of the Capitol (taken from its website): The Capitol Theatre opened on November 25, 1925. It was built by the Locatelli family, who built other area theaters like the Ball Square Theatre and Central Theatre, both in Somerville. The original auditorium had a mural above the proscenium arch that incorporated the town seal of Arlington into its design, and an amazing pipe organ. Originally seating almost 1600 patrons between the expansive orchestra section and balcony, the Capitol had a full stage with dressing rooms to accommodate the occasional vaudeville or novelty act that would be presented with the movies on screen.
Known to Arlington residents as “Your Home Theatre”, the Capitol was the largest and most luxurious of the neighborhood theaters in the area. After the Locatelli’s sold the theater in the late 30’s, it was leased by various local cinema chains until Arthur Viano of Viano’s Theatres took over for many years. Along with other Viano’s locations like the nearby Regent Theatre, and the Somerville and Broadway theatres in Somerville, the Capitol became well known for its fresh popcorn and friendly atmosphere. While the theatre was under Viano’s management, the entire Capitol Theatre Building was sold to Chatham Light Realty of Cambridge. When Arthur Viano tired of running the theatre, Chatham Light Realty’s owners, the Fraiman family, decided to operate the movie house themselves, rather than see the old palace close. During renovations, much of the original décor was uncovered in the lobby. Behind 1960’s-era faux-wood paneling were granite columns and gold leaf! The entire lobby was restored to its original glory, and a new concessions stand was built. Trying to draw audiences with only one screen was nearly impossible, however, and in order to save the theatre, it was multiplexed; most recently, a sixth screen was added in 1990.
And, they sell Richardson’s ice cream. Awesome? I think so. Not only would I recommend seeing a movie at the Capitol, I would definitely recommend seeing The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (AFTER you read the book though!) Who knows, maybe I’ll become one of those foreign film buffs! Warning: there are some scenes of graphic violence and disturbing images.
What’s your favorite foreign film? Do people even have favorite foreign films? Enlighten me!