Movies these days have gotten longer. It’s not entirely clear why to me, but it’s been a notable difference in length. It’s hard to tell if it’s made a real impact on story telling, though regardless this is why I think cinema needs to bring back the intermission. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s basically a 15-20 minute long break in between acts where audiences can stretch, use the restroom, chit-chat, ect… There are many pros and cons to this setup, however I’m going to focus more on why I think this would be helpful.
Musicals in film aren’t always an easy sell and I think part of that is the translation from stage to screen is lost when people are forced to make cuts or move story elements around. This matters because the Broadway experience is not something everyone can afford, which is why there is a bit of an elitist reputation with the genre.
Take for example the possible upcoming movie based on the play Wicked. Now I’m apprehensive about the film because I generally don’t trust Hollywood. One of the main reasons being that they are more likely to cast someone they perceive to be a big hit rather than someone actually talented, which when there’s singing involved is a huge waste of opportunity. That however is a post for another time… Getting back to the intermission argument, given that there is already talks of the creators adding new songs there is a big possibility that there will be other cuts made to save time. Considering there is only but so much time a person can sit still and absorb a story on average this is unfair to people who have never seen the musical in it’s original form. Not to mention those who have seen the play will be left wanting.
Therefore (aside from casting real and more diverse talent) bringing back intermissions could possibly allow for more wiggle room. Obviously some people still don’t have all day to go to the movies, however taking around 2.5-3 hours out of your day to go to your local theater is still a more realistic expectation than thinking people across America can just travel to New York and spend at least an entire day there on a whim. Even with productions opening up across the country movies are the best way to reach a wider audience.
Why does all this matter?
Well for one thing, I don’t care what anyone says, musicals are awesome! Of course nothing beats seeing a live show, but I’m lucky enough to live only a train ride away from New York and I still can’t afford to see every musical I liked (the Hamilton soundtrack is as close as I’ll get). So if you live in the middle of the country I know that’s gotta be annoying to be missing out on that experience. Also not all musicals are the same, and they deserve to be as varied as any other genre out there, which can be helped with exposure through film.
Whatever your interest level in this topic is, I think it can be agreed that accessibility allows for a greater cultural understanding. Of course this is all sadly not up to me, but it is worth writing about even if it doesn’t change anything. As usual stay informed, and this Friday I’ll either be posting about Selkies and Werewolves or mad scientists.
****Featured Image: Just musicals