Farewell to celluloid

Latchis marks the end of analog film projection with free showing of ‘Singing in the Rain’

BRATTLEBORO — On Tuesday, August 28, the one year anniversary of Tropical Storm Irene and its rampage through Brattleboro's Flat Street, Latchis Arts and the Latchis Theatre will screen Singin' in the Rain, the feel-good classic with Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, and Donald O'Connor, free of charge to the community.

Directed by Stanley Donen and Kelly, the movie portrayed the dawn of talkies on the big screen. This screening will also help the Latchis commemorate its conversion from 35mm film to digital projection.

The Latchis Hotel and Theatre was closed for 46 days after Irene's flood waters receded, leaving behind a mess of mud and muck. A half-million dollar cleanup and repair project allowed the hotel and theatre to re-open in October and life returned to the Latchis.

The theater is phasing out most of its 35mm film projectors in favor of digital projection, where movies will be delivered on hard drive. This is saving the movie studios millions of dollars in film production costs.

With analog projection, each two-hour film comes in two or three shipping canisters holding miles of 35mm film, which gets threaded onto platters, projected onto the screen, and ultimately rewound back into the canisters, to be shipped to the next venue. Each film can cost $1,000 or more to make, and hundreds are made to distribute throughout the country. The conversion to digital projection, which the studios now mandate, will cut these costs significantly.

While Singin' in the Rain will not be the last 35mm film ever shown at the Latchis, it does represent on screen the end of both the silent film era, and locally, the use of celluloid in cinema.

The movie is presented for free, although donations to long-term flood recovery efforts in southern Vermont will be welcome. Information can be found at

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