Berger and Conser Last Remaining Seats

ISBN 13: 9780964311978

Last Remaining Seats

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9780964311978: Last Remaining Seats

Featuring over 100 architectural photographs in colour, this book details the spectacular interiors of 16 of Los Angeles' most important movie palaces built during the '20s and '30s. It is aimed at anyone interested in Hollywood's rich past.

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From the Publisher:

Los Angeles is still blessed with some of the most remarkable movie theaters built during Hollywood’s golden age – The Million Dollar, The Wiltern, The Mayan, The Chinese. This book, brought back into print by continuing demand, documents these and other Southland theater masterpieces in 134 rich and evocative color photographs that are breathtaking in capturing the decorative excessiveness and over-the-top beauty of these palaces.

Review:

An unsurprising number of these theaters went bankrupt not long after their klieg-lit opening nights. Berger and Conser spent six years documenting the surviving follies around Los Angeles, and selected 16 of the most extravagant for this collection. The architectural-style names alone are worth the admission price: "Zigzag Moderne," "Movie Palace Rococo," "Aquarium Decco, with a smattering of Botticelli." So are the amber-tone detail shots and sweeps of interior dreamwork, with pagodas rising over a snack stand and Egyptian scarabs crowning a proscenium. Fortunately, evidence of peeling, fading, and bad repair work has not been cropped out. The brief texts cover premieres of important movies like Citizen Kane and Charlie Chaplin's City Lights and equally prophetic debuts of live performers like Frances Gumm (later Judy Garland), followed by declines into abandonment with the rest of L.A.'s downtown. (Scholars, though, may be frustrated by the inconsistent details about the interior motifs, alterations, and current uses of buildings). A helpful addendum gives addresses for the 16 theaters highlighted, plus 4 more that behind unspoiled facades-have been ravaged into retail stores. -- Interiors

Enhanced with an informative and highly readable introduction by Stephen Silverman, The Last Remaining Seats is a photographical tour-de-force of classic motion picture theatres from the golden age of Hollywood and the silver screen, when going to the movies was an esthetic experience long before the lights went down and the screen lit up. These "movie palaces" were architectural wonders of art, decor, imagery to excite the visitor and give an almost "temple" or "cathedral" experience of worship, a feeling that transformed a mundane entertainment into a weekly pilgrimage. The Last Remaining Seats documents an era now gone -- but not forgotten in the memories of those of us who are old enough to remember how hard times were left outside while dreams were spun in the darkness for all who had the price of a ten cent ticket. -- Midwest Book Review

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and Conser, Berger
Published by Princeton Architectural Press (1999)
ISBN 10: 0964311976 ISBN 13: 9780964311978
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