Richard had the excellent idea that we should eat downtown tonight and then watch Strangers On A Train at the Ohio Theatre. Cath, Brittany, Mom, Richard and I had dinner at Dirty Frank’s, a downtown eatery that specializes in inventive hot dog-based concoctions, and then traveled over to the theatre for some organ music and some Alred Hitchcock mastery. The hot dogs at Dirty Frank’s were really quite good (I had a chili dog and a combination of frankfurter, brisket, and barbeque sauce that really hit the spot) but the real highlight of the evening was the movie at the Ohio Theatre.
Strangers was being screened as part of the Summer Movie Series, which runs from early June to mid-July. It is a popular series, I think in part because it is just enjoyable to watch a movie on a big movie screen, in a huge, ornate theatre, with organ music played on the theatre’s “Mighty Morton” organ. Strangers is a classic part of the Hitchcock library, with all of the interesting camera angles, mounting suspense, tension-breaking humor, and stunning set pieces — in this case, a struggle to the death on an out-of-control carousel — that you expect from vintage Hitchcock. Watching the film on a big screen, in a large theatre where the laughter rolls around the room like water being swirled in a basin, just makes the movie so much better.
No Summer Movie Series outing would be complete without some accompaniment by the Mighty Morton. The organ is a massive white object that rises from and then descends into the floor of the stage. It also is an astonishing musical instrument of great complexity and range; at one point the organist played Chattanooga Choo-Choo and delivered a very credible approximation of a steam engine, complete with whistle. Watching the organ being played properly, as the organist strikes pedals, tabs and keys, is like watching some kind of intricate Russian ballet.
Events like the CAPA Summer Movie Series contribute mightily to making Columbus an interesting and fun place to live.