Saturday, June 23, 2007

Screenland Theatre Granada

1015 Minnesota Ave., Kansas City, KS 66101

Screenland Granada

Review by Chris at Home Theater Forum:

This summer, they open after much renovation a sister theater (to the Screenland Crossroads), the Granada. 900 seats, built in 1929, the Granada is an old-style feel and is kept so in the feeling of the 1920s era that it's a joy to be there.

In front of the theater screen sits a full orchestra pit, complete with a pipe organ head for the days when films were silent, but accompanied. The theater is multi-purpose, which means it was devised for the day when the set could be used for stage as well as screen. Some day, as I have told the owner, I would love to see a few silent era films faithfully reproduced with the orchestration and musical arrangement. I've always had doubts I would ever see such a thing.. but I have always wanted to watch Harold Lloyd, Buster Keaton, and others as the original arranged music played. The Granada and it's ownership give me hope that sooner rather then later, Kansas City will have that kind of experience.

I want to say one other thing about the Granada: if you get a chance, see a classic at night in the Granada. The Granada features a redone classic atmospheric theater ceiling, so as the screen lights up, above you the stars and the clouds sweep across the ceiling, and it gives me the feeling of a theater I loved as a child. I hadn't seen a theater with atmospherics since I was little, and I was amazed at how much it made the night feel special. And, if you're out with the wife or a date, it's everything you could ask for

I rarely write so glowing of a review of anything. There are a few places in town I could sing the praise of.. I could tell you the joys of the best Frozen Custard in town, one of the best hidden Chinese supermarkets.. but if you're a film buff and you live anywhere near Kansas City, you owe it to yourself to visit Screenland. Even if you're not seeing a film, just to look at Laugh-O-Gram history, see where a nervous cast of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" rolled out a small film, catch the hand prints in the ground of celebrities who let their independent film get a shot. I stumbled onto screenland about two years ago by accident. And now, I find myself looking at their site often and thinking "Spaceballs! On the big screen? Let's load up!"

Cinema Grade = B+

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