The Projectionist (1971)

“A filmic fantasy coloured every hour of his grey life!” Bored, lonely New York City film projectionist “Chuck” (Chuck McCann) – whose life consists solely of watching movies, eating at greasy diners, hanging out in smoky pool halls and wandering through the adult bookstores in Times Square – periodically retreats into a fantasy world where he turns into superhero “Captain Flash.” In fact, once Chuck leaves the safe confines of the majestic movie theater, the whole look of the film has that gritty, low-budget, early ‘70s vibe to it. Directed by Harry Hurwitz, The Projectionist includes dozens of clips from famous (The Maltese Falcon, Citizen Kane, Casablanca, etc.) and not-so-famous flicks, as well as McCann doing some nice celebrity impersonations (his impression of James Stewart in The Spirit of St. Louis stands out!). In his film debut, Rodney Dangerfield is perfectly cast as “Renaldi,” the tyrannical theater manager (who also doubles as a villain known as “The Bat” in Chuck’s fantasy world). The cast includes the beautiful Ina Balin as “The Girl,” Hurwitz as “Friendly Usher” and “Jara Kohout” as “Candy Man.” Huntz Hall of “Bowery Boys” fame was reportedly Hurtz’s first choice for the title role. Bottom line: This is a movie that hardcore film buffs will enjoy and would make a great double feature with Cinemania (2002). McCann portrayed “Barney” in the short-lived, 1975 TV comedy series Far Out Space Nuts, which costarred Bob Denver.

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