'At The Drive-In'
(DVD / NR / 2019 / MVD Visual)
Overview: From sleeping in the concession stand to working entirely for free, the quirky film fanatics at the struggling Mahoning Drive-In face uncertainty when Hollywood announces it will switch to digital projection for all new movies.
DVD Verdict: Unable to purchase an expensive digital projector, the Mahoning gang pin their hopes of survival on showing only vintage 35mm film prints on their original 1949 projectors.
'At The Drive-In' is, without a shadow of a doubt an underdog story for the ages and one that will have you transfixed, awaiting the outcome to the story from the very off.
For during this riveting, and completely invigorating to the mind, body and soul documentary, we not only relive their underdog story to save film and the Mahoning Drive-In, but their desperate, and heartfelt decree to try and save all drive-in theaters everywhere.
From the opening black and white reels of a time gone by - "Good evening folks, and a hearty welcome to our drive-in theatre" - followed by an overview, soaring even colorful modern day viewpoint of the Mahoning Drive-in (Lehighton, Pennsylvania), the difference is clear and present in an instant: Black and white footage show packed fields, packed cars, and happy, joyous faces. Color footage shows us barely a handful of cars/trucks and wide open spaces abounding.
One of the oldest Drive-In's with the largest outdoor screen in the United States, the Mahoning Drive-in was definitely under attack from the new age during this 2016-filmed piece.
With the staff having not taken paychecks for that entire year, the three people that make up the Mahoning Drive-in just want to see the place make a profit; but moreover, survive in the new age of digital over 35mm film.
Treated as a "passion project" (and as they themselves add, one that is taking them to "the extreme"), they also explain the "ache" that might well be within someone who had never been to an outdoor Drive-In movie theater before to see a film.
In the 1950's there were over 4000 Drive-In Movie Theaters across the country … today there are only around 330 left remaining.
'At The Drive-In' is a documentary about the magic of movies and the people who love them, that's for sure, but it's also a showcasing of the human spirit.
For when they were left unable to purchase a $50,000 digital projector, these quirky film fanatics in rural Pennsylvania fought to keep a dying Drive-In theater alive by screening only vintage 35mm film prints and working entirely for free.
Ergo, this award-winning feature documentary is an incredible tale spun out for you now via DVD for your small screen delight. But, if you ask nicely, maybe The Mahoning Drive-In Theater will set up a nice 35mm private viewing for you on their REALLY big screen! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Over 17 minutes of deleted scenes
Cast Commentary #1: Featuring Director Alexander Monelli, Mahoning Drive-in owners Jeff Mattox, Matt McClanahan, Virgil Cardamone and cast
Cast Commentary #2: Featuring Director Alexander Monelli, Mahoning Drive-in owner Jeff Mattox and cast
Director Commentary #3: Featuring Director Alexander Monelli and special cuest Robert Humanick
Q&A from a screening at the Alamo Drafthouse in Yonkers, NY (30 mins)
Original Theatrical Trailer