Now for the geek nit-picky bit. The framing looked overly tight to me: there were a fair number of faces cut off at the top of the screen. (And the image couldn't have been lowered much further without cutting off the sub-titles.) I wonder if perhaps the projectionist framed the film edge-to-edge for Academy ratio (1.37:1), forgetting that it's actually more like 1.20:1 and thus taller than an Academy film at the same width.
It was also a bit too cold in the screening room (and what I consider comfortable, most of my friends find cold, so when I'm cold, that's usually a bad sign). I noticed some viewers using their coats as blankets by the end of the film.
But those niggling details aside, it was otherwise a good viewing: the screen was in good shape, the seats were comfortable, the print wasn't too badly scratched up, and... the audience was a typical repertory audience, meaning that they actually were quiet and paid respectful attention to the film. Sure, people laughed (me included) at the funny bits, and a few folks (first-time viewers, perhaps?) gasped at the shocks, but no-one talked or even whispered loudly, no-one audibly kicked the seat in front of them, and no-one's mobile phone rang during the film. It's sad that this feels like an exceptional event to me: mainstream first-run audiences have done a lot to put me off cinema-going.
Anyway. Last month I picked up the DVD release of another Fritz Lang film from the same period, Der Testament des Dr. Mabuse, without Peter Lorre, sadly, but with Otto Wernicke reprising his M role of Inspector Lohmann. I'll be interested to see how it compares.
And I might have to go back to the HFA to catch some of their other Lorre films in the next week or so: Casablanca and The Maltese Falcon are both tempting, but there's also the 1934 version of The Man Who Knew Too Much (which I've never seen).
And now, I need to go listen to The Jazz Butcher:
Peter Lorre, Peter Lorre Runs a nightclub way downtown
Peter Lorre, Peter Lorre Always wears a evil frown
Don't spit on his shoes Or mess up his hair
Or he will shoot you dead And go back upstairs