September 7, 2009

Scent of Mystery at the ArcLight Hollywood, Sept. 8, 2009

Peter Lorre fans in the Los Angeles area are in for a special treat. The 1960 film Scent of Mystery will be shown at the ArcLight Hollywood on Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2009.

Billed as Holiday in Spain for this showing – the title given to the “scent-less” version of the film – the movie tells the story of a British tourist (Denholm Eliott) who accidentally discovers a plot to murder a young woman (Beverly Bentley). With a genial cabdriver (Peter Lorre) as his chauffeur, the intrepid tourist follows the would-be victim through Spain in an attempt to rescue her.

Holiday in Spain will be shown on a double-bill with The Golden Head, which begins at 8 p.m. Holiday in Spain is scheduled for 10 p.m.

The ArcLight Hollywood is located at 6360 W. Sunset Boulevard, between Vine and Ivar, in Hollywood. A 7-level parking garage is located close to the theater, which offers a maximum of 4 hours validation of $2 with the purchase of a movie ticket. Regular rates apply after the validation period.

Tickets may be purchased over the theater's website, at the theater, over the phone, or at ArcLight kiosks. Seats may be selected in advance.

Scent of Mystery is a rarely-seen film, never released to DVD or VHS. Long-thought lost, it surfaced in the 1980s for a couple showings on television. The ArcLight’s print is reportedly not the best, with faded colors and a magenta haze.

During its original run in January, 1960, Scent of Mystery was accompanied by odors released into the theater at key moments to provide clues to the mystery – or as director Jack Cardiff put it, “whiff gags”. Unfortunately, an efficient method of clearing the auditoriums’ air between showings was not available, and Scent of Mystery and “Smell-O-Vision” were a short-lived novelty.

A discussion of the making of Scent of Mystery can be found in Chapter 9 of The Lost One: A Life of Peter Lorre (University Press of Kentucky, 2005), by Stephen D. Youngkin.

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