A theater is seriously reviving “smell-o-vision” and we’re intrigued

Admit it: There’s been more than one time when Ryan Gosling graced the screen when you wished he was actually in front of you so you could (among other things) take a gentle whiff of what he might smell like. Instead, we’re stuck on the other side of a movie screen, smelling the popcorn we’re stuffing comfort-food-like into our mouth with a hint of our salty, longing tears.

Too melodramatic? Maybe. But remember this is the Ryan Gosling we’re talking about.


But all of this might change. (Not specifically with being able to smell Ryan Gosling at a whim…though a girl can still dream.) The ArcLight Cinemas’ Theater in the heart of Hollywood is experimenting with (at least temporarily) bringing “smell-o-vision” back to the big screen, according to an article in The Hollywood Reporter.

The one and only time the idea of smelling what you’re seeing had before been attempted on a large scale for a more immersive film experience was in 1960 with a film (perfectly titled) Scent of Mystery. Unfortunately, the experimental screening came with a hefty price tag and went pretty poorly. After that, it never really caught on in the mainstream and people didn’t really care about adding smells to their movies.

Until recently! The ambitious ArcLight Cinemas and the Turner Classic Movies Fest have decided to do a special screening of the classic Scent of Mystery, complete with its intended “smell-o-vision” experience and all. But this screening holds more hope for success than its ill-fated predecessor. Mostly because they learned from the pitfalls of the previous screenings and are trying to keep some of the fun without all of the hassle.

While some of the bigger, environmental smells will be pumped in through a giant machine, others will be more DIY. Rather than creating custom scent experiences by rigging them under every seat, audience members will be encouraged to participate. They’ll be getting numbered vials of particular scents that are supposed to be  released during specific parts of the movie. Which all actually sounds pretty fun (especially since the movie itself is apparently pretty bland to simply watch without enjoying the smells it was intended to be watched with).

Who knows? Maybe if this experiment goes well, more filmmakers will once again begin to dabble in adding more olfactory fun into their storytelling. And maybe, just maybe, someday when Ryan Gosling graces the screen and says, “Hey girl,” we can finally experience what that feels like with almost all of our senses.

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