Friday, 23 June 2017

Film


I was thinking about my love of cinema this morning and where it all came from.
Visiting the cinema in the 1970s could have been viewed by some as a rather dismal activity. The decade was not known as an uplifting period in movie history as some of the bleakest films found their way to the screen (Straw Dogs, Clockwork Orange,Dog Day Afternoon, Taxi Driver and One Flew Over The Cuckoo's nest) yet as a baby faced adolescent I was spared the trauma of trying to get into see an "X" certificate movie.....favouring the more teen friendly "A" and "AA" movies..............so of course we had the plethora of disaster films of the mid 70's to enjoy, as well as the likes of Jaws, BugsyMalone,The Omen,The Spy That Loved Me, Close Encounters and Alien)
The cinemas were large cold, uncomfortable orange and beige places that smelled of cigarettes and damp, but I loved making the effort to go to Rhyl on the bus to sit though a matinee by myself, the trouble to go the four miles, really made the ritual worthwhile.
There were always two features on offer,and always an ice cream lady with proper ice cream and wafers all set out in a box strung around her neck. (I never had the money to get an ice cream!)
Matinees were almost deserted every time I went, so even to this day, there is something quite reassuring and familiar when I am surrounded by empty seats and all alone in the dark, the lighter side of seventies movie life (remember the 1970's was a bleak economic, news worthy and political time), could wash over me.
This love of film fantasy has continued to be an important part of my life today. Love of the technicolour epic continues ( and always will do), but thankfully my cinematic interests and experiences are now wide and varied! 
The ritual of choosing the film, the paying for the ticket and the sitting down in a chosen ( and quiet) seat remains a joy and this evening if I go and see the biopic Churchill, my experience will be as fresh and as enjoyable as my 1974 trip to see The Poseidon Adventure!

56 comments:

  1. Sitting in a dark cinema or sitting in front of the TV to watch a film? To me there's no comparison. The cinema experience is so much more absorbing. Then I am fully focused.

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  2. I agree that in those times, going to the cinema was much more of an event. The massive curtains that would silently slide away to reveal the screen and the dreadful Pearl and Dean adverts. Being able to afford a balcony seat was the best, but rare, highlight. Being shown to your seat by an usherette with a torch if you came in late and the interval, which was a welcome break. I remember little pots of ice cream with little wooden spoons and the nostalgic, but disgusting, orange juice that tasted of the plastic container it came in. Oh, and let’s not forget those lovely bristly seats that could snap shut and take off a limb! Lovely memories, thanks for bringing them to mind.

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    1. That's exactly how I remember the cinema, especially the snapping seats!

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    2. Do you remember the national anthem? I just about remember it being played after the credits

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  3. I hate the cinema these days, and almost never go. If I smell certain old cleaning fluids, I am taken right back to the days of the Woking Odeon where I went to see all the Hammer Horror films on the first day they came out.

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    1. Frankenstein and the monster from hell!

      I couldnt get in

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  4. 'cinema' what a lovely word. So much nicer that 'the movies'. I enjoy many brilliant films/ movies, usually Arthouse etc. But my guilty pleasure when I need a mood lift is always: Any cheesy thing where Howard Keel is singing to me , tres embarrassment !

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    1. BLESS MY BEAUTIFUL HIDE!!!!!!

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  5. "an ice cream lady with proper ice cream and wafers all set out in a box strung around her neck." - what, no albatross? did she look like john cleese?

    we used to have such large movie palaces in the city back in the day; HUGE screens, marble bathrooms, REAL popcorn and chocolates, comfy seats.

    I hardly ever go to the cinema these days; they are cookie-cutter, uncomfortable, expensive warehouses. last film I saw in a cinema was "florence foster jenkins".

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    1. I think id always go the movies...its in my blood

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  6. :-) What nice memories for you.

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  7. I love going to the pictures and always have done. Much too much to write in a comment though. I still love going but miss the usherette and the torch so now arrive early so that I can see my own way to my seat, and dislike having to buy my ice cream in the foyer at the same time as my ticket, much nicer when the usherette came down to the centre, or two usherettes, to sell ice creams between the end of the little picture and the start of the main film. One thing I most dislike now is that when I buy my ticket I have to say what seat I want to sit in. I just like to wander in and sit where the mood takes me. Fortunately the afternoon showings are almost or completely empty so I move around more than once. Me watch a film at home? Never.

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    1. I only like to choose my seat at theatre clwyd d13, always

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  8. Cleopatra on a wet Thursday afternoon in Torquay. It took me to a place I've always loved being ever since.

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    1. I ASK IT OF CAESAR ...I DEMMMMMMAAAANNNNDDDDD IT OF YOU

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  9. My experience of The Poseidon Adventure was not quite so enjoyable as yours. For one thing, I was less than 5 years old when I sneaked out of bed for some unknown reason, and arrived in the lounge room just in time to scream when a burned man appeared on the TV screen. It terrified me for many years afterwards and I still have not seen the movie. :)

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    1. Jennifer jones ' death in Towering Inferno gave me nightmares for years

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  10. I love seeing films but I've never found myself comfortable with the whole process of buying the ticket, sometimes queuing up, finding a good seat, dealing with people in front or around me... Blah blah blah. Jerry is worse than I am, which might explain why we haven't been to a theatre in more than 6 years. We wait for everything to be available online. When I was growing up, I never missed an opening. I don't know what happened!

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    1. You old scrooge

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    2. I do remember the ushers in NYC who actually made us sit up straight in our seats. AND, when I was not yet 12, all my friends who were already 12 paid 25 cents (children's price) and when I walked up to pay, the guy said adult, 75 cents! Just because I was tall. I paid! Maybe that damaged me (no)

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  11. Can't believe I went to see Last Tango in Paris on my own in Piccadilly. The cinema was not full but I think I was the only female. Still, I survived without incident.

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  12. I was lucky to be born to a very young mother with younger sisters and a brother. We lived in California and going to the cinema was a weekly event .. when I came along, nothing changed, they just took me with them.
    I remember running out of the theater when the milk wagon fell over on old Jock, in Lady and the Tramp , that was my first lesson in Hollywood playing around with our emotions.
    Jock lived, I quit crying.
    My daughter and son are film nuts too ..
    I like sitting near the aisle and rarely if ever go to the cinema alone but I make sure I sit next to another woman if I it is crowded.

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    1. Disney, especially, had a way of playing around with our emotions. Bambi's mother being killed by a hunter is one example. And don't get me started on Dumbo. I'm 70 and I know I would start bawling at the scene where Dumbo's mom cradles him in her trunk and rocks him through the bars of her cage. God, I'm tearing up just writing this!

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    2. Disney was responsible for preparing millions of kids for the death of their grandparents

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  13. My cinema-going years were the '70s. First film: Gimme Shelter; last: Scum. Best 'experience': The Exorcist. (Music's always been my 'thing', not film.)

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  14. My cinema-going years were also in the 70's and 80's. You've brought back some lovely memories as I probably haven't been to the cinema since. We had a really beautiful cinema in Hale and I always remember going with my dad to watch "Live and let Die". One Saturday afternoon there was a film crew there and us children were let in to throw ice cream at the actors on the stage - can't remember what it was all about but Melvyn Hayes was there. Altrincham was a nice cinema to and my favourite film was "Grease" (still love it now .. and Saturday Night Fever). Queued up once down he road to see "Watership Down" (and cried my eyes out). Memories.

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    1. I remember my mother taking me to see the ballet film based on beatrix potters stories..it bored the tits off me

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  15. In the early '80s I had a job working at the local cinema. Some days I was the ice-cream lady. The cinema had once had a balcony but that had been converted to a second screen. Once I headed upstairs to the theatre to sell ice creams during the intermission. As I started down the steps to get to the selling spot at the front right, I somehow tripped a little. I careened down the rest of the steps, managing not to fall completely. Then I walked over and reached in to turn on the light. I got a huge round of applause, but boy was I embarrassed!
    I was assigned to that theatre to check tickets and show people to seats with a torch if the trailers had started when Snow White was showing. I saw that film so many times I resorted to counting the number of dwarves in each scene just to try and keep my sanity. I still say that only six dwarves say good bye to her.

    Helen

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  16. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8lWL5jteK8

    Other people noticed also , she does not say goodby to all 7 dwarves ..

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    1. It never occurred to me to look it up!

      Helen

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    2. The power of bloggers!!!!!

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  17. Obviously, going to the cinema in Great Britain was a much richer experience than catching a flick in the USA. Our little town had one old theater, barely hanging in by a dusty velvet thread and sometimes they played the same film all summer long. I remember going to see A Clockwork Orange at least weekly. Not exactly a healthy formative experience, especially when we were under the influence of the local psilocybin mushrooms. I think my favorite movie experience ever was going to see Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet when I was in the 9th grade with my class. We went at night and it was quite daring because there was nudity. It was so beautiful and I cried and cried. I still love that movie.

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    1. Bel ami would agree to him...he goes weak at the knees at olivia hussey

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    2. Well, I do too. And who was the guy who played Mercutio? John McEnery. Genius. Such genius. And the nurse! Oh, it was just a lovely film.

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  18. Dare I tell you dear one that I am not a film fan.

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  19. We had 2 cinemas within spitting distance of our house when I was growing up and about 3 more dotted around town. I progressed from Saturday morning kids club to teenage years sat in the snogging seats (2 seaters) or the back row. I remember when Pollyanna, staring the young Hayley Mills came out and the cinema did a prize draw for a Pollyanna doll. My friends and I were desperate to have such a beautiful doll. The girl who won it lived in our street. She was a spoilt only child and she sat it in her bedroom window and never played with it, much to the disgust of the us girls. I remember being heart broken at the unfairness.
    I love the surround sound even now, and the action of a good film.

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    1. Whatever happened to hayley mills?

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  20. I ran a Film Club when I was at college. I showed mostly short American 'Underground' movies. Very wacky. It didn't do much for my appreciation of decent movies!

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  21. I too only go to matinee screenings, each cinema auditorium has my very own personally located seat, off to one side and isolated by surroundings of (what I hope to be) empty seats. If someone else sits too close I'm inwardly fuming - and woe betide anyone already sitting in MY seat!

    I remember in the 1950s when, being young back then, I always went with one or both my parents. I well recall the suffocatingly all-pervading smoky atmosphere which at that time was taken as 'part of the deal'. But you may not know that back then (programme always of TWO features - unless it was an 'epic' like 'The en Commandments - a newsreel + trailers and adverts, of course) it was 'de rigueur' for people to enter the cinema itself at all times, mostly coming in in the middle of one of the films, for which you sat down and watched the complete programme until the part where you entered came round again then you upped and left, disturbing everyone around you. But that's how the practice was at that time.

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    1. I remember the ' second feature" it was always shite

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    2. It was all part of the big experience of going to see a film. People would ask "what is the B film?" or "what is the little picture?". As Raybeard said, it was normal for people to enter at any time and the torch shone you to your seat and then you sat through until the bit where you originally entered came round again. It may sound odd now but it was totally normal then. I was only thinking the other day if I would be allowed to do this now that I am again a regular cinema goer. I think probably not. Some of the fun has gone out of the experience.

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    3. I miss the usherettes who would tell people off if they talked too much

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  22. Well John... as i just turn 50 TODAY... :) I was still a little young to be going to the movies by myself in the 70's but i remember and love all those movies you mentioned although i probably saw them later on TV.. I have a wonderful memory of my dad taking me to see Star Wars or it might have been Empire Strikes Back... but it was an event .. Dad did not do movies.. I think mom talked him into it as she did not want to go... lol But either way it is a treasured memory.. I remember seeing E.T.several times at the movies.. lol But yes a love of movies was born... and i enjoy nothing better than going to a movie by myself with popcorn, soda and a sweet... afternoon matinees are the best and even better if the theater is empty and they are showing it just for me.. :) Big Hugs! deb

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    1. Happy birthday dearheart x

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  23. They've recently built a new Cineworld just up the road from us, which is something we've been wanting for many years. Still haven't been yet though, because there's sod all worth watching.
    I prefer TV box sets these days.

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    1. I hate cineworld....but will go if absolutely necessary...i prefer theatre clwyd 's grubby 100 seater or the local independent scala

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  24. Lovely post today.
    When son takes me to the movies we alway go to a afternoon showing that is at the end of the run. Just a few people, lots of room for my walker and slow steps.
    Wonderful to watch the movie without rude people, phone use or talking.
    Movies were a treat for my family. For us too expensive but for a Birthday present we could splurge. We did go to the outdoor movies. A whole car full could get in for a small price,
    you could bring your own food, pillows and we could fall asleep in the back seat.

    cheers, parsnip and thehamish

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  25. I'd love drive ins but wales just hasnt got the weather

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  26. They are running a week of cult classics at our remodeled 50's theatre in town...you know... balconies, box seats, velevt curtains and there used to be an organist...i couldnt sit through clock work orange again. But i do remember harold an maude from the 70s. Dont remember the others.
    I was born in 1950..my folks let me ride the bus alone to town ( gentler times ) and for a quarter i rode round trip, had popcorn and soda, maybe a giant dill pickle, admission was 6 soda pop caps and i wpuld come home with a dime or 9 cents. Not today..thanks for the memories...

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  28. "The decade was not known as an uplifting period in movie history as some of the bleakest films found their way to the screen (Straw Dogs, Clockwork Orange,Dog Day Afternoon, Taxi Driver and One Flew Over The Cuckoo's nest)"

    I can see not liking those movies as a kid, but what do you think of them now? I personally like a bleak movie every now and then, as long as there's some fun ones in-between.

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  29. Happy days recalling old cinema visits in the 60's from your reminiscing John.

    Of course there were the earlier Disney must sees..but my joy was Sir Cliff Richards in Summer Holiday. It was at a theatre in Manly (NSW Australia) opposite the beach in Summer. If I think if it now it brings back the joy if being young, the excitement of potential freedom to go & do whatever you wanted..the smell of the sea and sound of the waves breaking on the beach where we ate fish & chips after with my best girlfriend wearing my first pair of kitten heeled shoes..lovely ☺

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