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My Favourite Cinema

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Mark Kermode | 17:05 UK time, Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Do you have a personal all-time favourite cinema as steeped in memories as Proust's madeleines? I know I do and mine has just been reborn...

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  • Comment number 1.

    duke of yorks, brighton - great staff, great films, great seats, great location.....just....great

  • Comment number 2.

    It's really sweet to see the place that you were when some of the biggest moments of your childhood occurred. Just goes to show how important the place of the cinema is for a cinephile. Which makes me feel a bit sad that I don't often go to the cinema much as they are too far away, too difficult to get to, play only new-releases anyway (and no limited release films), are expensive, and most of the people that see the films there don't really see to care about movies at all, they're just bored and have nothing to do on a week-day out at the shops. Oh, and these cinemas are part of a shopping mall anyway; they're not stand alone, nor do they have their own wicked name, like Phoenix.
    I'm sure there are other cinephiles like myself in the same predicament, and I'm sure plenty of them unfortunately have it worse off than me (some places not having a cinema at all). It's great that we can have DVDs and On-Demands and so forth, but it's just not the same at home. When I think about my favourite movies, I notice that I didn't see any of them at the cinema. Of course, many of these movies were released before I was even born or when I wasn't old enough, but now I'd kill to go see go see 2001 or Magnolia or Irreversible or the magnificent The Room on the big screen. I wish there were still some cinemas near by me that actually gave a damn and would not play a fourth screening of new Transformers movie and instead play Apocalypse Now or some other classic that needs to be big-screened again, but I doubt it.
    So, to answer your question, the most important cinema in my life would be ... my living room, I guess.

  • Comment number 3.

    Dear Dr K

    My favourite cinema is, without doubt, the Edinburgh Cameo. Its a beautiful cinema showing independent films with lovely velvets seats and a wonderful atmosphere. Recent special events have included late night horror such as An American Werewolf in London, and Buster Keaton films accompanied by Neil Brand on piano or a three piece, and a highly enjoyable appearance by your good self.

    The Cameo hosts a double bill every Sunday, which is completely free for members, and which shows recent releases and old classics eg Warriors/Wanderers, Me & Orson Welles/Citizen Kane, Gremlins/Die Hard, Fargo/The Man Who Wasn't There, A Serious Man/Stardust Memories.

    When Sylvain Chomet's film The Illusionist released, the Cameo audience were given the incredible privilege of watching this wonderful love letter to Edinburgh in Screen 1. This was probably the only chance I will ever have to watch a film whilst being inside one of the rooms which is depicted in the film.

    The Edinburgh Cameo is my church.

  • Comment number 4.

    When I was growing up, my local cinema was the Muirend ABC (although it was called the Cannon cinema for most the 80s and was later taken over by ['A Large Cinema Chain beginning with O']). For most of it's life it was known as the Toledo and, when it closed, was one of the oldest cinemas in Glasgow.

    When I say it was my local cinema, I mean local; I lived about 10 doors down from it and, very occasionally, we received post for it in error due to mix-ups with the Royal Mail. The near distance meant that from a young age, my older sister and I could go to the movies alone. As such, like Dr. K, many of my childhood memories revolve around going there or playing in the trees near the carpark. I saw all the classic 80's kids/family films like "Back to the Future", "The Goonies", "Indiana Jones & the Temple of Doom" etc, etc.

    I remember that the seats were small and uncomfortable, the main screen puny in relation to modern cinemas and the floor was a bit sticky but there was always something magical about climbing the stairs directly into the middle of the auditorium, which I recall had little balconies and faux-spanish roofs along the side, with the sunken lights in the roof shaped like stars. The stage area featured a little ramp to the screen with sunken lights behind it - I used to imagine that there were crocodiles just below the ramp.

    (Another thing that appears to have been lost from the modern cinema experience is the velvet curtains that opened and shut in between the adverts and the main feature; I guess they never really served much purpose?)

    Ultimately, it couldn't keep up with the modern demands of cinema - it still always showed populist films but the modern multiplexes of Clydebank, East Kilbride, Parkhead and Tradeston took away it's customer base, shamefully including me.

    I can't help but feel a tiny bit responsible for it's eventual loss to housing developers. Most of it was demolished and converted into flats - to be fair to the developers, they did at least try to maintain the integrity of the original by retaining the facade and keeping the rest of the design faithful.

    I'm glad that the owners of the Phoenix have had a bit more forethought than the owners of the Toledo. I wonder if perhaps it could have specialized as an arthouse/classic cinema, it just *might* have survived.

  • Comment number 5.

    When I was in my teens I had a job as an usher/ticket ripper at my local cinema - The Broadway Cinema - in Letchworth Garden City. I loved working there! It (apparently) had one of the largest silver screens in the country - one of those old cinemascope screens. I was told there was another one in Brighton.

    But in those days you didn't just rip tickets and show people to their seats with your torch (oh no!) - you had to stay in the auditorium throughout the whole film too. Now that may not sound so bad until you understand that in those days there were few multi-screen cinemas (well The Broadway certainly wasn't at that time anyway) so just the one big all-consuming screen showing the one film maybe (if it was popular) for two weeks at a stretch. I still remember now that I saw the Last of the Mohicans 17 times and Patriot Games 14 times. By the end I knew every line - every note of the score - everything about those damn films!

  • Comment number 6.

    The Hyde Park cinema in Headingley, Leeds would show a request film if you asked nicely. And they'd give you old posters if you wanted them. I saw "Elvira Madigan" there and the whole audience was in tears at the end. You couldn't hear the Mozart for all the sobbing.

    The Cottage Road cinema, also in Headingley, was a few doors down from Alan Bennett's dad's butchers shop. I had to be carried out, screaming, from a showing of "Libel", starring Dirk Bogarde. I can't remember why. The other big advantage of this great cinema (apart from the double seats) was its proximity to Bryant's fish and chip shop, the greatest chippie in the UK.

    The Tyneside Film Theatre, Newcastle, is one of the finest independent cinemas in the country, and I rejoice in its success.

    Habits have changed...people didn't talk, eat or look at their phones during films....they merely smoked.

  • Comment number 7.

    My local cinema is the Vue in Harrow and is nor that swish, but it does show the films I like

  • Comment number 8.

    To be honest Dr. K, I'm deeply depressed after seeing this video. While it's wonderful to see you back in the "church of your youth", it really saddens me. Y'see, I'm seventeen years of age, and a huge cinephile, but I'll never have these great memories of seeing cult, sci-fi, horror double bills because I only have a generic multiplex. You know, for the mainstream. Even at that, it's in a relatively small village where I'm very lucky if they play small independent or foreign movies. This is why I couldn't see A Serious Man (or more recently) Winter's Bone in the cinema. Furthermore, while your cinema is beautifully intimate, majestically crafted and welcoming, mines is so cold, so metal, so soulless that you'd only realise just how menacing it looks if I sent in a photo. Sure, I can't really complain, as I'm proud of my DVD film collection, but it's really not the same is it?

    So I guess my greatest cinema memories focus on the classics that are rarely shown in my cinema. I'll never forget seeing Spartacus, Raging Bull, The Thing, Scarface, The Blues Brothers & Animal House in the cinema. Soon I'll get to see Back To The Future on the big screen. Which should be good.

    Nonetheless, I truly envy anyone who grew up experiencing cinema the same way Mark Kermode did.

  • Comment number 9.

    You would have thought Dr. K would have sat up front and centre for the Exorcist!

  • Comment number 10.

    Mine has to be the Robert Burns Centre Film Theatre in Dumfries, small but perfectly formed!

  • Comment number 11.

    I saw Star Wars back in 1977 at the ABC is Scunthorpe. Closed and turned into a Poundshop and then pulled down. The only other cinema in Scunthorpe was the Majestic. Closed and pulled down. Currently the only remains is the paint on the side of the one remaining wall were you can still see the slope of the stalls. We're left with a Vue which has never shown any film made before 2000 to my knowledge.

  • Comment number 12.

    This is just the coolest blog entry. The comments are a great read too.

    I spent most of my time in theaters as a kid but there never was a particular one, no, because we moved around almost constantly. Most of the ones I can recall by name have ceased to exist at this point because the large chain theaters moved in and ate them up.
    I guess if I had to pick one of my strongest theater memories it would be going to see Jurassic Park. We lived right behind this little strip mall dollar cinema at the time that would let anybody in without any regard for age. I went with my brother (we were eight and nine at the time, respectively) and, at the scene where the velociraptors are chasing the kids through the kitchen, he started bawling so hard that we got kicked out. He still denies crying to this day and blames it on me, but for a long time after he developed this near-maniacal obsession over dinosaurs and every week, up until the film finished its run, we would scrape together the two dollars to see Jurassic Park each Friday night. Friday was Jurassic Park Night. Even though it scared the pants off of us, we probably went about thirty times.
    Oh, and some guy got stabbed in a packed Spider-Man screening I went to, so that was fun; it was opening night and the police shut us down before even fifteen minutes of the film had rolled. I ended up going back a week later with and seeing the movie for free.

  • Comment number 13.

    I used to live in London and now live in Cambridge, so I have great memories of local indies like the Islington Screen on the Green, the Prince Charles, Leicester Square and the Cambridge Arts Picturehouse. But I can't help thinking that even though those are great cinemas, my favourite cinema is just my local Cineworld.

    My wife and I pay for the Cineworld Unlimited card, and as a result were able to see three movies last week: The Other Guys, which was ok, Cyrus, which was lovely, and The Town, which we really enjoyed. We have also seen re-issues of The Blues Brothers and Spartacus there, as well as recent classics such as Let the Right One In. While they might not have every film we want to see they give us the best gift that I think a cinema can: access to as many films, for the lowest price, as possible.

  • Comment number 14.

    I was lucky enough to frequent the Scala in Kings Cross in the early 90s not long before it was closed down for illicitly screening A Clockwork Orange. It was everything you could want in a cinema. Slightly seedy (hardcore porn like Thundercrack and Cafe Flesh were regularly on the bill), a bit bohemian (chocolate cake) and located in London's decaying red light district. I saw the Exorcist for the first time on the big screen there and was impressed by the atmospheric sound design until I realised it was the rumblings of the Northern Line and not an irate Prince Of Darkness beneath my seat

    My gleaming local multiplex is just too damn clean.

  • Comment number 15.

    Had a bit of a lump in my throat reading your post it reminded me so much of happy childhood memories of toddling off with my late father to the The Carlton Cinema Abertawe with it's wonderfully ornate staircase, it sadly closed in 1977 and is now a Waterstone's book store, but with some of the magnificent grade II listed facade still remaining. The little kiosk you purchased your tickets, and neatly placed behind were bags of fruit pastilles and cartons of orange squash it was just magical to me .
    And not too far up the road the Albert Hall an old victorian music hall that later became a cinema, the inside was opulent as I recall but probably needed a wedge of money spent on it to restore it to it's former glory. Red velvet seats and ornate gold paint everywhere and this huge foyer on the upper floor that you accessed by what I always called the 'Gone with the Wind ' stairs, if you were lucky to get a circle seat. I queued around the block for two hours in a frenzy of excitement to see Jaws, came out and rejoined the queue immediately to see it all over again.!!
    And finally last but not least the wonderful Castle Cinema.It was the only building left standing in the Castle Street vicinity after the German Luftwaffe bombing raids during the Second World War. And though is a grade II listed structure is now sadly one of those awful Lazer Zone/combat games establishments.I'd hang over the balcony waiting for the film to start fascinated by the side lighting that reminded me of large ice cream cones, and watching the courting couples huddled together on the seats made for two in the stalls commonly called the Love Seats for obvious reasons.I also remember being refused entry to see Saturday Night Fever as I wasn't quite old enough ,then racing to the back of the queue changing coats with a friend and getting in at my second attempt.!.... Happy Days indeed. Ah sweet bird of youth. (sighs)

  • Comment number 16.

    As another relative youngster, I'd have to sympathise with killhimoff on this one: as a child, I only really had multiplexes, and it's only now at university that I've been able to identify films as being more than cheap, commercial diversions that happen in giant empty felt-lined boxes. That said, I have recently been enlightened, largely thanks to a former housemate and continuing cinephile, but also due to the Broadway Cinema and Media Centre in Nottingham, where I recently experienced the twin wonders of "Rashomon" and "Metropolis". If ever I were to return to one cinema, it would have to be that one.

  • Comment number 17.

    Like many who've already posted, I didn't grow up with a local cinema - the closest I came was the Warner Village cinema near Chester, which is where I saw all three Lord of the Rings films. I remember having an old black overcoat which the other members of my family would stuff full of popcorn and sweets, so that we could get in without having to pay extra for refreshments.

    After we moved away from Cheshire, I spent my uni years (cinematically speaking) either squeezing into a lecture theatre to watch evening screenings or resorting to the laptop in someone's kitchen. Most of the best experience of my film life came from late night screenings on our widescreen telly back in the holidays - I remember screaming at the screen when I first saw The Hitcher, and being mesmerised by A Clockwork Orange.

    Recently I found a new home for my love of film - the Tyneside Cinema in Newcastle. I first went there to see Inception and had a very special experience. I saw the film, loved it, and when I stepped out of the cinema, it was raining (makes sense when you've seen the film, as most people on here surely have by now). I felt like I was still in the world of the film, and went back to the same place again two weeks afterwards to see the film for a second time. Now I go at least twice a month and I love it to pieces :)

  • Comment number 18.

    When I was a student I worked at the Odeon cinemas of New Street Birmingham and Liverpool Switch Island, so they would be my favourites as they have allowed me to watch many a movie and get paid for it!!!!

  • Comment number 19.

    @David MacGowan

    I am also from Cambridge and the Arts Picturehouse is my cinema of choice. Until about the age of 14/15 I would watch the majority of my films at the Warner Brothers cinema in the Grafton Center (now Vue). But when I became more interested in cinema and wanted to watch things a little more diverse than what is shown at a multiplex I emigrated to the Picturehouse. I'm no way a snob and still head to Vue every now and again if I'm in the mood for some mainstream fodder, but the Picturehouse offers closer to what I seek these days.
    One of my all time favourite cinema experiences was last year when I went to see the 70mm re release of 2001: A Space Odyssey.I remember walking in before the lights went down an noticing that the majority of the audience was, like me, single men who all looked a little lonely and nerdy. Some had braved it and brought girlfriends but these were few and far between. During the interval I had a quick glance around the cinema and noticed that almost everyone who had brought a girlfriend now had a sleeping head resting on their shoulder. It made me both a little proud and a little depressed to be a sci-fi fan.
    It was also during this interval that I heard an idiotic comment to rivals Mark's friend during Eraserhead. There was an American family sitting a few seats away from me. The son (about 15) turned to the mum and asked, "Is the director of this quite famous?" to which the mum replied, "Yeah I think so. He did one about a Hotel I think." Never have I wanted to slap someone so hard.

    Other great films I've had the pleasure of watching at the Picturehouse include Oldboy, Zatoichi, House of Flying Daggars, Moon, A Serious Man, Lost in Translation, Waltz With Bashir and No Country for Old Men. A great great cinema.

  • Comment number 20.

    I can completely empathise with Mirrorbus. Having started my love of movies at the local drive-in (alas now gone the way of housing development) in the early 70s. There was no local cinema in the sticks I grew up in, until the early 80s. The first cinema I went to without the parents at the tender age of 13 (Star Wars was the screening), was the wonderful Art Deco "Roxy" at Parramatta. This magnificent cinema is now an entertainment complex with the theatre still being used for live shows and comedies.

    However, my favourite cinema is my local independent cinema: which opened in the late 80s with a single screen which has expanded to three.

    My other favourite cinema (but not so local) is another great indepedent from the beginning of the 20th Century: which has grown in strength over the years and now hosts four screens.

    Both great cinemas with history and a lot of love and care put into them. The only great way to view movies.

  • Comment number 21.

    I can't remember the name for sure, i think it was the ABC in Southport but it used to give me a great feeling whenever i watched a film there. One memory was going to see Jurassic Park with my grandmother (obviously after getting a McDonalds and spending my pocket money on the 'machines' in the arcade). I really wanted to see it but was afraid it would be too scary for her. At that age it didn't occur to me that she'd lived through two world wars, but i'm sure you can appreciate the sentiment.

    It was by the bandstand and had two screens with uncomfy red velvet seats, but they knocked it down to build a hotel and restaurant which is very good. Oddly they do a mix of brassiere and sushi which to my surprise works a treat!

    Did anyone else go here or the excellent Plaza in Crosby growing up?

  • Comment number 22.

    The cinema of my youth was sadly the Warner Bros. (now Vue) multiplex on the outskirts of York, during my mid to late teen years it was Odeon (now Reel) and the City Screen in York city centre.

    However my top 3 cinemas i have ever been too are:

    1) The Electric Cinema in Birmingham
    I spend a lot of time in birmingham and as britain's oldest working cinema (opened in 1909)the electric has a hell of a lot of character and charm, and along with some of the bigger films of the year, i've seen some limited release showings (trash humpers) and one off showings of classics (jason and the argonauts and recently the breakfast club) there. There's never a bad atmosphere there (its a shame the same can't be said about the near by odeon).

    2) The Ultimate Picture Palace in Oxford
    With its 1950s american style looking exterior (despite the fact it opened in 1911...) this single screen cinema also has a lot of character and even has a ticket kiosk that.s outside, no lobby, just a little window at the front of the building and a door on the right into the screen. It was also a perfect setting for a midnight showing of Grindhouse 2 years ago, everyone was up for it, shouting at the screen, really getting into it and i was so drunk, it was one of my favourite cinema experiences.

    3) Castle Cinema in Pickering, North Yorkshire
    I only visited this cinema once to see The Incredibles when i was camping with some friends near by and it has since closed down. This single screen cinema was quite quirky, the screen had a big smear/dirty mark in the middle of it and the auditorium was filled with old projectors, old promo cardboard cut outs for films from the 1980s (i specifically remember seeing ET) and there was a taxidermied badger in there too... its safe to say it made quite an impression on me.

  • Comment number 23.

    great blog episode.

    for me? The little known Spence's Tudor Cinema, a tiny 1950's Art Deco cinema/time capsule hidden in the Northern Irish countryside. With enough room for only a couple of dozen punters at best and resplendent with old style seating, genuine art deco trimmings and red carpeted curved walls, it almost gave the impression of being seated inside the belly of a whale, all transporting you before the 1st reel had even started. This opposed to the experience of feeling efficiently corralled along with a herd of noisy shopping centre teenagers that you'll encounter at your local multiplex time and time again. I'd have to mention Queens QFT too tho (great and now done up!) and Edinburgh Cameo is clearly a very special place. I've hilarious memories of watching El Topo for the first time there. Hard to beat a proper cinema really.

  • Comment number 24.


    You have a great taste in films by the way.
    I am a student in Cambridge and the Arts Picturehouse is indeed a fantastic cinema. I have spent many nights there when I should have been studying.

    I am originally from Nottingham and the Broadway cinema there is particularly excellent.

  • Comment number 25.

    My favourite is the Majestic Cinema in Bridgnorth, Shropshire. It's reassuringly old-school, with art nouveau features intact. Indeed the main screen, billed as "the biggest screen in Shropshire" (surely not a difficult title to hold), feels like being in the set of Metropolis, with curving and linear forms extruding from the edge of the screen along the walls. The balcony has been converted into two further smaller screens, but otherwise this cinema is pretty much the same as when it opened in 1937.

    Bridgnorth is small market town, and with the main screen having 330 seats, it is always possible to find the patented Mark Kermode Perfect Cinema Seat Experience - your own seat with empty seats to front, back, both sides and usually the diagonals too!

    The staff are committed and very friendly, and for afternoon matinees it is not unknown for the concessions staff to wander in to the cinema after the trailers, just before the movie starts, to ask patrons if they'd like their cup of tea topped up.

  • Comment number 26.

    Dear Dr. K

    I think it's great that you have these memories of this beautiful cinema and you had this cinema whilst growing up. I think it's sad that, in my generation, we never had that. When I was growing up it was the age of multiplexes and VHS tapes. My local cinema was a UCI ten screen multiplex which I went to every weekend. I never had that old majestic cinema with late night double bills or anything like that and I think that is quite sad for my generation. Now we have multiplexes, IMAX, 3D, DVDs, downloads where you can watch a film on a computer. Gone are the days when you can watch those late night double bills. Now you can just download the film. What kind of nostalgic memories can one possibly have when watching a film for the first time on their computer. Treasure your memories Mark. Treasure them, because those days will never come again.

    Note: One of the stupidest things about the cinema I have ever heard is when my friend told me that he doesn't watch black and white films because black and white films are boring and that they should've been made in colour.

    I have never heard anything more idiotic since.

  • Comment number 27.

    When I was growing up we would go to my local pokey cinema to see films projected [badly] onto a postage stamp. Unlike Dr K I don't have any fond memories and I didn't shed a tear when it was pulled down. The plastic mall they replaced it with isn't much better but then I generally hate my home town with a passion anyway so there's no love lost.

    The cinema I have the most fond memories of Old Odeon in Edinburgh. It has a listed Art Deco frontage. The main cinema was a converted theatre and it was huge. It was here I saw everything from Ghostbusters to LotR. It's been shut for the last 3 odd years and is falling into ruin. The current developers want to rip it out and build an "Art Hotel" whatever that is. It's not like it's in a tourist area or that Edinburgh needs a new hotel. The plans have been stuck on the drawing board for a long time now. It did reopen as Fringe venue one year and it was wildly popular - I don't know why someone hasn't done more with it. It's very sad.

    my current local is The Cameo in Edinburgh. It's pretty (the main auditorium looks similar to the Phoenix), is a great arthouse cinema and it lacks the Pretentiousness of the Filmhouse down the road. If you're in Edinburgh check it out or...

    There's the Dominion. Which I've not been to in a long time but I am told it's been restored and it's very very very very good.

  • Comment number 28.

    Wow. Looks like Firefox 4 stripped out a lot of spaces after my fullstops there. This is a test to see if it happens again. Sorry if that post is a little unreadable.

  • Comment number 29.

    I wish there was a cool independent cinema near me. I live in southend-Essex and as far as know there is nothing. just big multiplex odeon with 7 screens showing only the current blockbusters. if anyone on here knows of anywhere around southend/leigh/basildon etc that shows films that isnt a big multiplex please let me know. would be good to see a decend film in a cinema i can enjoy being in!

  • Comment number 30.

    My cathedral of the flickering image was the sublimely beautiful Kilburn Gaumont State.Anyone who has step through her doors in her glory days knows what a grand,alluring place this was.This was my house of education,I learnt so many things within her wonderful walls.Sadly,she is in need of saving now( Please Mark if you have a moment view this Any support would be great,thanks)So many nights watching late night double bills of great and over looked movies.Why don't cinemas have late night showings anymore? I love this place with an absolute passion.This is in the true meaning of the words a picture palace.

  • Comment number 31.

    That was a sweet and moving piece, Mark

    Another cheer here for Duke of Yorks in Brighton, my favourite cinema in the world!

  • Comment number 32.

    There aren't any cinemas that I have a particular sentimental attachment to as they closed the ABC in my town when the Odeon opened when I was relatively young. However, the ABC in Plymouth, where I went to university, was great. £2.75 tickets and, with the exception of Indiana Jones Poor, the screens were usually empty. Plus, when I went to see Speed Racer with two friends, they told us "it's really bad", and that if we didn't like it we could go and see any of the other films for free. Turns out we all thought it was great!

  • Comment number 33.

    Oh, and why did you sit to the far left of the screen?

  • Comment number 34.

    Hyde Park Picture House in Leeds. A wonderful, friendly cinema showing a mix of classics, arthouse and new releases.

    It's a lovely old building with atmospheric gas lighting, and even has the velvet seats from the now sadly closed Lounge cinema.

    I've seen so many great films there over the last 20 years, and glad it continues to serve the local community with fantastic cinema. This year have enjoyed Ponyo, Bad Lieutenant, Tetro and many others.

    The annual Christmas week screening of It's a Wonderful Life is a festive tradition in our house.

    Long may it prosper.

  • Comment number 35.

    It's not a childhood cinema, but my vote goes to the Palace in Longridge for being brilliantly old school - we're talking red velour upholstery (and yes it has love seats), playing the national anthem before the film starts, the girl coming round with the ice creams, everything. It's been there for a good thirty years - a family friend tells stories of how she and her now-husband used to go there when they were going out - it's cheap and you can take your cup of tea (in a mug) in with you. Long may it continue.

  • Comment number 36.

    We had a local 'fleapit' (as it was known, anyone remember that term of endearment?) where I saw stuff like Grease, Jaws and Star Wars (the rise of the American blockbuster in the 70s)… but I guess I was not captured by cinema (films) until I discovered a great cinema, which wasn’t till I was around 17 and moved to Manchester...

    The Cornerhouse:

    It opened in 1985 and I arrived in Manchester later that year… the first movie I saw there was Blue Velvet (David Lynch, 1986). The movie was (as you will all know) brilliant… and I guess that was the moment I fell in love with cinema, or at least started falling in love… and at the same time I fell in love with The Cornerhouse… there was no stuffing of faces full of popcorn and hotdogs (with accompanied farting and munching)… people actually went there to see the film and many stayed till the credits finished rolling… freaked me out at the time, I have to admit…

    I guess that rather than nostalgia for any old cinema (building) of our youth… it is the screening schedule the cinema (building) has… sounds like yours, Mark, had a great philosophy… my old fleapit didn’t… glad to say The Cornerhouse had and still has the most wonderful screening schedule… This last week? Enter the Void, The Secret in Their Eyes, Certified Copy… Nostalgia has nothing on living the present!


  • Comment number 37.

    What a lovely cinema!
    All you folk who live in London are very lucky to have old cinemas like this dotted abround the place.
    You're particularly lucky that the buildings remain open as cinemas and haven't been turned into something else.,it's a rare thing these days. All the local cinemas that I went to as a kid have unfortunately been either demolished or turned into something else entirely.

  • Comment number 38.

    @ Amber... great response... my fleapit was just smelly... yours sounds great

    @ Richard Ashby and @ tyorkshirelass... Hyde Park Picture House in Leeds and the Palace in Longridge sound great... maybe there is something in visiting great cinemas... guide books for the England, Scotland, Wales... & etc... beats a city trip to visit a high street and shop...

  • Comment number 39.

    All my fondest cinema haunts are, alas, no more.

    I grew up in Durban, South Africa, and I remember as a kid going to what, was for me, the coolest place on earth: the Durban drive-in theatre. It had a kids playground to explore before the film, sold freshly made popcorn, and I'll never forget snuggling under a blanket outside the car with my own speaker watching the screen wide-eyed with wonder as Darth Vader declared himself to be Luke's father, or crying when I thought Balloo had died in the Jungle Book.

    God, I miss drive-ins.

  • Comment number 40.

    I wouldn't want to make the tragic mistake of imagining anyone cares about my favourite cinema - but Cornerhouse is pretty cosy if you're ever about Manchester. Nice font too.

  • Comment number 41.

    i think you may be part of a dying breed. all of the films i have seen that have most influenced me have not been at my local booming multiplex. There is, and never has been (in my lifetime) an independent cinema, or even a cinema that shows independent films. What i say 'the best film i have ever seen at my local cinema was The Departed', i really and truly mean it. I even had to travel near 50 miles to catch There Will be Blood.
    Irreversible, all of David Lynch's films, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Dawn of the Dead, Eyes Wide Shut, 2001 A Space Odyssey, Sleep Furiously, Last House on Dead End Street, The Toxic Avenger, Freaks, Bad Taste and so on; all watched at home.

  • Comment number 42.

    The old cinema in Dunfermline was mine. Me n my mates used to go every Sunday evening. We'd go to McDonalds before hand and stock up on the straws wrapped in paper. We would proceed to pepper the projection booth door and auditorium ceiling with spitballs during rubbish like Days of Thunder and sit rapt for the likes of Jurassic Park. Now a nightclub called the Kinema,and the nearest cinema is now 5 miles away. An awful, AWFUL Odeon multiplex.

  • Comment number 43.

    My local was always the Granada Bedford, an old-fashioned cinema with more seats than the Odeon Leicester Square. From July 1984 to July 1990 I saw pretty much everything they showed; I saw Friday The 13th Part 5 on their big screen, and I was the only person there. In 1990 it was closed (the final film was Exorcist III) and knocked down the following year in act of utterly senseless, council-approved vandalism.

    From December 1986 until it closed, I was also a semi-regular at the Scala in Kings Cross; I was the last person out of the auditorium at its final public screening (a day of action movies with Chow-Yun Fat). I have a stack of those wonderful A2 posters right behind me. Seasons of Argento movies, horror marathons, days of Lucio Fulci, spaghetti Westerns, Ed Wood, Jackie Chan.... (Their ill-advised screening of A Clockwork Orange wasn't the only reason it closed, but it certainly didn't help.)

  • Comment number 44.

    My favourite cinema is one that I am a weekly volunteer in. Its not the most beautiful, and it doesn't have a particularly rare or unusual programming policy (just usually blockbusters, rom-coms, comedy, action films) What it does have is the absolute greatest audience of any cinema I have ever visited.

    The cinema is a 100-seat, 35mm Dolby-equipped cinema, showing current run films two evenings a week (and a kid's matinee every second Saturday afternoon). The audience is widely diverse in age, gender, cultural background -- and sometimes even in language. However they all have one thing in common -- they are wearing pyjamas and slippers (and are often connected to a drip, oxygen or propped up in a bed) The cinema is MediCinema in St Thomas' hospital in London.

    It has been running for 10 years, and I have been a volunteer there for 7 years. Patients are usually sceptical about it when they are invited to come to a screening, but afterwards almost all of them ask to come back the following week for the next film (if they are going to be still in the hospital), and usually try to convince the person in the bed next to them to come too. Even after all the years helping out there it is still amazing to see how much difference a trip to the cinema can be for people who are sick, immobilized with broken limbs or awaiting major surgery. Being in hospital is pretty scary, but everyone is so much cheerier and way less stressed when the film is over -- even after the cheesiest rom-com or most mindless action film (no names mentioned, Michael Bay...)

    I have been in many really unique, beautiful, well preserved, gorgeously designed, fantastically programmed cinemas to watch films, but MediCinema is really the cinema that is closest to my heart.

  • Comment number 45.

    From your favorite cinema to surely one of your favorite directors. Did you watch any of This is England '86 on channel 4? I know it is on television, but I and I am sure many others would like to hear your opinion of it.

    It was brilliant btw. Reinforces my view that Shane Meadows is our greatest living film maker.

  • Comment number 46.

    @ 22 kellywatchthestars

    Yes! I love the Ultimate Picture Palace in Oxford. Went there quite a few times when I was at university a few years back. Never have I been in a theater that more personifies the idea of "independent cinema".
    It's a shame I missed the Grindhouse double bill when it was playing. It's exactly the sort of cinema that I imagine would be great for a film like that; small, intimate and with a complete lack of corporate influence. I went to see a re-release of The Thing with an old girlfriend and it was one of the best cinema experiences I've ever had. She'd never seen it before and I'm proud to say that she'll likely never forget it.

    @24 Richard Shaw

    Thanks for the compliment. Were you in Cambridge for any of the film festival?

    37@ MargeGunderson

    Yeah, London does seem to have it made when it comes to good cinemas. But it's an interesting point that so many are being turned into other things/torn down these days. Just from reading these replies it seems a lot of people have had their favourite cinemas torn down over the past decade or so, which is a shame.
    I think it'd be great if perhaps someone - ahem Dr K - could do a program on the state (both financial and cultural) of cinemas in Britain today. Perhaps a Culture Show report on it. I know that many of us here would find it fascinating. Perhaps look at what percentage independent cinemas make up in the UK and how much revenue they are making, what is the closure rate (are they in a drastic situation like the locally owned pub or are they more stable?), and then examine some of the best little know cinemas the country has to offer. It'd be a great boost smaller theaters and would give us all a chance to discover knew places to go to watch the movies.
    Failing that, maybe another blog post along the line of this one, with another cinema. I think this has been one of the best blogs Dr K has done recently and the responses have been great.

  • Comment number 47.

    @Armadillonan re: 44 - How dare you for bringing a bit of perspective to this blog! :-)

    My cousin' son has in the recent past been receiving treatment for Leukemia at Yorkhill Hospital where one of these cinemas currently is. It's certainly a great cause for cinephiles to get behind. Not sure if this is strictly allowed here but here goes ... The website is:

  • Comment number 48.

    That's the great thing about cinemas : they're devoted to lots of different films. Churches will only ever be devoted to one book. Which one sounds more like an education to you?

  • Comment number 49.


    You know, for all of the time I have spent in cinemas, in truth it was mostly the contraband VHS tapes that I smuggled into the house and watched on my little 13-inch television, headphones on, in the early hours of the morning as a teen that were in retrospect the ones that stayed with me the longest and have had the most impact on me as a person. Theaters were always an experience, but I could take that little television with me anywhere we moved to and that's where I remember having my mind blown by Altered States, being baffled by Coonskin, gagging at Braindead, getting infuriated with Blue Velvet, watching The Exorcist through my fingers and trying so hard not to laugh at Re-Animator in fear of waking somebody up that I would have sworn to you the next morning that I had nearly broken a rib. Not to mention that's where I saw countless black and white classics that were unavailable at theaters that mostly headlined current blockbusters.

    So, since the talk is about places of worship, I guess my church was actually a little gray plastic television that my mom probably picked up used from a dingy garage sale for ten dollars. Even now I find that I often have my best film experiences when I'm home alone in a dark living room with nothing to distract from the movie.

    Don't get me wrong because I love theaters, I love the communal atmosphere of people gathering in one place for a single purpose, but they are less of a necessity and more of an option these days and I don't think we should automatically reject other formats because they lack the romantic pretext. One of the beautiful things about a good film is that it will always give back however much you're willing to put into it regardless of if you're watching it in a grand old cinema or streaming it at your computer desk - that stuff is all up to variables of preference and resources, but for a movie lover the experience isn't about the how and where you see a movie, it's about seeing the movie. At least, I think so.

    Relating to stupid comments, I have a friend who is always asking me to show him how to remove the black bars from the top and bottom of his movies so that he can see the entire picture.

  • Comment number 50.

    In secind place: The Screen in Winchester. When I arrived in Winchester in late 2000 to start University, I was overjoyed to find that thew local cinema was not souless multiplex, but a small 2 screen converted church, and they served beer. Beer I tells ya! Having grown up with access to nothing but the local Odeon this was mind blowing. I even met the love of my life there, it couldn't have been more perfect.

    But in First place: Harbour Lights in Southampton. Again I discovered this while at Uni and it just beats the Screen into second place cos the bar is nicer, with a view of the harbour, the cinema seats are more comfortable, and it shows a much larger variety of films.

  • Comment number 51.

    The Duke of York's in Brighton is practically my second home. It's about a 5 minute walk down the road from where I live which is great. The nearest cinema apart from that is the Odeon down by the seafront and it's just not a very pleasant experience to go there, whereas going to the Duke's is always a pleasure. In fact, I saw you do a talk there a little while back when you were promoting your book! I asked you a rubbish question about Tarantino. What a wasted opportunity : /

  • Comment number 52.

    This has me waxing all too nostalgically on practically every cinema I visited in my youth, and on top of which has me chasing family history about a cinema that was demolished before I was born.

    1st, my favourite cinema has to be The College in Swarthmore, PA. I grew up in a house across the street from it, and while it was never the best auditorium or sound, because of its proximity, I saw many films in my childhood there. It was originally an independent cinema, and showed a quirky mix of first run mainstream and the occasional bit of foreign art house for the crowd from the local university. Later it was bought by the Budco chain who never knew what to do with it and it eventually became a cut price second run house before it shut. It's since been demolished, some sort of outpatient post op therapy business is on the site.

    The first movie I was ever taken to was there, Born Free. I'm told that I cried, but wanted to see it again immediately. The theme tune still gets me. I saw Jaws there, the tension getting me at one point to bite down on the Nestle's Crunch bar in my hand, I hadn't unwrapped it. I remember looking out our window at people protesting the showing of In The Realm of the Senses (it would be a decade before I would be bored stupid from actually seeing the beautifully filmed tedious story of allegedly erotic obsession and asphyxiation). I saw 2001 multiple times there (although I'm guessing in the non 70mm re-release). The tail end of the saturday matinee petered out during my childhood, but I have dim memories of seeing obscure sci fi like the quatermass rip off Space Master X-7, and Robinson Crusoe on Mars.

    I remember the lobby being steeply raked upwards, to match the gentle downward rake of the auditorium (you don't get that in modern cinemas). It's strange but I miss this feature, it was an indication that you were entering a different world.

    However, the cinema I most chiefly miss from my childhood is, heretically, Television! Before Cable, VHS and DVD's monetized the classic studios back catalogues, a wealth of material was shown. Local affiliates and UHF channels would use hollywood's classics as filler at all hours, PBS would show british classics including the Ealing Comedies, Powell and Pressburger, and the early films of David Lean, and "foreign" films from Truffaut, Bergman etc. Now, unless you have cable channels like AMC or TCM, there's many films that won't get seen, and if they aren't in their catalogues, or outside the tastes of those channels programmers, they will be lost. Here in the UK, it's even worse, although the Beeb and Channel 4 show old classics, these are a handful of titles in permanent sad rotation. TV was my rep cinema. I feel truly sorry for a generation that must either go without, or rely purely on recommendations from eCommerce like Amazon or ITunes.

    My favourite UK cinema is Harbour Lights, Southampton. One of the saddest experiences I've had was rolling up to it one weekend to find it shut and the original company that ran it had gone into administration. Thankfully, the Picturehouse chain rescued it and it continues to go from strength to strength, but I was in deep mourning when it was absent.

    Finally, skipping over a long list of fondly remembered cathedrals of my youth, including Philadelphia's Theater of the Living Arts, in the 80's an essential rep cinema, now its seats gutted to make a live concert venue, Mark's post has put me in mind of the Earle Theater in Philadelphia ( My father, working his way through uni in the late '30's became head usher there. It was a theater designed in the age of glamour, when cinemas were palaces. The theater had the tail end of vaudeville, and then would show movies as part of the programme. Supposedly my father had to see Gone With the Wind for a month during the height of its run. Maybe this is what led me to be able, as a child for me to convince my father on a couple of occasions to sit through the matinee we'd just seen a second time. This connection to the past makes the Earle my favourite cinema I've never seen.

  • Comment number 53.

    Easy choice for me, QFT (Queens' Films Theatre). It doesn't look like much from the outside, in fact it just looks like a terrace house. But inside it's wonderful. I have lots of great memories there; meeting David Lynch, seeing Control at a very high volume and many more.

    See you there next month.

  • Comment number 54.

    This brings memories flooding back of the Odeon in Salisbury. Home to my formative cinema years, where I saw everything and anything, regardless of quality. I still maintain the tudor tapestries and smell of old popcorn that make the main auditorium what it is, fill me with an excitement that is lost in the anodyne multiplexes of London and the surrounds. It was here that I bunked games lessons for Toy Story, saw my first 18 certificate (Bad Boys. I was 15. It was incredible) was introduced to midnight screenings of Blade Runner as soon as I could drive, and singularly failed to bring any girls to. I too, have MY seat which to this day, if I return home (at the ripe age of 30) get a proper strop on about if someone has beaten me to it. For any cinephile, THEIR cinema is a magical place.

  • Comment number 55.

    I had two local cinemas growing up in Blackpool: The Odeon and The ABC Theatre (later to become The Cannon, and then to become The MGM, before returning to ABC).

    They were huge, old, crumbling auditoriums, both steeped in history. They had disgusting sticky floors, balconies (remember them in cinemas?) and uncomfortable seats. They only really showed blockbusters, but I was a kid, and that was what I wanted to see.

    My love of film may have began on VHS. But it was at these two old picture houses where it really took hold.

    The Odeon is now a burlesque/drag-queen/cabaret show bar. The ABC is now the North of England's biggest "super night club".

    A new 10-screen multiplex Odeon was opened. I worked there. It was rubbish.

  • Comment number 56.

    Thanks for this blog. I feel very similarly about Warwick Student Cinema (obviously at Warwick Uni). I emphasise that I do NOT mean the badly laid out and overpriced Warwick Arts Centre cinema, rather the massive screen housed in L3 in the science block. While I was at Warwick it showed films as diverse as Ong-Bak, Howl's Moving Castle and The Libertine, as well as your standard box office fare like Kingdom of Heaven. It was also a fantastically good price at 2 quid a throw (I hope that's still the case), and the vending machines in the corridor outside made for perfectly adequate but significantly less noisy refreshments. The WSC is also of note for it's termly 'All-Nighter', to which students are advised to bring blankets and pillows, for an epic five-film showing, with a special 'mystery film' in the middle.

    I also used to have my own particular seat. On the far left, 4 steps down, 2 seats in. That's mine. Even though I haven't been there since 2008.

  • Comment number 57.

    I assume the Scala had financial problems and the legal action against them was the final nail in the coffin. No doubt Dr K knows the full story. I still have some of those lurid fold-out programmes myself and I'm still amazed at the variety of films on offer. It must have been a real labour of love for the owners and staff. For me, staggering around Kings Cross in the early hours looking for a) my friends and b) a night bus back to Upton Park, feeling disorientated (that'll be the Koyaanisqatsi/Powaqqatsi double bill) was all a part of the fun.

    Although nothing beats the memory of my dad taking me and my sister to see Jaws at the delightful Raynes Park Rialto in the late 70s. I must have been about 7 or 8 and was petrified. How did that happen?

  • Comment number 58.

    I think this might just be the single best thing that has been posted on here in the 2 and a half years!

  • Comment number 59.

    I can only agree with the things that others have said about Leeds' Hyde Park Picturehouse- it's a wonderful place.

    I'd like to also praise Bradford's National Media Museum, which shows all sorts of different types of films, on all different kinds of formats. Earlier this year I saw 2001: A Space Odyssey on a proper Cinemascope curved screen, and it was sublime.

    I'd also give special mention to the Screen Machine- the mobile cinema that tours the Scottish Highlands. You'd have to be hard-hearted not to be impressed by a lorry that transforms into a 'proper' cinema.

  • Comment number 60.

    During my youth I enjoyed films at the Picture Playhouse in Beverley, East Yorkshire and the Cecil in Hull, my fondest memories being: Seeing The River Wild (Beverley) and Maverick (Hull). Fond because I went with my parents who aren't big film fans and so going to the cinema with them was a rare treat and very enjoyable.

    Both are now gone alas and, sad as I am to say it, I work for one of the evil multiplexes now. I wish I could work to bring back the old days of double-bills and old screenings but they just don't make the money they used to and that's what matters to companies at the end of the day.

  • Comment number 61.

    where can I post about general film issues? anyway I'm just gonna post on here for now. Basically I watched THe Killer Inside Me last. Personally I think its a modern film noir classic, like One False Move, tho I like the latter more. Anyway this is one tough and unflinching mellonfarming movie. I tried to find a Kermode review online but couldn't. I did find an interesting video blog in which Mark asked about successful Jom Thompson adaptations, citing After Dark My Sweet as one of his own favorites. Mine would probably be the Getaway. Thompson and Peckinpah were made for each other

    ps. If its happening, it's happening in Stockton on Tees... If by 'it' you mean 'nothing'.

    Stockton on Tees

  • Comment number 62.

    Great blog post Mark, it is always nice to see genuine passion in people and that's something we always get from you.

    Favourite cinema? Well there was the cinema from my youth, The Curzon in Loughborough, that was exciting but not especially memorable though it had the grandest of staircases that I have ascended on a regular basis.
    But the most memorable for me has to be the Tyneside in Newcastle, in fact I can't believe you didn't do your recent show from there. I particularly remember a very late night double bill of Midnight Express followed by Easy Rider, see what they did there?

  • Comment number 63.

    Well I can't claim to have a favourite cinema, but it's a nice opportunity to reminisce on when I had to trek out to Wareham because nowhere nearer Bournemouth was showing In the Loop.

    The cinema I had to go to was a little 'Rex' in a kind of village type setting. The cinema - probably theatre seems a more apt name - was situated near a small row of shops with a traditional chippy nearby. It was really old school indeed - you had to go upstairs because downstairs was taken up by a lounge/pub type deal. Very small screening room and I can't say the sound system was quite up to snuff but I think it had those brilliant red curtains that are getting rarer and rarer in cinemas today. But my lasting memory of the outing was the wonderfully British juxtaposition of Malcolm Tucker making the audience howl with laughter as he spewed his baroque, four-letter filled filth, right in the heart of Middle England where, before the performance started, a woman came out with a little wheely freezer full of ice creams to buy.

    Makes me feel guilty whenever I go to these soulless, increasingly extortionate multiplexes sucking the business out of the traditional film theatre. But the truth is these smaller cinemas are so often in the middle of nowhere, and despite the lack of a human touch, convenience wins the day.

  • Comment number 64.

    Back in time to 1982. Sneaking in to see the AA rated "The Thing" at the Unit Four cinema in Wallasey. Originaly the Unit Four had just one large screen but it had been converted to contain a vision of the multiplexes to come. Four titchy screens and seating arranged at such a steep angle that if you tripped on the way to your seat, you would become an instant celebrity as you rolled down the entire length of the central aisle. It's long gone now of course, but I still have the 52% rotator cuff mobility in my left shoulder to remind me of those days in the dark.

  • Comment number 65.

    My favourite cinema is the Rex in Elland West Yorkshire, it is almost a memorial to old cinemas. It still has an interval in the film when a lady stands at the front selling ice-creams from a tray. Also if you go on a Saturday they play the organ before the film starts and at the interval. It was restored and re-opened when I was in the sixth form and became a second home, they even let me have some of the film posters.

  • Comment number 66.

    Hyde Park Picture House, Leeds...excellent cinema, fantastic screenings.

    Will the Doc make a trip?

  • Comment number 67.

    Being born in the early 80s, my earliest memories are of visiting the local fleapit of a cinema (Back to the Future II, The Little Mermaid, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves) with its faded red carpet and the air smelling of stale popcorn, before it was pulled down to make way for Ashford International Station. Ashford then went for almost 10 years without a cinema until Cineworld came to its rescue. For that reason I have always had a soft spot for that multiplex ~ it saved the people from my crummy little hometown from having to drive ages for their movie fix. It also helps that it was where I got my very first job ~ working until 3am at weekends shovelling popcorn and cleaning screens in-between showings. The paltry £3.20 per hour wage was irrelevant - what I received in return was free films and a social life.

    Nobody ever wanted to preview the Monday Classics, so I was lucky enough to have my own personal screenings of Annie Hall, Manhattan, Rear Window, to name but a few. Whilst the rest of the world were tucked up in their beds, I was enjoying the company of Woody Allen and the world of Billy Wilder...all to myself. Perfect.

    Now that I'm older and have got myself a "sensible" job, I find I don't have much call to revisit that Cineworld, which likes to use half its 12 screens to show Harry Potter every hour. My favourite cinema now tends to be the Curzon Soho, where I can enjoy great arthouse films in comfortable seats, respectful patrons, a great bar, and the best salted popcorn available. The loo walls draw me in everytime, with the ladies and gents being decorated with collages of vintage film posters - gender specific of course.

    Whatever age I reach, that Cineworld will always be special. If I could make the mortgage disappear and go back to the days of working minimum wage for free films, I would do it in a heartbeat.

  • Comment number 68.

    I have very, very fond memories of two cinemas in Cardiff from my childhood, one of which was old Odeon, that was across St David's railway station. Unfortunately, that particular Odeon cinema closed down some several years ago, which saddened me. Even though there is an Odeon cinema, down at Cardiff Bay, it doesn't exactly offer the same experience I had with the old one back in my childhood.

    Another cinema was the old ABC cinema, that of course also no longer exists. It was directly opposite the entrance to St David's shopping centre. What I particularly loved about this one was that it reminded me so much of the old cinemas in 50s or something, where it felt like that I was back in time, at the golden age of cinema. The lights would dim and the curtains would rise just as the start of the screening of a film, at least that's how I remember it.

    Now what I feel disappointed about cinema-going today for me is that today's cinema doesn't give me that same cinema-going experience that I once had in my childhood up until my early teen years. I don't know exactly what it is, but I guess I just miss the sights of the curtains risings, the lights dimming and the old style look of the cinema as opposed to contemporary cinemas.

  • Comment number 69.

    Surely The Rex in Berkhamsted.
    Not for fond distant memories,but for current amazing experiences.
    Where else does the (slightly eccentric) owner come on stage before the screening to welcome everyone, thank them, and briefly chat about the film and future screenings?
    Where else does the owner wait at the door to thank everyone and bid them farewell at the end?
    Where else can you be served nibbles and wine before and during the show?
    But I'm sure you know of this little gem, as large parts of 'Son of Rambo' were filmed here.
    Please visit.

  • Comment number 70.

    My favourite cinemas without a doubt is The Electric in Birmingham. The staff are fantastic, each presentation is performed with loving care; mindful that flaws in the presentation spoil a film, no matter how good it is. The whole package, plus a little extra for a sofa and text snacking service make for a wonderful night out.

    I also remember fondly the old Odeon in Barking, for no other reason than it was where my parents took me to see my first film when I was young; it may have just been a flea pit, but it showed me the magic of the big screen for the first time. Thanks to Ghostbusters and a run down cinema in Barking, I found an interest in media, performing arts and technology and spent some wonderful years working as a projectionist and lighting technician.

  • Comment number 71.

    The Phoenix looks really lovely. However, my favourite cinema is the Cameo in Edinburgh. I'm also a member of the Filmhouse but I prefer the Cameo. I love sitting in Cinema 1 with plenty of leg room and comfy seats. It is the best screen in Edinburgh. The bar in the Cameo is also extremely cosy and welcoming. Unfortunately the toilets are pretty poor but I am glad to say I think they are about to be renovated. It is great being a member, as every Sunday afternoon there are 2 films back to back free for members - Spinal Tap and Anvil was a great double bill. I would be absolutely devasted if the Cameo ever closed, Edinburgh needs it and I am always at my happiest there.

  • Comment number 72.

    Growing up in the Woodhall Spa in lincolnshire I was fortunate to have 'The Kinema in the Woods' in the village.

    A fantastic little cinema, it really is unique. It has of all things a back projection screen and the organ still pops up from the stage in front of the main screen (on sundays usually) where you have a half time film break for ice cream. I remember when they re-installed the organ after many years without one in the 80s' as my Dad was friends with Mr Turner who had restored the Wurlitzer and I got a tour of the workings behind it, great stuff!

    Watching films there as a teenager was great, it had a tin roof though so if it was raining it used to be a bit distracting and they still have the hooks on the walls along the sides of the room where you hang your helmet from WW2 when the servicemen used to go watch their films there (Woodhall also is home to the Dam busters memorial).

    Anyway, if anyone wants more info on it, here is the link to some history about the place.

    Dr K. I would well recommend a trip there if you haven't been before, sure you would love the place :)

  • Comment number 73.

    As quite a few have mentioned, definitely the Tyneside Cinema in Newcastle for the best choice in cinematic offerings, special events and great tea rooms!! I discovered it 10 years ago when arriving in the city and I'm so glad I did, as my film knowledge and appreciation has definitely expanded due to mixture of films the place puts on. Top marks!

  • Comment number 74.

    My favourite cinema is the Dominion in Edinburgh, particularly screen one. There are couches and reclining seats rather than the usual seating in a cinema. Very very comfortable, very friendly staff and a free snack pack of Pringles!! Their smallest screen is very intimate and cosy - about two dozen seats I'd guess.
    Childhood memories of the cinema are going of to the ABC on Lothian Road which I think is now an Odeon. The worry of queuing up behind the post with your house number on it (no pre booking then!) and hoping that it wouldn't be turned to house full before you got to the front. And if it did, would you have time to quickly join one of the other queues? I don't remember ever having to go home without having got into one of the screens.

  • Comment number 75.

    That's some beautiful nostalgia. Thanks for sharing!

  • Comment number 76.

    Although not a cinema from my childhood, my favourite cinema is the New Picture House in St. Andrews. With the town's limited recreational facilities, the NPH was somewhat of a mecca for those students sick of the pub and studen union. Only two screens (one of which only sat about 40 people). I remeber the first film I saw there was Saving Private Ryan for a bargain £1.90. Because of the film being so long there had to be an intermission, something I being used to large multiplexes had never experienced...

    Best thing about it? The weekly Wednesday late night showing. I remember in one month seing Rififi, The Godfather, Casablanca and Top Gun.

    I've since heard that they have installed a 3D system...Oh the humanity!

  • Comment number 77.

    Cineworld Hammersmith, it has been a variety of different chains over the years (UGC, ABC and I think it was called the cannonball or something at one point). A bit crappy I know but they never gave me any bother when i spent days bunking school in there. I can attribute it to being one of the main reasons I failed the majority of my GCSE's but I love it none the less. Saw so many great films there and many more dire ones.

  • Comment number 78.

    Palace Cinema, Malton, North Yorkshire.

    VERY friendly staff, lovely atmosphere, comfortable and lovely attitude to customers. Proper tea/coffee in CUPS if you want a hot drink, otherwise pop or some alcoholic beverages on offer.

    Great stuff Jeremy and all the staff.


  • Comment number 79.

    Dear Doctor K,

    My favourite cinema was the Cannon in Hinckley.

    Alas it's been closed since 1993 but it was where I fell in love with the movies. As a tubby 13 year old looking for escape from school bullies I started going in 1989. I'd seen ET and Back to the Future there but the film that really kicked my love of movies off for me was Tim Burton's Batman. It became a circle. I would see the trailers and they would show me what was coming up and I would want to see them and it has been going on like that for years.

    Sometimes living in movies is wonderful because the world and all the pressure and misery disappears. I've seen all kinds of movies. I've sat through films that I loath (Waterworld, Titanic) and come across hidden treasures that should be shouted from roof tops (Dark City, Alien 3, Event Horizon). There are guilty pleasures (the remake of Death Race, Stargate, Timecop) and I have seen films on the big screen that make me realise why on TV some films only exist but on the big screen they live (Lawrence of Arabia, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars).

    So hat's off to the Canon in Hinckley where I fell in love with movies. You're right when you say that it is bit like going to church. Hat's off to the old style fleapits with the gorgeous smell of stale popcorn and the art deco interiors.

    As long as there are people that love movies, let's hope that we can keep the old style, art deco, characterful cinemas alive.


    David Smith

  • Comment number 80.

    P.S. I should also give honourable mentions to the Pictureville Cinema in Bradford and the Phoenix in Leicester. They're both worth a visit.

  • Comment number 81.

    Scream triple bill at the Tyneside Cinema on Halloween 2001 was superb. Walking home across the Town Moor was very scary though!!

  • Comment number 82.

    Zefferellis in Ambleside also a lovely cinema!

  • Comment number 83.

    My favourite cinema, "The Classic" in Waterloo, Liverpool.. still going strong today just under a new name Plaza Community Cinema.

    many happy memories, great blog!

  • Comment number 84.

    Thank God... we have memories.

  • Comment number 85.

    Sad to hear from Anthony that both of my childhood cinemas in Cardiff have gone, but like dave d I love the Cornerhouse in Manchester and got my education in film there, when I should really have been getting my higher education instead.

    This is quite cheeky but my friend Jane has started a campaign to try to ressurect the Plaza cinema in Southfields, which opened in 1917 as the Lyceum and last operated as a cinema in 1968. It then became a bingo hall followed by a snooker hall, but still retains its lovely art deco exterior and apparently some of the original interior too. Now it's closed and it would be great to have it open again in it's intended capacity... especially given that it's close to Southfields tube and could very well sadly become just another flattened cinema turned into expensive flats.

    If anyone's interested in this campaign, please have a look at

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 86.

    #2: "It's really sweet to see the place that you were when some of the biggest moments of your childhood occurred. Just goes to show how important the place of the cinema is for a cinephile."

    #3 Dear Dr K

    "My favourite cinema is, without doubt, the Edinburgh Cameo. Its a beautiful cinema showing independent films with lovely velvets seats and a wonderful atmosphere."

    #58: "I think this might just be the single best thing that has been posted on here in the 2 and a half years!"

    Really enjoyed seeing The Phoenix. I've been past it and like the Finchley area too. ;)

    My first cinema homes which introduced me (especially) to World Cinema was also The Cameo and also The Filmhouse in Edinburgh which also hosted the Edinburgh Film Festival full of world cinema and student nights of screenings! Having a truly wonderful girlfriend at the time was still nothing to stop me frequenting these cinemas!

    I've since frequented the Picturehouse cinemas in Cambridge, Clapham Common and Brixton as well as other arthouse cinemas in London and these places have been great venues and imo really add to the cinema going night-out. Filmhouse and Clapham Picturehouse for me.

  • Comment number 87.

    ...looked more fun as a dingey cheap run down cinema where you might get abducted while watching Scanners. Wine bars in cinemas... hmmm.

    I'de like to say that my favourite cinema was somewhere obscure and arty where they show double bills, but it's actually a big chain cinema in the centre of Glasgow with 18 floors, supposedly the tallest in Europe, simply because the less popular films like Let The Right One In and Black Death are shown on the higher floors, late at night, so you have this very Lynchian experience of watching some creepy horror down a claustrophobic dark corridor, with 10 other people, then slowly winding down 17 flights of escalator at 2am, looking out into the dark cityscape, reflecting on what you've seen with some wierd guy behind you in a trenchcoat, burning a hole in the back of your head and some freaked out couple trying to rush down ahead of said wierdo to look for a member of staff. Similarly, the journey up to the screen is like some sort of transcendual experience, entering the twilight zone, where only 10 or so people dare to go.

  • Comment number 88.

    Before the Cambridge PictureHouse, the city had a small art cinema in the centre which changed my life as teenager.
    I only went as it was showing Brazil and introduce me to whole new world of fantastic films I never knew existed.
    After 20 years in London I have enjoyed Dalson’s Rio and Croydon’s comfy and compact David Lean but my local Brixton Ritzy remains my favourite. If you are local checkout a film in screen 6 upstairs which shows Woody Allen films no-one wants to see anymore. There is loads of room to stretch your legs and it is next to the bar for a proper drink in a glass.
    Cinema caters for grownups shock!

  • Comment number 89.

    Manchester is just terrible for cinema. The Cornerhouse is good occasionally, but on the most part the films are all independent or arty films, it rarely shows any of the good 'classic' films or back to back screenings etc.

    With your suggestion of Chico and Rita, I checked the films website to see what cinemas had selected to show it and id have to travel for 2 hours to the Lake District for my nearest showing even though I live in the centre of Manchester!!

    I'm graduating this year and with the chance to move to a different city, the possibility of living near a good cinema is perhaps higher than it should be on my list. I hear that the Picturehouse cinema's and in particular Edinburgh's Cameo looks like a great cinema, think will go on a trip to test it before applying for any more grad schemes elsewhere!

    Parkes88 - 1st comment!


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