I’m just about old enough to remember when people didn’t go to ‘The Multiplex to see a movie’, they went to ‘The pictures to see a film’.
In fact, unless the attraction was a three-hour epic, cinemagoers could see two films – the main feature plus a ‘B’ film…and a newsreel.
If some cinemas, affectionately known as fleapits, were in need of refurbishment, audiences didn’t care as long as the film was engrossing. This was long before the shiny new multiplexes opened and the behaviour of audiences, changed – for the worse.
I don’t think actress Helen Mirren has paid to see a film in a cinema since 1969, because at a recent Warner Brothers event to promote her latest film, she bad-mouthed – using a very discouragin’ word – a certain well-known streaming service, announcing “There’s nothing like the experience of seeing a film in a cinema”.
She’s right. Seeing a film in a cinema today can be quite an experience!
I’ve had to confront rowdy audience members who were spoiling the film for everyone else and a friend of mine’s visit to see the new version of “Dumbo” in a Cardiff cinema with his family was ruined by the antics of several noisy, restless teenagers (for whom the film was totally unsuitable) until an usher ejected them 30 minutes before the film ended.
Ms. Mirren lives in a different world to ours, where she sees films in a studio screening room or at premieres. So, she’s unlikely to be surrounded by annoying idiots talking, texting or calling their mates on their mobiles.
She won’t be distracted by thoughtless people munching their way through industrial-sized portions of sweets, popcorn and nachos covered in cheese and noisily slurping sugary, fizzy drinks.
The old fleapits were drab and the carpets were sticky, but the only mischief teenagers got up to was snogging in the back row or, if you didn’t have a girlfriend, smoking Woodbines with your mates down the front.
Aha! Now that revived a few memories didn’t it?
See you in the cheap seats….