Saturday, September 13, 2014

Book of Me Written By You Prompt 55

Julie Goucher of Angler's Rest created this fantastic meme The Book of Me Written By You and you can find out all about it here.

This is Prompt 55 of the meme.

What is your feel good movie?
Can you remember the first time you went to the cinema?
What did you see?
Can you remember the price?
Who did you go with?
Recall those magical movie moments?
What is your favourite movie or favourite genre?

What is your feel good movie?

Oh boy.  That's a tough one.  I looked at the lists on IMDB and honestly....can you believe that someone put Trainspotting in the list????  I mean it's a great movie but "feel-good" ???

This is difficult because I tend to like melancholic movies best.  Weird, I know.  But for me the best feel good movies (because I can't restrict myself to one) are (in alphabetical order):

The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert
Before Sunrise
Cinema Paradiso
The Full Monty
Muriel's Wedding
Notting Hill
Toy Story

Can you remember the first time you went to the cinema?  What did you see? Can you remember the price? Who did you go with?

No, I can't remember the first time I went to the cinema but my mother told me that my first film was A Hard Day's Night in Edinburgh.  I would have been about 3 years old.  No idea how much it cost.  I probably went with my mother.

Recall those magical movie moments?

I think this is such a great meme because going to the movies has been such an important part of my life.  Julie, it's like you have tuned into the cosmic consciousness as I was only thinking the other day that this would be a good prompt.  The reason I thought that was because I recently ordered my father's first book through the post.    Called A Guide To Canberra Buildings, it was published in 1970.  As someone who grew up in Canberra, I found it fascinating to look through the (black and white) photos and see how much has changed and how much has stayed the same.

As I flicked through it, I came across a mention of the Center Cinema. Unfortunately there was no photo accompanying the description but I was interested to read that the architect on the project was Enrico Taglietti. Enrico's daughter and I were in the same class at school.  The Center Cinema used to be in Bunda Street in the city.  All the photos I can find of it on the web are protected by can check them out here, here  or here. And I urge you to click on that last picture when you get to it because it will give you a better idea of what it was like waiting outside the cinema to get your ticket.

Thankfully Trove has a few good articles too about its construction and when it opened.

Architect's drawing of Center Cinema
courtesy of the National Library of Australia - Canberra Times, Wednesday 21 July 1965, page 4
It opened on 4 October 1966 and the opening film was Dr Zhivago starring Omar Sharif and Julie Christie.  My son Caspar is trying to finish the book as you read this post.

photo of staircase going down to underground cinema
Courtesy of National Library of Australia, Canberra Times Tuesday 4 October 1966, page 15

I guess the most distinctive features of the cinema were that it was underground, had adjustable seats, huge pixellated mural style photos on the walls of stars/characters like Marilyn Monroe and Citizen Kane and porthole windows from upstairs where you could watch the movie from the Candy Bar if you were running late or had a coughing fit.  It seated 500 people.  Quite a big cinema I suppose by today's standards.

Yes, I remember standing up for the National Anthem (God Save Our Queen) before the movie started.

I remember going to see The Way we Were with Robert (be still my beating heart) Redford and Barbra Streisand with best friend Deb.  It took 6 - 12 months for movies to get here from the USA so even though it was released in October 1973, we didn't get to see it until May the following year.

Advertisement for Streisand Redford Together in The Way We Were
Courtesy of National Library of Australia, Canberra Times Saturday 8 June 1974, page 14

In my research, I also found out that the builder who won the tender was none other than Bob Eglitis, father of another school-friend of mine.

Article about the Manager, the Builder and the Projectionist
Courtesy of National Library of Australia, Canberra Times, Tuesday 4 October 1966, page 16
The Center Cinema closed 1 June 2003 and you can read more people's memories here.  So very sad.  It was absolutely my favourite cinema and none come close to it except maybe the lovely Palace Barracks Cinema here in Brisbane.

I have lots of fond memories of movies in Canberra.  I saw Picnic at Hanging Rock at the Capitol Theatre at Manuka on a school excursion.  Such evocative images and I always felt so privileged to work with Producer Pat Lovell later on in my career.

I went to the National Library on Sundays, I think, with my mother to watch Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movies.

Judith and I went to the Boulevard Twin Cinemas (which opened in December 1973) and laughed ourselves sick at the Pink Panther movies with Peter Sellers.

Article about opening of Boulevard Twin Cinema
Courtesy of National Library of Australia, Canberra Times, Thursday 6 December 1973, page 23

I saw Sound of Music and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the Civic Theatre.

And let's not be forgetting the Starlight Drive In!!  Once again, click on the picture to see what the entrance was like.

This is a great article about the building of the Drive In.

Courtesy of National Library of Australia, Canberra Times, Wednesday 2 January 1957, page 7

What is your favourite movie or favourite genre?

It's way too hard to choose a favourite movie, I love so many.  As I say I tend to choose melancholy films or thoughtful type movies.  Some of my favourites include: Whale Rider, The Truman Show, Rain Man, Breaking the Waves, Working Girl, 1900, American Beauty, To Kill a Mockingbird, No Country for Old Men....

See I told you I was all over the shop.  Just like a frog!


Kristin said...

You have got an impressive inventory of movies and cinemas! Two of our favorite movies that are the same are Amelie and Whale Rider.

Alex Daw said...

Hoorah! I am so glad you like Whale Rider. I don't think many people have seen it or know how fabulous it is.

Cassmob (Pauleen) said...

Great post Alex, interesting to see how living in a different place, and time, makes a difference. Is your Dad's book still available?

Alex Daw said...

Dear Pauleen - I'm not might pop up from time to time on Abebooks...that was how I found it, I think. It's only a slim volume and probably very dated now.