Monday, May 05, 2014

A Night Out in 1975

"Hello, is Julie there please? It's Kevin. Thank you...

Hello Julie. Fancy a night out in Westcliff? Great! I know this amazing new cinema where there are two different screens! Yes, two..."


It all changed in the mid-70s. Cinema chains dropped the B films and added more screens, but retained old favourites like the asthma-inducing Kio-Ora orange squash and the obligatory Herb Alpert records that preceded the adverts for carpet shops and Indian Restaurants.

This 1975 programme for the Classic 1 and 2 in Westcliff-on-Sea was being used as a bookmark:


Roger Moore fans were particularly well served, with Gold showing one week and Live and Let Die the next. But the double bills must have been a bit of an endurance course.

Diary of a Nymphomaniac probably didn't live up to the promise of its title and I can imagine an afternoon matinee in an almost empty cinema, with a smattering of disappointed middle-aged men in gannex raincoats.

But if you prefer films for adults to adult films, I can thoroughly recommend Sunday Bloody Sunday.

A Ken Russell double bill seems an optimistic choice for Southend, but perhaps audiences were more receptive to serious drama (and gratuitous nudity) in the age before multi-channel television.

If you could go back to 1975 and sit in the third row, with the smoke drifting across from the right hand side of the auditorium, which of these films would you pick?

10 comments:

MikeP said...

Ha! This used to be the Essoldo when I were a lad. A fine cinema: https://www.flickr.com/photos/stagedoor/141621222/
Now demolished, inevitably. It was a bit off my beat because it was the other end of town, but I remember going to see The Servant there one afternoon some time in the mid-60s, probably bunking off school.

The official title of Everybody's At It, according to IMDB, is The Female Response, which sounds a bit more legit somehow.

I'm amused that John Wayne shared a double bill with Blazing Saddles! I remember enjoying Freebie and the Bean when it came out, so I'd plump for that, I think.

Annabel (gaskella) said...

Too orangey for crows.

Steerforth said...

MikeP - Bunking off to see The Servant? Commendable! Of course, it would be called Media Studies today.

My local Odeon, in Twickenham, was also demolished. The building that replaced it was an eyesore.

Annabel - I'm afraid that reference went over my head. Can you explain?

Annabel said...

It's the Kia Ora slogan. Sorry!

Steerforth said...

Don't remember that, but I can still do a full rendition of the Cresta commercial, with the obligatory "It's frothy man" at the end.

Tim Footman said...

The Blazing Saddles/McQ double is interesting. Apparently Mel Brooks asked John Wayne to play a small role in BS and Wayne liked the script but thought it wouldn't suit his image.

mahlerman said...

I had imagined that those little films 'Look at Life' that came before the main feature were around in '75 but I see from Wiki that they were made between 1959-69. Perhaps also, as a nation, we were becoming far too 'sophisticated' for films such as 'Birdmen' from 1963 - 'John Wimpenny is the first man to pedal himself through the air for more than half a mile'. How undemanding life was back then...

Richard said...

OHMSS definitely, as long as you don't watch Live and Let Die first.

Richard said...

OHMSS, definitely. Though Juggernaut has its partisans...

zmkc said...

For reasons of national pride (shame?) I would have to, reluctantly, (very reluctantly), choose the George Lazenby, as Lazenby came from Queanbeyan, the neighbour of Canberra and a place we Canberrans go to when we want a breath of real life.