Category Archives: Places

Appy Days

by Gareth Negus

The Bristol Odeon in the 1930s, as featured in the Lost Cinemas of Castle Park app
The Bristol Odeon in the 1930s, as featured in the Lost Cinemas of Castle Park app

Unless your first trip to the cinema was post-1990, it’s a reasonable bet that some of the buildings where your formative moviegoing experiences took place no longer exist, at least in their original form.  That’s certainly true of me.  The local three screen Cannon where I spent many Friday evenings in my late teens long ago became a Wetherspoons; the Manchester Odeon, where I saw Pulp Fiction among others, is derelict. The ABC in Hull, which I frequented as a student, is also consigned to history.  And those buildings were arguably well past their prime when I was visiting them, soon to be crushed by the rise of the multiplexes.

I have nothing against multiplexes as such; anyone who recalls the sorry state so many UK cinemas had reached by the early 80s will understand why they were welcomed by so many.  But there is a wealth of history to cinemagoing in this country that pre-dates their corporate approach, much of which is gone, if not forgotten.

Late last month, I attended the launch of a new heritage app for mobile phones called Lost Cinemas of Castle Park. The app was developed by a team headed by Dr Charlotte Crofts of the University of West of England, and is part of the Cinemapping project that draws on Bristol City Council’s Know Your Place.  The team previously created a heritage app specific to the Curzon Community Cinema, which celebrated its centenary last year.  The app mixed historical information with the stories and memories of those who knew the building, and The Lost Cinemas of Castle Park takes a similar approach.

Castle Park was once a major commercial centre of Bristol, before it was devastated during World War II. It included a remarkable 15 cinemas, of which only one, the Odeon, is still in existence, albeit in reduced circumstances (the ground floor is now a branch of H&M).  The idea is for the app to be used while wandering around the Castle Park area, though if you aren’t in the area, it can also be operated manually.

Continue reading Appy Days

Cult Australian Cinema

Fred Schepisi’s forthcoming The Eye of The Storm

September sees the release of The Eye of the Storm, directed by Fred Schepisi and based on the novel by Patrick White. It’s Schepisi’s first film in eight years (not including the award-winning HBO mini-series Empire Falls), and his first film made in Australia since A Cry in the Dark in 1988. MarvMarsh takes a look back at one of his best films, while other MostlyFilm contributors choose some of their own favourite Australian films. Sadly, The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course didn’t make the cut. Continue reading Cult Australian Cinema

Mostly Links – 26 August 2011

By Niall Anderson

Ideas for a brighter tomorrow.

To finish Cinema Week on Mostly Film, here is a list of cinemas in the UK threatened with closure or outright demolition. Most of them have action groups or accounts you can donate to. If you’re in the area affected, or just concerned about the preservation of cinemas in general, please consider yourself invited to contribute any way you can: Continue reading Mostly Links – 26 August 2011

Cinema Week: The Future of Cinemas

In the cinema of the future you’ll be able to laugh as loud as you want

Ron Swanson: Uncle Frank and I were approached to write this piece because we both work in the film exhibition industry, and have an immediate professional insight into the issues that are going to affect in what happens in your local multiplex or arthouse over the next five or ten years. We hope you’ll excuse our anonymity, but some of this could be DYNAMITE.

I guess it’d be good to start by talking about some of the great things that are going on? Box office is up (Avatar, Mamma Mia, the latest Harry Potter and Toy Story 3 are the four biggest releases of all time at the UK box office, and all were released in the past four years). Digital presentation means that customers are getting better quality of projection when they buy a ticket, and you can see a wider range of events at the cinema than ever before, from opera to live sport, 3D ballet to a concert film from young whippersnappers like JLS.

So, Frank, what do cinemas have to complain about? Continue reading Cinema Week: The Future of Cinemas

Cinema Week: My Favourite Cinema

The golden glow of nostalgia?

For many of us, our favourite cinema memories are of the cinemas of our childhood, because  the old local cinemas, many of them (now lost) Art Deco mini-masterpieces, gave us all our first taste of the magic of cinema, the romance of the flickering screen. For others they are of the fleapit of more recent memory, where old, obscure and downright odd films screened to packed houses of like-minded cineastes. And for some, there are unique little treasures. This collection covers all three. I make no apologies for the length, because some things need to be indulged, especially on a blog – mostly – about film.

Continue reading Cinema Week: My Favourite Cinema