Films and Cinemas
As Selected by Lawrence Chard
Lawrence Home Page

Bit of a cheat including a films page as I hardly ever go to the cinema, although I do get to see a few films on TV.
Highly subjective comments on random films I may have seen.
Random Thoughts on Films
  • Black Hawk Down
    After enjoying Watership Down, I was really looking forward to Black Hawk Down. What happened to the cute bunnies? Did they finally get run over crossing the road, or did they get too ambitious attempting to relocate by helicopter?
  • Funniest Films -1 Motor Mania
    I can remember seeing a cartoon called "Motor Mania", and being totally helpless with laughter for most of it. It was slightly disappointing some years later to see it again, and not being convulsed with laughter.
  • Futtocks End - Funniest Films -2
    I must have seen this two or three times now, and it is still funny. There is no speech in it, only sounds.
  • Funniest Films -3 - Cant find the title, but...
    This started out just like on of the rather bland and syrupy travelogues that get shown before the main film. After a couple of minutes, I started to think it was quite laughable, but it was not for another few minutes before it became obvious to everyone that the whole film was a hilarious parody. the voice-over should have given it away from the start, it was none other than that of John Cleese. If anyone can remember the name of the film, please let me know.
  • 13 Ghosts
    This film is not really worth a mention in its own right, but for one small incident which happened when, or perhaps I should say because I was watching it.
    It was a long time ago, and the film was in stereo. One of these where you were given a pair of "stereo glasses", actually a piece of cardboard with one red and one blue piece of coloured plastic film in each eye-hole. This passed for real high-tech stuff in those days. Absolutely nothing happened in the first half hour of the film, except the the building of tension, á la Hitchcock. The incident happened during an extended door creak. I say extended because the door must have opened about 540% for the ghostly creak to continue so long. Now I have to pause the story while I quickly explain the state of my nasal health. I used to suffer from quite heavy catarrh. I had managed to sit quietly through over half an hour of film, but the nasal build up just got too much, so I took out my handkerchief and took advantage of a quiet part of the film to get in a good blow. What happened next was a complete surpries to me, bu even more so to the rest of the audience. About half of them screamed! I was so embarrassed, and still blush thinking about it now. This was probably the most exciting and memorable part of the film, I can just imagine Jonathon Ross relating this story in one of his film reviews. At least he is not a snotty critic.
and why I don't go often.
  • I can remember getting taken to our local fleapit on Saturday morning by one of my sisters. Usually cowboy films. Probably the clearest memory from those days is my introduction to smoking, or should that be non-smoking. Aged about 7, my sister Hazel being 7 years older, on two occasions she handed me a cigarette and two matches, telling me to go to the gents during the interval and light up. I didn't have the brains to go into a cubicle, so stood there at a urinal, waiting for others with more legitimate business to clear off. I'm happy to report that I could not see the point or the attraction of smoking, the taste was foul, what were you supposed to do with the smoke, breathe it in and choke to death? Actually I think the surroundings are probably the perfect place to introduce everybody to smoking, a smelly public urinal. If all children were forced to try their first few cigarettes in a similar environment, they may come to associate tobacco with stale urine and worse, which of course gives a fair representation of the smell of other people's cigarette smoke.
  • The next memory I have of cinemas is as a teenager. Anytime there was a half decent new film on, the queue was half way round the block, so if you wanted to see it, you had to arrive half an hour early, (uncharacteristic behaviour for me), and queue in the wind and rain (we are in England). If you were lucky, the seats were not all sold by the time you got to pay. Often the foyer had room to accommodate some of the queue, but the staff would not allow it, the queue had to run in a straight line out of the door into the cold and wet. Usually the single box office was staffed by one antiquated pensioner with just two speeds , slow and stop. My grandmother could have taken the money and issued the tickets about twice as fast. If the cinema manager had thought to get himself into one of the payboxes and sell tickets instead of poncing around in the foyer making everyone stand in a line, then the paying customers would not have had to get cold and wet in the queue, because the queue would never have got that long in the first place. Of course this would have required some thought and empathy on the part of the cinema management. As the cinema industry was obviously booming at the time, it clearly did not think it necessary to consider the long term effect of their own arrogance and ignorance on the future behaviour of their customers. Also most cinemas were part of multiple chains who between them had a monopoly.
  • Once, one of my rare cinema visits, there was someone doing a customer survey. I was quite keen to be able to express an opinion, however not one question asked whether I was happy about cinemas, and there was no invitation to voice suggestions. I reckon the survey was not aimed at finding out whether customers were happy, or how to make a cinema visit a better experience for them, it was probably to ascertain how much they could jack up their refreshment prices before people would stop buying.