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Errol Flynn can do anything

The extended version of the Errol Flynn filmhouse opened to a screening of Their Finest starring Gemma Arterton.
It is a beautifully crafted film about making an uplifting movie in Second World War Britain, writes Steve Scoles.
At one point a girl inspires her sister to an act of bravery with the exhortation: “Imagine you’re Errol Flynn, Errol Flynn can do anything…”
Ahhh, clever. Ironies within ironies. Without doubt Errol Flynn acted as though he could do anything. His unpaid bills and rakish reputation during his time treading the boards in Northampton were the least of his sins, according to his autobiography.
But those were different times and if Errol Flynn the actor was too big to care Errol Flynn the filmhouse is a completely different proposition.
It is small enough to care.
Screen 2 extends the seating capacity by another 83 generously upholstered and tilting seats. There is ample legroom and a place to set down your glass of Warners Gin if you want to live like a king.
The sound is superb and although the cinema is cosy the big screen is still cinematically large.
This isn’t like the ‘cinema’ your mate built in his garage. It might be what he had in his head before he did it though.
Screenwriter Karin Johnstone recalled her cinema going experiences at the Errol Flynn in her column on our website.
“I’ve spent many magical evenings on the back row at the Errol Flynn cinema. For those in the know the back-row seats, spaciously paired up are known as the seats for date nights. I only discovered this when I sat next to an old friend of my sisters who said, ‘Oooh are you here on a date night too?’ It seemed churlish to say ‘no – I’ve come to watch a film’. So, I just said yes. Then I spent the next five minutes stressing about what she might say to my mate who had just gone to the loo.
“Clearly, I don’t sit on the back seats for romantic intent. I like the back row because I can see many of the faces looking up at the screen in rapt attention. I love the hushed moments in a film and if I get bored look down the rows of glinting wine bottles and beers glasses. The present screen is often packed so it’s great news that a new second screen is opening.”

Apart from the reference to Errol in the dialogue Their Finest was the perfect movie to get things rolling on Screen Two.
It is a film about film-making with a very clever script.
The casual sexism of the day is handled with subtlety. Fiesty wartime women did not squander valuable energy challenging every comment and injustice.
In fact, showing us what was accepted without comment or complaint (“We can’t pay you what the chaps get so how does £2 a week sound?”) makes it all the more jarring to modern ears.
Bill Nighy and Richard E Grant turn in great supporting performances, two older men both in their own ways anticipating what might be the end of their world and just about keeping a lid on it. Their Finest returns to the Errol Flynn at the end of April and gets my unreserved recommendation.
It’s a film that is brave enough to step away from mainstream conventions and compromises in the hope of getting it completely right for a smaller audience rather than nearly right for a larger one.
Cinema going is not something that happens on the spur of the moment these days and whichever way you cut it you are forking out a few quid for the experience, whether it is a boutique filmhouse or a multiplex awash with admittedly delicious junk food.
The Errol Flynn provides something that wasn’t there before: a genuinely special occasion feel to go with the special occasion investment you make at whichever cinema you choose.
And then it does some more things too.
Special screenings for older cinema goers and mother and baby screenings are on offer.
There are also screenings of theatrical shows broadcast from other theatres.
Perhaps the most exciting option of all is the chance to hire the venue for private use.
If your mate did build his own cinema in his garage maybe don’t tell him about the last one…
Find out more about what the Errol Flynn has to offer on at: www.errolflynnfilmhouse.com

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