Karin Johnstone gets in the mood for some cinema viewing…
Settling down on the sofa to watch Sir Mo in the World Championships an old friend who had joined me asked me how my yoga practice was going.
Well, you know, it’s just hard.
Is there something wrong with you? she asks abruptly.
What do you mean?
Is there something wrong with you that you that you don’t finish anything?
I think she was referring to the fact that I started running and stopped which on the advice of a knee surgeon is actually a very sensible decision. I also said I would do yoga but find it hard to get up at 5 in the morning to fit it in before work. I only aspire to be Dalai Lama-like, I don’t actually want to be him.
Naturally I got to thinking – do I start things and not finish? No. I may delay things for several years but I do finish. But what do I have the stamina for – what have I done my whole life and never tired of? Watching films! My Baltic German mother born in the late 20’s instilled in me a passion for the great Hollywood stars – Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Davis and Bacall. I was so obsessed with Garbo that I wrote her a fan letter when I was 14. I sent it to the Swiss ski resort of Klosters where she occasionally visited. The letter was returned unopened. At 16 I got to meet Ingrid Bergman at the National Film Theatre and was entranced by her – fully aware that in the 6 degrees of separation concept that she had MET Garbo – a question that she was asked about.
Going back in time a 7-year-old me – lying on tummy, waggling legs in the air watching swashbuckling Errol Flynn, jolly Bob Hope and Bing, clowning Jerry Lewis & Dean Martin, once the old black and white box had warmed up and the picture buzzed into life. Then the weird colours of glorious technicolour making an already amazing world magical. I didn’t know that 20 years later I would get a job as a television engineer and get paid for watching television and films all day long.
Although we have moved on from the way we watch films – Sony Betamax, video rentals (I had to explain this shop concept to my niece who even laughs at my shelf of DVD’s) – I’d say this relationship with film is still the same for lots of film goers. It’s a warm safe place to be. An exciting place, a romantic place, a terrifying place.
If you fancy more of that warm safe place and rekindling some 50’s nostalgia try going to see Calamity Jane at the Erroll Flynn filmhouse. Doris Day gun holster hanging on hip is everything I would have wanted to be – if I’d become a cowgirl. Enjoy this thigh slapping strong female character in the Wild West. Fantastic movie until they start singing – apart from whip-crack-away of course. As I type that word ‘whip-crack-away’ it just doesn’t seem to translate in a meaningful way to the 21st century.
Anyway, that’s enough for now. I can’t really be bothered to preview any other film this month or to finish this properly…
Sunday 10th Sep, 2.15pm, Calamity Jane.
Also watch out for:
From Kathryn Bigelow, the Academy Award-winning director of The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, Detroit tells the gripping story of one of the darkest moments during the civil unrest that rocked Detroit in the summer of ‘67. A handful of rioters took over the city of Detroit following a police raid on an unlicensed bar. Army paratroopers, National Guardsmen and state and local police were called on to help put a stop to the rioting, which lasted for five days.
What sparked the riots was the racism and discrimination by the police force that was felt within the city by the African American population. In the end, 43 people were dead, almost 1,200 were injured and over 2,000 buildings destroyed.
Detroit is at the Errol Flynn Cinema from Sep 1 to Sep 7.
Call 01604 624811 for times and booking.