Theory: everyone has two ‘first movie memories.’
There’s the one you tell people about. This highly-inspirational movie masterpiece changed your life, forever leaving you enamoured with all things cinematic. It’s the one you tell all and sundry about, usually after you’ve talked about the first album you bought. Mine was Star Wars: Return of the Jedi and I was seven years old.
And there’s the one you can actually remember. This movie memory lurks at the back of your mind despite knowing full well that you saw Batman, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and err…Superman IV. Mine was Hook and I was…older than seven.
The 1991 Peter Pan sequel was directed by Steven Spielberg. Not that it mattered to me at the time (or indeed, now). It was one of those films that you get taken to. Aside from a giant crocodile falling on the titular Hook, the film is a distant (repressed?) movie memory which has never been revisited.
But what has been visited a countless amount of times is the cinema itself. The ABC in Leicester was what was affectionately referred to as a fleapit. The aisles were stickier than a nightclub’s dancefloor after 90’s night. Ashtrays sat in the arms of the seat, filled with Opal Fruit wrappers. The red faux-velvet chair covers wore the scars of where cigarettes missed their mark.
The screening had staff selling ice creams before the film. It had an intermission regardless of the running time and it was always preceded by the video for New Order’s ‘True Faith’. Many more dubious films were seen in the same setting (not least Indecent Proposal) but that experience cemented the cinema as an event in itself. It became a place where, as clichéd as it is, people come together. A place where memories are made. Even if the film itself was completely unmemorable.
What was your first (and more importantly, your second) movie memory? Let us know in the comments below.