Peter’s Merry Month of May Movies

film-596519_1280 moviesI’m kicking off this blog with a response to Cassmob’s Merry Month of May movie meme. Cass Rambles should develop into comments on travel, family history, books, whatever. It will be fun writing it,  provided I remember my Dad’s dictum (and he had plenty of public speaking practice) that if you can’t say it in five minutes, you need to try harder!

  1. What’s the earliest movie you can remember: Not sure whether it was the 1956 epic version of War and Peace or 1957’s The Bridge on the River Kwai, the former outdoors in the schoolyard at Upper Ferntree Gully while on leave from Papua New Guinea, the latter in Port Moresby. Bomana War Cemetery and the start of the Kokoda Track only an hour away gave this added bite. I still cannot hear “The Colonel Bogey March” as the lighthearted piece others do.
  2. Where did you go to the movies (place or type of venue): Rarely in a formal cinema! The local social club, a school classroom, a cinema when on leave in Australia, the school hall at boarding school in Brisbane in my teens.
  3. Did you buy movie programs: No. Often there just wasn’t one on offer, at other times it seemed a waste of money.
  4. Did you take in food and drink (and what did you like): Not food. Soft drinks, yes, especially when the film was in the local social club. The Manager of the Samarai club would allow teenagers home for the holidays from boarding school to buy one alcoholic drink per film night. On reflection, parents and the local Police Officer must have chosen to turn a blind eye. Nowadays it’s coffee when possible.
  5. Movies of your teenage years: Lots of Elvis Presley, including Flaming Star and Kid Galahad at boarding school (the Christian Brothers must have thought there were too few bikini-clad girls to be a worry); Summer Holiday (my sister Lee and I had to assure Mum that this was NOT the film version of A Summer Place, which was a “hot” novel at the time); The Magnificent Seven (can you name all seven actors?); West Side Story; The Guns of Navarone; Zorba The Greek; Never on Sunday; The Spy Who Came In From The Cold (I still remember my shock, reading the novel at 14, when I realised how devastatingly immoral the “good guys” were); To Kill A Mockingbird.
  6. Do you remember how old you were when you went unsupervised: Starting at 12 or 13, when we were due to fly home for the school holidays at midnight, and we’d go to 1 or 2 or 3 movies in Brisbane to fill in the time after we’d dropped our luggage at the then Trans Australia Airlines (TAA) city terminal in Creek Street.
  7. Mischief you got up to in the movies: Very little pre-teens – all the kids’ parents watched us! In 1964 the Nudgee Under-15 teams had a coaching camp at Tallebudgera, and our teacher/coach packed 15 of us into his Peugeot 403 to go and see I-forget-what at the Palm Beach theatre. It had a sloping stepped floor, just the thing for rolling Jaffas and empty Coke bottles.
  8. Did you watch movies at home: Growing up, only our own Super 8 movies. Pauleen and I did watch the (usually terrible) Sunday night movie on Channel Ten when I was able to overnight at her family home.
  9. What was your favourite movie to watch at home: When we finally could, after we moved to Brisbane in 1978 and had TV and a VCR/DVD, The Princess Bride, Top Gun, Hopscotch.
  10. Do you prefer to watch movies at home or at the cinema: Some – like Lawrence of Arabia – need the big screen, with others it doesn’t really matter.
  11. Does your family have a special movie memory: my having to leave the Odeon in Brisbane to buy a box of tissues at Coles across the street for our three daughters, who were having their usual reaction to a Disney movie. For my family-of-origin: seeing My Fair Lady in Singapore with Chinese sub-titles plus English sub-titles for the songs.
  12. Movies you fell in love to/with: A Man And A Woman, Elvira Madigan, Dr Zhivago.
  13. Favourite romantic movie theme music: Mozart’s 21st Piano Concerto.
  14. Favourite musical movie: a tie: West Side Story and My Fair Lady, followed by Singin’ In The Rain.
  15. Which movies made you want to dance/sing: See 13! plus Zorba, Mamma Mia, Mad Hot Ballroom. Love those kids! And didn’t Harrison Ford and Kelly McGillis sizzle to “It’s A Wonderful World” in Witness?
  16. Do you watch re-runs or DVDs of old movies: Not often, but I do enjoy some older movies – including Casablanca, The Third Man, The Dam Busters
  17. Do your children/family enjoy the same movies: we have enjoyed seeing the Lord Of The Rings, Hobbit and Star Wars movies, Frozen and Zootopia with kids and grand-kids in Darwin, often on Boxing Day. Our daughters like Summer Holiday as much as I do (I believe they have achieved armed detente over possession of the LP), Top Gun, When Harry Met Sally.
  18. What’s your favourite movie genre now: Don’t really have a favourite. Not a big fan of blow-em-ups.
  19. Did you read the book before or after the movie: Before: The Guns Of Navarone, The Spy Who Came In From The Cold, The Seven Pillars of Wisdom before Lawrence Of Arabia, A Man For All Seasons. After: 84 Charing Cross Road, The Princess Bride.
  20. Which did you enjoy more, the book or the movie: The book requires you to decide what the characters look and sound like, which sometimes means having to set this aside for the film. Sometimes the film character is just so right, the prime example being Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch, or Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly. The film can give you a completely different perspective (compare Zeffirelli’s and Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet).
  21. What’s the silliest movie you’ve seen (silly funny or silly annoying): Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes, pretty much why did they bother.
  22. Pet hate in movies: dopey heroines running upstairs into the dark! Hand-held shake-it-all-about camera work.
  23. A movie that captures family history for you: Nothing leaps to mind.
  24. If you could only play 5 movies for the rest of your life, what would they be: Since Cassmob has listed six (she cheated!), I will add: Casablanca, Summer Holiday, Three Coins In The Fountain, NewsFront, Scofield’s A Man For All Seasons or Branagh’s Henry V.
  25. Favourite movie stars (go ahead and list as many as you like): Walter Matthau, Gregory Peck, Audrey Hepburn, Geoffrey Rush, Glenda Jackson, Sean Connery, Judi Dench, Helen Mirren, Katherine Hepburn, Lauren Bacall, Colin Firth, Julia Sawalha, Kenneth More.

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