Friday, April 18, 2014

valhalla, ritz, longford, etc

I was thinking the other day for no reason about the Ritz Cinema which ran for a short time in Errol Street, North Melbourne (I think in the town hall actually, so not really a cinema per se; although I note that the IGA in Errol Street is in what looks like a cinema building). This was probably around 1977-8, and I went there a couple of times to see old films, like for instance the worst condition print I have ever seen of any film, the notoriously confusing in any condition Beat the Devil.  

As I entered my early teens there were quite a few 'revival' (did we call them that?) film houses around Melbourne, the most famous of which was of course the Valhalla which at that time was in Richmond. I went to quite a few all night marathons at the Valhalla, including a rock music one, a Marx Brothers one, a Woody Allen one... I can't recall any others. The Woody Allen one included a rare screening of What's Up Tiger Lily? a film which I found unbelievably hilarious in 1978 and couldn't endure more than ten minutes of a few years ago. Also, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex which I haven't seen again. The Valhalla would have a double feature every night of the week there. I'm amazed, in retrospect, when I think about what I saw there, from 8 1/2 (I went to that with my grandmother) to The Seventh Seal (I couldn't really concentrate on that one). There were also tons of films that were Valhalla stalwarts that I saw many times in their program and I guess figured I would eventually take in but never did. The double bill of Bof and Themroc sticks in my mind. 

I know I went to the Longford in South Yarra - I am pretty sure I went there to see Carrie with my mother, though I actually don't recall the building or where it was, at all. There were also cinema screenings of old films at universities; I know I went to see Bedazzled and Take the Money and Run with my father at a university, which in my memory was Monash at Clayton (that was the only Monash campus then) although it was more likely (?) at Melbourne. A formative evening, in any case.

I note that someone(s) has revived the Valhalla name for a movable feast this year. Interesting and I wonder who will go. I might. 

1 comment:

Wayne Davidson said...

I worked at the Longford for a while in various front-of-house jobs (tickets/candy bar/ushering/ making choc top ice creams). It was one of the least architecturally memorable Melbourne cinemas and pretty dinky but nice nonetheless. It was in Toorak Rd South Yarra.

Did you ever go to the Liberty in Brunswick? I saw The Hunger there. I used to go to the State cinema near Spring St a lot, that was an awful place to watch films, although I saw great things there like Todd Haynes' 'Superstar', and the Lora Logic film 'Crystal Gazing'. There was also that one in Lonsdale St near Exhibition St. I can't remember the name. it went from art-house to more of a sleaze pit towards the end.