Big screen blockbusters

One of the problems with living in London is the sheer overwhelming choice you have for an evening or a weekend’s entertainment. There’s the theatre, West End and good local venues, and cinemas with goodies to tempt even the most jaded of eyes whatever floats your boat. You can even indulge in films from yesteryear (whether that’s comparatively recent or from the beginning of the celluloid age) at specialist venues, particularly the BFI on the South Bank.

But because, first of all, there’s so much to choose from that you don’t look carefully and avidly, and second, because the things you want to see are never on at a convenient moment, you tend to let things lapse and miss things you’d like to have seen.

Recently, my other half and I renewed our vow that we wouldn’t continue being so pathetic when we came out of a screening of Sleuth at the BFI (shown to celebrate the life of the great actor, who died this year). We both love the film and neither of us had seen it before on a big screen, just on the television. (And yes, we are nervous about the new version and I’ll tell you all about it when I’ve seen it. Fingers crossed eh?)

What a joy to see it writ so large with all the toys and puzzles clear to see – there’s so much detail in the set that you could sit through a screening and not even pay attention to the wonderful acting and excellent script. But pay attention to them you should, and it added to our pleasure to watch it with an appreciative audience.

It got me thinking about all the films I’ve only ever seen on television (whether broadcast or on DVD) for various reasons -too young to have seen it originally, wasn’t sure I’d like it so waited, only watched it as it was on television – the reasons are as many as the films. I had to be carried out of The Wizard of Oz as a child, so my only real recollection of it is when I saw it ‘again’ as a teenager at a local cinema special screening.

I’m happy to say that I have now seen Gone With the Wind (almost like seeing an entirely new and amazing film), 2001 (still didn’t get it) and Casablanca (oh lord, but Ingrid Bergman is even more lovely on a big screen), but there are many others I’d happily go to.

Singing in the Rain, Goldeneye and Goldfinger, Dr Zhivago or any David Lean for that matter, Cleopatra, Velvet Goldmine (a DVD discovery), Baz Luhrman?s Romeo + Juliet, A Streetcar Named Desire, West Side Story and The King and I (although I’m sure I’d have to leave before the end of both of these -too upsetting) and, of course, A Matter of Life and Death (sue me, it’s an obsession). And that’s just what immediately springs to mind. Anyone who knows me and knows how much I love it should probably hide now as The Sound of Music will be re-released on September 21 – and no, I don’t approve of the sing-along version!

So what did you miss that you’d like to see for the first time on the big screen?