Saturday, January 17, 2009

A Very Good Year

What a year it was. 1969.

This Village Theatres listing shows how diverse mainstream cinema once was.

Daniel Mann's 'A Dream of Kings' still remains in relative obscurity. Featuring a terrific performance from Anthony Quinn, it's only available on DVD from Spain and was released by Warner on VHS only in the US. It played the Balwyn cinema in Melbourne when the theatre had one screen only; these days, it is an impressive five screen multiplex with a program of prestige arthouse and mainstream releases. It is owned and operated by Palace Cinemas.

'Tevye and His 7 Daughters' has long been MIA on video of any kind. Interestingly, it was directed by Menehem Golan, who went on to establish the Cannon Group with Yoram Globus.

Costa Gavras's brilliant 'Z' picked up an Oscar in 1970 for Best Foreign Film. The Rivoli Twin has been renovated considerably, added screens, and is one of Village's flagship houses.

'Therese and Isabelle' was an early success from Radley Metzger, one of the few true artists who worked in the erotic cinema. In the mid-70's, he would make the hardcore classics 'The Opening of Misty Beethoven' and 'The Private Afternoons of Pamela Mann'. His 'Carmen Baby' also received a run at the Roma.

What the Times cinema was to Greater Union, the Roma was to Village. The cinema screened softcore erotica constantly (mostly from Europe). It was a small, claustrophobic venue where access was down a slim stairwell.

The Century cinema, where 'The Dunwich Horror' is playing, later became the Capitol 2.

The "R" rating did not exist in Australia at this time. AO (Adults Only) and X ratings did exist, although the X was not comparable to the self-imposed X's placed on hardcore pornography in the US.

The AO rating was also used on television for some time in Australia.

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