Friday, 10 April 2015

Hooked on magic

I usually blog about being a filmmaker but I also infrequently blog about being a film fan.

This blog is all about the film that (like it did for many others) changed my life, and left me wanting to tell stories myself.

In 1977 I saw Star Wars at the Colchester Odeon cinema.
But, back in 1977, it wasn't as simple as it is today.

So, rewind back to the months leading up to the film and I was pretty excited to see it.

At that time publicity was limited to a few magazines and television features. No internet and no movie hype.

When the movie finally opened in the UK I was like a coiled spring. Unable to contain myself.
I'd started collecting the comics and was desperate to see the film.
I poured over every picture in the comics imagining how it would be.
I also collected bubblegum stickers of Star Wars that I saved up my pocket money for.
The hours I spent looking at those!!

My Dad, who used to catch me out by surprising me, casually announced we would go to see the film.

I can still remember trying to get my coat on in a frenzy of anticipation. I was beside myself.
It's just as well he played it so cool, because if I'd have been told any earlier I imagine I would have been absolutely unbearable!

So we drove down to the town.... (and here is where people under 30 will look puzzled)
The queue was so big for the film that we had to go back home.
I was distraught.

You see back then, a cinema only had one screen, or maybe 3, at a push.
And you couldn't book in advance!

The trick was, if the queue, that stretched from the front door of the cinema, went beyond the bus stop then you knew you'd never get in.

I think we tried a few more times. I think we even joined the queue on one occasion to be told it was full as we approached the front doors.

Thankfully my Dad was persistent (he's a sci-fi fan as well) and we made it inside those hallowed doors.

As we got to the front, I can recall staring at the lobby cards on the way in and my eyes devouring every detail. Photos from movies back then were difficult to come by, and I stared and stared. Wishing it could move.

Finally we were inside.
And when that Star Destroyer flew over the top of the screen I was hooked for life.
Even today, that moment makes my heart thump and tears come to my eyes. It's a reaction that can't be controlled.
That 8 year old boy remains inside me to this day.

Oddly, I've never wanted to make a film like that. I'd much rather be a fan. I never want to destroy that magic. And it IS magic to me.

And one day I hope that magic will light up another pair of eyes.

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