by Allan Fish
As you know, and I have made clear in recent months, the pieces for my countdowns are taken from a book written over the last 6 years encompassing every aspect of screen history. Following the heated discussions yesterday for my number 1 choice, which I fully expected from all parties, as stated in my just submitted comment on said thread, I post my entire introduction from the book as a defence, as it were, to the accusations of not doing what certain people consider to be my duty.
It’s long, but that’s to be expected. But it’s better to clarify completely than do so in comments which, by their very nature, are limited…
Let me get one thing perfectly clear before we start; I am not a film critic. I am, to all intents and purposes, an amateur, much like the average person reading these words, I’ll wager. I have no axe to grind, no allegiance to nod to, no affiliation to satisfy. I’m just a crazy cineaste who wanted to put his passions down in print. However, it would be remiss of me to make myself out to be an eternal fan of the moving picture. As a child, the cinema didn’t mean very much to me. If it meant anything, it meant a rundown old fleapit at the other end of town where all the town drunks used to go in the afternoon to have a dry kip for just a few pence. Maybe it was because it had a most inappropriate name, The Palladium; you couldn’t have anything less like a Palladium than our cinema. Just one decent sized screen, fold up chairs like Venus Fly Traps that nearly swallowed you whole, carpets that hadn’t seen a Hoover since its namesake was President and enough cigarette smoke to rival the fogs of Hollywood movies set in Victorian England – let it suffice to say that Laird Cregar’s George Harvey Bone would have been in his element and you half expected to hear Bernard Herrmann’s ‘Concerto Macabre’ over the speakers. It made the Cinema Paradiso (not the new swanky one built by the Neapolitan, but the old fire hazard) look like the Savoy Theatre in comparison. (more…)