The late night movie

"Once the pubs closed, the cinema was often the only option..."

The late night movie was an essential feature of many a Friday and Saturday night in the 70s, partly because videos hadn’t been invented yet, and partly because cinemas provided somewhere to go when the pubs closed. I think mainstream cinemas ran late-night showings of their regular programmes, but being an arty type, I usually opted for the independent flea pits - Screens, Everyman, Scala, even the Rio if I was feeling adventurous. They always seemed to show the same films - Peformance, the Night Porter, Don’t Look Now - and foreign ones such as works by that arch-miserablist Fassbinder which made you ardently wish you were back in the pub. They were good movies, but not terribly exciting, especially if you’d seen them a dozen times, and one had to rely on nasty art house coffee and other stimulants just to stay awake as Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie got it on one more time.