For most of the past one hundred years Australians have been going out to the pictures. Today, despite movies being delivered in multiple formats, more than half of us still go out to a cinema at least once a year. But there was a time when most people went every week, and it was by far the most important entertainment event in their lives.
In the early 20th century movies were often played in rental halls. Then, following World War 1, film exhibitors became empire builders and the names Hoyts, Union (Greater Union), Birch, Carroll & Coyle became famous. By 1951 there were more than 1600 movie theatres spread across the country.
Saturday Night at the Movies is an ode to the picture palaces, the flicks in the sticks and the drive-ins around the nation - the beauty of the buildings and the customs and conversions of times gone by with the flourishes of velvet curtains, standing for the National Anthem, gloved commissionaires, candy men with trays and so much more.
Narrated by Graeme Blundell, this three-part series features more than 90 interviews with historians, theatre owners, managers, projectionists, ushers & usherettes, directors, actors and all of them movie lovers, including Baz Luhrmann, John-Michael Howson, Jack Thompson, Matthew Le Nevez, John Wood, Phillip Brady, Todd McKenney, Molly Meldrum, John Burgess, Ken Sutcliffe, Denise Drysdale, Alan Finney, Maria Vanuti, Andrew Mercado, Bob Rogers, Ann Willis and Mr. Movies himself, Bill Collins.
Episode one - The Golden Era & the Empire Builders.
Episode two - The Theatre Beautiful, Drive-Ins & Flicks in the Sticks.
Episode three - The Coming of Television, Survival and Restoration.