thrilled to Where Eagles Dare, on the edge of our seats by the Intermission. My mother took me to see Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music, which we both adored, and somehow from that moment Maria Von Trapp (with Julie playing her) fused with my Mum. That's still a film I watch if I'm feeling in need of cheering up. I also recall the gasp of revulsion from Mum and her generation at the scene in Sunday Bloody Sunday when Peter Finch and Murray Head had the first gay kiss on screen. Although she was a pretty broad-minded woman with liberal views, she found it quite shocking. I saw Zefirelli's Romeo and Juliet with a friend and her boyfriend, who was most embarrassed by my loud howling and sobbing at the tragic moment when Romeo took his own life, and I knew Juliet was only drugged and sleeping! The Regal was demolished some years back, and is now a Co-operative supermarket car-park, but the wall where posters were displayed is still there.
When I moved to London as a young adult in the mid-1970s, it was great to be able to buy a copy of Time Out, look up the list of films showing and track down something vintage like Les Enfants du Paradis. This was in the days before video, DVD or Internet, so sometimes you had to wait years to see a film again. I remember going to see Mel Brooks' The Producers at the Biograph, behind Victoria Station, managed by Henry Cooper's twin brother. It was in a double-bill with a French film, which may have explained the number of men in mackintoshes sitting on their own! We lived for a while near the Screen on the Green, Islington, a great little independent cinema. They used to serve pizza and coffee in the interval, and put together really interesting double-bills, old films partnered with new releases. We saw King Hu's superb A Touch of Zen there. There were still some huge old cinemas around - we took our small son to see the remake of Flash Gordon at a massive art-deco beauty in Holloway Road, with an ear-shattering soundtrack to match!
London is an endlessly fascinating city, of which I never tire, and I'm always pleased to have the opportunity to see a new corner of it. We found a great little Colombian cafe, Chatica, under the arches at Elephant and Castle - bright and cheery - where we had coffee, and then made our way to set up at the Cinema Museum, which is located in what was the administrative building, or the Master's House, of the Lambeth Workhouse. Charlie Chaplin was brought to this workhouse at the age of seven by his mother, who was on the verge of
destitution, which makes a particularly apt connection for a cinema museum. Entering through the front door, we found ourselves in a nostalgic wonderland of cinema posters, display boards, ticket machines, art-deco doors, projection cameras and other artefacts, and climbed up narrow stairs (reminiscent themselves of so many old cinema buildings!) into a truly amazing high-ceilinged room - the former Workhouse chapel, where residents would be
required to turn up for services on Thursdays and Sundays.
The Cinema Museum has a fantastically eclectic programme of events for film-lovers. Last night the actress Eunice Gayson was giving a talk and presenting her new autobiography. She was the first ever Bond girl - older readers may remember her from Dr No and From Russia With Love - who meets James in the casino and inevitably ends up in his arms! Last month there was an evening with Sir Donald Sinden, whose long and successful acting career includes one of my favourite films The Cruel Sea. But it's not all nostalgia -the Museum and its programme of events is well worth a visit for film-buffs of any age.
We couldn't stay for Miss Gayson - we were beetling back to Kent for an excellent concert of music and poetry in memory of the late and much-missed Gareth Buckett, a poet, artist and musician who died last year, given in aid of the Motor Neurone Disease Association. However, utilising a movie catchphrase from the eighties, I'll be back!