FIFTY years ago, the big box office sensations included Airport, MASH and The Aristocats.
In Wokingham, Mia Farrow was seen around the town hall and railway station filming the horror flick See No Evil.
And in Earley, a new cinema was launched.
Based at the University of Reading’s Palmer Building, the Reading Film Theatre has been screening a mixture of new releases, classics, art-house and foreign-language films since 1970.
And to celebrate, the volunteers who make the Hollywood magic happen are planning a number of special events across the year.
A spokesperson says: “We originally started as volunteer group of film enthusiasts in collaboration with the University of Reading, the British Film Institute and Reading Borough Council.
“We are still a group of volunteer film enthusiasts but, other than some occasional grant funding for special projects, we are completely independent.
“We provide a brilliant contribution to the cultural life of Reading, showing a wide range of diverse films from British independent filmmakers to world cinema and a host of foreign language films. We have a great deal to offer over and above the usual cinema experience with our huge screen and amazing sound quality through our state-of-the-art Dolby surround sound.
“Our special film events invite visiting producers and directors to talk about their films. We recently hosted the award-winning film directors Fernando Meirelles and Peter Strickland.”
They continue: “Our films are a mix of light-hearted entertainment, moving and informative documentary-style films, pure escapism and heart-rending, true to life portrayals that enlighten and challenge our perceptions of the world.
“Come and join us for a night’s entertainment.”
And to help the golden celebration of film go with a swing, the Reading Film Theatre team have been asking audiences to choose their favourite films from across the past five decades.
The list will be whittled down to a top three, with the movies being shown over the course of the year.
“The most popular three will be shown in reverse order during our anniversary year, as the last film in each of our three seasons in 2020,” the spokesperson explains. “These films will be free to watch, thanks to support from the University of Reading. The tickets will be available on a first-come-first-served basis so we are encouraging everyone to get here early.”
The Reading Film Theatre returns on Tuesday, with a screening of Judy (12a), which tells the story of Judy Garland and stars Renee Zellweger as the much-loved actor at the twilight of her career.
And on Thursday, January 16, there will be a screening of The Farewell (PG), a partly autobiographical and moving comedy-drama in Mandarin and English, with subtitles.
Both films are shown in the University’s Palmer Building on the Whiteknights campus from 8pm.
For more details, or to book tickets, log on to www.readingfilmtheatre.co.uk