Jonathan Melville: When is a classic not a classic?

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THERE was a time when the only way to see an old film was to wait for it to appear on TV or to buy the VHS. Today, even the biggest cinema chains are happy to show classics alongside the blockbusters.

I’m not sure when the term ‘classic’ came to mean any film that’s more than ten years old, but scan the listings at Cineworld, Vue, Odeon, Filmhouse or Cameo – virtually every Edinburgh cinema – and there’s a good chance you’ll find a film you’ve always meant to get on DVD.

Take Vue cinemas. They recently announced a season of late night cult movies under the Back in Vue banner, with films such as Labyrinth (1986), Stand By Me (1986), Bonnie and Clyde (1967) and Trainspotting (1996) being shown at the Omni Centre on Mondays.

There’s not much similarity between those films and Iron Man 3, but the chances of seeing them at the Omni again soon are slim.

Keep an eye on the Cineworld website and in June you’ll notice a re-release of 1982’s Oscar-winning An Officer and a Gentleman, starring Richard Gere and Debra Winger.

I’ve bought my ticket for this weekend’s showing of the second movie based on Doctor Who, 1966’s Daleks’ Invasion Earth: 2150 AD at Filmhouse, a chance to see Peter Cushing as ‘Dr Who’ alongside Bernard Cribbins. Who can resist?

Along at the Cameo you can soon see 1976’s Taxi Driver and the rarely-seen Ealing drama, It Always Rains on Sunday (1947).

The latter is a snapshot of British life that recently debuted on Blu-ray, but it was meant to be seen in a cinema.

Who knows, in ten years the ‘classic’ Iron Man 3 might be getting the re-release treatment too.


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