Cinema camera image via shutterstock

Sharing Memories of cinema-going in the 1940s, 50s and 60s

An opportunity to share memories of going to the cinema in the UK during the 1940s, 1950s and 60s is being provided on 13th June at the University of Exeter’s Bill Douglas Cinema Museum between 2pm and 5pm.

Members of the public are invited to attend the free event, and after a brief presentation, to reminisce over tea or coffee about films seen and enjoyed during this period.

To recall favourite stars from Elizabeth Taylor to Gina Lollobrigida, and to share their general experience of going to the movies.

The information gathered from the event will add to research being carried out by the University of Exeter, Oxford Brookes University, University of Bristol and University College London (UCL).  

Memories of going to the cinema in Italy during the 1940s- 50s have already been collected from over a thousand Italians over the age of 65. At that time cinema-going was the most popular national pastime, representing 70% of leisure expenditure by Italians. Research findings show what mattered to them most about going to the cinema, in addition to their favourite films, which included Gone with the Wind, as well as Bicycle Thieves, and their favourite stars that ranged from Sophia Loren to Gregory Peck.

Danielle Hipkins, Associate Professor of Italian Studies and Film at the University of Exeter said:“Cinema-going in Italy during this period was the main past-time, and the cinema was the place where many Italians made their friends, bonded with family, met their husbands and wives and forged their dreams about the future.”

She added:“At this free event we want to share our findings about Italy and to find out about the experience of UK cinema-goers during the 1940s, 50s and 60s. Which films and stars do they remember, what did they love most about their local cinema? We also want to know if cinema was as important for them as it was for Italian audiences – and it would be great if we can find out if they have any memories of Italian films.”

The Sharing Memories event will also provide an opportunity to find out more about cinema-going in Italy and the UK in the 1950s and 1960s as it brings together the Italian Cinema Audience project with one at UCL which includes study of how 1960s UK audiences became aware of European film. The three year project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

For further information about the event please contact Danielle Hipkins

A screening of the 1948 Italian classic Bicycle Thieves will be shown two days later at the Picture House, Exeter at 6.30pm on June 15th.

Date: 3 June 2015

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