Scala Cinema 1978-1993 by Jane Giles

Scala Cinema 1978-1993

byJane Giles

Hardcover | January 20, 2019

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The most infamous and influential of all British cinemas, the Scala''s iconic programs tell their own unique story about culture and society between 1978-1993, a post-punk / pre-internet period of significant change. The Scala rose from the ashes of a defunct socialist collective on the site of an ancient concert hall and theatre in London''s West End. Pushed out of its premises by the arrival of Channel 4 television in 1981, the Scala moved to the Primatarium, a former picture palace and one-time rock venue within spitting distance of north London''s King''s Cross station. An exceptionally atmospheric repertory cinema with its mysteriously rumbling auditorium and resident cats, people traveled to the Scala from all over the country to have their minds blown by its alchemical mix of Hollywood classics and cult movies, horror, Kung Fu, LGBT+, animation, silent comedy, Psychotronic and unclassifiable films, combined with live gigs and music club nights. Over a million people went through the doors of the Scala, and its reputation spread far and wide. A lone operator, the Scala closed down in 1993 following a perfect storm of lease expiry, the ravages of the recession. and a devastating court case. 2018 marks the 40th anniversary of the first Scala program and 25 years since the cinema''s closure, an ideal time to take stock of a legacy which includes many of today''s most exciting filmmakers, who''ve credited the Scala''s influence on their work. Scala Cinema 1978-1993 features the complete collection of all 178 monthly programs plus photographs and ephemera. It is also an in-depth and often outrageous time-traveling history uncovering its deep roots and taking the reader behind the scenes of the Scala. The book will appeal to anyone interested in film or the story of the 1980s.
Title:Scala Cinema 1978-1993Format:HardcoverProduct dimensions:424 pages, 15 X 12 X 2 inShipping dimensions:424 pages, 15 X 12 X 2 inPublished:January 20, 2019Publisher:Fab PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1903254981

ISBN - 13:9781903254981

Appropriate for ages: All ages

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Read from the Book

it was a time of upheaval in the British film industry. There were all-time lows in cinema ticket sales. Home video hit the high streets, to be met with a moral panic about ''Video Nasties''. And barely a decade after the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality, LGBTQ cinema came out and flourished. The Scala pushed back against censorship, establishment strictures and the rights technicalities that rendered some titles impossible to see. All of this was reflected on the face of the Scala''s film program, an alchemical mix of the classics of Hollywood and world cinema, with Rock ''n'' roll. Psychotronic movies. martial arts, action and fantasy. Camp, queer and sex films that were not porn. Experimental works. The Scala''s ever-changing monthly program was a treasure map to a place of discovery, where impressionable minds were blown. Going to the Scala was exciting, like going to a gig or embarking on a pilgrimage. People dressed up. They made their way there from all over the country. Architecturally impactful and atmospheric, with its marble stairways, mysteriously rumbling auditorium and many secrets, the King''s Cross cinema was a sacred site, set amidst the Badlands of the terminus. Blue collar and unpretentious in its love of art, the Scala was a place for the young at heart; in the audience was a scattering of pensioners, at home among the punks, queers, fanboys and various other tribes. It was a place where everyone could stay up all night or dance in the aisles. The Scala was a clubhouse for freaks and outsiders. Having made its mark on a future generation of filmmakers, artists, writers and musicians, the Scala closed in 1993. While other independents of the time became multiplexed and absorbed by chains, in dying young the Scala became legendary. Synonymous with an attitude to film programming and cinema-going, the Scala''s name inspires shivers among the nostalgic cognoscenti and also those too young or distant to have been there, yet whose imaginations are open to the very idea of it. To tell this story I wanted to shine a light on the Scala''s unsung heroines alongside the showmen, and uncover its forgotten history. It''s an encyclopaedia of strange coincidences and changing times. A million people passed through the doors of the Scala cinema, every one of whom will have their own stories and remember it in a different way. I was one of those people, and this is my story.

Editorial Reviews

The Scala was a place for people who genuinely didn''t fit in anywhere, no longer expected to, and weren''t fussed about it. There was a real ecology to the mix of earnest cinephiles, late-night hedonists, local flotsam and non-specific weirdos. ~ Danny Leigh