Last night the Summer of British Film season kicked off across UK cinemas with the re-release of the classic Bond movie, Goldfinger. Over the next few weeks, Brief Encounter, Billy Liar, Henry V, The Wicker Man, The Dam Busters and Withnail and I will be showing in cinemas up and down the country in brand new digital presentations, each one representative of a particular genre: Thriller, Romance, Social Realism, Costume Drama, Horror, War and Comedy.
I’ve been looking forward to the season: I haven’t seen Billy Liar or Olivier’s Henry V before, and the rest I’ve only watched on the small screen. The choice of film for each genre isn’t bad at all, though obviously everyone has their own private wishlist. In the War film category for instance, I would much rather have seen Zulu or Lawrence of Arabia, both of which would really benefit from a big screen. But never mind.
The one I was least looking forward to was, ironically, last night’s Goldfinger. Not that I don’t enjoy the film – on the contrary, it’s one of the most entertaining in the Bond pantheon. But umpteen TV viewings had made it much less of a must-see than, say, The Wicker Man which I’ve only seen once or twice. I can also think of other British films that are far better thrillers than Goldfinger: The Third Man for one, a sublime yarn set in post-WWII Vienna, and a film that truly deserves the label Classic. But again, never mind. Opinions will never agree on subjects like this. Anyway, I thought it would still be fun to see Connery as Bond on the big screen, in one of his best outings.
I came away absolutely gobsmacked. Not at the film you understand, which was as entertaining as expected, but at the quality of the digital presentation. It was absolutely incredible. If it wasn’t for the SFX and fashions on show, you would never guess this was a film over 40 years of age. The sound was a touch quiet, but perhaps that was the screen we were in. Hats off to whoever were responsible, because it made the film far more involving.
If the standard is maintained for the remaining films in the season, then I heartily recommend you seek out your nearest participating cinema, especially if any of the films showing is a favourite of yours. I guarantee jaw-droppage.