June Diamond writes:
Monday’s event at the Cottage Road Cinema appealed in so many ways. I’m a sucker for old horror films , and we also had local history and significance.
Janet Douglas began by telling us a vivid tale of the early life of the author of the original short story on which the film was based. In We Were Seven, William Fryer Harvey describes how he grew up at Spring Bank House in Headingley, in a Quaker household full of books and stories. His grandparents kept to the old ways and the family eschewed violence in every form, down to not burning a guy at Bonfire Night. It is no surprise that he read Edgar Allan Poe under the dining room table.
It also made sense to learn that he became a doctor, conducting a particularly gruelling amputation to free a trapped sailor during the First World War. This dreadful episode wrecked his own health, but was retained in his imagination.
Janet’s lively and evocative introduction led brilliantly to the film. They really don’t make them like that any more, from the excellence of Peter Lorre, to the pace and atmosphere that contributed so well to the grisly story. A terrific evening.
RW adds: We are approaching the hundredth birthday of the Cottage Road Cinema, the oldest operating cinema in Leeds, which opened as The Headingley Picture House on 29 July 1912. The first Leeds cinema was The Assembly Rooms in Briggate (opened 1907) which is now a refurbished space used by Opera North.