London: Arnie All Nighter

Saturday 9th November.

Finally, the weeks of waiting were over. The Arnie All Nighter was finally here. This would be mine and Jason’s first trip to the Prince Charles Cinema, for an all nighter. Predator is Jason’s favourite film and he had always wanted to see it on the big screen. Plus, it came out in 1987, which is the same year in which Jason was born. Go figure. So, when the Prince Charles Cinema announced an Arnie All Nighter which would include Predator, the tickets were booked, immediately. The Prince Charles Cinema was built in the early 1960s, operating as a theatre, then a cinema of ill repute before becoming a repertory cinema. Quentin Tarantino once said, “The Prince Charles Cinema is everything an independent movie theatre should be. For lovers of quality films, this is Mecca.” adding “The day Kill Bill plays the Prince Charles is the day Kill Bill truly comes home.” Unlike most cinemas, the Prince Charles Cinema doesn’t use the canopy to just advertise upcoming movies. Sometimes it will add a quote from a movie or just put a random message out for everyone to see.

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A typical message on the canopy of the Prince Charles Cinema.

We arrived at Baker Street and began our slow walk to Leicester Square. Marylebone Road, Park Crescent, Portland Place, Great Portland Street on to Carnaby Street before ending up at Old Compton Street to show Jason Gerry’s Wine & Spirits. A place that I have visited on many an occasion, that stocks a wide variety of rare and expensive spirits. After a good nose around, we headed towards Leicester Square, where we ate at KFC. From here we headed to the cinema, where we collected our tickets, before heading for a drink. As most of the bars and pubs were rammed full of revellers, I decided it would be best to head away from the usual spots and so, we headed down the Charing Cross Road to The Chandos on St. Martin’s Lane. A nice Samuel Smith pub that, although busy, was had friendly and efficient staff. After two pints each, we headed back to the Prince Charles Cinema, where we joined a queue that had begun to form. We waited for what seemed like an eternity, but was in fact barely twenty minutes, for the doors to open and then we all piled in. The Prince Charles Cinema has two screens, upstairs (screen 2) with 104 high back purple leather recliner chairs and downstairs (screen 1) with 285 high back red leather chairs. We were downstairs so there were 285 of us, Arnie fans, all up for a marathon movie night. The upper auditorium was also sold out, as they were showing six Wes Anderson movies; Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou, The Darjeeling Limited and Moonrise Kingdom. Our marathon was due to begin at 20:45 but, due to this being their first sell-out in a while, it started nearer 21:15.

The Arnie All nighter began with some trailers for movies that didn’t make it in to the all nighter. The first was for Pumping Iron (1977) and the second was This Is America (1977). Both of these were documentaries about body building and showed the Austrian Oak at his body building best. These were followed by the trailer for Hercules in New York (1969). Once the laughter had subsided the marathon truly began with Conan the Barbarian (1982). This was followed by Terminator (1984). We were then treated to some adverts that Arnie had filmed for the Japanese, promoting what I can only assume to be some sort of energy / vitamin drink. Follow this link to see what I mean; CrAzY aRnIe AdS  The marathon then continued with Commando (1986) after which we went outside for some fresh air and stretch our legs. We then headed back in for the main event: Predator (1987), on the big screen. Amazingly, they followed this with Predator: The Musical. Brilliant! At this point some people started to leave, so the auditorium  was only two-thirds full when the fifth film began, Total Recall (1990). With the delay in the start of the marathon, Total Recall didn’t finish until 07:00, at which point Jason and I left the building. (We weren’t really keen on seeing T2: Judgement Day, as what is the point of a Terminator that is not allowed to kill?)

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The ‘home’ screen for the Arnie All Nighter.

From Leicester Square we headed straight up Regent Street, where I managed to get a photo of the lights, before stopping at McDonald’s so that Jason could get an egg mcmuffin and I could grab a coffee. We then continued on our way to Baker Street, where our train was pretty much waiting for us. We filled the journey home with talk of the films and other chit-chat as we tried to keep each other awake.

Regent Street, 2013

Regent Street Christmas Lights, 2013.

All in all it was great, if long, evening out.

Until next time, May It Be Well With You.

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