I've already explained about a diary that my mum (Doreen Buckle) kept in the first months of 1947 and the terrible weather they had in January and February that year.
On Wednesday January 8th 1947, she wrote in her diary:
Went to work snow about 6 inches.
Went to Palace at night to see Florian, enjoyed it.
Doreen makes several references in the diary to going to the cinema and records some of the films she saw. Cinema going was a very popular form of entertainment in that era and even a small place like Royston (near Barnsley, South Yorkshire) had two cinemas.
The Palace Cinema that Doreen went to on this occasion had been opened in 1914. It had one screen and over 700 seats including a balcony. Although the building is still there today it had stopped being used as a cinema by 1980. I can re-call going there with my grandfather to see Jason and the Argonauts in the early 1960s and it was very run-down even then. The Ace was the other cinema in Royston; in addition it had a ballroom on the premises.
Florian, the film Doreen watched on January 8th, was an MGM film released in 1940 starring Robert Young and Helen Gilbert. Set in Austria in 1910 it told the story of a poor boy and a rich girl who were united by their love of a Lippizaner stallion (a horse highly trained in the movements and jumps of classical dressage).
I couldn't find a film clip on Youtube of Florian but the rest are all there so do click on the links if you've got time.
Later in January Doreen went to see Woman’s Face another black and white MGM film released in 1941, starring Joan Crawford. It's a melodrama set in Sweden within a courtroom framework where the embittered heroine turns to crime but draws the line at murder.
Despite the awful weather, the shortages and rationing, the power cuts and the disruption life still went on!
Visits to the cinema were somehow managed and in February Doreen went to see The Postman Always Rings Twice. This starred Lana Turner as one half of an adulterous couple who plan to murder her husband. Released by MGM in 1946 it was subject to the Hays Office (Motion Picture Production Code) which imposed strict guidelines about sex on screen.
She also went to see Devotion which she recorded was very disappointing. It was a hugely romanticised account of the lives of the Bronte sisters and their brother Branwell. Starring Olivia de Havilland it was made in 1943 and not released until 1946. It has the reputation of being an example of a very bad big-budget Hollywood production that stretched credulity to the limit trying to explore life in a Victorian country parsonage with a leading actor with an Austrian accent.
It includes the infamous conversation between two celebrated literary figures:
Dickens: ‘Morning Thackeray’
Thackeray: ‘Morning Dickens’
No wonder Doreen was disappointed!
She went to see Two Smart People which she thought was V.G where a con-man on parole in New Orleans is pursued by a female crook who is after his hidden loot. Starring Lucille Ball it was a comedy drama released by MGM in 1946.
On 17th February 1947 Doreen records that she:
went to The Ace with Mary and Barbara.
She didn’t record the title of the film but whatever it was she didn’t enjoy it: rotten picture.
I've add the transcript of Doreen's 1947 Diary (January) to The Archives but I've edited the names of the boys she liked to initials: don't want to cause any friction even at this late stage!
I'm a former primary school head teacher now enjoying family history, e-publishing and gardening. I'm the author of "Cabbage and Semolina: Memories of a 1950s Childhood" and was delighted when the book became an Amazon 2015 bestseller in the Social History category. I'm the founder of Spurwing Ebooks which is at http://www.spurwing-ebooks.com for book details and information about new releases and special offers. Details of my books are at https://www.amazon.co.uk/C.-Murray/e/B009R7CRVC and the other books I've published are at https://www.amazon.co.uk/Michael-Murray/e/B007AQZMZK