#199 – Royal Ridgefort All-Star Palladium, The

(1983, GB, 104 min) Dir Andrew Burgundy. Cast Dexter Fletcher, Norman Wisdom, Clare Grogan.

The Royal Ridgefort All-Star Palladium is on it’s last legs – for the ornate 1920’s picture house in the declining seaside town of Ridgefort a busy night sees all of three customers. That may be a blessing in disguise for the staff runs to a grand total of two people – Albert (Wisdom) the owner/projectionist who wakes only to change film reels and his apprentice Rob (Fletcher) who does everything else from the box office and concession to toilet cleaning and bouncing out trouble customers. The majority of his time on the quiet nights is spent roaming the halls, talking to the old film posters. The trouble begins when the posters start talking back, intensifying when Bogart’s Sam Spade, Eastwood’s Man With No Name and more make the leap from two to three dimensions. Initially Rob makes the most out of his new companions, mining them for advice as to how to approach the object of his affections, motorbike riding older woman Pat (Grogan). Soon enough he realises that he’s not going mad when they start bothering the customers. Will he have to wake up Albert or can he deal with this himself? A sweet low-key film that builds to a climax that’s a movie lover’s dream when the cinema becomes packed with a century’s worth of film characters.

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