A Letter to (a) Cinema

It’s not goodbye forever, but it’s a goodbye that hurts many.

Dear Prince Charles Cinema,

I wanted to start this letter of appreciation for you by recalling fondly the first time I ever walked through your doors in London’s Leicester Square. Unfortunately, after wracking my brains I have come up short. I can’t. I simply can’t remember the first time I ever saw a film with you. The furthest back I can recall is a double feature of The Princess Bride and Labyrinth in 2011 after the death of the late great Peter Falk. But that can’t be right, surely? It can’t have only been nine years when it feels like you have always been a part of my film-going life, membership in my pocket and a smile on my face. I imagine that many London-based film lovers (and beyond the city’s limits) feel the same.

For us Londoners, The Prince Charles Cinema as close to sacred ground as it is possible to get. In your auditorium I have gotten to see old favourites in new ways like, John Carpenter’s The Thing on 70mm and Night of the Living Dead with an intro by author of The Zombie Survival Guide Max Brooks; discover for the first time films that have become favourites; The Seven Samurai on 35mm complete with intermission, and had experiences that can only be described as unique like The Room, just… The Room. I’ve had birthdays with you, a first date, laughter, tears, celebrations, goodbyes, and one memorable evening watching The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogies (theatrical editions) back to back. You are the home of Frightfest, Filmageddon, and of course the Kevin Smith toilet cubicle.

When all is said and done, you are more than a cinema to me, and cinemas were already a special place.

Now, though, the projector has gone dark, the popcorn sits unpopped, and no audience sits in your seats. The current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated the shutting of cinemas, and it is the best decision to help reduce the spread of the virus but however temporary this may be it also cuts deep because times like now are when we really need that space to escape and to help us make a little more sense of the world around us.

So goodbye for now, Prince Charles Cinema, and thank you to you and all your hard working staff for the good times you have given all of us. But, make no mistake, we will be back and ready for more cinematic joys when your doors open once again. You are our cinema, our home, and we love you dearly.


A Film Fan

If you want to help The PCC, in this difficult time, you can buy both annual and lifetime memberships here.

In difficult times we need to hold onto the things in our lives that give us happiness, and to support those things when they need us.

Stay safe, everyone.


Updated: Mar 19, 2020

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