Cat no. 121

Behind Your Back

Running time12:16 Black & White Silent 1950 Norwich, Norfolk

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The story of what goes on behind the scenes at cinemas.

Genre:

AmateurDocumentary

The film opens with a still of a certificate: "This is to certify that this film has been specially commended by Amateur Cine World". It shows in detail the work in the projection box at that time, opening with the films arriving at the projection box in transit cases. The projectionists are shown unloading films and spooling them up, including making a join by hand. The Ross projector is oiled and then the projectionist takes out and cleans the mirror. New carbons are inserted. Ken Smith, the chief projectionist, is shown switching on equipment outside the projection box, then a man is shown cleaning the screen with a long brush. A close-up shows that the screen is perforated. Inside the box the projectionist switches on amplification equipment, then moves the knife switches underneath the box. He tests the sound track, then adjusts more switches. The batteries of the secondary lighting system of the cinema are shown. Houselights and footlights are faded, and the introductory music put on the record player. The projectors are laced up, lights lowered and the film starts to run. We see the curtains opening and the picture on the screen. The second projector is laced up and a reel change is shown. The first reel is rewound by Ken Smith. A caption explains how the process continues, and then we see the film being broken down into its 1000 ft reels. The crowd is seen leaving the cinema.

Background Information:

This film was made by Ken Smith, who was the chief projectionist at the Regent Theatre, Norwich (subsequently the ABC) for many years. This film gained a special commendation in the Amateur Cine World Intermediate Film Competition in 1951. It was praised for its construction and body and mildly criticised for its lack of explanatory captions. Ken Smith retired as chief projectionist in 1975.

Featured People:

Ken Smith, Chief Projectionist, the Regent Theatre, Norwich

Featured Organisations:

Associated British Cinemas Ltd.Amateur Cine World

Featured Buildings:

The Regent Theatre, Norwich

Kendor Films

The Projection Staff of the Regent Theatre

Ken Smith

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