THE heyday of celluloid is to return to Christchurch’s Regent Centre as the venue prepares to show a series of great movies on traditional 35mm film.

The Regent is one of the few venues to still have a working 35mm projector and is putting it to use ahead of its 90th birthday.

Its season will start on Sunday, October 24, at 3pm with Joe Dante’s 1993 comedy thriller Matinee, in which John Goodman plays a producer of monster horror movies whose latest release sparks chaos during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

The season is a partnership with Dirt In the Gate, a local project set up by former Odeon chief projectionist Darren Payne to show 35mm movies.

Bournemouth Echo: Matinee will be shown at the Regent Centre

It will continue with the 1985 horror Demons, in which a group of people are trapped in a cinema with ravenous monsters demons, on Friday, November 26.

The Smallest Show on Earth, on Monday, December 27, sees which Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna inherit a struggling cinema; and Brian De Palma’s Phantom of the Paradise, on Saturday, January 8, is an update of Phantom of the Opera with a rock music backdrop.

Gary Trinder, chairman of the Regent Centre, said: “There’s a great feel to real film and with us having a museum of cinema equipment it seems absolutely appropriate. We have a 35mm so we can put on screenings and present films as they were originally presented.”

All cinemas showed films on 35mm film until recent times when digital projectors took over.

“The digital revolution in cinema probably started 10 years ago and 35mm went very quickly – almost overnight,” said Mr Trinder.

Bournemouth Echo: The Regent Centre's 35mm projectorThe Regent Centre's 35mm projector

“Over the final two years it really changed completely. Modern multiplexes that were opening were provided with 35mm and by the time they opened, they were digital only.”

He is looking forward to showing films with all the imperfections of celluloid.

“It’s like the difference between a long playing record and a CD – I like both of them,” he said.

“A CD is professional, there’s no noise, there’s no crackle, just perfectly clear sound.

“Modern digital projection is a lot like that. There are no scratches, there’s are no dirt in the gate, it’s absolutely pristine projection. But it doesn’t quite have that magic that 35mm has.”

Bournemouth Echo: The cinema museum at the RegentThe cinema museum at the Regent

Darren Payne of Dirt in The Gate Movies said: “It's culturally essential to keep film alive in the eyes of the public or is at risk of being lost forever. We are thrilled to be collaborating with the Regent to celebrate its 90th year and bring repertory 35mm classics back on the big screen where they belong.”

The 35mm films will use the same 21st century sound system as the Regent’s digital projector. Films will be shown with an interval to allow a reel change.

Details are at