Scala (1990)

A film about the London repertory cinema the Scala, noted for its eclectic and sometimes controversial programmes, which changed daily. Management, staff and audience members are ... See full summary »


Michael B. Clifford (as Michael Clifford)


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Credited cast:
Ricky Baker Ricky Baker ... Himself
Cecil Bonner Cecil Bonner ... Himself
Ralph Brown ... Himself
Bal Croce Bal Croce ... Himself
Jane Giles Jane Giles ... Herself
Tom Heslop Tom Heslop ... Himself
Ian Johnston Ian Johnston ... Himself
Mark Moore ... Himself
Mick Rizzo Mick Rizzo ... Himself
Douglas Wood Douglas Wood ... Himself
Stephen Woolley ... Himself (as Steve Woolley)


A film about the London repertory cinema the Scala, noted for its eclectic and sometimes controversial programmes, which changed daily. Management, staff and audience members are interviewed about the cinema's history and notable events, which included themed parties and personal appearances by film-makers. Written by David McGillivray

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Release Date:

1990 (UK) See more »

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Production Co:

Cable London See more »
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Features Mona Lisa (1986) See more »

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Hitherto forgotten documentary about London's celebrated Scala cinema will delight fans

Made for cable TV, this film recorded life at London's Scala cinema in 1990, when the grand old fleapit was approaching the end of its days as a showcase for everything from art to porn. Owner Steve Woolley, the producer of "Mona Lisa" and other mainstream hits, sketches the history of the Scala, which began in the basement of a new building in Tottenham Street in London's West End, but found its most loyal audience when it moved to a former 1920 picture palace in King's Cross, an area of north London notorious for prostitution and drug dealing. Staff at the time of filming included manager Jane Giles and cafe boss Mick Rizzo, who recall audiences of all ages, races and sexualities, and the eclectic programming, notably all-night screenings. Two delightful regulars are a cultivated Asian gentleman, Cecil Bonner, who recites a McGonagall-like ode to the Scala, and working-class Mrs Reeve, who likes car chases and thinks it unlikely that horror films will turn her into a chainsaw-wielding maniac. The film is made with some panache by director Michael Clifford and cameraman Terry Stacey, who both went on to greater things, Stacey to "American Splendor". Interviewees are given decent screen time, not just sound bites. Woolley ends by outlining plans for splitting the Scala into three screens. It never happened. The Scala closed as a cinema in 1993. The building was scheduled for demolition but survived, becoming a dance club that still exists. Jane Giles' book about the Scala was launched at the venue in 2018. To view the film, visit Scala Staff & Friends on Facebook. After your membership of the group is approved, you can watch the four-part video.

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