For those of us in the capital and looking to brave it.
I have not checked availability myself, but am very tempted by the first three.
The Prince Charles Cinema
I've seen Bonds before at the Prince Charles as well as at the BFI Southbank. I won't be braving it this time - for me it's still too early to want to go back to the cinema - but it's interesting that the Prince Charles is racking up the Bonds again as part of its re-opening, obviously having confidence in the films' pulling power.
I braved it and went to see FRWL last weekend. For anyone worried about social distancing, there is no need to be. The whole screen was probably less than a third full and there were three empty seats between everyone.
I am taking the plunge and attending OHMSS this coming Saturday. Should be fun. Christmas in June !
It'll be the second time I've seen this in the cinema. Can't wait for those mountain vistas, Barry's lush score and Lazenby performing pre-Bourne fight scenes.
From being very excited about this showing, I had a dreadful experience on Saturday.
The Prince Charles Cinema is currently on my bad list.
Email trail below:
The Manager, The Prince Charles Cinema, London
Dear Sir / Madam,
I write regarding an issue I had attempting to visit your cinema last weekend.
The previous week at approximately 6pm on Saturday 12/6/2021, I made a telephone booking to watch On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, a 14.55 showing on 19/6/2021, using the debit card ending _ and the email _
The operator [who was female] informed me I would receive a confirmation email, but I was assured I only required my debit card to claim my ticket.
On the morning of the showing, I realised the confirmation email had not arrived and assumed it was in my junk mail folder. This was not the case, and having no email at all, I checked my recent transaction statement which had an appropriate debit transaction of £12.50.
On arriving at the cinema, I was invited to join a queue outside, even though I mentioned to the usher that I had no ticket and no email confirmation. Being informed “No one has a ticket yet,” did not reassure me. On reaching the front of the queue, my debit card was swiped, but there was no seat allocated to me.
I spoke with Nasif, the duty manager, and he could not find a ticket purchased against my debit card or my email address. [I do admit at this point I suggested the payment occurred on 16/6/2021, which was incorrect.] I recognised my query was holding up the start of the program, for Nasif spoke to the projectionist twice during our discussion. Disappointed, I accepted the free entrance ticket offered as compensation. Nasif did appear to believe me, which was tactful, and did mention that prior to the Covid regulations, he would have allowed me to enter the auditorium, which was also excellent service, but sadly no use for me that day.
After leaving the cinema and walking back to Leicester Square, I remembered I had used my mobile phone to make the reservation. I returned to the cinema, giving the details of my phone call and Nasif did now find a transaction listed against my debit card at approx. 18.00 on 12/6/2021. He was able to refund me the money. As the auditorium was full, he could not admit me, although by now, having missed 5 – 10 minutes of the film, I was not interested in attending.
My point of complaint is: how could I have been charged if I did not have a seat reserved?
I managed a cinema for UGC in the early 2000s and no payment was ever accepted without a seat being booked. I can only assume your payment system is not linked to your booking system, which seems an enormous oversight for a prestigious and well-regarded London cinema. Additionally, UGC policy retained six ‘holding seats’ which were never booked allowing latecomers to enter without disturbance or issues with seating to be easily resolved. I am surprised your cinema does not use this system, as this might have aided Nasif in providing a top-quality service.
I am very disappointed by the outcome of my afternoon. Travelling to central London is a ninety minute journey, including walking, and the commitment to come to your establishment isn’t taken lightly. Leicester Square is not on my doorstep. The inability of the operator to process my transaction, the usher to treat me with dexterity and the manager to swiftly resolve my problem was unsatisfactory.
I of course understand that Covid regulations must now be taken into account when managing a public entrance facility, this though must result in your team being more vigilant around all the operations of the Prince Charles Cinema. It is too easy to expect everyone to be running their lives online.
Having enjoyed many visits to your establishment in the pre-Covid era, I am not expecting to return any time soon.
A return correspondence would be appreciated.
I am sorry about the frustrating afternoon you had at the Prince Charles this weekend.
The manager you spoke to, Nasif, is new to his position. It may have taken him a little longer to locate your ticket for this reason. Our system can be a little complicated - and looking at your transaction now, it seems that whoever took your email address unfortunately made a spelling error. This boils down to someone simply mishearing you over the phone, for which we are sorry. As a result - locating your ticket was somewhat more difficult.
You were issued a seat, P4, so did have a reservation. Our booking system works in correlation to our payment system.
I am aware Nasif gave you a full refund and offered you an admit-1 as an apology. I hope you use it to return in future.
The Prince Charles Cinema, 7 Leicester Place, London, WC2H 7BY
Thank you for your swift reply.
This is now even more frustrating as I presented the debit card I paid with and your team on the day were not able to locate my purchase or my seat.
To learn two days after the event that my booking did have a seat allocated, only reinforces my opinion that your system, as you indeed suggest, is not fit for purpose.
I am even more disappointed now than I was when I wrote my initial email or departed your cinema on Saturday.
Perhaps as a suggestion when your operators take a telephone booking, they can repeat back the email address as I am not certain this happened.
Many thanks for your assistance.
CURRENTLY NO RETURN.
What a damn shame Chris. So frustrating and disappointing for you. Especially given the time and effort to get there and in taking the considered risk of going to London during Covid times, to see this great film on the big screen and supporting the industry at such a challenging time for them. This issue as you rightly protest, should not have occurred.
Glad at the very least that have a refund and free ticket to another performance in the future. Hopefully they will acknowledge and rectify their failings internally to avoid potential issues for other patrons going forward.
This Never Happened to the Other Fella, indeed!
I write regarding an issue I had attempting to visit your cinema last weekend. I had arranged to see the James Bond film, On Her Majesty's Secret Service. Imagine my shock and disappointment upon learning that the film starred an Aussie stuntman with no discernible acting ability nor comic timing...
Actually, spending that long to get in to London for that to happen, it's a total pain. It's about 30 mins on the train for me, so not so tough. Thing is, I enjoy strolling around London so much I don't really fancy going to the Prince Charles to sit in the dark.
I recall seeing Thunderball at the Empire Leicester Square some years ago - a huge screen, but the print wasn't much cop. I felt I could have enjoyed it more on the plasma telly!
thats a sad and maddening story @chrisno1
I'm jealous of all you folks who saw the early films on the big screen, never saw anything earlier than ...Golden Gun (as a double bill with ...Spy... in 1978)
I can imagine the first helicopter trip up top the mountain would really benefit, or the various shots where they're at the edge of Piz Gloria looking down... those are the kind of vertigo inducing shots they build educational IMAX movies around. I think of all the films thats the one with the strongest sense of landscape.
Thanks to you all.
I have just about got over it ! 😪😪
I have been lucky enough to see OHMSS on the screen in 2002, a 40th anniversary celebration at the BFI where they ran new prints of all Bond from 1962 - 1973. A year or two later they caught up with 1974 - 1981, which meant other than the abomination of CR'67, I am bang up to date on all my cinema OO7 experiences.
@caractacus potts the cable car stunt sequence is stunning on the screen, so is the fight by the precipice, yes the landscapes look gorgeous, the opening sunrises over the Portuguese beach are fabulous, the avalanche ski chase, the bob run chase, , the glittering glimmering Piz Gloria restaurant and all those girls... ah I could go on and on
Two experiences of OHMSS on the big screen - one was in the 90s at Pinewood Studios, arranged by the James Bond Fan Club. Interview with George Lazenby afterwards! Not a huge screen but a good print nonetheless - digital.
Second one was at BFI Waterloo - was that the one you went to @ChrisNo1? A few years ago now. They did show the early ones such as Dr No and Goldfinger, but they didn't quite work because - not being letterbox - the picture was too huge, too deep, it was oppressive. However, OHMSS was just right - helped to sit near the back however!
Much of OHMSS seemed shot mid to long distance so details show up better on the big screen. More than any other film of the first 20 years, it has not dated much, except where it's really dated - the silly sax on the track when he meets the Piz Gloria gals, for instance.
It may well have been the one @Napoleon Plural
I think the BFI also had a cleaned up print which they showed in 2019 for the 50th anniversary. George Lazenby attended that too, but unfortunately I couldn't attend that due some personal commitments.
I was at that one. Really great 🍸
Oh my. I am turning green.
Sorry to learn how the Prince Charles messed up, chrisno1. I've seen most of the early Bonds at the BFI Southbank or the BFI Imax, and a couple at the Prince Charles. I'm still not inclined to return to the cinema yet.
I'll ask this on another thread too, but it's for @Barbel - what's going on at BFI Imax Waterloo? Okay, so Barbel is in Scotland so he won't know but he's seeing these things locally and I'm damned if I can find anything online for movies at the London venue - does it even exist? It's almost as hard to find films at my local Surrey Odeon - they list about 40 movies only some actually showing, others due later in the year - so cheers!
As you correctly say, NP, I don't know if the BFI Imax even exists or what goes on there if it does, and this is entirely due to being in Scotland where I am happily watching the Bonds in a local cinema. Next week, TSWLM.
@Napoleon Plural BFI reopened in June and is running full programs. August looks particularly good with a Bette Davis season, a Morricone retrospective (with all of the '60s Leone westerns) and a brief tribute to Earl Cameron (tho' not unfortunately Thunderball, but they are showing Sapphire). The BFI IMAX is open , currently showing Fast and Furious 9, Black Widow from July 9th.
What’s on | BFI
Well I'll be.... I couldn't find any of that on a normal search engine. I do think it would be more interesting for the Imax to do a massive catch up and classics season over the summer - I might see the latest FF there but might as well catch it at my local.
To clarify, the BFI Imax season of early Bonds ran several years ago and was linked in parallel with a season of screenings of all the Bonds (then up to QOS) at the nearby BFI Southbank. Although the BFI Southbank programme includes classic movies as its staple, the BFI Imax mostly screens latest blockbusters.
The Prince Charles is currently the West End cinema most likely to pepper its repetitive programmes of popular classics with the odd Bond. Before the pandemic they were phasing anniversary screenings of Bond movies across the year, though their reopening programme seems to have been focussing on perceived Bond film favourites.
No Moonraker then! But Golden Gun gets a showing!
I would quite happily brave London and the eccentric ticket system to watch Moonraker, but sadly.... Surprisingly The Living Daylights sold out weeks ago.