EJ Rudsdale on Twitter from 3 September 2019

7th November 1939 - Wartime Cinema

Took Rose to see the film of the “Mikado” at the Regal [Cinema] tonight. It was really very good, although a little slow at first. The colours and music were excellent. Of course the Gilbert & Sullivan purists are horrified at this “blasphemy”.

This is the first occasion since the war began that Eric mentions visiting the cinema. Since the threat of mass air raids at the start of the war had not materialised, Government orders restricting the opening of cinemas were lifted in full in November 1939. Eric was, therefore, quick to resume his visits to the cinema. Cinema-going provided the public with some form of entertainment and an outlet to escape from the difficulties of the war. Film also became a useful source of propaganda for government authorities. See also Eric's diary entry regarding the closure of cinemas at the start of the war on 6th September 1939.

The film of the 'Mikado' (1939) was the first time that a complete Savoy Opera was filmed for the cinema. The opulent technicolor film had a huge impact on audiences although the film is an adaptation of the original stage production. The D'Oyly Carte Opera Company cooperated in full with the film, providing the chorus and two of the principals, and the film remains an important record of the Company's work at the time.

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