Seeing the movies in Bowral.

Image result for literary potato peel society


We are not sure where this came from. Out of nowhere we decided to watch movies at our local cinema. It used the be one large cinema. The invention of TV resulted in many single cinemas in closing down. That was a great pity. I remember seeing a movie was almost as good as a long week-end. In those early times it was an outing. Often two movies would be shown. There were intervals whereby we could go outside and replenish our intake of popcorn or Smarties, even an ice-cream. Some cinemas had a Hammond Organ rising majestically from below the screen. A white-suited Liberace type man would play it.

At one particular film the audience were forced to be separated into the two sexes. Even weeks, men, and uneven weeks, women. Or was it uneven and even days? It was supposed to be an informative movie on love, sex and pro-creation. There were long queues.  Many men and maybe women, of course thought there would be a fair bit of eroticism if not a fair sprinkling of nudity. There might not have been much nudity in love but surely with sex there would have to be nudity, including female nudity, which was my speciality and object of desire. The decision to show this movie divided by the sexes came from the Government which gave it enough spice for me to see it with some urgency. I was very young but above 16 years old which was the cut-off point. I had till then not experienced much nudity except that shown by skinny models wearing stiff-solid brassieres,  boned-undergarments and nylon stockings in my mother’s Dutch women magazines, sent over to Australia by her sister…

This sex film was a shocker. It started with the obligatory Hammond organ thumping out the God Save The Queen on stage, after which a man warned the male audience to remain seated, calm, and in control. One could hear a pin drop. The movie started and soon progressed to the informative part of sexual congress. There were black and white ovum,  black and white swimming sperms and mothers pushing black prams, but no nudity or genitalia except in such a medical manner that it killed all eroticism. Within twenty minutes some of the male audience started to walk out. I gave it another twenty minutes in the hope of at least seeing a glimpse of something. I would have been happy with some female pubic hair. But no, not a breast, lonely nipple or any hair, just drawings of medical stuff and quivering sperm. All in a morbid black. It was a most boring movie and a sad trip home to my parents.

During the seventies and eighties the Bowral cinema was made into 4 smaller theatres and they are all thriving. The movies we saw were in the order of; Guernsey literary and potato peel pie society.


A very well made film, excellent acting, if somewhat sentimental towards the end but still a very good, worthwhile movie. We liked it.


‘The Bookshop’. A masterpiece of filmmaking. A story about a culturally backwards conservative English village resisting the coming of a bookshop. We thought it the best of the three movies.


Another brilliant movie, very funny if you can follow the dialogue which with my impaired hearing had difficulty with. None the less for us a very entertaining film. How could it not be with those gifted actors?



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13 Responses to “Seeing the movies in Bowral.”

  1. auntyuta Says:

    I bet when God Save The Queen was played, everybody had to get up from their seat to show respect to the queen!

    Isn’t it amazing that “an informative movie on love, sex and pro-creation” can be made so boring?

    I remember the double sessions. Peter and I always enjoyed watching movies in the cinema. We still do, that is, if it is a movie in a genre that is to our liking. The movies you mention in your blog, Gerard, do look worth watching. Peter wants to find out whether any of them are shown in our local cinema.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Uta. People did get up for the queen when the movies started. With the sex education movie some young boys remained seated. I suppose with their anticipation of something erotic to finally happen, they did not want to embarrass themselves with spontaneous stirrings lower down. Of course they did not need to worry at all. It was a most anti erotic movie, no doubt putting some off sex for the rest of their lives.

      Some of those old cinemas were so grand and luxurious. Some had stalls and balconies on a higher level. I remember seeing a movie in Holland and people smoked during the film.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    Yes, going to the movies used to be a real occasion. Sometimes two movies with news and cartoon in between. I remember sometimes a sing along with words on the screen. Another period they gave away soap samples to everyone. Guess they thought we were soiled. Today these large theaters are mostly empty. No more usherettes, no more stepping over other people when going out to buy more popcorn. We have ended up buying the movie and watching at home.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      That’s right, Kayti. Going out to the movies was a different thing. Many women prepared themselves with putting curlers in their hair on Friday night for the Saturday movie. It was known as ‘curler nights’.The men put Brylcreme in their hair and tried to imitate the latest male actor.

      My mum complained the bed pillows were greasy from this Brylcreme or was it Brilliantine’s? Oh boy, and the CinemaScope with its wide screen and thunderous sounds rolling down the isles. Ben-Hur and Quo Vadis.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. doesitevenmatter3 Says:

    HA! 😛 and Oh, my! 😮 on the boring sex movie! What you said made me snort-laugh! 😀 We had a similar movie experience, in the public schools here. They showed a “sex” movie to 11 and 12 year olds.

    I enjoyed reading about your movie experiences, Gerard! 🙂

    I always enjoy going to the theater for movies and plays! The first movie I ever saw in a movie theater (when I was just a very little girl) was My Fair Lady. 🙂 The tickets were a birthday gift. I had been to Drive-In movie “theaters” before that, but never to an indoor theater. So I have fond memories of sitting in a comfortable seat, the red velvet curtains, the popcorn, Rex Harrison, Audrey Hepburn, The Rain in Spain, and Dancing All Night! 🙂

    HUGS!!! 🙂
    PS…thank you for the links! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, the segregated audience was a hoot. What did the Government expect? It was such an anti-erotic movie one might as well have studied a chemist shop window.
      I remember seeing my fair lady as a play.

      The drive-ins were awful with parking a major problem. One had to hang a speaker inside the car. Some families went in their pyjamas!
      I bought an ice-cream at the Drive In and could not find the car back.
      Young couples used the movie as a pretext for necking.
      Old cars sometimes would not start and had to be jump started by pushing it and let the clutch out. Not easy on a heavy Ford V8.
      Hugs to you too…

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Yvonne Says:

    I read The Guernsey, etc., twice, and loved how well they made the movie. It was the same with A Man Called Ove.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Yvonne. Both movies were delightful. There are good movies still being made but often not shown in many theatres who prefer mainstream spectacular type of movies with cars flying through the air or a rocket being flown by robotic creatures.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. rangewriter Says:

    I had completely forgotten the old “double hitter” movie days when you could get 2 movies for the price of one, PLUS my favorite, the cartoons before the movie started. Now we just get advertisements for the concession stand and warnings to silence our devices.

    My favorite place to see movies is the local art film movies theatre that opened over 30 years ago with the dire prediction that the owner was nuts and would lose her shirt in 6 months. But The Flicks is now an iconic staple of downtown atmosphere. There is one main theatre that seats maybe 100, a smaller which seats maybe 75 and two tiny theaters that feel like personal media rooms. You can order food to eat in the courtyard or intimate dining area complete with fireplace, or you can take the food into the theatre if you’re brave enough to do so. I always fear that I would come out wearing my food. But best of all is the ability to purchase beer and wine along with popcorn and candy for a real theatre treat. I love the place. Even the device warning is clever and tastefully done.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I used to see those double hitter movies. It usually was an all-night affair after which I caught the train home. At that stage of my teen years, I wasn’t as yet to see any ‘art’ movies and used to rely very much on movies that were advertised on multi colour posters that showed both action and cleavage.

      The cheaper movies showed cowboys running around the same set of rocks over and over again.
      In Sydney was a cinema that used to brew real coffee during the interval and was frequently used by Hungarian or middle European people.

      A friend told me that ‘The Rose Tattoo’ had a scene showing a ‘real’ breast of a woman. The movie did not make the least sense to me. No wonder, my motives for seeing movies at that stage (1950’s) were immature. There was no breast and I was cranky with my friend for having lied so callously.


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