Wednesday, 4 April 2012


If you've been to the cinema recently you'll most likely remember that you're generally expected to sit from the opening titles to the final credits without a break. It wasn't always that way; most films used to have a break in the middle of them, just like theatre shows would have an interval.

At the Regal, intermissions were not a thing of the past as in many other cinemas, even up to the closure for the restoration work to start in 2011. The limitations of the projection equipment meant that they couldn't show long films in one go and still needed an intermission to swap over to the second half of the film, from one giant reel to the next.

Film studios knew that some cinemas had to have an intermission so would provide specially designed film reels to use as intermissions between the first and second half of the film, where they specified would fit best with the flow of the film.

This is a photograph of the letter and three sections from the intermission reel for the film 'Superman Returns'. In it, the word 'INTERMISSION' fades in from black, then explodes into a starburst to reveal the classic Superman 'S'.

We have a few special intermission reels in our collection of film at the Regal, from various different films. Each is styled differently to match the film that it ran with, and each comes with a letter explaining which reel to put the intermission reel after.

Can you remember seeing an intermission reel, at the Regal or another cinema? Do you think they should be brought back into modern films everywhere, or do you prefer to watch your film in one uninterrupted run? We'd love to know your thoughts! 

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