One of the most wonderful things about our FaceBook page is that we get so many great messages – and sometimes we even get pieces of history sent back to us to treasure all over again. Recently, the wonderful Ian Milne got in touch with us to bring back a beautiful piece of panoramic photographic history!

Back around about 1996 or 1997, Ian snapped two beautiful, iconic Astor panoramas. The pics are below along with his words about how he produced them.


“I created these 2 panoramas at the Astor Theatre and then turned into QTVRs for the Cinemagination interactive CD. Back then we photographed with film and then scanned printed 6 x 4’s. The rest of the CD consisted of video interviews of people explaining their first experiences at the cinema. People would pop out of the seats when the user rolled over them with the mouse and the user would be taken to the interview page. It was pretty cool for back then.”



“In 1993 i graduated from VCA with a Fine Arts Degree in Photography. The course was as much about film as it was about photography and I had worked with 8mm and 16mm, from hands on filming to cutting film in the editing room. So I spent a fair bit of time at the movies, especially the Astor.

Fast forward three years and I could see the writing on the wall as far as computers pushing their way into photography and film (and just about everywhere else on the planet) so I applied for RMIT”s Advanced Diploma of Electronic Design & Interactive Media. It was the early days of html and web design, QuarkXpress was the king of publishing, Flash didn’t exist, digital cameras were a dream away and apple were lucky to have a 2% market share.
Second and final year comes around and I have to produce something good for final assessment. I had completed a couple of photo and video based projects up until then so it seemed like a logical step up to the Astor project. Firstly I video interviewed people I knew about their earliest memories of going to the movies and then created interactive pages for each one. There was some new software available at the time for creating panoramic QTVRs and that combined with “Macromedia’s Director” software enabled me to put together the interactive “Cinemagination” CD.”  – Ian Milne

10250759_10152690995883943_728210894_nWe’d like to thank Ian for both the beautiful pictures and for getting in touch with us again to relive an exciting moment in our history.

If you’d like to get in touch with Ian at Cinemagination, you can do so by sending him an email here:

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Nobody does crazy like Jack Nicholson. Cuckoo isn’t his only kind of crazy – you recently saw him on the SuperScreen in The Shining – Extended Version, cutting it up with an axe. Still, where Stanley Kubrick examines the effects of isolation and the persistence of the past, Milos Forman questions our very perception of what it means to be mentally ill. Through group therapy and a structured social environment, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) is a groundbreaking film that really changed the landscape for filmic presentation of mental health issues. It’s also an indictment on the structures of society and our inability to properly or effectively care for the wide range of individuals who attempt to co-exist within its strict confines, walled by harsh, prescriptive rules.


When Randle Patrick “Mac” McMurphy (Jack Nicholson) is moved to psychiatric facility for evaluation, following a short stint on a penal farm for the statutory rape of a fifteen-year-old girl, he believes the rest of his sentence will be a cakewalk. When asked upon arrival if he suffers from any mental afflictions, he responds, “Not a thing doc, I’m a goddamn marvel of modern science!”


Despite the steely Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher), McMurphy is all laughs taking it upon himself to be the leader of the group who – to him at least – appear to be “no crazier than the average asshole out walking around on the street”. Perhaps none of them deserves to be in there at all? Certainly they don’t deserve to be confined to boredom by a killjoy nurse – or so McMurphy thinks; he commandeers a boat for a playful outing, introduces prostitutes and other illegalities to his new-found friend-followers, protesting the stale, clinical conventions of the institution and indeed the broader social structures responsible for his incarceration. Still, the questions remain: who is actually bound by these conventions and who chooses to be?; who is free and who simply believes that they are?


Not everything is as transparent as it first appears. Sometimes the fight is much bigger than what is directly in front of your face. Sometimes not all of the rules are visible.

Adapted from Ken Kesey’s 1962 novel of the same name, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was the second film to ever win all five major Academy Awards; Best Picture, Best Actress in a Lead Role, Best Actor in a Lead Role, Best Director and Best Screenplay – Adapted (the first was It Happened One Night in 1934.) Considered one of the greatest American dramas of all time, with a truly sensational performance from Nicholson, supported by the likes of Danny DeVito, Christopher Lloyd, Brad Dourif, William Duell, and Will Sampson, this is a big screen must-see, now returning in remastered 2K DCP format, with 5.1 surround sound.

Screens Thursday January 30th to Saturday February 1st.

Written by Tara Judah for the Astor Theatre.

Rocky Horror Picture Show

Three very enthusiastic reviews from Melbourne based film critics Gerard Elson, Paul Nelson, and Tara Judah. Each of these reviews originally appeared in an edition of our E-newsletter and are republished here with permission from the authors.

“It’s not easy having a good time. Even smiling makes my face ache.” So laments Dr Frank-N-Furter—‘A Scientist’—in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Frank’s words might best be applied to New Year’s Eve; that last, desperate glom to reclaim the year that was in the name of fun and ring in a new annum with a grin. Drinks flow freely. Music blares. But it’s not easy having a good time when we know that, come tomorrow, it’s all certain to make our heads ache…

An occasion to give yourself over to absolute pleasure: with a deviant mob of fellow mascara-smeared miscreants. For like a bodacious bod in a lace-up corset, barely contained by The Astor’s super-sized screen will be the cult movie: The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

The path it’s strutted to cult glory is the stuff of legend: the dismal first showings, the mystified critics, the evasion by the general public… followed some two years later by the mounting momentum of participatory “midnight movie” screenings, in which the audience were invited—nay, expected! —to kick up their high heels and join in the revelry with the sex-fired space bacchants on-screen. Thirty-five years later and Rocky Horror still stands, hand on hip, legs fishnetted and lipsticked lips puckered, as the longest running film in cinema history. 20th Century Fox have never yet lapsed the film’s initial release. Hell, if it ain’t broke…

And Rocky Horror ain’t broke. Far from it. It’s every bit as subversive, all-embracing and resplendently demented as it must have seemed in 1975. And the songs, from the manic dance hall rock ‘n’ roll of ‘The Time Warp’ to the insouciant swagger of ‘Sweet Transvestite’ (Tim Curry here is no less than iconic), still inspire open-lunged sing-along abandon.

So this New Year’s Eve, let The Astor take you on a strange journey with The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Don’t just watch it. Be it.

Reviewed by Gerard Elson (@gerardelson)

From the 20th Century Fox fanfare performed in Richard Hartley’s soon-to-be-unmistakable piano style; followed by Patricia Quinn’s cherry red lips flying at you, you know you’re in for something different. Even after three and a half decades, it feels like a marvellous psychotropic trip to another world. It’s movie geek phantasmagoria, an impassioned plea for tolerance, and a raucous celebration of letting one’s freak flag fly all rolled into one. Ladies and Gentlemen: there is only one Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Brad (Barry Bostwick) and Janet (Susan Sarandon) are all-American kids who spring a flat tyre on a rainy night, sending them scurrying to the nearest house for a phone. Unfortunately (or most fortunately), the nearest house is a gothic castle, playing host to a shindig for “Transylvanians”, thrown by cross-dressing mad scientist Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry), and catered by all-too-intimate brother/sister servant pair Riff Raff (Richard O’Brien, also the co-writer/lyricist) and Magenta (Patricia Quinn). Despite Brad and Janet’s fearful trepidation, Frank is delighted to host them, as he’s about to unveil his latest feat of genius. See, he’s been making a man… with blond hair and a tan…

Directed and co-adapted by Australian Jim Sharman, the film is a pure, unhinged, hedonistic blast, inspired by sci-fi B-pictures and Busby Berkeley musicals, bursting with insanely catchy songs and endlessly quotable dialogue. The uniformly terrific cast (most reprising the roles they originated on stage) surrender to the material with wonderful reckless abandon, but nobody makes as seismic an impression as Curry, whose booming voice, sly charisma and dramatic physicality command every scene he’s even peripherally involved in.

One of the first films (and the only Hollywood studio film) to be adopted by the original NYC “midnight movie” crowd of the mid-1970s, Rocky Horror’s celebration of sexual freedom and kinky joie de vivre continues to resonate powerfully with audiences today, as well as its then-unique references to genre movies past, now de rigueur. Give yourself over to absolute pleasure – see it!

Reviewed by Paul Nelson (@mrpaulnelson)

Pull up your fishnets and tighten your corsets: it’s time to do the Time Warp again! This Friday we take you back to 1975 with one of the original five films responsible for the “Midnight Movie” phenomenon: that’s right folks, returning to Melbourne’s glorious Astor Theatre is writer/actor Richard O’Brien and director Jim Sharman’s The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Adapted for the screen from O’Brien’s original stage musical: The Rocky Horror Show (1973), the film version attracted such an immense cult audience that the stage-show has since been, almost endlessly, revived – and not just in the UK. Exceeding by far the meagre expectations O’Brien had of his warped, B-grade, trans-sexually charged sci-fi musical mayhem, The Rocky Horror Picture Show is said to hold the record for the longest running theatrical release in film history. Still showing in quality theatres around the world, Rocky Horror has never been withdrawn from its original release, putting it at a now thirty-seven year run – and counting!

When “Brad Majors – A Hero” (Barry Bostwick) and “Janet Weiss – A Heroine” (Susan Sarandon) – a cute couple and straight squares – break down on a cold, wet November’s eve, they have no choice but to head to a nearby castle in search of a phone to call for help. But the unwitting couple stumble upon the residence of “Dr Frank-N-Furter – A Scientist” (Tim Curry) who appears to be hosting an Annual Transylvanian Convention, at which he is unveiling his latest “creation”: Rocky Horror (a “real, live” man). With some of the most sensational musical numbers ever to exist, including; “Sweet Transvestite”, “Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch Me” and, of course, “The Time Warp”; The Rocky Horror Picture Show is not just a film- it’s an experience, which is why audiences have been donning the get-up to attend screenings wherever they can for what’s now three and a half decades.

With costumes, cast, music and mise-en-scene that many probably really would die for, Friday night’s screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a must attend event for anyone who hasn’t seen it – and also for anyone who has. Tim Curry in fishnets, heels, red lippy and a corset? Yes please!

Reviewed by Tara Judah (@midnightmovies)