This film is part of Free

The Last Reel

Teenage members of a York cine club document the last hurrah of a much-loved picture house – in CinemaScope!

Amateur film 1966 6 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for Yorkshire Film Archive


The Tower was York’s first permanent cinema, opening in 1908 on the site of a former chapel. Although it survived a hit by an incendiary bomb during the Baedeker raid on York in 1942, its eventual demise was caused by the redevelopment of the city centre: the cinema was demolished to make way for a shopping arcade. The last reel was a double-bill: “Frankie & Johnny”, starring Elvis, and “The Swingin’ Set” featuring The Animals and Nancy Sinatra, amongst others popular singers.

There are a couple of surprising facts about this 1966 film, made to mark the closure of York’s Tower Cinema. Firstly, the age of the filmmakers: a group of friends aged 16 and 17. Secondly, they chose to film in CinemaScope, a process using two lenses of unequal magnifications to produce a widescreen effect, more commonly associated with professional productions. Sadly, the soundtrack to the film is missing, but the group – still friends, and scattered around the globe – are hopeful that it’ll turn up one day.