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Jameson Cult Film Club: ‘Back to the Future’

Spirits were high on Wednesday night as hundreds queued outside Manchester’s Town Hall for perhaps the most hotly-anticipated of this year’s Jameson Cult Film Club screenings. For one night only, the beautiful gothic surroundings of the Great Hall were transformed into the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance, as a full house eagerly watched Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) make his time bending journey to 1955 and back again in Robert Zemeckis’ Back to the Future (1985).

The crowd was a real mixture of ages, many of whom probably weren’t even born when the film was originally released in 1985. So just what is it that makes this film enduringly popular with audiences old and new? Unlike many other films that have received cult status, Back to the Future was an instant box office hit upon release, and its momentum in finding new audiences has never seemed to stop.

The film brings together sci-fi, comedy, teen romance and action into an irresistible blend, and perhaps it is this combination of genres which has ensured the film’s longevity. And it’s not just diehard fans that continue to keep the hype around the film alive – Back to the Future was shown in cinemas nationwide as part of the 25th anniversary re-issue earlier this year, proving that the film can still attract mainstream demand as well as cult status.

Bob Gale, who co-wrote the script with director Robert Zemeckis, is said to have come up with the concept for the film when he came across his father’s high school yearbook, as he wondered whether they would have been friends if they had met in the past – and so Back to the Future’ was born. With an irreplaceable cast including Michael J. Fox in the central role and Christopher Lloyd as the barmy scientist Doc Brown, ‘Back to the Future’ remains close to the hearts of fans around the globe.

For the lucky ones who grabbed themselves a ticket, there was plenty of pre-show entertainment on offer, with actors dressed as Marty, Doc and Biff to woo the crowd, and of course, a well-stocked cocktail bar was close by. Upon arrival at the entrance to the Town Hall, guests were greeted with a sight that would delight any Back to the Future fan: a DeLorean complete with electric-blue flashing lights and smoking engine. Even though I’ve seen this film countless times, the jokes seemed as punchy as ever, the characters even more lovable, the plot yet more suspenseful. The night hosted by Jameson was outstanding, and no fan that was lucky enough to be part of the experience could have gone home disappointed.

Claire Ramtuhul