Hollywood star and Tendring resident Clive Owen last night launched an £85,000 appeal for repairs to the Electric Palace cinema in Harwich with a passionate speech.
"I'm really proud to be asked to be Patron of this very special cinema," he said. "This building is not only a beautiful and historic one, it is also a very important one. I got my film education going to all the old rep cinemas like this one."
Many of those cinemas had since disappeared, he said, adding that the multiplexes were unable to match the variety of programming found in small independent venues like The Electric Palace.
"It is vital that we use and support The Electric Palace," he said. "We just have to raise the amount needed."
Earlier in the evening, which marked Mr. Owen's first appearance as Patron of the cinema, chairman of The Electric Palace Chris Strachan had highlighted the problems in maintaining one of the oldest cinemas in the country.
The Electric Palace is currently on English Heritage's register of historic buildings at risk of deterioration, but raising £85,000 will guarantee an independent future for the 1911-built cinema as it approaches its 100th birthday.
A showing of Mr. Owen's latest film, Children of Men, was followed by an extended question and answer session in which the actor revealed just how important watching a film in the cinema - rather than on TV or DVD - is not only to himself but also to other Hollywood figures such as director Spike Lee.<P>