D9NJkR2X Darwin Deckchair Cinema 14
Darwin Deckchair Cinema 14

Darwin, 9-5 by deck chair

Riley Riley

This week’s Watch It is not so much a review as a recommendation to check out Darwin’s Deckchair Cinema if you happen to be passing through town.

Deckchair Cinema is operated by Darwin Film Society and offers a unique outdoor dining and cinema experience.

In fact, it feels like it’s a bit of a thing for Darwin society.

We decided to give the Deckchair a go with a few days in Darwin after our 4000km trek through the Kimberleys earlier this month.

The cinema located in a secluded pocket on the edge of Darwin Harbour is fully independent and screens films that are often unavailable to local audiences.

For our visit it was the 1980 Dolly Parton comedy 9 to 5 (hey, we were there for a bit of fun — and fun it certainly was).

Never seen it?

9-5 was directed by Colin Higgins, who wrote the screenplay with Patricia Resnick.

It stars Jane FondaLily Tomlin, and Dolly Parton as three secretaries who come up with a scheme to get even with their “sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigoted” boss (played by Dabney Coleman).

It’s been 40 years but the film has aged surprisingly well and is guaranteed to get a laugh.

The scene where they think they’ve killed their boss Franklin Hart Jr and attempt to steal his body from the hospital before the autopsy, only to put it back when they discover it’s not him is hilarious.

This kind of comedy is timeless.

9-5 is ranked number 74 on the American Film Institute‘s 100 Funniest Movies and comes with an 81 per cent approval rating.

You can catch it on Disney+.

Deckchair Cinema opened in 1994 near Stokes Hill Wharf, but within a few years had outgrown its location.

In 2003, it relocated to its current home on the Darwin Waterfront.

We’re told by a tour guide there was an attempt to evict the cinema as a part of a plan to develop the prime waterfront location.

But the community wouldn’t have a bar of it.

Outdoor cinema has been part of Darwin culture for more than 100 years.

On February 22, 1912, the first permanent picture-house, the Don Picture Theatre/Stadium, opened at the back of Gordon’s Don Hotel (on the site of the current ABC studios in Cavenagh St).

It was little more than four walls of corrugated iron open to the weather, with a screen at one end.

It was also used for boxing matches.

The Don screened films on Wednesday and Saturday nights, promising: pictures romantic, pictures realistic and charming glimpses of the beauty spots of the world.

If the Deckchair sounds like your kind of thing, make a booking, get there early and reserve your seat with a cushion, then sit back and enjoy a drink while you watch the sunset over the sea in the tropical garden setting.

If you’re hungry, get something to eat before the show. Curry was on the menu the night we were there.

It’s a relaxed laid back night out.

There are 250 deckchairs as well as about 150 straight-backed seats.

You can tell the locals because they bring their own cushions.

I’ve gotta say though those deck chairs are difficult to get out of once you’re in.

The cinema operates during the Dry Season from April to November when the skies are usually cloud-free.

It’s open seven nights a week, screening a range of movies that include family favourites, Australian and foreign films.

The licensed kiosk sells wine, beer, soft drinks and snacks as well as a range of Deckchair merchandise.

Hot food is available every night, but you’re welcome to bring your own. You’re not however allowed to bring your own alcohol.

The box office and kiosk open at 6.00pm every night allowing plenty of time to enjoy the atmosphere.

Parking is free after 5pm.

Phone 0889414377.


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Time out score

Final thoughts . . .

What’s not to like?


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