Mulholland Drive

The winter sky was raging, the trams rattled down through Prahran, and the corner of Chapel Street and Dandenong Road was suffused with a soft glow, as the Astor cinema lit up for the occasion of all occasions, perhaps its defining moment.

Three quarters of an hour before showtime, and the queue was already coming out the row of deco doors at the front of the behemoth. They were greasy-haired cineaste men with scrabbly beards, elegant couples turned out in '40s style, and pairs of female friends maybe thinking of taking it that one stage further.