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Steve Larcombe wins Frank Littlejohns Award 2009

The 70mm Newsletter
Written by: Paul Schofield. Images by Thomas Hauerslev, unless noted. Date: 15.12.2009
Frank Littlejohn's Award went to Steve Larcombe, Odeon West End.

Paul Schofield, Technical Manager UK Cinemas for Odeon & UCI, presented the 2009 Frank Littlejohns Award, with the following citation:

“I feel delighted and privileged to read this citation to Steve Larcombe, as he receives the BKSTS Frank Littlejohns Award for outstanding work in the Art and Craft of Cinema Projection.

Frank Littlejohns began work in the Control Department of Technicolor and rose to become Managing Director from 1962-1971, before joining Rank Film Laboratories at Denham. Frank always felt that projectionists received too little recognition for their work, and he made an endowment so that, through the auspices of the BKSTS and the Cinema Technology Committee, we would be able to honour a person who has, through their work, raised the standard of film projection, either by conscientiousness or invention. And those qualities are particularly appropriate this year, because the award goes to one of our Industry's unsung heroes, Technical Manager at Odeon West End, Mr Steve Larcombe.
More in 70mm reading:

Fellowship of the BKSTS for Paul Schofield
Projection Team of the Year 2009
The editor Receives BKSTS award

Internet link:

Cinema Technology

Cinema Technology Committee


The BKSTS (British Kinematograph Sound & Television Society) was founded in London, England in 1931 to serve the growing film industry. As well as meetings, presentations, seminars, international exhibitions and conferences, BKSTS also organizes an extensive programme of training courses, lectures, workshops and special events.

German Projectionist Forum

The audience are listening carefully to Paul wise words.

As many of you will testify, it’s very rare for projectionists to be rewarded for their work, which probably explains why last year's recipient fainted, in the heat of the moment!

Steve, who has for so long it seems, worked in the shadow of The Odeon, Leicester Square, has built up a phenomenal and (dare I say it), formidable reputation as Technical Manager of the highest quality, at Odeon, West End.

Steve's career started almost 40 years ago, in 1970 at The Gaumont Bristol. For those of you who are 'fanatical about film', Steve remembers showing 'Hello Dolly' at the time, playing two shows a day, and to packed houses, enjoying Barbara Streisand in full flow.
The BKSTS Frank Littlejohns Award was inaugurated in 2003, following an endowment to the Society in the will of the late Frank Littlejohns FBKS, MD of Technicolor and a consultant at Rank Film Labs. The Frank Littlejohns Award “Recognises outstanding work in the Art and Craft of Cinema Projection”.
Sir Sidney is joking to the amusement of the guests

After nine years in Bristol, Steve then moved his work to London and found a position at the prestigious ABC Shaftesbury Avenue, then a high quality West End venue showing very high profile films. Indeed, whilst at The ABC, Steve remembers working on some of the biggest movies of the era, noting the profound effect that 'The Elephant Man' had at the time.

And then, in June 1987 Steve made his final move to The Leicester Square Theatre, where he's been involved and responsible for presenting some of the highest profile film premiers and events in the Country.

Going through the list of cinemas that Steve has worked at, it is interesting that The Gaumont Bristol, became The Odeon Bristol, the ABC Shaftesbury Avenue became The Odeon Covent Garden, cleverly changing both name and location at the stroke of a pen, and the Leicester Square Theatre, became The Odeon West End, and is predicted to soon become a hotel, or something...
Sir Sidney is joking even more to the hysterical amusement of the guests.

For me, and for our Industry, Steve truly defines the art and craft of being a perfect projectionist. During his long career, he's always been held in very high regard by his peers and earned the trust and respect of a much wider group of Industry people. Ask any print manager from any of the big Distributors, ‘who puts the most care, dedication and attention to detail into the presentation and performance of a film?’, and Steve Larcombe's name is at the top of the list. Distributors not only trust Steve's technical knowledge and understanding, but will often rely implicitly on his judgement and advice on print quality.

On the other hand, as many of you will know, Steve doesn't suffer fools gladly, and he'll often let people know what he thinks of their work or their ideas, and sometimes, in the case of Directors, and Producers, their film!
?, Robert Waghorn, ? and Richard Hundorf Technical Director for Warner Brothers.

Steve has shown film premiers in the presence of all the world’s top movie stars, individually to just about every member of the Royal family, and has worked with countless film directors, editors and producers in trying to get the best presentation out of their work.

Among the many prestigious film events that Steve has been technically responsible for is the Annual London Film Festival, where miles and miles of film prints are made-up and shown to an appreciative, classy but discerning audience. Despite this annual challenge to his patience, he manages to present films to the highest professional standards and has always maintained a resolute, and a single-minded approach against any suggestion of technical compromise.
Jim Slater hidden behind camera

As we all continue to move into this brave new world of digital cinema, Steve is one of those people who has sensibly accepted that change is inevitable and is currently embracing the technology with an open-minded attitude.

Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s a great pleasure for me to present this award, in the famous circle foyer at The Odeon Leicester Square. Congratulations to a fine professional, Mr Steve Larcombe, on receiving the Frank Littlejohns Award 2009 for outstanding work in the Art and Craft of Cinema Projection.”
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Updated 21-01-24