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The Insider's Guide to New Zealand - - NORTH ISLAND -

Dr Richard Swain hangs out in an at­tic with screen stars.

In the rar­efied at­mos­phere of his DVD ren­tal store, Au­teur

House, re­side the ghosts of Er­rol Flynn, John Wayne and

In­grid Bergman. Richard be­lieves he has 4000 to 5000

DVDs in stock. His pas­sion for film came from his mother.

The 1935 US swash­buck­ling film, Cap­tain Blood, was her favourite. By age 14 he was spend­ing his lawn-mow­ing money on movies and de­vel­op­ing a sub­stan­tial li­brary of film books. No sur­prises that he did his PhD on Viet­nam war com­bat films. These days he watches about 400 films a year, more than one a day, some more than once. His favourite film of all time: Cit­i­zen Kane, closely fol­lowed by

Ver­tigo. But west­erns are his favourite genre. He has seen

110 John Wayne films. “I still have about 50 to go – mostly the B-grades.” His cus­tomers are few in num­ber but loyal in their pas­sion.

“My favourite cus­tomer was a guy who signed up when he was 85. He climbed the stairs for seven years. His last ren­tal was two days be­fore he died.” Richard doesn’t believe DVDs will still be around when he is 92. “It’s a bit of a lost cause, I’m afraid.” But while he’s still here, he should be visited. 555 Vic­to­ria Street (up­stairs), au­teur­house.com

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