Showing 376 - 400 of 421 comments
I worked at the Dominion in the mid 80s for 2 years. During this time a number of movies were shown such as the premier of ‘Return Of The Jedi’ and others. A very succuessful presentation over a space of 3 or 4 seasons was the ‘Thames Silents’. These were screenings of famous silent movies with stars such as Charlie Chalin, Rudolph Valentino and Lillian Gish amongst others. Presented by Thames Television they were accompanied by a full orchestra who played specialy commisioned “sountracks' for these great movies with an orchestra of about 40 or 50- amazing to experience this in the Dominions surroundings.. Every performance was old out and was attended by a very high brow audience worthy of Covent garden. I remember the chief electrican at the time found it increasingly difficult to screen movies from the original projection rooms. When the Dominion held the premier run of ‘Jedi’ it was decided to install a tempary projection box under the circle in the middle of the stalls. This prevented at least the last 10 rows in the stalls to be sold and also the frst 10 rows due to the hight of the screen. Ray, the projectionist said then that it was a shame money wasnt spent on restoring the original projection box to show movies properly. During my time there they held a season of 70mm presentations of movie musicals. These included ‘Fiddler On The Roof’, ‘South Pacific’, ‘The Sound Of Music’, ‘Calamity Jane’ and i think also ‘The King And I’. They were show with just the circle area for sale. Even then with a great promotion of the season i remember every night there not being more than 20 to 30 people there. There were many complaints regarding the bad screening presentation- focus, sound etc. The way the Dominion is handled now i can say almost definately that it will never show a movie again. But hey, its still there and looking fantastic.
I love this place. Go see a movie here and its like going back in time and going to your local cinema. Great atmosphere in a great auditorium with a great audience. Worth the effort to get to Notting Hill Gate to see a movie here what with all the bars and restaurants in the area. Highly recomended.
I remember this being called ther Ritz Leicester Sq but is still no better today than it was then. Most cinemas around Leicester SQUARE seem to be BOXES- maybe it should be renamed Liecester BOX – look at the seating capacitys of the Odeon Panton Street, The Empires 2 & 3, most of the VUe cinemas (ex Warner) and the shoeboxes that are the Odeon Mezzanine- i know there are plasma TVs you can buy for your home that are bigger than some of these screens!
A terribly flat auditorium that despite not being ‘stadium’ in design offers very bad sightlines especialy if a full house. It has no appeal and is basicaly just another box cinema stuck to the side of another grander cinema like the main Empire auditorium. See what you want to see in another cinema if i were you.
Why thank you Mr Dependable! Yea i forgot about that part- sounds great. Wouldnt it be fantastic if they took away all that 80s decor in the foyer and tarted up the auditorium for todays audiences. Ive seen many a great movie here in what is a truly great theatre
The front of The Empire is at this time undergoing a transformation. Fankly what ever they do to it it will be million times better than what they had till a few weeks ago. The dreadful canopy that carried the word ‘Empire’ that looked like it had been written by Walt Disney has been taken away and hopefuly destroyed never to be seen again on such a fantastic facade!!! According to a report that the Evening Standard carried a few weeks back which included an artists immpession of what it will look like- its going to go back to an old fashioned iron work canopy. From what i recall from the painting it resembled the new canopys on Londons Victoria Palace & Novello theatres- both of which are stunning. If im corresct its an Irish company who are takeing over the running of The Empire. It needs a lot of work inside to bring it up to a standard exceptable today. Its gone to look very old and tatty in the auditorium recently, maybe because a take over was known for awhile! Back in the 80s this really was a showcase theatre where they had a great pre-performance laser and light show before those fantastic curtains opened onto a huge screen. I look forward to a visit in the future to see whats been done. If anyone has more detailed news of whats going on maybe they would care to fill in the gaps! (Hello, Mr. Roe)
I used to stay at the Sheraton down the road from the Grand and everytime i went up and down the street shopping i used to look over at this great looking palace. It looked kind of open but reading recent news on here from you guys it looks like a whole lot of grand things have happened to the Grand recently. Thats great news for the area im sure. What im not sure was good news about was the information that the hotel told me (this is 8 or 9 yrs ago now) that there was going to be built a new multiplex on a vacant plot just one or two blocks down from the Grand on the same side!?!? Did this happen? Any news?
Oh you lucky lucky people! In the UK we dont have such a stunning example of an atmospheric theatre left in such a stunning state as the Capital is. Ive seen a few shows here and i say they were very very good shows to compete with the show that surrounds you from the second you walk in.
Congratulations and i look forward to my next visit
im onmy knees!!!!! I missed reading that statement before blabbing on sorry!!!
I lived just up the road from here when i first moved to London in the early 80s. The first of a few movies i saw here was ‘Quest For Fire’. I remember the main entrance hallway was huge and went back for a great distance. I swear i remember entering the auditorium and being totaly overwhelmed by the shear size of it- cavourous id say. Very wide and deep with a stadium style circle area. One thing i remember well is how badly lit it was. On future visits i then noticed that the auditorium was in a very very bad state of disrepair. I think i saw about 6 or 7 movies there and on on about half of those i was the only person there. Ken i know you state the capacity above as 1755 but im very sure it was a great deal more. Ive worked in many theatres in the West End and around the country and have a good sense on seating capacity numbers- i was thinking more along the lines of 2000 plus! Of course im very trust worthy of your info Mr.Roe
The only reason to visit this place is to see the screen 1 auditorium as seen in Kens photo above. The building is a perfect example of ‘ couldnt give a damn cinema managment’ I was a regular there in the 80s and from what i hear its just got worse andworse as the years go by.
Great place to see a movie with a great appreciative audience. Made many visits here in the 80s
One of the most awful, dirty and dangerous cinemas ive ever had the misfortune to visit-ever! It showed second run movies or worse. It was mainly visited by vagrants and tramps. My friend and i stayed less than 20 mins after seeing sleeping patrons being pickpocketed and one guy just urinating at his seat- im not makeing this up-honest! We left so fast we didnt even think to ask for our money back. Ive spoken to many people who agree and were amazed i didnt know its reputation during its latter years. . I must and should be ashamed to say this but the day i walked past and saw it being bulldozed i didnt feel bad at all.
I played bingo here on many occasions and lost a lot of games by letting my eyes wonder all over this huge and very impressive auditorium. Shame its now closed with a bleak future in front of it.
I remember going past this cinema on many occasions and always thinking how hideous it looked with that awful blue metal cladding. If my memory serves me it looked a huge building. I hope someone has a photo or two they may be able to post here?
A brilliant cinema even if the decor was a little souless. The screen was just amazingly huge. I worked at the Dominion on Tottenham Court Rd and got to see many movies at the West End Odeons for free so it was a great opportunity to see the many different auditoriums in the 80s. I worked at the Dominion at the time of the premier for Return Of The Jedi. To see the way the cinema was converted to screen that movie was very interesting. They built a projection box under the circle and closed off thed stalls or most of it if i remember. The first time it was screened was 9am with the last one at 12.30am the following day. It sold out solidly for 6weeks……but thats the Dominion- maybe i should put my other stories on the Dominion page. I saw Mary Poppins, Stargate and many others on that huge hugely missed Marble Arch screen. Makes me laugh when i see an Odeon with Odeon’s logo across the doorway- ‘Fanatical About Film" shame they dont feel the same about the buildings theyre shown in!!!!
I have seen a number of movies at the Seattle Cinerama on my 2 or 3 visits there every year. They include Gladiator and recently Dreamgirls. Watching a movie in a theatre that presents its self in such a proffessioal way takes your mind back to the hey days of movie going. Everything about the building is fantastic. The screen is amazing and has an equally amazing sound system. Go! Go! Go! A great evening.
The auditorium of this great looking theatre is beautiful. Not too large a capacity either for transformation to a full scale programed theatre. My god, i love that auditorium so much. THe side boxes are fantastic.
Yep this place has gone as has the Howard Johnsons on the same block. The Duffy Theatre that was on the same block but directly on Times Sq has gone also but is now housed in the “Snapple' centre a few blocks up Broadway.I remember you entered The Gaiety up steep stairs right next door to th Broadway theatre- The Lunt-Fontainne. It was an interesting place for New Yorkers and tourists. Very small and in its last years very dirty and run down.The ‘performers’ i saw certainly didnt have their mind on the job and seemed pretty aggressive. Where do guys go know dare i ask?
Good on ‘ya Australia! from what ive seen on my visits down under in cities like Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and of course Sydney- these guys know how to look after the treasures they have.
Thanks again Ken! Once more you come up the goods. Ive asked this question a few times on the site and your the only one to reply. I have my photos on Flickr but im terrible with computers but im now going to try what you just explained! Dont hold your breath tho!!!
Dear editors! When will we be able to upload pictures to Cinema Treasures -its seems a very long time thias facility has been off line!!! Please inform us of any progress please!
You simply have to go to The Mayflower Theatre website and go to the two sections:
1: History of The Mayflower
2: Memories of The Mayflower
They have to be the most interesting and well set up sites of the history of a theatre available. Its covered in photos, stories and all in great detail. Great stories of its life as a theatre then a cinema and now back to theatre again -one of the best in the United Kingdom! Well worth a visit for a good hour or so’s reading- enjoy!
Is there anyway the name could be changed on this entry. The people of Swansea and South Wales simply do not know and do not reffer to this cinema as the Film Centre! Its always been The Castle! The name ‘Castle Cinema’ is still at the back of the theatre 10'‘ high!!! The name Film Centre was naver placed anywhere on the building. I overlooked the name Film Centre on my first couple of serches on here. So, its the Castle Cinema Swansea- please. I have 3 great photos of the huge rear elevation of the Castle taken March 2007. Anyone got any ideas when we can load photos on here again- ive about 20 i want to upload for us???
Not afraid to say, but i have been here but im dumbfounded as to why its on Cinema Treasures as a cinema!!??!!