Comments from CGG

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CGG commented about Odeon Leeds on Nov 10, 2010 at 3:43 pm

(Continued from above.) Thanks to John Farrar for pointing out where Ryan’s Daughter was actually screened. I’ve since found the newspaper listings and it ran at Vicar Lane from Sunday 14th February â€" Saturday 5th June 1971 â€" 16 weeks! We normally watched films in our home town of Harrogate â€" the Odeon (still there today, thank goodness, but not the single auditorium and large screen with its amazing ‘Austrian Puff’ curtain on many wires!) and ABC (now demolished) â€" so visiting Odeon 1 at the Headrow was always a special occasion. Eventually, in 1972, we moved away to the south, but I did manage to see ‘Diamonds are Forever’, which ran for 7 weeks from April 1972 in Odeon 2 â€" with its gold/yellow upholstery at the time. (Oops, thanks again John for correcting me on the actual colour of the curtains in Odeon 1 â€" the lighting obviously did its magic particularly well.) The big memory from this period is of what I’d describe as the best screening that I’ve ever seen anywhere of ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ in Odeon 1, which ran for 11 weeks from February 1972. Topol knocked the dust from the rafters in the barn and everywhere else at the same time! The power, intensity and effect of screenings in Odeon 1, with 70mm projection and absolutely stunning sound in a perfectly designed and fitted-out auditorium, has not been equalled, let alone surpassed, in any other cinema that I’ve since visited. Thank you to everyone who took the trouble to work so professionally in such a marvellous place, making the experience for the audience such an uplifting and a memorable one. What matters more, perhaps, than that the cinema is no longer there now, is that it was once. I think, possibly, the echo remains when you walk past the surviving exterior or visit the flats and shop within? It is a tribute, in some way, that the entire structure has not been turned to rubble but remains in part as a reminder. When the opportunity arises to create something similar again, then, no doubt, the same high spirit can be reignited in a new setting. (Thank you to: Colindale National Newspaper Library and the Leeds ‘Evening Post’.)

CGG commented about Odeon Leeds on Apr 14, 2010 at 11:52 am

Those who were there in 1969, at the beginning of the Odeon 1 & 2 era, were there before my time, but only just in fact, since the first film that I went to see at Odeon 1, with my brother and parents, was ‘Cromwell’, which ran for 11 weeks from July 1970. The big films usually ran ‘for a season’ in those days. The auditorium was luxuriously upholstered in blue â€" blue seats and blue screen curtains which continued almost ‘endlessly’ on round to the sides, so there was always excitement and anticipation before the show started as to how far the screen was going to open up. There were Pullman ‘armchairs’ in the front row of the upper ‘circle’ area, but the price was greater than we wanted to spend as a family. However, abject luxury was fun to contemplate … for, perhaps … one day … We were so impressed that we came back for the re-release of ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ (ran for 7 weeks). What a way to see this epic film â€" if you weren’t there in Odeon 1, then you don’t know what you’ve missed! My brother reckons we also came back for the release of ‘Ryan’s Daughter’ and I certainly recall seeing ‘Waterloo’ in Odeon 1 shortly afterwards. The b/w image posted above by Lost Memory shows ‘Waterloo’ being screened, which ran for 10 weeks from February 1971. I remember seeing the trailer for ‘Black Beauty’ during the screening, which actually only ran for one week in Odeon 2 from 11th â€" 17th April 1971, thereby dating the photograph. Seat prices at this time were: 10s (50p), 13s (65p), 15s (75p) and £1 (Pullman Chairs). Children were half-price, rounded up to the nearest shilling. (To be continued.)