Showing 1 - 25 of 96 comments
This glorious snazzy deco wonder was colored in autumn tones of brown yellow chrome frosted glass and white. Utterly breathtaking, a city theatre in the far river suburbs.
In the mid 70s it was a terrific and eccentric cinema. However the owner displayed personal wanton disgrace, and in the 90s it was closed. That person is now in jail.
This photo adequately describes the 1960s clientiele perfectly…
The photo above is new and replaces the 1950s pic with a tram.
I ran the Marina 1982 83 84 as a well programmed and operated movie theatre
and sadly had to abandon my lease. As video simply ate our audiences and the maintenance of the building was beyond my income. The Marina in this new century and 2013 decade should be bought by council and refurbished to create a classic cinema complex and performing arts centre. It is a fortress building and worth repairing and retaining to delight future generations. I was a Mascot/Rosebery family child and saw dozens of films there in the 60s. The original vaudeville stage and facilities are still intact. Paul Brennan
again, from me in a framed collage of photos donated to Botany bay Council. The last film I saw at The Empire was OKLAHOMA in August 1964. The Empire was a very good cinema, with excellent sound and picture…it was painted cream and mushroom pink trim, from a 1953 upgrade which remodelled the interior. Had it not been closed in 1965 to become a storeroom for cinema parts then demolished 7 years later, it would have made a viable new century cinema. It was very popular and in a terrific location. ….Paul Brennan.
I supplied Botany Bay Council the above montage of photos and ads for both The Ascot and The Empire and The Marina theatres, all of which were near my home in Mascot in the 50s and 60s. I can be contacted at
Thankyou Warren and Gerald A DeLuca for the thrilling (to me) info about the Monogram AA releases and The Quiet Man info. I am a devoted student of those films and studio(s)…I just can’t help myself and have to know everything about them. I find it incredible Monogram and Republic operated as businesses and am magnetized to the periods of change they went through. To find first release info and to hear they played as major circuit successes when they were mostly sneered at is gratifying to me. I am thrilled these films played enormous luxury cinemas because the research books never never ever reveal that particular priceless and dignified information.. To an author all monogram AA and most Rep films are written off as B feature groaners playing 3rd rate suburban and country dives. BLACK GOLD in particular is a very good film, as is late Rep films like LISBON or COME NEXT SPRING. I write alot of reviews on the IMDb for these films if you also want to entertain yourselves.
In Oz, we didn’t get Tv until 1957 (three stations Nationwide) and in 1965 a fourth Tv network opened. It re-ran everything …and I mean every film Monogram and Republic ever made…which had aired in the late 50s. which is how I first saw them. Each Sat and Sun there would be six in a row from noon! But in 1967 the film storage unit went up in flames and so did about 3000 titles…all lost to flames or water.
To Boxoffice Bill: I used to run a cinema and often we showed a doco called MARILYN made in 1963, narrated by Rock Hudson, a Fox compilation created as a (mop up) tribute. The whole print was in Cinemascope and the finale was the c/s version of DIamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend you mention above. I remember thinking how good that sequence looked given I knew it was from a 1.33 film originally….thanks to you now I know there were two versions filmed.. and now you know where you can find where that c/s version finally turned up. It may be on dvd, I don’t know: maybe check the IMDb like I am about to. If anyone wants to email me: you can at
The pic of Swanson IS famously in the rubble of the foyer, or the Grand Rotunda, not the stage.
Also, can anyone tell me where THE QUIET MAN played. I have a Republic book that has an anecdote about it being the only Rep film to play Radio City because Yates went every day just to watch the logo come up on the screen there. Can that be true? In Sydney, Republic Films usually played the Plaza, our single level Roxy lookalike (see previous comments), but other Rep films like WAKE OF THE RED WITCH and JOHNNY GUITAR, SANDS OF IWO JIMA also played out best biggest cinemas. Monogram’s million dollar SUSPENSE (1946) also made the grade. Did any of these titles play either the Roxy RCMH or Capitol or Strand? I understand the prestige of those NY houses and am keen to know where hit pics from Rep, Monogram and Allied Artists played: IT HAPPENED ON 5TH AVENUE, THE GANGSTER, FRIENDLY PERSUASION etc. Thankyou to all who can help. All those films where prestige releases here in Australia.
Oh GOD!……..seriously demented Americana…and you all wonder why the rest of the planet thinks you are all seriously dangerous. And George has his finger on the button to the bomb. God Help us all.
Dear Brucec….by the Sydney public, yes, interstate visitors are just staggered when they discover it. The industry has always considered it the flagship of 20s palaces, although in this country we have (had) many equally as well appointed : Sydney Capitol, State and Regent Melbourne, and the lost lamented Prince Edward Sydney, Plaza Sydney, Regent Sydney and most incredibly the suburban Summer Hill Grosvenor which at 2000 seats in mock Spanish Gothic was actually a combination of the Sydney State and The Sydney Capitol ( and was bulldozed in 1970). The State here still is today, often now as an orchestra or acoustic concert venue as well as television awards shows etc. In the late 80s someone staged a musical about RASPUTIN and the palace of the Czars and the show literally started at the front doors and continued its stage design right to the back wall of the set. Over the stage of the State still is a massive glass crown with red swags sweeping from its rim down and out to the proscenium walls. In the 30s it was the home of RKO musicals and Columbia comedies, The 40s was Rita Hayworth films and technicolour musicals, the 50s much the same and in the 60s saw seasons of whatever big glossy films from Universal (PILLOW TALK ran 12 weeks) along with BYE BYE BIRDIE, ARABESQUE and most astonishing of all the AlliedArtist Elvis comedy TICKLE ME which did a solid 8 weeks! The Boxoffice blockbuster of the 60s was the Aussie comedy THEY’RE A WEIRD MOB at 13 weeks. In the70s it struggled through many British Carry Ons and alot of horror (COUNT YORGA ) but always remained intact and twinkling. In the late 70s it was getting a bit musty and there was even talk of “what to do”. For the BETTE MIDLER season in 1980 she came for 3 concerts and played 14 instead to adoring fans who kept snapping up tickets as fast as the boxoffice remained open. Midler often remarked at what an astonishing theatre it was and this unprecedented success assured the owners GREATER UNION THEATRES that the State now has a better life as a cabaret/concert venue, a use it is more famous for today than ever. I have seen many concerts there and often major film premieres play to an invited full house and open the season elsewhere. CRY FREEEDOM with Consuar guests or VANILLA SKY etc with Cruise attending is one example. The STATE has a website. Have a look around that. The Sate is an intact today as it was in 1929, a fact and feature guarded lovingly by owners and public alike. Write to them at 49 Market St Sydney and ask for their postcards which sometimes are available.
sam_e: In Australia of course, the rudest double was ADVANCE TO THE REAR + BOTTOMS UP
How’s that awful drape treatment! INfamous advertising really….. and…..recent posts about inventive cramming of marquee letters remind me of my Australian teenage ladder level exploits managing these two double features: ALICE DOESN’T LIVE HERE ANYMORE + ALLTHE PRESIDENT’S MEN. or try this one when 20 ft up: IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES + THE ULTIMATE SOLUTION OF GRACE QUIGLEY. A friend told me he had the thrill of placing THE HAUNTED AND THE HUNTED + THE HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL. Hilarious! Imagine answering the phone 700 times and repeating that! My favourite is from the Randwick Ritz when Tony the illiterate kid we employed liked to place ‘the shapes’ as he called them, up on the marquee: LISA MINOOLI and REBORT DE BIRO in NEW WORK NEW WORK. …..I kid you not.
The Regent Theatre is currently a Pentecostal Christian Church. I am not sure if they bought the site as it was for sale in late 2004. However, The Sydney Morning Herald dated Sat June 11th 2005 ran a freature article on Marion Best the interior designer whose colour scheme, lighting fixtures and rich decor is now recognised as the only cinema in Australia with its original work of hers all completely intact. A pic of the front revealed the movie times sign now reading: Church Services here now. The mega mall shopping complex next door had its expansion plans erased….
Re: Mr Edwards comment above that the interior is rather bland and could be cut up: tiresome negative and ill informed comments like that only de value this glorious theatre, which only helps heritage vandals get cinemas like this demolished at some stage. Really the Regent should still be screening films but at least as a church, it is intact and not tripled or demolished.
Gee that’s what we need, the Tax office seizing and presumably running a cinema…..or trying to, which would be beyond even them. Then they would learn about distributors! and the IRS could investigate them instead…..oh, haha. But of course they would have to sell the cinema or lease it which means the cycle could start all over again…… The Roxie management might be better off handing it all over to the IRS with a note left on the manager’s office saying “OK smarty pants YOU run it”.
Dear Rex, yes occasionally, I personally have seen, with orchestral accompaniment PANDORA’S BOX, and the 1913 CABIRIA…often these events are within or just after the Sydney Film Festival which has been there each June for 30 years. Many premiere events for new major films are at the State then open in 200 multiplexes the following week. It is now an events house and absolutley treasured by everyone who sets fot within.
Dear Rex, It is preserved and is in safe hands now as an entertainment centre with restaurants bars and a 700 seat cabaret/music venue. The new owners, the palace Hotels group have done a great job. PAUL.
Dear Rex. Councils do not re create demolished picture palaces. Yes they literally could have, but why would they? It is the wrong way to spend ratepayers money, and the Wintergarden would have cost millions to re create. I have never heard of any council doing that. Anyway, this council approved its demolition which is how the new owner was able to have a redevelopment passed and its destruction sealed. Yes I do have photos if you want a copy. send me an email with an address and I will send them you. Email address above. Be warned, you will be outraged. PAUL
Hello Michael….No The Capitol is no longer available to screen films. There was a season of GONE WITH THE WIND in 1999 for its 60th Anniversary and for that The Capitol was fitted with projection equipment for the first time in 25 years. It was a popular 3 week season, but the management preferred to stay with live shows. I would have screened other classics there (CASABLANCA, ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD and RYANS DAUGHTER) but the theatre was not available as there was a further change in senior management and then THE LION KING went in which has had a hugely successful run. After June this year 2005,when that show closes it will likely stay with more theatre not films. You could contact management yourself via their website, not here. The theatre’s address is 13 Campbell St Haymarket 2000. They might even have photos you can purchase.
To answer a question from Vincent several weeks ago, regarding the PLAZA in Sydney with its 91 ft CINERAMA screen: built in 1933 in Spanish galleon style it was very ornate inside and out and a n original single level design; held 1500 seats and showed RKO and FOX action pix. This included Republic who released thru FOX here, so pix like JOHNNY GUITAR or SLIGHTLY SCARLETT, or THE BLACK ROSE etc. In 1953 cinemascope was installed in the 2200 seat Regent opposite (built 1928) with THE ROBE opening there, and simultaneously in the Plaza with HOW TO MARRY A MILLIONAIRE. The theatres were owned by Fox so luxury fitouts and previews and premieres were held to these two showcases. The Plaza then became the home of luxury musicals playing THE KING AND I, CAROUSEL etc (but not SOUTH PACIFIC, SOUND OF MUSIC or CLEOPATRA which went to the revamped Mayfair nearby) The proscenium at the Plaza was so big that a 55 ft c'scope fitted within it. TV did not happen in Australia until September 1956 so the mindset was that if the cinemas were renovated and made sensational the TV intro would be less painful if the public were dazzled by the cinemas' overwhelming quality. Practically every cinema, city or suburban underwent luxury renovations for the intro of Cinemascope in 1954. However, by early 1957 the industry was clearly in trouble and in 1958 hundreds of cinemas with massive luxury renovations were closed and most immediately bulldozed. Most in the suburbs became petrol stations or supermarkets. The city theatres decided to again re vamp and the Plaza became a CINERAMA house in 1958 opening with THIS IS CINERAMA. The screen was wall to wall, strips of plastic, and was hat shaped, curving inwards into what was the old proscenium space and flattening out to the very edges of each wall. It was an absolute monster screen. Immediately hugely successful and with the most expensive ticket price ever: 19 shillings and 6pence: about $2 Australian or about $2.70 USD. It worked like IMAX does today and the Plaza settled in for a 15 year run of CINERAMA pix: Each usually ran about a year. I personally saw THIS IS CINEMRAMA, CINERAMA HOLIDAY, SOUTH SEAS ADVENTURE, WINDJAMMER, HOW THE WEST WAS WON, these were with the 3 projectors. MAD MAD MAD WORLD was the cimerama single strip and the screen was about 15% smaller. However, the 70mm was about the same size, so when it swapped between the various screen sizes and processes, almost all the screen was always used. If the screen wasn’t visually stupendous enough, the endless red curtain had thousands of small yellow spots! Mid 60s saw HALLELUAH TRAIL, BATTLE OF THE BULGE, GRAND PRIX, 2001 SPACE ODYSSEY, reissues of WEST SIDE STORY, SAND PEBBLES, and other mainstream 70mm pix. They used to show the advertising on a small screen then the trailers on a bigger size and to gasps from the audience the masking went out and out and up and up as the logo and opening filled your vision. It was just sensational. Ticket prices hit $3 in 1973 and it reverted to alot of ordinary films and played titles like ALL THIS AND WORLD WAR 2, OKLAHOMA CRUDE, TAXI DRIVER, and occasionally a 70mm release PAPILLON, TOWERING INFERNO and LUCKY LADY…or a 70mm reissue like THE PROFESSIONALS, but alot of 2 weekers in small widescreen 1.85/1: RED SUN, or CARRIE. Fox used it alot to show industry special events of to impress critics with a dud. By then the seating was 1117. Colour TV was introduced here in 1975 and just wrecked every cinema in the country. Business was so bad everywhere for 3 years that we lost almost every luxury cinema, city and suburbs. In 1976 the horrible HOYTS 7 cinema complex was built almost opposite and in one infamous single week in early 1977 this company closed 11 Sydney cinemas on the one night. In 1976 there was a CINERAMA and 70mm festival for several weeks which (secretly) hinted at the closure of this georgeous palace. Most of the above titles got one last airing. The Plaza had a tragic end showing MR BILLION on its smallest sized screen. It became a roller disco then McDonalds hamburgers, part of which it is today. The entire auditorium was lost and just the foyer survives, smelling of Big Macs. It is still mourned today, along with the Regent opposite, demolished in a scandal in 1988 that still gets media airplay today.
In the new film THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES the two lead boys travel into Argentina. They go to a town that has a newspaper called the Austral. The building they drive up to is shown in longshot. Believe it or not, it is the same design as this theatre, right to the curved front with the porthole at the bow, near the roof. It is not as high but certainly the same design. Have a look, the fim has been in release for only a few months.
Regarding CINERAMA and Cinemascope screen widths, here in Sydney Australia we had the 1300 seat single level PLAZA. The Cinerama screen installed there in 1958 was a wall-to wall head swivelling 91ft wide. It closed in 1977.
I have had a horrible day…until I sat for 3 hours and read most of the comments above. This site thanks to Cinema Treasures and the priceless contributions above are just exhilarating. Yes it is a tragedy The Roxy is gone but the information and anecdotes…and hilarious quotes etc are just so fascinating and entertaining. I hope this site particularly remains unedited so we can all spend wonderful hours scrolling down from the start/top time after time, making detours into the picture links and continually marvelling at every piece of info here. I love it and wish I could have you all over for dinner…except I live 12,000 miles away! Thank you to each and every person and their truly exciting and enlivening contributions. I just love it when there is new comments posted, I read them over and over. And after a crummy day I read them all over again. Yes I have a life ( a great one in Sydney Australia, home of the incredible State and Capitol Theatres) but this site and its NY theatre info and Roxy love affair is the icing on the cinema cake. Thankyou to each and every one of you. PAUL BRENNAN .
Did it have any affiliation with MONOGRAM PICTURES? I never believed the film company operated any cinemas, butlike PRC and other poverty row outfits, apparently they might. It is unusual to have the Monogram Theatre as a name…….anyone? PAUL BRENNAN.
Well, actually, WINDJAMMER played here in Sydney at the 1150 seat spanish style PLAZA CINERAMA in about 1961 and ran for 6 months. I did see it and have fond memories probably becuase it was a big event at the time. The screen here was 100ft wide; the cinerama films all played long runs here and WINDJAMMER was helped enormously by the visit of the Chilean windjammer ship The Esmerelda which docked in Sydney Harbour at the time. The Plaza on the inside looked like the pic of the exterior of the Roxy above, it was opened in 1933 and closed during the colour TV boom of 1977. It was a breathtaking luxury house and home of long runs BUT the mid 70s were its worst years and it was all over with a lame screening of Mr Billion. Today it is a Macdonalds. An insult to what should still be one of Sydney’s 4 genuine pic palaces. Two survived The State and the Capitol, and two were lost: the Plaza and the Regent.