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An icon on George street, I have fond memories of waiting what seemed like ages, in a Christmas time queue to see the movie “Journey to the Centre of the Earth” I was very young at the time but still can just remember the beauty of the interior. Outrageous that it was allowed to be demolished but that’s the price you pay, not for progress in this case, but rather corruption. If the current building on the site was demolished no one would even remember it, just a typical modern banality.
Walked by this building recently and immediately thought it might have once been a movie palace. Now I know all about it thanks to Cinema Treasures. At least the building still stands but the ground floor (like so many of Santiago’s grand old buildings) is a travesty to the memory of a once important icon of the city. The prophecy of doom so well described in the classic movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” has been fulfilled.
It seems that this movie theatre has been virtually forgotten. I don’t know exactly when it was demolished but it would have been around the early to mid 1960’s. Above the main auditorium there was a much smaller theatre known as the Roof Garden. This was a venue for generally non mass audience releases. I think the theatre was operated by the Greater Union Organisation who also had the Winter Garden in Queen Street and later the George which was probably built/totally renovated to replace the Tivoli around 1965/66.
The Brisbane Regent was possibly the finest Movie Palace in the Southern Hemisphere. There is no question that you would go to this beautiful theatre as much to see the place as to see whatever movie was playing. Brisbane was lucky to have been chosen to host Hoyts finest theatre and it’s a disgrace that the city couldn’t find a way to save it.
If anyone wants good photos of the interior of the Winter Garden Theatre try to get hold of Ross Thorne’s book – “Cinemas of Australia via U.S.A.” Great photos of Australia’s lost and in some cases still standing Movie Theatres. Glad to see the Sydney “State” still remains but the loss of the “Regent” and “Prince Edward” will be forever a tragedy. Cities are much the poorer without these magic places of entertainment.
I must confess to having an almost obsessive interest in this marvellous theatre, in my opinion, going by what photos I have seen, the most beautiful ever built.
I don’t know if this has been mentioned above (so many posts)but it’s interesting to know that in an unlikely way the auditorium in very close replica exists in the Regent theatre Melbourne Australia,(now a live venue)
Although smaller (original seating around 3,300)and having its procenium “squared” after a disasterous fire in the late 40’s, the overall design is remarkably similar, the architect obviously having seen the Capitol prior to producing his designs.
This theatre was very nearly demolished in the 70’s having been saved and restored thanks to the efforts of some very determined and far sighted citizens – Melbourne city centre would be much the poorer without it just as New York is sans the Capitol, Roxy, Rivoli etc. etc. What a city it must have been circa 1950!! The “glitzy” new buildings are no replacement for what has been lost over the past 40 years or so.
In my opinion the destruction of the New York Roxy was nothing short of a crime against humanity! The greatest movie palace ever built should have been a world heritage site to be enjoyed by future generations, not just the few for 30 or so years.
A changing business climate certainly necessitated that many of the old palaces simply could not survive but the very best deserved to be saved at all costs, once it’s gone it’s gone!!
There will always be differing opinions as to which theatres were the greatest, most opulent, etc and there is no doubt that the S.F. Fox will be included but for my money Lamb’s New York Capitol has to be the most beautiful picture palace of them all – I am judging this from photos only as I never actually visited the theatre. Like many others it was altered (wrecked) in the 60’s but in its original state it was less over the top than many later palaces and was a supreme example of Thomas Lamb’s classic style.
It’s worth remembering that another of the truly greats still exists and is fighting for its life – I refer to the Chicago Uptown, again arguably Rapp and Rapp’s finest effort and in it’s way as fabulous as the much lamented SF FOX.
I believe the procenium was altered after the fire in 1945. Apart from that the auditorium bears a remarkable resemblance to that of the much lamented “Capitol” on Broadway, New York City. Clearly the architect got his inspiration from this fabulous theatre.
Well New York lost its Capitol but Melbourne sensibly retained their great movie palace and the city centre is all the more interesting and vibrant for that!
Its hard to believe that even the “new"Metro is no longer, not that it is obviously any loss as they completly destroyed the original.
I have an interior photo taken around 1966 when part of the auditorium ceiling collapsed due to an accident on the adjacent office building when under construction.
It was a reststrained art deco style, very attractive. The only problem with the old Metro was the acoustics at the back of the balcony, somehow the sound system did not cover this area adequately. Also the rear balcony seats were really too far from the screen as the theatre was quite deep in relation to its width.
Nevertheless it was a bad loss for Brisbane. When I was last in that city, some 9 years ago, the Albert st. area around the theatre had become very tacky from how I remembered, perhaps the old theatre had got its revenge!
I was fortunate in the 1960’s to have a private view of the Regent before opening time one Saturday and managed to get a folio of good colour pictures of the interior- Gothic foyer, upstairs mezzanine lounge and of course the auditorium.
I had moved abroard by the time of the wrecking of the auditorium so thankfully only have memories of how wonderful it used to be!
I understand it is the only surviver of the city movie theatres, albeit in a reduced way, too bad it could not have been preserved as is the case with the Melbourne Regent.