35 Talaat Harb,
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Previously operated by: Loew's Inc.
Architects: Thomas White Lamb
Functions: Movies (First Run)
Styles: Art Deco
Opened in early-1940, the Metro Cinema was a project of the International Division of Loew’s Inc. to showcase MGM movies in Cairo. It opened with an Egyptian premier of “Gone With The Wind”. It is located at 35 Soliman Pasha Street (now known as Talaat Harb Street)
Designed by New York architect Thomas Lamb in a stunning Art Deco style, he worked with Gaston Rossi of the local firm of architects Dominioni, Rossi & Salama (Paolo Caccia Dominioni & Victor Salma). The Metro Cinema was the first cinema in Egypt to have air conditioning.
In May 1947, during a screening of “Bad Man Bascombe” starring Wallace Beery, a bomb was placed in the Metro Cinema by members of the outlawed Muslem Brotherhood which exploded killing and injuring several people. The Metro Cinema was closed down for several months while repairs were carried out.
A few years later on Saturday 26th January 1952, during a time of political un-rest, the Metro Cinema was destroyed by fire when it became a victim of acts against the British-run Turf Club that was located diagonally opposite the theatre on Adly Street.
The Metro Cinema was re-built but with a new interior that resembled ‘an African Savanna with samples of African masks and shields with some wild animals in the background’. Business was good for the rest of the 1950’s and the Metro Cinema retained its position as one of Cairo’s premier cinemas into the the 1970’s, when in 1978 Princess Alexandra of Kent came over from England to attend a special screening of “Death on the Nile”.
After that, the Metro Cinema seemed to go into a steep decline and ended up as no more that what could be termed a ‘flea-pit’. But there was hope several years ago, around 1997, that the Metro Cinema could be in line for a total refurbishment. This hasn’t happened and currently it is still open, screening movies in what recent review’s states:-
‘One of the classic old Downtown buildings which has now fallen into disrepair. It is a good enough auditorium, worth visiting for a blast into the past. Nowadays, it shows a broad range of movies from America and Egypt and its weekly cartoon screening make it an ideal place to take the kids’.
By 2017 it was operating as a twin screen cinema.
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