Odeon Manly

43-45 East Esplanade,
Sydney, NSW 2095

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Odeon Manly

The Embassy Theatre, located in the Sydney beachside suburb of Manly, opened on 25th August 1933, with seating for 1,800.

The theatre was decorated in a Spanish style, which was very popular in the 1930’s. When CinemaScope was later installed, the seating was decreased to 1,544 seats.

The theatre was initially operated by the Smythe family, and in 1944, the family made an arrangement with Greater Union Theatres for their subsidiary, Acme Theatres, to do film buying for the family. A few years later, in 1948, the GU chain purchased the theatre outright.

After the closure in January 1960, of the Odeon Theatre (former Rialto Theatre) located on The Corso, the name Odeon was transfered to the Embassy Theatre. As the 1980’s rolled on, every attempt was made to save the theatre from demolition, but it eventually closed on Wednesday, March 7, 1984 with Wendy Hughes in “Careful, He Might Hear You” and “Local Hero”. It was demolished some 12 months later.

An apartment block has since been erected on the site, which included space for a twin cinema. First operated by Greater Union as the Manly Twin Cinema, it is still in operation today as the independent Manly Cinemas.

Contributed by John Adey

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

michaelv on February 11, 2004 at 1:01 am

The Powerhouse Museum has a small reproduction art deco cinema called the Kings Cinema after the famous Kings Cinema Chain. Inside this small theatre you will find reproduction lights based on those from the Mosman Kings and the seats are from the Manly Odeon. The Foyer is made up of the QVB’s 1930’s renovations. Everyday you can experience a segment of a silent film accompanied by a Fotoplayer and watch some classic Aussie films.

Ianinsydney on March 10, 2010 at 4:56 am

The Embassy Theatre possesed stage facilities and was used also for rock concerts in the 1950’s. It was closed in 1959. Owing to the closure of the original Odeon located in the Corso in 1960, it was decided to refurbish the Embassy and thus it was renamed Odeon in 1960. Fitted with larger cinemascope screen in 1966.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on February 12, 2011 at 2:04 pm

A poster on the front of the current Manly Cinemas, showing the history of the site:

darrenparlett on August 7, 2013 at 12:04 am

Sadly missed (back in those days there was a fun pier across the road as well) and seen many (and not so many) great films there.

darrenparlett on August 11, 2013 at 2:24 am

There on that screen many many Disney films as a child but as a pre teeen RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, POLTERGEIST, FRANCES, TIME BANDITS, KING KONG (76) & seen a few duds POPEYE & THE SWARM and with the fun pier…total heaven for any kid in the 60s to 80s.

darrenparlett on March 26, 2014 at 10:49 pm

I meant to write…i just uploaded a batch of pics discovered on Facebook on this beautiful and never forgotten cinema

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