Odeon Luxe Haymarket

11-18 Panton Street,
London, SW1Y 4DP

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Odeon Luxe Haymarket

This was Europe’s first four-in-one cinema, and has a location on Panton Street, just off Leicester Square and Haymarket in the West End district of central London. It opened on 12th January 1969 with Jack MacGowran in “Wonderwall” playing in all four screens. The following day, “Wonderwall” remained in one screen, while “Les Biches”, “The Sinning Urge” and “Who Saw Him Die” opened in the other three screens. It was built for the Compton Group who operated several porn cinemas and had their own distribution company; Compton Cameo Films. They built several more Cinecenta cinemas in major cities in England, which like the Cinecenta Panton Street played mostly independent and foreign art house films.

Nigel Farrington of the architectural firm Farrington Dennys Fisher was the architect of this 587-seat complex which had seating in the four screens; 138, 154, 150 and 145. The policy was to play off-beat and Art House foreign films.

Compton were eventually taken over by Star Cinemas and mainstream programming was started at the Cinecenta. Star Cinemas were taken over by Classic Cinemas and they in turn were taken over by the Cannon Cinemas group who re-named the complex Cannon Panton Street.

Further take-overs and name changes continued; MGM, ABC Cinemas and currently Odeon Theatres, who currently programme the cinemas with foreign and art house movies. It was closed for refurbishment on 22nd October 2017 and re-opened as the Odeon Luxe Haymarket on 14th December 2017. The total seating capacity has been reduced to 185.

Contributed by KenRoe

Recent comments (view all 26 comments)

CF100
CF100 on December 14, 2017 at 2:59 pm

An Odeon press release on the new LUXE auditoria at Putney, Haymarket and Swiss Cottage says that:

–“Each reclining screen will be upgraded with new speakers and Dolby 7.1 surround sound throughout to see the latest entertainment in style… –"Haymarket will include… four fully-refurbished screens with upgraded Dolby ATMOS sound systems… [and]… 24 speakers across all auditoriums.”

On Odeon’s website, no reference to ATMOS can be found under “Cinema information.”

I assume they mean 24 screens in each auditoria, otherwise that’s only enough for 5.1 in each, L/C/R/LFE behind screen, and a “rear array” comprising 2 speakers!

OTOH 24 in each would imply a seriously overspecified rear array for such small auditoria. Maybe they’re counting every driver (e.g. every woofer?) Go figure…

Ian
Ian on February 4, 2018 at 1:48 am

Photo of the Odeon in new Luxe guise – January 2018 – here:–

ODEON LUXE HAYMARKET

PhilipWW
PhilipWW on March 27, 2018 at 8:11 am

I never went into the old Odeon but may be tempted now it has been refurbished.

Can anyone tell me about the screens? I guess they must be relatively small given the size of the cinema, but are they a good size relative to the auditorium sizes? Have they changed with the refurbishment? Are they Scope?

Robert L. Bradley
Robert L. Bradley on March 27, 2018 at 10:37 am

I was in Screen 2 last week and it was very nice. They have a proper ‘scope screen, and they used their side masking for their flat trailers and ads, opening it for their 'scope feature. The reclining seats are so comfortable that I had trouble staying awake, even though I was enjoying the movie. The screen is kind of small and off-center to the front of the auditorium, but it couldn’t be any larger due to the width of the auditorium. The presentation was excellent.

CF100
CF100 on April 27, 2018 at 1:57 pm

Swindon Interiors – Project Description – Odeon Panton Street.

Swindon Interiors were the principal contractor for the “Luxe” refurbishment, and the above linked page has photos of auditoria, foyer and toilets, with Dyson Airblade hand dryers prominently featured!

According to that page, the project also involved asbestos removal.

Zappomatic
Zappomatic on April 28, 2018 at 5:49 pm

It appears Swindon Interiors have reused the photos of the Putney refurbishment on that page.

CF100
CF100 on April 29, 2018 at 3:01 am

Zappomatic: Well spotted, thanks for the correction!

Lionel
Lionel on May 28, 2020 at 10:00 am

I just found these short films showing the animated sign of the cinema from 1969 when called the Cinecenta :

gettyimages.com

Lionel
Lionel on October 4, 2020 at 7:32 am

I recently bought a copy of Philip Turner’s book “Cinecenta Cinemas” (see it here . It’s an excellent book. Very rich of informations and illustrations despite its small size (A5 format, 30 pages). Copies are still available on various online shops including Amazon.

rivest266
rivest266 on May 21, 2021 at 4:35 am

Opening article from the London Illustrated news. The four-in-one house THERE MAY, FOR ONCE, BE A GRAIN OF truth in the stale public relations boast that the opening of Cinecenta (Britain’s first “four-in-one cinema, situated in Panton Street, just off Leicester Square) marks the onset of a quiet revolution in our filmgoing habits. Cinecenta does seem like an encouragingly realistic experiment in the light of the three most well-known facts about the industry in this country: that most of our cinemas are far too large; that public attendances at these cinemas continue to decrease every year; and that more films are being made than ever before, both here and abroad, a large proportion of which are never available for the potential moviegoer to enjoy. Cinecenta is a complex of four fairly intimate theatres, each with a seating capacity of only 150, which, between them, will exhibit some 30 new pictures in the course of 1969. Plans are in hand to develop similar centres in 15 or so locations throughout Britain as well as in other parts of London. They will not be art houses, and their products will be drawn from a number of international sources including Denmark, Germany, Japan, Sweden, and France. The fact that the first four choices at the West End Cinecenta—one British, one French, and two Swedish —all bear an X Certificate strikes me as coincidence rather than an actual reflection of the company’s policy: of these four, only one, The Sinning Urge, directed by Hans Abramson might be thought to fall into the category of just another sex film. Far and away the best work currently on show at Cinecenta is Jan Troell’s Who Saw Him Die? (Swedish title: Ole Doll Doff) which won the Golden Bear award at the Berlin Festival last year. Per Oscarsson, looking like a Swedish Tom Courtenay, is Martensson, a neurotic but well-intentioned schoolmaster, tortured by his rebellious adolescent pupils, by an unhappy wife (Kerstin Tidelius), and, above all, by his own feelings of impotence and self-doubt. The style of the film is deceptively inconsequential; the grainy black and white photography conceals an awareness of a man and his crumbling mental capacities that is almost unbearable in its realism. I hope it would not be reading too much into Jan Troell’s intentions to say that Martensson is presented as an archetype of a modern Scandinavian, even of a modern western man. He hates and fears, yet respects, the grimy technology he sees all around him; lusts, by contrast, after the fresh faces of girls he sees in fashion magazines; enjoys a brief, sexless respite with a female colleague who feels sorry for him; feels his energies and early ambitions sapping away; despises himself for the platitudes he is obliged to mouth to his unruly class. At the end he dies, trying to save a pupil from drowning—at least, one assumes that he dies. What has been the point of his life? I shall be surprised if a more depressing, truthful, and thoroughly brilliant film is shown at Cinecenta this year. The British offering Wonderwall, directed by Joe Massot, by contrast, is groovy, colourful, and rather slight. An eccentric old professor (Jack MacGowran) enjoys watching a pretty model girl (Jane Birkin) through a hole in his wall, and when you’ve said that you’ve practically said it all. This profound comment on the voyeuristic appetites of the male species is padded out to 93 minutes running time by some inventive, psychedelic photography, and by guest appearances, in the best tradition of British film comedy, by those old stalwarts, Richard Wattis and Irene Handl. I enjoyed, as much as anything, George Harrison’s weird, evocative score (yes, that George Harrison) and, if I’m honest, the many beautifully composed shots of Miss Birkin’s body modelling and making love. As a film Wonderwall is quite enjoyable for pure visual experience; as a story it is slow to the point of not even getting off the ground, and leaves one with a strong feeling of regret that for their first production Alan Clore Films have not been able to devote their considerable resources to something more substantial. The French have come up with Les Biches, (“ The Wantons ”), in which Jean- Louis Trintignant, the heart-throb of Un Homme et Une Femme, seduces two women, a young, poor one (Jaqueline Sassard) and an older, rich one (Stephane Audran) and, since he is unable to make up his mind about either and since they are devoted to each other anyway, an idyllic menage a trois develops in off-season St Tropez. The idyll does not last and the film ends in recrimination and murder. It is worth visiting Cinecenta to enjoy Jean Rabiera’s superb colour photography. Director: Claude Chabrol. At Academy Cinema Two there is an interesting Hungaro-Russian co-production, The Red and the White, directed by Miklos Jancso and shot in Russia on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the October Revolution. It is set in the early period of the Russian Civil War that followed that Revolution: fighting on the side of the Red forces is so-called Internationalist Unit, formed from among Hungarian prisoners of war, and it is through their eyes that we follow the inhuman, fratricidal struggle between the troops of the Revolution and the White, counter-revolutionary armies. It is a confusing near-masterpiece—it never for one moment becomes clear from the subtitles who is Red and who is White dramatic but not particularly moving, full of beauty and horror, with an oddly empty, spacious, timeless quality about it. Some of Tamas Somlo’s photographic work is utterly haunting: there is a shot of some nurses, dressed as Tsarist ladies for the benefit of the White officers, walking through a wood of silver birch, which will remain with me long after the film’s more direct impact has faded. Revivals: Hitchcock’s The Birds (Classic, Baker Street, January 19 -25); Rod Steiger in The Pawnbroker (Classic, Chelsea, January 19-25); Chabrol’s B/«e/)eorr/(same cinema, January2o-24 late shows);Orson Welles in Macbeth (Classic, Hampstead, January 22 only); The Graduate (Classic, Hampstead, January 19-24, except 22nd); (Classic, Kilburn, January 19-25); Terence Stamp, Monica Vitti in Modesty Blaise (Classic, Netting Hill Gate, January 19-25); Gorki trilogy part I: The Childhood of Maxim Gorki (Everyman, Hampstead, January 20-February 2); Cukor’s The Chapman Report (National Film Theatre, January 20 6,15 and 8.30).

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