Odeon Pennine Derby
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The Superama Cinema was the last purpose built single screen to open in Derby. It was a project of the Compton Cinema Group who were well known in the central London area as being producers and exhibitors of soft core and semi-hard core Continental sex films. The Derby Superama Cinema was the 2nd luxury ‘roadshow’ cinema they had opened (the 1st was the Scala Superama Cinema in Birmingham in 1965) in a bid to obtain respectability in the cinema business.
The Superama Cinema opened on 9th February 1967 with Charlton Heston in “Khartoum”, which was presented in 70mm as a roadshow engagement. The cinema entrance was located at street level with the single floor steeply raked auditorium hidden beneath the newly built Pennine Hotel which was operated by the Rank Organisation and adjacent to the a newly built Top Rank Bowl.
The architect of the cinema was John Ambrose of the firm Julian Keable and Partners. It was a truly luxurious cinema, with stadium seating, curtained walls which were illuminated by downlighting all around the edge of the ceiling in changing coloured lights. There was a massive curved screen, which proved ideal for the ‘roadshow’ blockbusters that were to be played there and numerous speakers around the walls which gave the stereo and surround sound of the day. There was an advance booking system and the cinema also had a licenced bar.
“The Sound of Music” played for 26 weeks, an unheard of length of time for a Derby cinema, but because Compton were an independent exhiibitor, they found it difficult to obtain films to play whenever audiences started to wane on a long running film.
From 22nd February 1970 the Superama was taken over by the Rank Organisation and re-named Odeon Pennine. However they tripled the Odeon (former Gaumont) London Road in December 1974 and this made the Odeon Pennine surplus to requirements. It closed on 31st October 1975 with Roger Daltry and Oliver Reed in “Tommy”.
After closure the auditorium was stripped out and re-floored and has had several ownerships and names as disco and nightclub use. It has been Sadies Discotheque, Molly Magoos, Brannigan’s, Destiny and Elite. Currently part of the building is Heroes 2 wine bar.
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