Curzon Chelsea Cinema
206 King's Road,
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Located in the southwest London inner city district of Chelsea. This huge cinema building first opened on 8th December 1934 as the Gaumont Palace. It was built on the site of the studios and laboratory of film pioneer William Friese-Greene.
Designed by Gaumont/Provincial Cinematograph Theatres(PCT) architects William E. Trent and Ernest F. Tully it had a seating capacity of 2,502. It was equipped with a Compton 3Manual/13Rank theatre organ that had an illuminated console. It had a fully equipped stage with flytower, a large scene dock, property room, rehearsal room and eight dressing rooms. There was also a 150 seat cafe which has its own entrance.
Notable decorative features on the facade of the building are a sculpted bas relief head of Friese-Greene with masks of comedy and tragedy on either side, that are positioned high up on the facade. These are the work of designer Newbury Abbot Trent who was the younger brother of the architect Wiilliam E, Trent. On the lower section on each side of the entrance are two Art Deco style panels again by Newbury A. Trent which depict “The Awakening of Science to the Force of the Elements” and “The Harvesting of the Elements in the Film”.
The cinema became the Gaumont Theatre from 1937 and was modernised in 1960. It was re-named Odeon from 7th January 1963 and closed on 11th March 1972 with Sean Connery in “Diamonds Are Forever”.
The foyer and stalls area was converted into a Habitat furnishing store while the former stage area was converted into flats and offices. A new Odeon Cinema seating 739 was created in the former balcony area, using the former cafe entrance as its access. It opened on 9th September 1973 with Roger Moore in “Live and Let Die”. The Odeon closed on 21st November 1981 with Tim Curry in “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” and Gene Wilder in “Young Frankenstein”.
The cinema remained closed for almost two years until the independent art house group Artificial Eye took it over and re-named it the Chelsea Cinema. It re-opened it on 15th September 1983 with Gerard Depardieu in “Danton”.
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