Hindley Cinemas 1-4
88 Hindley Street,
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This once beautiful Art Deco style theatre opened as Metro Theatre and was built for MGM. It was only MGM Metro Theatre in Australia to be equipped with fittings sent from the USA, including heating units (which are certainly not required in the heat that Adelaide normally has!). The Metro Theatre was designed by noted American theatre architect Thomas W. Lamb, in association with local architect F. Kenneth Milne.
The Metro Theatre opened on October 6, 1939, with a seating capacity for 1,286 patrons in air-conditioned comfort in the stalls, dress circle and lounge. The seating was uniform throughout with air-cushioned seats upholstered in sea-blue moquette, which toned well with the pastel brown, beige and gold of the auditorium and the rich burgundy carpets. On each side of the proscenium four indented columns diffused the amber light which beamed up towards the ceiling. The opening attraction was MGM’s “Sweethearts” with Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy, plus a James A. Fitzpatrick Travelogue, “Glimpses of Australia”.
The decoration of the facade was reminiscent of a mini-skyscraper of the 1930’s. A large marquee with neon-strip lighting and back-lit cut-out letters adorned the main entrance.
In 1954, CinemaScope was installed and the original proscenium was widened. A new waterfall curtain in gold crushed velvet was a beautiful feature of the newly designed stage area.
In 1975, the beautiful interior of the Metro Theatre was gutted for a four-cinema complex for Greater Union Theatres. Opened as the Hindley Cinemas 1-4 on 8th August 1975. Cinema 1 was located in the former circle and seated 571. Cinema 2 with 386 seats was created in space above the entrance foyer, with the screen at the Hindley Street end. Cinema 3 was created in the left-hand side of the former stalls and seated 300. Cinema 4 was created in the right-hand side of the former stalls and seated 284. The front of the building was painted purple. The foyer was also covered in purple carpet.
This abomination closed on 11th April 1991.
For a short time it was used as a nightclub which attracted a seedy clientele. For many years it remained empty and was demolished in 2005 to make way for an apartment hotel/backpacker accommodation.
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