Brisbane City Cinemas
160-183 Albert Street,
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Known as ‘The Theatre of the Stars’ and built for Loew’s Inc., the Metro Theatre was a dazzling Art Deco style cinema, seating some 1,411 patrons. The Metro Theatre opened on November 10, 1937 with “After the Thin Man” with William Powell and Myrna Loy. The entrance to the theatre was ‘resplendent in polished red granite and chromium metal’. The outer foyer had gray marble walls, picked out with stripes of darker shades. There were 804 chairs in the stalls and 607 in the lounge/circle. The lounge and foyers were tastefully decorated with soft lights and furnished with comfortable sofas. Mirrors framed with drapes added an air of spaciousness to these areas.
The auditorium was of a parabolic or a saucer-shaped design, gently sloping towards the centre, both upstairs and downstairs, to give patrons better sight-lines and hearing conditions. The screen was a modern English white rubber screen, perforated all over with tiny holes to give better effect and let the sound through from the six speakers mounted behind. There were three projectors, two for running the film and one in reserve in case of a breakdown. This was a familiar trait at all Metro theatres around Australia.
In 1973, the theatre shed its picture palace facade and was given a new one with pointed ‘cubes’. It became a triple cinema known as the Albert Cinemas. Now operated by Greater Union Cinemas, it was reopened on December 19, 1973 with Edward Fox in “Day of the Jackal”, plus a puppet show, fashion parade and musical entertainment, which preceded a parade down the main street of Brisbane. On entering the theatre, 4,000 balloons were released from the awning, spilling onto the crowds below. Unfortunately, the celebrations were short lived, as the Albert Cinemas were affected by the floods in January 1974, and Cinema 3 in particular was badly damaged. Eventually it was cleaned up and re-opened.
It was last known as Greater Union Brisbane City Cinemas and closed in 2001. It was demolished in October/November 2004.
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