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Built for the Shipman & King circuit, the Embassy Cinema opened on 23rd August 1937 with Greta Garbo in “Camille”. The cinema’s entrance is set slightly off-centre to the parade of shops and flats to which it is flanked on each side. The exterior design is Neo-Georgian style in brick and above the canopy there are tall round-headed windows which allowed light into the first floor cafe. The lavish interior decorations in an Art Deco style are the work of interior designers Mollo & Egan.
An unusual aspect of the Embassy Cinema is the ‘double rake’ in the stalls floor. The floor slopes down towards the screen as normal, then at a point halfway down, it slopes up at a steeper angle towards the screen. Seating was provided for 1,200 in stalls and circle. There was a stage 12 feet deep and five dressing rooms. The proscenium opening was 42 feet wide.
Shipman & King were taken over by EMI and during their ownership, the cafe was converted into a second screen with seating for 117. EMI were taken over by the Cannon Group and it was re-named Cannon in 1986. In 1996 ABC Cinemas (in the form of a management buy-out) took control and they re-named it ABC. In 2000, Odeon Theatres took over and it was re-named Odeon. In July 2001, the main auditorium was sub-divided into three screens. The main screen uses the circle seating area with 518 seats, and the two minis seating 114 and 112 are located under the circle. In April 2015 it was announced that the Everyman Cinemas chain would be purchasing four Odeon’s: Esher, Gerrards Cross, Muswell Hill and Barnet.
The Odeon is a Grade II Listed building.
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