42-49 St. Martin's Lane,
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A modern basement cinema designed by Casson, Condor and Partners, this was a supremely comfortable but very plain cinema. It opened on October 12, 1967 with Julie Andrews in "Thoroughly Modern Millie" which played for almost one year.
The most distinctive item in the well raked stadium style auditorium was the screen, which appeared to float in front of the rear wall. There were no screen curtains and masking wrapped around the edges from behind.
In 1975, it became the ‘permanent home’ of Walt Disney films – actually this lasted five years before the Odeon returned to normal programming. Screen curtains were added in front of the ‘floating screen’ at this period of time.
Rank then made an attempt to turn it into an art house and it was renamed the Lane Cinema. But less than a year later it closed, only to be taken over by Artificial Eye who renamed it the Lumiere Cinema and who had considerably more success than Rank with art house films.
It closed on 7th June 1997 when the upstairs office block was extensively altered to become a hotel — the auditorium however was included in the scheme as a cinema and conference hall.
However, it never reopened although a full refurbishment was apparently carried out a few years ago. In 2006 it was converted into a Gymbox gymnasium and fitness centre.
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