Maxime Cinema

152 High Street,
Blackwood, NP12 1AH

Unfavorite 2 people favorited this theater

Showing 1 - 25 of 46 comments

Ian on June 20, 2017 at 8:30 am

Photos taken in May 2017, including the restored Screen 1 which is really rather special!






DavidSimpson on June 2, 2015 at 9:16 am

I visited the Maxime on 1st June 2015 and saw “Danny Collins”, starring Al Pacino, in Screen 5. Despite this being one of the smaller auditoriums, it is very well proportioned, very comfortable and has plenty of leg-room. (For the record, Screen 1, in the former front stalls, has 235 seats, Screens 2 and 3, in the former circle, have 110 seats, and Screens 4 and 5, in the former rear stalls, have 72 seats.) Indeed, echoing Jeffrey’s July 2014 comments, the whole cinema has been extremely attractively refurbished and fitted out, the result being a wonderful blend of traditional cinema-going with modern standards of convenience and comfort. Manageress Shelley and her enthusiastic team, who are rightly very proud of their cinema, made me very welcome and allowed me to take the photos that appear here. It was a wonderful experience, and I hope the Maxime can go from strength to strength. As a postscript I e-mailed General Manager Andrew Millar to pass on my compliments and send him the link to this entry.

Jeffrey Morris
Jeffrey Morris on July 22, 2014 at 2:59 pm

he Maxime cinema reopens as a five screen cinema complex with luxury bar on Wednesday the 6th August following a lengthy period of renovation remodelling the 1938 structure into a high tech modern cinema that will please cinemagoers throughout the former South wales industrial valleys.

Adam and his team have created a sympathetic, quality cinema that incorporates modern cinema exhibition technology together with that luxury feel that we used to enjoy when going to the pictures. Once again there will be a sense of occasion when going to the pictures in Blackwood, just as it used to be when the Maxime was last open as a fully functioning cinema.

Ticket prices are planned to be affordable at just £2.50 Mon-Fri and £3.50 Sat and Sun per person with no extras for 3D. The venue is sure to receive a warm welcome for the local community.

Jeffrey Morris
Jeffrey Morris on February 20, 2014 at 1:03 pm

Indeed Michael, Davis Evelyn Nye was commissioned by the Jackson Withers Circuit to undertake all their Cinemascope alterations, Maxime and Capitol in Blackwood, Astoria Ebbw Vale, Olympis Tredegar, Plaza Cardiff, Palace Abertillery, Hanbury Bargoed, etc.

The original architects for the Maxime in Blackwood was William S. Wort of Cardiff, Wort had already established himself as a contemporary style architect of cinemas an theatres in Wales, including the Odeon in Cardiff together with impressive alterations and improvements to the then Prince of Wales Theatre in Cardiff.

Jeffrey Morris
Jeffrey Morris on November 20, 2013 at 5:26 pm

As already mentioned below, by puddle. Work is underway to transform the Maxime on Blackwood’s High Street into a four or five screen cinema. There is no doubt that the new owners will remodel the cinema into a state of the art multiscreen cinema that will become a popular attraction in this area of the former industrial valleys.

There is considerable internal damage to the original plasterwork, in particular in the balcony foyer and the non-public areas of the building.

Unfortunately most of the original plaster work featured in the auditorium was removed during the conversion from a single screen auditorium to that of a bingo hall. With so little of any merit remaining it is not possible to restore the venue as originally planned. Meanwhile there is some plasterwork in the lower ground floor foyer and at the rear of the stalls area, although this is minimal and unlikely to be of any importance when returning the cinema to use in today’s era. The remodelling undertaken by David E Nye during the installation of cinemascope remains intact.

Much of the focus will be to restore the façade while creating a modern five screen cinema complex within the auditorium. Two screens in the former balcony and three in the stalls.

Considerable modification of the ground floor and mezzanine foyers will enable the Maxime to be a modern business serving todays cinemagoers.

puddlecheck on November 20, 2013 at 3:48 pm

Hi Fellow Maximers, Just to let you know that i gained access to the cinema this morning and took photos of all areas (84 in total) thanks to a very nice man over at Picturedrome Electric Theatre Co. There was one condition made that a copyright notice is put on them! if used on any site. I have posted a photo on Flickr and more will follow once copyright is added. Originals as agreed with PETCo will be sent to the CTA archive in London. I just wanted to record as much of the original before the changes are made to the 4 or 5 screens as mentioned in the local rags. Its in a bit of a mess at the moment removing all the bingo seats etc.etc however the very nice man said I could go back in the new year to record the changes. Lucky me eh!! Enjoy!

Jeffrey Morris
Jeffrey Morris on September 23, 2013 at 12:51 pm

It is great news Gringo.

I imagine that Albert and other former staff members are no longer with us?

Rank were not overly pleased with the campaign group so you clearly did a good job.

Do you have any of the MAG material?

email me if you are able to?

Gringo on September 23, 2013 at 12:05 pm

Good to hear that there’s goig to be a cinema in Blackwood again. I spent a lot of my youth in The Maxime and The Capitol. Myself and three other friends were instrumental in the Mid 70s in keeping the ‘Max’ open, we were called the Maxime Action Group ’M.A.G.‘ . We campaigned in Blackwood and created a petition to offer to the council at the time and we succeeded in getting them to subsidise the cinema, and they then created the Twin cinema screens in the balcony area of the old theatre.We also got shown around the Old and new projection rooms by Albert the projectionist. So again good news and we won’t have to trek to Nantgarw to see a film.

Jeffrey Morris
Jeffrey Morris on September 18, 2013 at 9:41 pm

The former Maxime cinema, trading as Top Ten Bingo, was put up for sale by auction. The former cinema has been sold to the Picturedrome Electric Theatre Company. The new owners plan to restore the venue back to use as a cinema with 4 or 5 screens.

Jeffrey Morris
Jeffrey Morris on July 4, 2011 at 11:22 am

Christian’s input is interesting. I have also heard that Diana Dors visited the Maxime although like Christian I’m not able to expand on the reasons why as I’ve never been able to dig deeper on this idea.

The cinema did screen The Exorcist and was given some rough media coverage as a result although the queues were considerable so the negative press coverage certainly attracted the patrons.

Unfortunately for me I wasn’t allowed in to the Maxime to see the Exorcist as I was 15 at the time and turned away by the ticket seller in the box office who recognised me from numerous visits, with a children’s ticket… lol I had to go to another cinema in the valleys to see the film.

It was a similar story with Emmanuelle, another film shown at the cinema attracting considerable press attention. Others included Straw Dogs, Soldier Blue, Last Tango in Paris and Clockwork Orange {I’m certain this was shown}.

Good to read that like myself Christian enjoyed his experience of the Maxime.

Christian on July 3, 2011 at 10:54 am

The final film to run at The Maxime was the Eddie Murphy comedy, Coming To America. There was no B feature as Screen Two had long been made redundant.

I’ve many fond childhood memories of this cinema and definitely remember the lengthy ‘hype’ queues for ET, Ghostbusters et al. I’m sure that local church goers encouraged folks to boycott the cinema for it’s decision to show The Exorcist and The Evil Dead.

I’m 95% certain that the first film I saw there was Watership Down.

It is my understanding that the late Diana Dors visited the cinema to mark an occasion there (possibly a reopening?) – but I cannot elaborate any more on that as it was before my birth and based on what older friends tell me.

Jeffrey Morris
Jeffrey Morris on March 8, 2011 at 10:00 pm

Hi Puddle – you’ve not been able to add your report back to us following your planned visit to the cinema so I have to assume that you were not able to secure access. If you have been inside it would be great to learn of your findings?

Jeffrey Morris
Jeffrey Morris on April 30, 2010 at 6:02 pm

Hey Puddle…

How did the visit to the former Maxime cinema go?

You got me jealous now, I cant wait to read how it went:)

puddlecheck on April 26, 2010 at 9:30 pm

GREAT NEWS, I have been given full run of the cinema to document the interior and projection room having had a conversation today with Lee the manager. Planning to complete this Saturday, thankfully before bingo starts. Let’s hope he wasn’t winding me up…

Jeffrey Morris
Jeffrey Morris on March 7, 2010 at 10:55 am

Hi Puddle – great to read your memories, be good to read your findings if you are able to get inside the former cinema. Esp if you can take any pics:) You would probably need to pay for a game of bingo of course.

For me it was usually the Hanbury and Cameo in Bargoed for AA and X rated movies, the Maxime box office woman was very strict indeed. I also got into the Abertillery cinemas as well as the Ebbw Vale one but rarely the Blackwood cinema.

The background music used must have been a compilation album and like you I can remember them all being instrumentals.

Unsure if the CTA has done a feature on this venue, they had not done so a while back?

puddlecheck on March 6, 2010 at 1:36 am

I read with great interest the history of this cinema which I have been trying to find out for some time, my thanks to everyone who have cleared so many questions I had. I have tremendous fondness for this cinema which I spent my early Saturday mornings but later as a spotty youth trying to see as many films as poss that mother would fund and attemps to get in to see the X certs. Failed miserably with this cinema but had no problems in getting in at the Olympia in Tredegar to see Last Tango, The Omen etc. The memories are still vivid of the Maxime’s Gold Festoon Curtains floodlit at the bottom of the stage with mostly gold and red lights waiting patiently for the curtains to lift, lights out and with me mate to try and chat up any girls we knew from school who would show an interest. I also remember the songs played while waiting for the presentation, all were instrumentals at the time. The Shadows, Mantovani and Herb Albert. I rencently made a compilation cd of all I could remember about thirteen songs in total Great memories, Great times. Pleased to see that this Art Deco Gem it is still standing and looked after still open for Bingo in Feb 2010. Must try and get inside to see what’s changed or altered, will update if I ever manage it.
Should you be interested in Cinema Theatre buildings then please support The Cinema Theatre Association and give this charity your support by becoming a member

Jeffrey Morris
Jeffrey Morris on November 25, 2009 at 9:28 pm

Photo of the Maxime from the mid sixties.

View link

Jeffrey Morris
Jeffrey Morris on October 13, 2009 at 11:27 am

Hi Element 54,
The Capitol Blackwood already has a listing here {/theaters/28108/
}. Comments placed by Editha and I already draw reference to the Capitols use as a theatre and market. Unfortunately other than what we’ve included in the text under this venue there is little else confirmed. Editha once worked there while I’ve experienced the cinema as a patron and also entered the venue while it was closed and unused following a period of use as bingo. This cinema had a good size stage with fly tower.

Additionally if you view my website there are images of the venue alongside additional written information. If you have any further information please do add. Also, view my website, if you discover anything incorrect please do let me know.

geoffjc on October 12, 2009 at 11:39 pm

A separate page for the Capitol(Blackwood)could be started. The book I found said it was built as a live theatre and later used as market before becoming a cinema.

Jeffrey Morris
Jeffrey Morris on October 12, 2009 at 6:08 pm

I’ve also spent time in the local library and found nothing – surpriding because the Argus did cover the original closure of the cinema and included a feature when the new screen 1 and 2 opened in the former balcony. they probably covered the closure of screen 1 and 2 later too, it left most of the SE valleys without a cinema.
Bingo operates in the old stalls, when passing by it never seems that busy so assume bingo days are numbered…

Info on the Capitol is patchy and conflicting, suggesting the cinema opened after the Maxime which was purpose built. Unlikely the Capitol will have opened for folm after the Maxime was built so must have been before. The library in Newport might be a better port of call for info esp through the south wales argus archives…

geoffjc on October 12, 2009 at 5:47 pm

Very little found in the library at Blackwood, other than a comment in a book that suggested 1936 as the opening date, but that’s very dubious as the same author’s caption to a picture of the Capitol ( c 1950) shows a CinemaScope screen in front of the previous proscenium.(i.e. about 5 years out).
Bingo still seems to be in operation in some part of the former Maxime.

geoffjc on October 11, 2009 at 11:17 am

Some Library research is needed on the subject, starting in the one which has the local paper archive.It was very common in the 1930’s for extensive illustrated features to appear when new cinemas opened, and these have been the source of a number of my submissions.
Possibly no partnership but maybe the cinema was acquired by Withers from Corne.
The question was raised by finding another cinema re-named Maxime when acquired by Corne, who had a company called “Cornell Cinemas” amongst others.

edithapearce on October 11, 2009 at 10:08 am

When I was at school in the late 1940’s , early 1950s Maxine was a very common name for girls. I knew quite a few Maxines. On the other hand Maxime was not a common word – therefore it is more than likely that local people unconsciously substituted the name Maxine, during their conversations, for a name that they were unfamiliar with and therefore not in the habit of using.

Jeffrey Morris
Jeffrey Morris on October 11, 2009 at 9:51 am

Hello Ian – good to read your comments. Maxime does seem to be used as a cinema name from time to time during the thirties even so, it is rare. I’m not altogether sure of the origins. I realised there was a cinema in Swansea that shared the name and there is another in Wales originally named Maxime.

Jeffrey Morris
Jeffrey Morris on October 11, 2009 at 9:48 am

Same here Editha { you managed to look at my website yet? – guess you’ve not as you could have emailed me}.

Element 54, seems as though it is down to you to throw more light on any partnership or link beetween JW and MC?