Bercy Cinema

128 Bourke Street,
Melbourne, VIC 3000

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Bercy Cinema

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Built within the gutted 3-storey Cox department store in 1964, this 810 seat single level cinema opened on 16th July 1965 with Rock Hudson & Gina Lollobrigida in “Strange Bedfellows”. It had a slow opening with some typical Universal bombs until the opening of "Irma La Douce" in late-1965 placed the cinema as a premiere showcase. Many Columbia ‘Roadshow’ releases saw this venue playing to capacity for many years to follow. Sadly, never equipped for 70mm, but a very impressive ‘scope screen, as well as masking capabilities for standard 1.33:1 ratio.

Despite its central downtown location and popularity, the late Sir Norman Rydge, director of Greater Union Theatres had bequeathed significant funds for the restoration of his favourite theatres; the State Theatre, Sydney and the Forum/Rapallo Theatre in Melbourne. Bound by the terms of Sir Norman’s will, GU had no option other than upgrade the out-of-the-way Forum/Rapallo (not so today) and let the profitable Bercy Cinema be sold. It was closed on 29th September 1983 with Anthony Perkins in “Psycho II”.

Today there is no remaining evidence that the building was ever a cinema, in its current use as gaming venue and bar named Welcome Stranger.

Contributed by John Holloway

Recent comments (view all 2 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on April 30, 2009 at 2:51 pm

A photograph of the former Bercy Cinema, that I took in March 2004:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/kencta/3489512538/

PhillipGrace
PhillipGrace on March 21, 2010 at 4:20 am

The last pair of Carbon Arc lamps in the city area (Cinemeccanica Super Zenith 450) went out of use when the cinema closed in 1983. A Dolby CP 50 stereo processor and stereo pick-ups in the projectors were permanently installed for season of “Psycho 2”. The chief projectionist insisted on a high standard of installation. Prior to this the original National 4 channel valve sound system was in use. Magnetic sound replay had its last run with “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas”, which sounded very good in the theatre.

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