Century Cinema

41 Tamal Vista Boulevard,
Corte Madera, CA 94925

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Century Cinema

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Typical 1960’s shopping center cinema – but this one is still open! Opened as Cinema 1 in December 1969. The Century Cinema is very similar in style to the former UA Cinema 150 in Santa Clara, CA. A square box with steel excutcheon around the top perimiter of the building.

The complex was renovated from floor to ceiling by Pacific in 1999 or 2000 and is said to be one of Steven Speilberg’s favorite movie theaters.

Contributed by mike croaro

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

Coate
Coate on June 30, 2005 at 12:18 am

The Cinema (as it was then known) was among the handful of theaters equipped with Cinema Digital Sound (CDS), the 1990-1991 precursor to the contemporary digital sound formats.

terrywade
terrywade on February 7, 2015 at 12:12 pm

Make a visit SOON!!! As this single screen large theatre is about to be torn down soon!!!! When It opened they had a large semi curved 70mm screen but when Pacific took It over they made the screen a little smaller. Now Century/Cinemark runs It before the wreckers come in. This is the best theatre in Marin to see a film. Come say goodbye before It is turned into a pile of dust. G Lucas ran all his films here with the best of sound and picture.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 7, 2015 at 3:12 pm

The Century Cinema in Corte Madera was opened in December, 1969, by Blumenfeld Theatres, in partnership with Cinerama Corporation of America, and was originally known as Cinema 1. The house featured a 56-foot curved screen and continental seating, and was designed by architect William B. David.

Anything but a typical shopping center theater of the period, the free-standing house on its raised podium, with its white columns and mansard roof, was designed to recall the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion of the Los Angeles Music Center (the Cinema 1’s front originally featured large windows which have since been filled in with red brick, greatly lessening the effect.) David was using a regional style that came to be called Hollywood Regency, which had been pioneered in the 1940s by architect John Elgin Woolf.

Hollywood Regency became a fad in the 1960s, especially in southern California, when block after block of Spanish style bunglows, Tudor and Norman cottages, and nondescript small office complexes around the region were remodeled and suddenly sprouted faux mansards, thick, arched window reveals, and non-functional shutters frequently painted in shades of pale blue, green, or gray, all in emulation of the pricey mansions Woolf had designed for a long list of people in show business. Even many of the dingbat apartment blocks that were put up at the time sported Hollywood Regency facades.

The style was rarely used for theaters, though, so the Century Cinema is a pretty rare type. It’s a bit ironic that it is going to be knocked down just when a revival of Hollywood Regency decor has gotten underway.

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