Esquire Theatre

238 Bourke Street,
Melbourne, VIC 3000

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Esquire Theatre

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The De Luxe Theatre opened on 27th March 1915 and only showed films, and like many other Melbourne Cinemas had a Wurlitzer organ. The architect was William Pitt. The lobby had a floor of mosaic tiles and the walls to a height of 8 feet were covered in silver-blue tiles. A marble staircase leads up to the Dress Circle foyer. The auditorium walls had a 10 foot high golden brown tiled dado, relieved with cream and blue inlaid panels. The upper part of these walls featured hand painted panels of simple landscapes. These were covered over in the late-1920’s for talkies.

The theatre was re-named Esquire Theatre from 1946. The cinema’s policy was changed in 1957 with the movie, “Around the World in 80 Days”, and among the other classic films screened were “South Pacific”, “Can Can”, “West Side Story”, “Tom Jones”, “Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines” and “The Graduate”.

It closed on 31st March 1976 and was demolished. The seating was quoted when it opened as 2,200 but this seems most unlikely with around 1,500 more believable. It seated 1,125 when it closed. The chandelier that used to hang in the lobby is now hanging in the foyer of the Regent Theatre in Ballarat.

Contributed by Graeme McBain

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

KevinAdams on May 7, 2004 at 7:08 am

The Esquire was actually GUTTED to create further retail space for the adjacent department store. It has since been rebuilt at street level into an aracde/food-court. The original “Hoyts (Deluxe) Pictures” facade remains in all its glory, hidden behind a 1976 false street frontage. The facades original double arched windows – complete with “Hoyts Pictures” in cement render on the central column are still there, waiting to be re-discovered by a new generation of cinema archeologists… one day!
The Deluxe/Esquire was built on the site of the original St.Georges Hall – the birthplace of “Hoyts Theatres”. Next door was Melbourne’s historic THEATRE ROYAL, a live venue which closed in 1934 and was demolished for – you guessed it – more retail space!
Kevin Adams.

Richard4630 on June 27, 2009 at 3:11 am

The Esquire was a 70mm house and when i worked there they had just finished a 3 to 4 year run of the sound of music it also showed films like the graduate, tora, MASH, the lion in winter 70mm wit a mono track spread over the 5 stage channels. The Projectors were Phillips DP70 with ashcraft lamphouse using 13.6mm black carbons and drawing 135 amps the seating cap was around 1800 in those days, but did have a larger seating cap before then. it was the only cinema that i knew of that had a spre screen rolled up and sat next to the stage. it was supposed to be used for a special show but never got used. she was a fantasict of cinema. shame coles got there hands on it

bigt on March 26, 2011 at 1:44 am

The Esquire Theatre screened “The Sound Of Music” for 9 months. It was transferred from the Paris Theatre after 139 weeks. “Tora Tora Tora” never screened at the Esquire Theatre. The seating capacity at this time was close to 1200.

dangoodsir on December 8, 2013 at 11:30 pm

I am trying to find the name of the owners of the ‘Esquire Theatre’ Melbourne, so I can try and contact living relatives regarding some research. Appreciate your assistance.

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