Paris Cinema

291 Weybosset Street,
Providence, RI

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 11, 2018 at 5:36 pm

Esquire Theaters of America was the original operator of the Paris Cinema, according to Boxoffice of January 26, 1970. The Paris Cinema 2 was under construction at that time, with a projected opening date of February 16.

It was one of three projects Esquire had underway, including an expansion of the chain’s multiplex in East Providence and the Garden Theatre in Boston. The Architect for the Garden Theatre was Burt W. Federman, so it seems likely Esquire would have had him design their other projects as well.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 9, 2007 at 12:15 pm

A Providence Journal article of 6-2-07 wrote of Richard Rose, federal prosecutor in the case that sent major Vincent “Buddy” Cianci to prison on a racketeering conviction:

[i]When Rose was 16, he was a truant who spent a lot of time hanging out in downtown Providence, then a wasteland of dying department stores, adult bookshops and X-rated movie theaters. When the Paris Cinema, where Rose liked to watch kung fu movies and films like Superfly, also switched to porn movies, in the spring of 1975, Rose and a friend collected 1,500 signatures on a petition.

The dynamic new mayor, Buddy Cianci, who had visions of transforming downtown, was appearing on a television broadcast in Burnside Park, in front of the federal courthouse where Rose would prosecute Cianci years later. Rose went downtown, and tried to present the mayor with his petition, but was unable to.

The young Rose told a Providence Journal reporter at the time: “The mayor is trying to get people into the city. These movies aren’t helping.”[/i]

melbedewy on February 10, 2007 at 9:28 am

For years this place ran a sleazy ad in the Journal showing a teenage boy naked from the waist up with the banner “Providence’s Gayest Place”.

moviesmovies on August 16, 2005 at 2:24 am

O C Smith sang a lovely tune called ‘Suddenly, It’s All Tomorrow'
for the Preminger film 'Such Good Friends’ composed by R. Brittan, R and Thomas Z. Shepard.
It anyone wants to hear on MP3 I’d gladly send it.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on August 16, 2005 at 2:14 am

When it was a porno house, the Paris Cinema was managed by William Ikenberry, who was later to manage the relatively short-lived VIP Luxury Cinema on Westminster Mall across from Grace Church.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on August 16, 2005 at 1:39 am

Although the cinema had two screens, the place was always known as the Paris Cinema (not “Cinemas”) throughout its life. Here is an ad announcing the opening day of the Paris Cinema in 1969. It includes a representation of the cinema front.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on August 13, 2005 at 2:48 am

The Paris Cinema opened as a single screen theatre on Wednesday, November 26, 1969. I went to the movie on opening day, The Madwoman of Chaillot with Katherine Hepburn, billed as an exclusive engagement. Screenings were continuous from 12 noon. The cinema was advertised as “The First New Theatre in Downtown Providence in Over 25 Years!” The place subsequently had two screens, but it was not the case of a large auditorium being twinned, just that the second of the side-by-side auditoriums was not ready yet or had not been added yet at the time of opening.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 27, 2005 at 12:07 pm

The address for the Paris Cinema(s) was 291 Weybosset Street.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 13, 2005 at 12:46 pm

The 1973 Providence Journal Almanac gives the seating capacity for Cinema 1 as 175, Cinema 2 as 190. Owner: Esquire Theatres, Inc.; Carmine Montiquilla, owner.

TomMcDade on June 8, 2005 at 6:54 am

Hello Again Gerald, I grew up in Prospect Heights in Pawtucket, a family named Medeiros lived nearby. I ran into one of the kids early ‘70s. His name was Urban and he was the manager of the Paris. He gave me a couple of free passes. I took my girlfriend (now my wife)there one weekday afternoon to see The Ballad of Cable Hogue, a critical hit but not box office — we were the only audience!

brianmichela on April 11, 2005 at 2:48 pm

I’d forgotton about that scene, really. What I do remember, though, is Burgess Meredith, making a fool of himself.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on April 10, 2005 at 1:48 pm

I liked “Such Good Friends” a little more than you did. I saw it at the Palace in Arctic. I remember a very funny “oral” scene between James Coco and Dyan Cannon, I believe.

brianmichela on April 10, 2005 at 11:00 am

I rarely went to the Paris Cinema. No lobby. Small Screen. I didn’t like the theater at all. But, yes! I, too, saw “The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight” at the Paris. I remember nothing about the movie except for Jo Van Fleet, who was very funny. Otto Preminger’s “Such Good Friends” also comes to mind. An awful film.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on April 9, 2005 at 1:28 pm

The logo was the same lettering style as though someone were cloning Paris Cinemas (same script and star as a dot over the “i”.) The same thing was true of various Art Cinemas. The one in Hartford, for example, resembled the Providence one.

brianmichela on April 9, 2005 at 7:54 am

I always thought that the Paris Cinema had employed the same logo as the theater in New York to suggest perhaps that foreign films would play there. But, very few played there as I recall.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on April 1, 2005 at 12:31 pm

Some movies I saw here were “The Madwoman of Chaillot,” “Fantasia” (badly cropped), “The Conformist,” “The Learning Tree,” Peter Brook’s “King Lear,” and, I think, Andy Warhol’s “Lonesome Cowboys.” The programming became very haphazard until the place, always sloppily run, switched to gay and straight porno. When they closed, they were replaced as a porno house by the nearby VIP Luxury Cinema on Westminster Mall (q.v.) That one, a video projection house, didn’t last long.

I’m curious about the “Paris Cinema” name. A number of places here and there were called “Paris Cinema” and featured the same exterior design resembling, heaven help us, the truly classy Paris in New York. Many were or became porno houses. There is one in Worcester, Massachusetts still operating with screening rooms and a porno retail shop…built into a former movie palace. Can anyone illuminate?

hardbop on April 1, 2005 at 12:07 pm

I remember my father took me and some friends of mine here and we saw “The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight”.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on March 17, 2004 at 6:02 am

There were some annoying characteristics with this theatre. The exit lights were right next to the screen and cast a glow on them, All films, old and new, CinemaScope and standard ratio, were shown to fit an invariable screen ratio.