Gaumont Palace

3 rue Caulaincourt, Place Clichy,
Paris 75018

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procenioum before cinerama

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The Gaumont Palace was the biggest movie theatre in Europe. It was a re-construction of the Hippodrome Theatre (1900) which had 5,500 seats. The Hippodrome Theatre was taken over by Leon Gaumont and re-opened as a cinema on 14th December 1907 as the Hippodrome Grand Cinema du Monde, soon known as the Hippo-Palace.

Another re-construction of the Hippodrome took place in 1930 when architect Henri Belloc created a fantastic super cinema in an Art Deco style, named Gaumont Palace. Seating was provided in orchestra and two balcony levels. It was equipped with a British made Christie 4Manual/15Rank theatre organ.

The cinema was renovated in 1954 to the plans of architect Georges Peynet and the exterior was renovated in 1955. It was converted into a 3-strip Cinerama theatre from 17th September 1963 until 13th October 1964, after which it was a 70mm cinema. The Gaumont Palace closed in 1970, the last film to play was Martin Balsam in “Tora, Tora, Tora”.

Torn down in 1972, the famous pipe organ was removed at the last moment before demolition and is now in a suburb of Paris. Today the Mercure Hotel, part of the Ibis Hotels Group stands on the site.

Contributed by Xavier Delamare

Recent comments (view all 15 comments)

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on August 21, 2006 at 4:28 pm

Historic photo from early 20th Century:
View link

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on November 19, 2006 at 7:22 am

While browsing in the current liquidation sale at Tower Records, I lucked on a superb CD recorded in 1990 on the Gaumont Palace’s legendary Christie organ. With Bernard Dargassies at the console, the 19-track CD is a mix of standards and Dargassies originals, with a total playing time of 41 minutes. According to the liner notes, “Christie” was the brand name of the British manufacturer, Hill, Nordmann & Beard. “For forty years, each performance was carried out with the same ritual and the same unchanged and methodical staging: the Hall with its 6,420 seats suddenly plunged into darkness and then gradually re-lighted in multi-colors as the console started to play and finally came into full view on its elevator.” Here is the organ as shown on the CD’s cover:
www.i8.photobucket.com/albums/a18/Warrengwhiz/christie.jpg

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on November 20, 2006 at 7:47 am

It seems possible that the Gaumont Palace was the largest cinema in the world, with as many as two or three hundred seats more than New York City’s Radio City Music Hall or Roxy. Here are some images copied from Francis Lacloche’s monumental book, “Architectures de Cinemas,” published in 1981 and now out-of-print. The first is a montage of views of the original Gaumont, which opened in 1911. The rest show the 1930 modernization by architect Henri Belloc, which was a major influence on Samuel Rothafel’s plans for the Rockefeller Center theatre that eventually became known as Radio City Music Hall.
www.i8.photobucket.com/albums/a18/Warrengwhiz/oldgau.jpg
www.i8.photobucket.com/albums/a18/Warrengwhiz/newgau.jpg
www.i8.photobucket.com/albums/a18/Warrengwhiz/newgau02.jpg
www.i8.photobucket.com/albums/a18/Warrengwhiz/newgau03.jpg

Roloff
Roloff on March 23, 2007 at 7:51 am

I have an old postcard that I’ve scanned and put in my flickrstream: View link

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on December 3, 2007 at 3:15 pm

Scroll down to page 13 for vintage photo of organ console on stage in this theater:
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Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on May 18, 2008 at 12:13 pm

Here are new links to three images described above on 11/20/06. Another was similar to one posted above by “Roloff” on 3/23/07, so I’m not repeating it:
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MarmadukeJinks
MarmadukeJinks on October 27, 2008 at 6:53 am

I’ve written about this cinema on my blog(http://parisisinvisible.blogspot.com/2008/10/prince-and-pauper.html), comparing the previous pictures found here with current pictures I took of what is there today. I wasn’t sure who to credit for the archive pictures so apologies to anybody who thinks they should have been credited.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on April 14, 2009 at 6:36 am

Photo my father took circa 1955. (My scan of the slide)
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HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on November 29, 2009 at 3:26 pm

A cool BW photo that somebody posted recently:
View link

kmedeiros
kmedeiros on January 12, 2012 at 1:41 pm

My son found a original movie tix from this theater for King Kong in 1933. I was wondering if it is worth anything? If so does anyone know where I could sell it?

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