Gem Cinema

144 Commercial Road,
Newport, NP20

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Peter123
Peter123 on May 15, 2004 at 5:29 pm

In the film “The Smallest Show on Earth” the Bijou is situated in
a mythical Northern English town of Sloughborough.
The frontage of the cinema was however a studio mock-up set, as was
the tatty interior of the auditorium.
The exterior of The Super Grand Cinema where Bill Travers and
Virginia McKenna go to see how a “real” cinema operates was infact
the former Gaumont Palace Hammersmith London.

RobertR
RobertR on April 23, 2004 at 9:27 am

Wow thanks for the heads up I wonder if it is out on video or dvd?

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on April 23, 2004 at 9:16 am

This description reminds me of the hilarious 1957 British movie THE SMALLEST SHOW ON EARTH (called “Big Time Operators” in the U.S.), directed by Basil Dearden. In it Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna are a young couple who inherit a dilapidated cinema and try to make a go of it. It is called the Bijou but commonly referred to by locals as the Flea Pit. Situated near train tracks, the theatre shakes when trains roar by; so the couple try to program a lot of westerns with train scenes! As dilapidated as the theatre are three attendants, played by Peter Sellers (the tipsy projectionist!), Bernard Miles, and Margaret Rutherford. Every self-respecting movie theatre buff has the obligation to see this rib-tickling comedy.

RobertR
RobertR on April 23, 2004 at 7:44 am

This is a great story and shows how the theatre business used to be. I think this could be turned into a great movie !!!!