Gaumont Champs Elysees
27-33 Avenue des Champs Elysees,
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On a large parcel at the corner of the Avenue des Champs Elysees and the Rue de Marignan, a massive Art Deco style office building was erected, which included an elegant brasserie at the ground floor, shops and a movie theatre located beside the front building. A rotunda was at the ground level on the way to the stalls.
The Marignan Pathe opened in 1933 with the luxury of a movie palace. The fine Art Deco style design included the Pathe rooster on the walls, a mezzanine and a deep balcony. The orchestra pit had iron work bannisters and the orchestra could move to the level of the stage. Seating 1,800 patrons, it was one of the biggest movie theatres in Paris after the Gaumont Palace, the Rex and the Paramount Opera.
People of Paris discovered Walt Disney’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” at the Marignan and during World War II, it was a “soldaten kino” for the German military invaders.
A 1957 refurbishing did not alter the design but the stage and orchestra pit were no longer used and stereo sound was installed. Many big premieres took place here and first run movies were presented.
Usherettes who remembered the premiere of “Doctor Zhivago”, said people were drinking vodka in the Russian way, throwing the glasses on the floor. The movie was a hit with a 70mm print.
By 1968, the Marignan was considered an old fashioned cinema and before closing for remodeling, it was loaned to the students during 1968 May Revolution for meetings. It was closed in May 1968 with Elizabeth Taylor in “Reflections in a Golden Eye”.
Re-opening on 19th December 1968 with Omar Sharif in “Mayerling”, the new duplex which emerged from the remodeling kept the rotunda of the ground floor as a bar and the stalls became the Concorde, an underground level auditorium with armchairs a bar, and smoking. The Marignan’s former mezzaninne and balcony became the other auditorium. This new format resulted in good profits and soon the Wepler Pathe, another movie palace, will be duplexed.
In 1972, a Concorde 2 was created in an unused part of the rotunda and later the Marignan was triplexed, two screens in the balcony and in the former stalls, a 500 seat theatre. Two more screens were added, a 70 seat underground one and a 100 seat one, replacing the lobby of the balcony.
In 1992 the seven screen Marignan was under control of the Gaumont France chain and the space of the two former balcony screens are converted to one stadium style auditorium seating 400 with a wide screen. Digital sound was added in four of the auditoriums.
Gaumont France had plans to convert the Marignan to a luxury multiplex, but then changed its mind, instead just remodeling the cinema in 2003. By 2018 it had been re-named Gaumont Champs Elysees.
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