128 Bourke Street,
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Previously operated by: Greater Union Theatres
Architects: Ron G. Monsborough
Styles: Italian Renaissance
Built within the gutted 3-storey Cox department store in 1964, this 810 seat single level cinema opened on 16th July 1965 with Rock Hudson & Gina Lollobrigida in “Strange Bedfellows”. It had a slow opening with some typical Universal bombs until the opening of "Irma La Douce" in late-1965 placed the cinema as a premiere showcase. Many Columbia ‘Roadshow’ releases saw this venue playing to capacity for many years to follow. Sadly, never equipped for 70mm, but a very impressive ‘scope screen, as well as masking capabilities for standard 1.33:1 ratio.
Despite its central downtown location and popularity, the late Sir Norman Rydge, director of Greater Union Theatres had bequeathed significant funds for the restoration of his favourite theatres; the State Theatre, Sydney and the Forum/Rapallo Theatre in Melbourne. Bound by the terms of Sir Norman’s will, GU had no option other than upgrade the out-of-the-way Forum/Rapallo (not so today) and let the profitable Bercy Cinema be sold. It was closed on 29th September 1983 with Anthony Perkins in “Psycho II”.
Today there is no remaining evidence that the building was ever a cinema, in its current use as a gaming venue and bar named Welcome Stranger.
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