Odeon Luxe London Leicester Square
26 Leicester Square,
26 Leicester Square,London, WC2H 7LQ
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Queen Elizabeth II attended the gala British premiere of “Funny Lady” in March, 1975. Color TV coverage can be viewed here
HowardBHaas: Those are some nice photos!
It looks like there screen was just left blank? Very poor, and it looks ridiculous in that auditorium.
I know what you mean about what looks like a veritable never-ending “sea” of seats. Interestingly, the Upper Circle of the OLS actually gained a couple of rows, with the circle’s layout revised (no full width cross gangway/new central wide vomitorium,) and the last row is now up against the rear wall.
Thank you Howard for posting the pictures of the London cinemas you visited last month. No curtain used at the OLS? What an amateurish performance…
Because of the huge seating capacity of the auditorium, when I visit London, from Philadelphia, I’ve always been more awestruck by this movie theater than any other in London. Last month, after a Pandemic pause for visiting London, I was finally able to see a movie in the redone auditorium. I had seen “Top Gun: Maverick” at the Empire Haymarket, but the movie is worthwhile enough to see a 2nd time, so I saw it in Dolby Vision & Atmos here. Unfortunately, the curtain was not used before or after the film. I posted photos of the exterior, the auditorium, and a closeup of the Circle doors with movie titles that premiered here. I loved that the doors listed the titles. The main stairs to the Circle has screens with images from the history of this theater, another nice touch. Even though the auditorium no longer has the huge seating capacity, the Circle (balcony) still has enough seats to keep me awestruck. Movie theaters should not be only boutique. We should be able to enjoy a movie with a crowd!
I’m a latecomer for Christmas but I wish you all fellow Cinema Treasurers the best for the coming year. I hope all of you are safe, vaxxed or not.
Best wishes for Christmas and the New Year to all. Fingers crossed that cinemas will continue to operate at a reasonable level of normalcy!
Fred Fullerton (former Chief Projectionist at the Empire Leicester Square) has recently uploaded many videos on YouTube, some of which are particularly special.
Odeon Leicester Square — Safety Curtain.
The above-linked video was taken just before the 1997 refurbishment. Two sets of tabs opening and lowering of the safety curtain can be seen, as well as “The Duchess” Compton organ emerging from the stage.
I had forgotten that the screen used to be positioned so low and at such a steep angle.
Another video shows the matching splay wall decorative lighting feature from 1987:
Odeon Leicester Square — Flo Neon.
I can’t say that I have ever heard of “flo neon,” although I did wonder how that effect was achieved. These days, addressable LED strips could do similar (and more!)
I remember this interesting feature well, however. By the time this video was shot, it looked somewhat dated, partially because it didn’t appear to be under digital control, going by the not-quite-perfect timing. Also, not infrequently, sections would be in need of replacement.
I also found that, whilst I liked it, it gave me an oddly unsettling feeling, rather than being relaxing before the programme… although I’m really not sure why…
At the start of the second video, the “Thieves are Silent” snipe featuring an animated snake can also be seen. Back then, this was also often shown in the old Empire 1.
It is very unfortunate that FanaticalAboutOdeon is no longer with us. He would surely have been delighted to see this footage of those old tabs.
Speaking for myself, however, I am very grateful that these videos have been shared.
Full “Dollhouse” 3D tour available on private bookings site:
In addition to the cross-sectional 3D reconstruction, many 360° photos throughout the publicly-accessible areas can be seen.
Lionel: Haven’t kept up to speed on the COVID rules regarding entry to the UK, so not sure if there are any real hoops for you to jump through?
I happened to pass through Leicester Square earlier this week, and whilst it was good to see custom Odeon typeface “007” signage on the OLS, the surrounding environs do look somewhat forlorn from the impact of COVID on visitation.
Hopefully things will be closer to normal soon so you are able to visit… I gather that the OLS is even closing tabs at the end of Bond screenings!
@CF100 - Glad to hear that your ankle is alright. COVID safety rules indeed complicate everything. A pity especially for those who got the jab twice. I hoped that, this year, the pandemic would be over and we would be able to travel normally again, and I could have seen Kenneth Branagh’s Death on the Nile in 70mm or 4K at the OLS (or the new James Bond episode).
Just to let anyone interested know, I have now recovered from my severe ankle injury to the point that wandering out and about in the West End poses no problem. (You wouldn’t even know unless you asked me to run!)
Unfortunately, the ongoing COVID situation is still something to contend with…
Another ad and article: Odeon Leicester square opening 01 Nov 1937, Mon Evening Standard (London, Greater London, England) Newspapers.com
Grand opening ads
Odeon Leicester square opening 02 Nov 1937, Tue Evening Standard (London, Greater London, England) Newspapers.com
My interest in cinema architecture and equipment faded a bit too. I had started 2020 by retyping on a computer my dissertation written in 1993 about the Empire when I completed my studies, rescanned pictures from books, retouched the colours of the slides I had taken back then. First in my native language, then with an English translation in mind. Then gave up out of exhaustion after Easter (yes, in 2020). I should get at it again and finish the damn thing. I’ll share it on Cinema Treasures when it’s done. I still anticipate our gathering at the Montagu Pyke. Do they have Old Speckled Hen? I love it but can’t find it here on the continent.
Just in case anyone wondered, I have (somewhat) recovered from my ankle injury (Talus bone fractured into pieces)–at least I can walk around on two feet again, and am not throughly exhausted from my body working overtime to put “Humpty Dumpty” back together again!
Hope everyone is well. I have no idea what is happening with the movie exhibition industry; too depressing to contemplate? My days of researching cinema history and keeping up with the latest developments are a distant memory… for now.
Lionel–Of course we should keep our values, pandemic or not… and it’s my belief that cinemas are “essential”… a place to escape to, relax and let our imaginations take over. I am sure we will meet at the Montagu Pyke!
Yes, a Happy 2021 to all!
Despite the situation with COVID and its gloomy consequences (and I personally suffered from it professionally, although I can’t complain when I see other people’s situation), I would like to wish the best in 2021 for all my fellow cinema treasurers, hoping that you all managed to remain safe so far.
I’m not British but I believe in this great quote: “Keep calm and carry on”. The perspective of meeting at the Montagu Pyke pub one day is one of the little things that keeps us rooted in normality. What would the world be if we started to believe that proper screen masking is less important than a pandemic?
Slowly cinemas going bust. Best news in years. I used to like cinema since 2013 Empire 1 was killed. Glad cinemas are all going bust now cos they can’t fill up these huge auditoriums. Home cinema is the future.
A quarter of Odeons to open only at weekends:
Vue are also saying they will have to “review options” citing the lack of blockbuster releases and prospects for independent operators are not so good.
The changes to life (and losses) caused by this virus are dreadful and depressing. I have, having read the above reports, just checked seat availability for the two showings today for Tenet at the OLS. The circle is closed, and in the stalls there are 3 seats booked for this afternoon and none for this evening. On my two visits to my local cinema the audiences have been extremely sparce. Cinemas simply cannot exist on this level of business, and the studios witholding releases is adding to the problem. There seems no way out, it is a vicious downward spiral.
Best wishes for your recovery, and keep safe everyone.
I wish you a good recovery. I’ve read the article for which you posted a link on the Empire’s page. Dark clouds are looming indeed, and not just in the cinema sector.
I had promised my Dad to come with him to London last April for his 80th birthday and it was cancelled because of lockdown. Now we don’t know where this is all going. He wanted to visit his English friends in Cambridgeshire as well (same age) and is a bit depressed as he starts to wonder if he will ever have the opportunity to see them again.
Glad to hear you’re safe. Have evaded the virus, but ended up with something that’s probably much worse in my case—a very nasty ankle injury from which I’m currently (slowly!) recovering.
Dark clouds are looming I’m afraid—it’s being reported Cineworld are to close all UK sites.
Will never be the same as visiting a cinema, but at least I acquired a nice Panasonic OLED a few months ago.
Hope all other CT contributors are well.
It seems that the damn virus won’t let us have our meeting at the Montagu Pyke anytime soon. Anyway, I hope all of you are safe. So far, I’m alright.
Is this place ever gonna hide all those speakers dangling from the ceiling looks so tacky and cheap I never liked odeon leicester square has worst sightline worst sound worst feel of the sound worst seating and totally overrated and overpriced for rich people who must have worst flat screen tv at home with a soundbar
And a band playing “Believe It If You Like!”……