Comments from geoffjc

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geoffjc
geoffjc commented about Plaza Cinema on Oct 22, 2006 at 5:33 pm

Undoubtedly the best of the ten “local” cinemas in Cardiff under the same ownership.Built to a very high standard and it outshone many circuit cinemas.
In later years refurbishment took place which improved it further but audiences dwindled and the very large auditorium was no longer viable.

geoffjc
geoffjc commented about Odeon Cardiff on Oct 22, 2006 at 5:21 pm

The Imperial as it was initially called had a troubled history and closed for a period in the late 1920’s.
Local proprietor Max Corne undertook a total redevelopment in 1934 but the new building was still on one floor and within a few months was acquired by the rapidly expanding Odeon chain.
In less than five months, further building work, adding a circle and installing the standard Odeon fittings took place. Surviving pictures and plans show how the practically new (New Imperial) building was altered while retaining some of the design of the architect’s previous building.
A published photograph shows the very steep projection angle, and the plans for the installation of the Cinemascope screen in 1954 are preserved. In the late 1950’s the local press reported a plan to close the Odeon which was Rank’s third cinema in Cardiff, often showing re-runs or taking on films from the Capitol or Gaumont for a further week; but it was the adjacent Gaumont (Empire) which actually closed in 1961.

Seating was improved in the 1970’s,with much greater legroom as well.

The twin Odeon involved building a new box (off-centre) at the rear of the former stalls area. Unusually, two projectors were still used for a time ,though the manageress had to apologise to the audience during a James Bond film for the unexpected interval required when one machine had failed.

geoffjc
geoffjc commented about ABC Cardiff on Oct 22, 2006 at 4:54 pm

I visited this cinema many times from the late 1950’s onwards, and recall the installation of the new screen and curtains, when the old curtain was used to hide the builders scaffolding during the work.The curtains were extended along the side walls before the 70mm showing of “My Fair Lady” which exploited the very large screen and well-sited projection room to the full.
Unfortunately in mid 1966 the decision was taken to reduce the size of the screen. The masking came down and the screen widened by a very small amount for the showing of “The Moving Target” and everything subsequently shown in ‘Scope.

The triple-screen ABC was a very disappointing experience from an audience point of view and little modernisation or improvement took place in later years.

A number of architects plans for the major reconstruction in 1935 which utilised the shell of the former Andrews Hall,and installed the circle, have been preserved in the local archive.