Cinématophone Modern Theater in Lyon / France


Ken Roe writes on Cinema Treasures: "The Cinematophone Modern Theater was opened by Alexandre Rota in October 1906.  ... It was designed by architect J. Fanon of Lyon. The Cinematophone was an early record player which was used to provide background sound to silent films. It was used in the name of the theatre to promote the fact that the Modern Theater had it installed."

Alexandre Rota was born in Candelo, Lombardy in 1868, he appears as a “patron weaver” in the 1901 census in Lyon. He was as the director of the Bellecour cinema in Lyon in 1905. In October 1906, he opened another cinema hall - the Cinématophone-Modern-Theater. 
He wrote about his activities: "Development of cinematography in all its forms - Purchase, sale, rental of devices, new and second-hand films - Rental of films from 0 fr 01 per meter and per day - Home screenings, fixed price for one or more screenings - Treaties for the end of shows in casinos, music halls, concert halls, boarding schools, lounges and families - Photographs, light projections - Fixed price installation of cinematographic stations - Advertising by the cinematographer - Electricity - SGDG patent for cinematographic projection in broad daylight".
Alexandre Rota, an entertainment entrepreneur, also an engineer, patented for having apparently made it possible to organize open-air cinema sessions in the middle of the day. He had obtained a gold medal at the Congress of Inventors of Lyon in 1911. It is known that Alexandre Rota knew how to handle a camera. He thus manages to show in his cinema a film on the funeral of Cardinal Coullié, shot by him that very morning. [Source]

Philippe Célérier writes more about this cinema on his blog
"The original 400-seat hall (only 230 in 1961) looks a lot like a theater, with its two side galleries. 
The establishment often changed its name: Modern'Cinéma from 1936 to 1953, Duo from 1953 to 1979, Modern '39, then finally Petit Coucou from 1979 to 1985. Its programming will also experience a lot of upheavals: if in 1958, the Duo is the first art house in Lyon, the Petit Coucou will move towards another genre of cinema, even being classified X in 1979 and 1982, before closing its doors definitively in March 1985 ..."

A. Rota was also a good salesman, when he used the popular postcard as advertising. Maybe the man in the little picture is Alexandre Rota himself? Surely he doesn't stand there by chance.


Neues Filmtheater in Bad Schandau / Germany


Neues Filmtheater Bad Schandau Postcard 1956

The cinema Neues Filmtheater was opened in 1953, later called Filmtheater des Friedens (Movie Theater of Peace).

It was closed as a cinema in 1991 and used briefly as a games library. In October 2001 it was opened as the Saxon Switzerland National Park House. The building was gutted for this. The exterior of the building has been well preserved and adapted to the new task. 

The building is a historical monument.

The old analog projectors also got a second chance. They are now used in the Dresden cinema Museumskino Ernemann VII B. The museum cinema has been part of the Dresden Technical Collections since 2002. These are located in the former Ernemann factories (later Pentacon). Cinema projectors and cameras were manufactured here for almost 100 years until 1991.

Royal Cinema in Gabès / Tunisia


Royal Cinema Gabés Tunisie postcard
Gabès is a city on the Mediterranean coast of Tunisia. It has about 120,000 inhabitants and is the 6th largest Tunisian city.

It is not easy to find facts about cinemas in Gabès. In French Wikipedia there is written about Cinemas in the colonies.

In Gabès there was the  L'Atlantide Cinéma with 600 places, directed by Mr. Sauveur, Raphaël Scozzaro and Emile Saada. It opened in 1937.


Radio City Cinema in Tehran / Iran


Radio City Cinema in Teheran postcard
Radio City Cinema was opened on 18 September 1958 in Tehran. It was designed by Heydar Ghiai (1922 - 1985), a pioneer of modern architecture in Iran. His buildings include the Moulin Rouge Cinema, the Senate Palace and the Hilton Hotel in Tehran.
The architecture of the entrance facade was designed in googie style. Red neon lights were installed on the outside of the cinema that glowed at night and gave the cinema a modern look.
The cinema had 1,400 seats and the screen had a width of 14.5 meters.

The Radio City opened with a screening of Les bijoutiers du clair de lune / The Night Heaven Fell - a 1958 French-Italian film directed by Roger Vadim with Brigitte Bardot. The cinema became one of the most visited cinemas in Tehran, showing intellectual films, most of them were US-American films.

Cinemas of the same name were built in major cities in Iran:
- the Radio City Cinema in Mashhad, opened in 1959
- the Radio City Cinema in Rasht, opened in 1965

In July 1973 a bomb incident occurred in the cinema. The cinema was burned during the Iranian revolution in November 1978 like the cinemas Capri, Chest Monde and Moulin Rouge. In the 1980s the cinema became a pharmacy for a while.

In February 2018, the cinema building was placed on the national list of monuments.

The postcard was sent in 1963. It shows the cinema advertising the movie The King and I (USA 1956).

Azar Nafisi writes in her book Reading Lolita in Tehran about watching Tarkovsky in Tehran.
There was a retrospective with Tarkovsky's movies in 1988 (he died in 1986) during the Fajr-Film Festival. The films were shown in Russian with no subtitles and censored. Tickets were traded on the black market, everybody wanted to see Tarkovsky. Azar Nafisi had the chance watching Tarkovsky's The Sacrifice and writes about this event:
“Looking back on that time it seems to me that such rapture over Tarkovsky by an audience most of whom would not have known how to spell his name, and who would under normal circumstances have ignored or even disliked his work, arose from our intense sensory deprivation. We were thirsty for some form of beauty, even in an incomprehensible, overintellectual, abstract film with no subtitles and censored out of recognition. There was a sense of wonder at being in a public place for the first time in years without fear or anger, being in a place with a crowd of strangers that was not a demonstration, a protest rally, a breadline or a public execution.”


Fox Theatre in Detroit / USA


Fox Theatre Detroit postcard
I got this postcard from Ron via Postcrossing.

He wrote he is remembering theaters like this.

Much is reported about the theater on Wikipedia.

Today the historic Fox Theatre in Detroit is the largest surviving movie palace of the 1920s with over 5.000 seats. The theatre was fully restored in 1988. But it isn't used as a cinema anymore. You can visit there different venues and concerts.

Thank you. Richard, for this postcard!


Central Kino in Požega / Croatia


This modernistic building with 456 seats in parterre and balcony, opened in 1937 with Charles Chaplin's Modern Times. The architect was Ljudevit Pelzer, who is famous for the cinema Korso/Europe in Osijek. The investors of both cinemas were the brothers Slavko and Bogumil Fleissig from Požega. Although Bogumil Fleissig was a civil engineer and had a construction company, his life is connected with the cinema. Already in 1911, his uncle Dragutin Fleissig, also a civil engineer, opened first cinema in Požega.

The architectural building of the new cinema and the outside area indicated the function of the building itself. On the facade of the building with large wall surfaces, an empty wall screen protruded, which was an unusual and interesting advertisement for the interior, cinema projections. The building is an example of the modern architecture of the 1930s.

The Central Kino was closed on 1st May 1999. Today it is a part of the Saint Teresa of Ávila Cathedral. Unfortunately I couldn't a find a photo from today on internet.

So there isn't any cinema today in Požega, but the local film and video club has been organizing every year the Croatian One-Minute Film Festival since 1993. Požega is really worth visiting.

Kino Edison in Karlovac / Croatia


Edison Kino Karlovac postcard 1926

The Edison Cinema was designed and built between 1918 and 1920 based on a project by the Zagreb architects Bruno Bauer and Ed Schoen. It is the first cinema in Croatia, built only for this purpose. There were 470 seats. And it was also the biggest cinema in Croatia.

In the 1930’s, sound films were introduced and in 1957 the first Cinemascope projection took place. From the beginning, Edison has been the most comfortable cinema house in Karlovac and it has always had premiere films on its repertoire.

The cinema is now closed because of renovation. It is going to reopen in 2023. After renovation and equipment, Edison will have two cinemas with a total of 260 seats.

The postcard was sent in 1926 and is still well preserved.


Moskva in Sankt-Peterburg / Russia


cinema Moskva Sankt-Peterburg Leningrad postcard 1960
In 1939, USSR's first three-hall cinema Moscow with 1200 seats was built. Its author is professor arch. Lazar Markovich Khidekel (1904-1986). The cinema was built on the site of the 1922 destroyed Church of St. Catherine in Yekateringof.
The facade of the cinema is faced with natural granite and marble, and the upper part is crowned with a sculptural frieze made by sculptor Igor .V. Krestovsky (1893-1976).
Cinema Moscow was  taken under state protection in 1967. The building is still standing, but there is no cinema.

The postcard is a little special. First, it is described - Soviet postcards in my collection were almost never sent. Second, it is noticeable that the reverse side is not printed at all. Usually there is the address field and numbers for the publication and also the price. The price, on the other hand, is on the front this time: ц. 1 Р. = Price 1 Rubel.

I suspect that the postcard was made and sold by a private person. Soviet DIY.


Khiva in Tashkent / Uzbekistan


cinema Khiva Taskent postcard 1916
Postcards more than 100 years old are like jewels in my colletion. This is a real one. The postcard was sent in March 1916 and is of very good quality. I'm think it is made before 1914. Lilja wrote this postcard to her mother Milda Janson in Rostov-on-Don. The card was stamped in Rosov.
Lilja wrote, that Samarkand and Tashkent are small towns, there are only few Europeans. A postcard with a cinema and a car seems to be a sign of progress.

The cinema Khiva / Хива / Xiva  was built in 1910  by the architect Georgy Mikhailovich Svarichevsky, who was born in 1868 in the city of Chișinău (Kishinev, at this time Bessarabia, today Moldova). Until his death in 1936, he was very actively involved in the development of the city and region of Tashkent.

The owner of the cinema was Grand Duke Nikolai Konstantinovich of Russia (1850–1918), a grandson of Nichosla I of Russia. Nikolai was an officer and a womanizer too. He had an affair with a notorious American woman Fanny Lear. Due to his affair, he stole three valuable diamonds from the revetment of one of the most valuable family icons. He was declared insane and he was banished to Tashkent. He lived there in a newly built Romanov Palace. 

The Grand Duke was engaged in entrepreneurship. He was the owner of a number of enterprises in Tashkent: a soap factory, photographic workshops, billiard rooms, the sale of kvass, rice processing, soap and cotton factories. He was also involved in laying irrigation canals in the Hungry Steppe and was engaged in the improvement of the city of Tashkent. He paved the streets, built a theater, a club, a hospital for the poor, an almshouse, a circus and even a brothel. 

And this cinema, too. It is named after the city Khiva. Nikolai Romanov himself took part in the Khiva campaign in 1873. And not only the name reains the town: The external appearance of the building itself, smoothly plastered with loess clay without any tint, reminded of Khiva's kala buildings. The main corner entrance, with two three-quarter, rounded, slightly tapering upward towers, was stylized as a khan's palace. The auditorium was decorated with a cornice of 1500 blades of Cossack sabers and swords. The curtain depicted a scene of a parade of Russian troops - a copy of a painting by Nikolai Karazin from his famous Khiva Album. In the foyer, cages with monkeys and parrots were located, entertaining the audience before the film, and the walls were decorated with oriental landscapes.

Nikolai Romanov was the owner of the building and rented out the cinema. That was another very lucrative business. As a real monopolist, he already in 1911 bought out several land plots in the old city of Tashkent and built cinemas "Modern", "Sheikhantaur", "Elzhe" and "Moulin Rouge" on them.
It seems, that Tashkent and its region was his own kingdom ...

Max Vysokinsky is another person connected with Tashkent's cinemas. He became famous as a clown and later an enterpreneuer. In 1907, on the territory of the City Garden, he opened the first Tashkent's cinematographic pavilion called Electrobiograph. He later rented the Grand Duke's cinemas with much success.

At the beginning of 1917, the electrotheatre, already known under the name Winter Khiva (since there was also a summer theater Khiva), burned down. In its place, a brick cinema was rebuilt at the expense of the wife of Prince Nadezhda Alexandrovna. It was later given the name Young Guard and was popular until its demolition after the 1966 earthquake.

So many interesting facts about one cinema. This story should be made into a film ...


125th anniversary of the cinema / Swiss Post


This first day letter is a gift from my sister. In December 2020, the cinema celebrated its 125th anniversary. Thanks to the Swiss Post, I was reminded of this. The birthday party was bigger 25 years ago ...

I love these stamps illustrated by Michael Stünzi. Cinema culture changed in the 125 years of its existence. On the left stamp a scene with the projector used by the Lumières is shown, in the middle can be seen classic rolls of film, and on the right there is a digitally presented 3D experience. The cinema audience wears the fashion of the respective era.

I like the creative idea that everyone is sitting in the same two rows, connected through the times (look at the different chairs!) - and printed as stamps together. Maybe the girl left is the older woman in the middle. And the man with the mustache in the middle could be the old man on the right (without the 3D-glasses). The projectionists were not forgotten either. Even if I would have liked it better if the woman in the middle had worn dungarees...

You can see on the envelope a cinema-building in the three ages with people also showing on the stamps. At all, you can tell little stories with these little pictures.

Times are changing and the cinema as a place looking films together will continue. Hopefully! Let's be creative!