U. T. Lichtspiele in Halle (Saale) / Germany


U. T. Lichtspiele Halle (Saale) postcard
This cinema often changed its name. This happened mainly when there was a change of ownership or after major renovations. So it is a good opportunity to tell this cinema's history through its names.

The cinema Astoria Lichtspielhaus opened its doors to the public on October 16, 1914 with around 1000 seats in the auditorium. Paul Grempler from Halle was the architect. He had already built a cinema in Halle in 1911 - Passage-Theater, later called Goethe-Lichtspiele.

In 1917, there was a new owner and a new name - U.T. Lichtpiele. U.T. means Union Theater, a famous cinema chain in Germany in the early years of cinema. Paul Davidson opened his first U.T. 1907 in Mannheim, later in Frankfurt, Düsseldorf, Strasbourg, Amsterdam, Berlin. He was also a succesful film producer with his PAGU AG. So his cinemas were a part of the distribution. It even became fashionable to name a cinema U.T. even there were no connections with Paul Davidson.

In 1917, the PAGU and the cinemas became a part of the new founded UFA - and the cinema changed its name to UFA-Theater Alte Promenade after the street name. After the World War II, the company's property was confiscated.

The next I read about the cinema, it was reopened in 1953 with a new and typically socialist name - Filmtheater der Freundschaft (Theater of Friendship). Based on this name and the past as a Ufa-Theater, I assume that the cinema was used as a cinema for the Soviet Army between 1945 and 1953.

In 1968, the cinema was closed. There was a big renovation and new film technology and a new name: Urania 70. Urania was  the muse of astronomy in the Greek mythology. The cinema had now the technology to play films in 70mm. So the new name refers to the new age of space exploration, knowledge and progress.

From 1991, Ufa was again the owner of the cinema, but did not change the popular name. The cinema closed in 1997 after 83 years.

Luckily the building was preserved and its name. Today there is a restaurant, a club and a bar in the basement - Kulturhaus Urania 70. (Look at its history site.)

The postcard was not sent. On the photo, you can read the name U.T. Lichtspiele. So it was made between 1917 and the early 1920s.

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