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.


Cinema Vox in Casablanca / Morocco


Cinema Vox was a movie theater in Casablanca. It was designed by Marius Boyer and opened in 1935.  With 2.000 seats, it was considered one of the largest movie theaters in Africa.

The building could also serve as a huge theatre, opera house and above all as a hall for grandiose shows. It had three superimposed balconies (a rare case in the architecture of the genre) in a room that stood out above all for its sobriety. One of the major points of innovation in the monument was its indirect lighting. A discovery for the time which attested to the avant-garde character of the architect and of the city of Casablanca which already in the 1930s could boast of having one of the largest cinemas in the world. Another strong point of this monumental architecture: the ceiling which was retractable and which allowed, at the same time, in the absence of air conditioning at the time (another genius find) to enjoy the freshness of Casablanca summer evenings. 

The cinema was closed in 1979 and demolished.

On the postcard, you can see advertisement for the movie Agent Special with Laurel & Hardy. It is a little riddle, because there isn't such a movie in the Laurel & Hardy-filmography. Maybe it is their 1942 movie A-Haunting We Will Go, also known in Germany under the titel Laurel & Hardy: Die Geheimagenten.

Casablanca is better known for the film Casablanca, which was shot exclusively in Hollywood. In the 1990s, I have worked sometimes as a projectionist in a very small cinema called Casablanca in Dresden. We used to show Casablanca on Saturday 10 p.m. in a very bad 35mm-copy. It were hard times for projectionists ... 

I still love this movie. Even if I always wonder what beautiful clothes Ilsa Lund wears on her escape.

But there are also movies made in Casablanca. I saw the remarkable movie Adam (2019), directed by Maryam Touzani, about two powerful women with their untold secrets and tasty baked goods.


Schlossplatz-Lichtspiele in Hersbruck / Germany


Hersbruck Lichtspiele postcard

Hersbruck is a small town near Nuremberg, on an old route from Nuremberg to Prague.  The town was founded in 976 when a castle was built there near the bridge over the Pegnitz river. The castle in the center of the photo was rebuilt in the 16th century. Today the district court is there.

On Schlossplatz No. 4, there is a half-timbered building with the former castle brewery. Films have been shown there from 1920 till the 1960s. The cinema Schlossplatz-Lichtspiele had 250 seats in the last years.

The postcard was sent in 1961. The photo may be from the early 1960s, when there were still few cars in Hersbruck, so you could leave a stroller with a child on the street to look at the poster photos.


Rossiya in Moscow / Russia


Now it's time for most famous Russian cinema - cinema Rossiya in Moscow.

Opened in 1961, it was the largest cinema hall in Europe and the main cinema hall of the USSR with an audiorium for 2.500 people. In the basement, there were two smaller halls with each 200 seats.

Yury Nikolayevitch Sheverdyaev, Dmitry Sergeyevitch Solopov and Elmira Gadshinskaya were the architects. The cinema was built in 1957-1961 on Pushkin Square on the site of the 1937 demolished Strastnoy Monastery

An architectural feature is the outstanding floating roof. This idea was already realised in the late 1920s in Moscow with the Rusakov's Worker Club by the architect Konstantin Melnikov

Another original solution that transformed the square was a staircase thrown across the street, connecting the foyer with the pedestrian boulevard of Pushkinskaya Square - one of the busiest city squares in the world.

The cinema has always hosted major events, such as the Moscow International Film Festival.

In 1997, the cinema Rossiya was leased to the large film distributor Karo Film, which renovated the theatre and changed its name to Pushkinsky. In 2012, the building was renovated to host musical performances and renamed Rossiya.

Of course, this building is protected as an architectural monument of regional significance.

I recieved this postcard via postcrossing. In the foreground you can see the Pushkin monument (1880, by Alexander Mikhailovich Opekushin), in the background the Rossiya cinema. On the cinema, you can read the names Rossiya and Pushkinskiy. The cinema advertises the movie Война миров / War of the Worlds (USA 2005, directed by Steven Spielberg).


Eldorado in Luxembourg / Luxembourg


Luxembourg cinema Eldorado postcard

The cinema Eldorado - the building in front on the right - was opened on 30th December 1949 with The Heiress (USA, 1947). The cinema was designed in a streamline moderne style. A feature of the exterior of the building was the circular marquee, and the open spiral staircase to the balcony level, which began on the street on the right side of the entrance, rather than inside the foyer.  The cinema had 730 seats in the orchestra and 270 seats in the balcony.

Next to the cinema Eldorado, the cinema Europe opened in December 1963. In the picture the place is undeveloped. Both cinemas belonged to the family Reckinger. 

In June 1982, the Eldorado was converted into a 4-screen cine-centre. The balcony was extended forward to create a hall with 364 seats. The former orchestra seating area was tripled.

Eldorado and Europe were closed in November 1988 and demolished in 1989. Now there is a bank on this place.

In the photo you can see advertising for the films Die verschleierte Maja (Germany, 1951) and Truxa (Germany, 1937).

Here you can learn more about the history of cinemas in the Grand Duchy Luxembourg.


Collection of the Filmmuseum Düsseldorf

The Filmmuseum in Düsseldorf has a collection of postcards with cinema buildings.

You can see it online:

Kinopostkarten (Open Data).


Strandkino in Kulkwitz / Germany


Strandkino im Naherholungszentrum Kulkwitz bei Leipzig postcard 1979
I don't post normally multiview postcards, but this card is a memory of the 1988 summer I spent there.

The Kulkwitzer See is a lake west of the city Leipzig, not far from the large 1970's development area Grünau (where my vocational school was). The lake emerged from two former brown coal opencast mining. Since 1864, coal has mined there. The two remaining open pit holes were flooded from 1963 and opened as a recreational area in 1973. It is still a popular leisure center to this day. Due to its underwater flora and fauna and its good visibility, the lake is one of the ten best diving waters in Germany.

But there ain't no cinema anymore. The Standkino / Beach Cinema (picture top left) - opened in the 1970s with about 150 seats - burnt down in February 2004.

The construction was a corrugated iron building, looked like half a tin can and you could find it on many summer vacation spots in East Germany - 116 such of these cinemas in 1988. It was a simple construction without air conditioning. On a hot summer day it could be very hot inside.

I met a modern version of these beach cinemas on the island of Hiddensee in summer 2019 - Zeltkino Hiddensee. It is so relaxing to watch a good film in the evening after a beautiful day at the sea.


Neptun in Novorossiysk / Russia

 Novorossiysk cinema Neptun postcard 1971

Novorossiysk cinema Neptun opened its doors to guests on May 1, 1969 - and the doors are still opened. Today it has two halls with 419 seats.

First shown film was the 1969 Soviet comedy Бриллиантовая рука / The Diamond Arm.

The building is located directly on the Black Sea. For a long time it was a special children's and youth cinema.

Another cinema in Novorossiysk I blogged: Ukraina.

Metropole Tuschinski in Den Haag / Netherlands


cinema Metropole Tuschinski Den Haag postcard
Adrianus Gijbertus van Tool  built the cinema after he won the main prize of 100.000 (or 50.000?) guilders in the lottery. At this time, he was the owner of a theater and he dreamed of the most beautiful cinema in Den Haag.

The Metropole Palace was opened on 15th October 1936 with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in Top Hat (USA, 1935). It had 1.260 larger luxury seats in orchestra and balcony levels in the shell-shaped auditorium. There was a fountain and water feature containing real fish at the base of the staircase to the balcony. 

Although some distance from the city centre cinemas, the Metropole Palace attracted many premiere attractions. During the 1930’s foreign stars such as Shirley Temple, George Formby  and Mistinguett  made personal appearances here. During the German occupation of World War II, the Metropole Palace ceased screening films and became a dance hall, utilizing the glass floor in the orchestra level. It became a cinema again from 27th April 1945.

In April 1949, the cinema was sold to the Tuschinski group in Amsterdam, and it was named to Metropole Tuschinski. On 30th June 1950, the new Metropole was opened with the film La Beauté du Diable  (France 1950, directed by René Claire).

In 1976, the Metropole Tuschinski was converted in a five-screen cinema. The cinema was closed in 2003 and later demplished. In October 2008, a block of 30 apartments named Residence Metropole was being built on the site.

From June 1962 until 29th November 1963 the film West Side Story (USA, 1961) was presented for 518 days seen by 286.706 visitors!

I got this postcard from Willie via Postcrossing. She wrote she saw West Side Story a couple of times in this cinema. 
Bedankt, Willie, voor deze ansichtkaart!

Oroth Hanegev in Beer-Sheva / Israel


Cinema Oroth Hanegev in Beer-Sheva postcard

Beer Sheva is the largest city in southern Israel in the Negev desert - also called the "Capital of the Negev". The city as well as the entire southern region of Israel, has been a test field for modern architecture and planning since modern settlement. The result is partly very successful, partly sobering.

Among these buildings, there is the cinema Oroth Hanegev ("Ligth Cinema") built in the Brutalist Art Moderne style. It was designed by Yaakov Rechter (1924-2001) under the supervision of architect and father Zeev Rechter (1899-1960). The cinema was opened in January 1960 with The Bridge on the River Kwai (USA 1957) and closed in December 1989. 

The 800 seat cinema was commissioned by local businessmen, brothers Hillel and Shimon Felchinski.

In December 1989, the cinema was closed. The building is still standing, now boarded up and decaying and still a striking and unique building.

For me, cinema from Israel is very much associated with the black and white film Life according to Agfa (Israel 1992, director Assi Dayan). The film was released in German cinemas in 1994. It was one of the first films that I showed in the small cinema Casablanca. I felt very connected to the young woman with the camera behind the bar. We both wore dungarees at work ...