Cinema

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Cinema


Wests in 1914



A projection room at the Odeon after it closed

New Era

The New Era Cinema opened in 1954, located in Georgetown. In the mid-1960s it is listed with 770 seats, a 28-feet wide proscenium and additional facilities incuded a ballroom, licenced bars and a dance studio. It was independently operated by Jersey Sports Stadium Ltd. It was closed in 1972.

The New Era Cinema business was transferred to the Sports Hall on Victoria Road. It was operating with 235 seats and 16mm Fumeo projectors and closed around 1980.

Forum

The large art deco Forum Cinema in Grenville Street was opened in 1935 and closed in 1981. It was demolished to make way for office accommodation. It was famous in the early days of cinema for its Compton organ, which was moved to Fort Regent.

During the Occupation the Germans used the Forum as their own cinema, showing propaganda films and holding concerts.

Opening

The Forum Cinema was opened on 25 March 1935 by Mrs H de C Martell, wife of the Lieut-Governor. Edward O’Henry played the national anthem on the Compton organ as the party entered Jersey’s newest theater. It was reported that the carpets were so thick and the seats so quiet that latecomers, of whom there were a few even for the official opening, arrived unheard. The programme started with Pathe’s news reels, followed by more renditions on the organ, then the feature Abdul the Damned. It was noted that although 1,600 people were in the cinema, most of whom were smoking, the ventilation apparatus proved most efficient.

Odeon

The Odeon Cinema in Bath Street was opened on 2 June 1952 and was the last of Jersey's four main post-war cinemas to close, and even when it ceased to be operated as an Odeon, it continued for some time as an independent cinema. There were applications to demolish it, but it has been made a listed building, perhaps more on sentimental grounds than because of any strong architectural merit, and it has now been sold to a religious organisation and will become a community centre.

Wests

In 1909 T J West established the first cinema in the Royal Hall in St Helier. The building in Peter Street was built around 1900 and bought by West in 1909. He already owned a chain of cinemas on the south coast of England. The old building was demolished in the early 1920s and rebuilt as West's Cinema in 1923. Wests Cinema was on the corner of Bath Street and Peter Street. It closed after the last performance on 30 December 1972 and was demolished in 1977 to make way for a development of shops, restaurants and offices, with a large open square in front.

The new West's was opened on 24 September 1923 and was a splendid example of baroque style with rococo cherubs and fruit medallions.The original plaster work was carried out by a German company and they used urine in the plaster to retard the setting time. The ventilation system was more suited to the Middle East, for the roof could be opened in the ceiling and the roof above.

West's had an orchestra of around eight musicians and in 1909 it was under the direction of Leslie Curzon.

During the interval there was no ice cream available, but chocolate and cigarettes were sold. During a matinee tea and biscuits could be brought to your seat. One oof the features of West's was a large corridor running from Peter Street and Bath Street which allowed patrons to queue out of the rain.The twin towers were originally clad in blue and white tiles but were subsequently painted grey.

The arrivals of the talkies saw the removal of the orchestra pit.At some point the walls were overlaid with tangerine and peacock blue paint and a new carpet was laid which was described as a cubist's dream.

The Jersey Film Society was founded on 11 December 1947 at the Café Bleu, West's Cinema.

Cineworld

Cineworld is a big ten-screen cinema on the Waterfront in St Helier and is now Jersey's only cinema.

Film festival

Since 1997, Kevin Lewis (formerly of the Cine Centre and the New Forum) has arranged the Jersey Film Festival, a charity event showing the latest and also classic films outdoors in 35mm on a big screen. The 2006 festival was held in Howard Davis Park, St Saviour, on the 12–18 August 2006. In 2008 the boutique Branchage film festival was held.

Cinema gallery

See Pictures of the Forum Cinema for the Forum

The staff of the Alhambra Cinema in 1913
Odeon interior
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