Howard Haas visit to London, England

From September 23, Howard Haas enjoyed 5 days in London, England, before going north to Yorkshire (including the “This is Cinerama” report he delivered recently). Here’s his report:

On my 1st day, after arriving from Heathrow, I took transit almost all the way back there as I had never been to the Odeon Richmond, a Moorish atmospheric movie palace. This isn’t my photo, but depicts the magic of the main auditorium (former balcony) where I enjoyed the movie “Tamara Drewe” a comedy set in the English countryside.

On my 2nd day, fellow THSA member Ken Roe guided me around. We saw the Film Exchange District, from Golden Square to Wardour Street to Soho Square, including a huge 20th Century Fox emblem and neat Art Deco buildings.

Opposite Victoria Station, we visited a restaurant that is the restored former grand lobby (complete with ornate plaster work and grand stairs) of the former 2000 seat Metropole movie palace. The auditorium was demolished in the 1980s and unfortunately the beautiful grand lobby and facade and the entire block will soon also be demolished for redevelopment for offices! My photos of this doomed gem:

Then, we visited ex-Grosvenor Rayner’s Lane, 1936 Art Moderne cinema now a church. Inside it looks very Art Moderne, Exterior is truly remarkable with what may be meant to be the design of an elephant tusk. My photo-

That evening, I enjoyed the movie “Winter’s Bone” at the historic Gate cinema in Notting Hill, where I’ve been before.

3rd day- Saw movie “Inception” at doomed historic Odeon West End cinema at Odeon Leicester Square. Along with several other buildings, the movie theater is to be demolished. A replacement twin is to be included, but won’t be the same. My photo from prior trip:

4th day, I enjoyed movie “The Town” at another historic neighborhood movie palace that I had never inside, Odeon Kensington, another 2000+ movie palace where ex-balcony is now the main auditorium with a huge screen. All original decor except grand stairs is covered up. Also, doomed except for facade as developer to knock it down. My photo years ago of exterior:

5th day,I saw a Mexican movie as part of Spanish Film Festival in a restored Cine Lumiere auditorium of the wonderful Art Deco building of the French Institute in South Kensington. This was my 1st venture to this splendid building. Here’s my photo of the exterior:

After returning from Yorkshire, I enjoyed at the iconic Odeon Leicester Square the movie “Made in Dagenham” a true story about female workers at a Ford auto plant in 1968 in England who fought for equal pay. The Odeon, and the nearby Empire, continue as London’s flagship cinemas for mainstream movies.

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