Movie magic gets a makeover

Oxford Mail: Odeon manager David Williams in screen one Odeon manager David Williams in screen one

A £1m refurbishment has been completed at an Oxford cinema, reviving memories of its 1930s heyday.

The Odeon in Magdalen Street dates back to 1924 and the silent movie era and in 1931 was renamed the Oxford Super Cinema.

Now, a £1m revamp has been completed to help restore the two-screen picture house to its former glory.

Last year, new screens, new seating and new projectors were fitted and a £350,000 restoration of the foyer – part of the £1m revamp – has just finished.

This includes restoring all the decorative plasterwork, renovating four antique 8ft mirrors and introducing a Costa Coffee concession with seating for 30 people.

Manager David Williams, 30, from Bicester, said: “We want to bring back the days of the Super Cinema in the 1930s and smartening up the foyer is very much part of that.

“The walls have been painted in a wild mushroom colour while there is blue and gold leafing around the mirrors.

“I’m delighted with the refurbishment, which I think looks fantastic. The building is Grade II-listed so we had to consult English Heritage quite regularly about the work we were doing.”

The main screen has 560 seats, including seats in the balcony, while the second screen has 55 seats.

“We removed about 100 seats to create more legroom and I think that creates a much better viewing experience,” Mr Williams added.

He said the foyer refurbishment was completed this week.

Last year, a similar project took place at the Odeon Cinema in George Street, which has six screens.

New seats and projectors were installed, costing £500,000.

Mr Williams, whose favourite film is The Big Lebowksi, said: “The cinema in Magdalen Street is probably the more historic of the two Odeons in Oxford and we want people to visit a cinema with character, not just a modern multiplex.”

Comments (2)

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4:44am Sat 25 Feb 12

LORD PETE MCVAY. OX2 6EG says...

The Odeon in Magdalen Street dates back to 1924 and the silent movie era and in 1931 was renamed the Oxford Super Cinema.......

Just a couple of points.

The Odeon was not created as a chain in the UK until 1928 so it couldn't have been named that back in 1924.

Now, a £1m revamp has been completed to help restore the two-screen picture house to its former glory.......

ERR, not quite. If it has been restored back to its former glory then it would be a one-screen "super" cinema.
The Odeon in Magdalen Street dates back to 1924 and the silent movie era and in 1931 was renamed the Oxford Super Cinema....... Just a couple of points. The Odeon was not created as a chain in the UK until 1928 so it couldn't have been named that back in 1924. Now, a £1m revamp has been completed to help restore the two-screen picture house to its former glory....... ERR, not quite. If it has been restored back to its former glory then it would be a one-screen "super" cinema. LORD PETE MCVAY. OX2 6EG

1:58pm Wed 29 Feb 12

jeremyb2 says...

Yes, the cinema has had several changes of name. It opened as the "Oxford Super" Cinema in 1924, later just plain "Super", then ABC, then Cannon, then MGM, ABC again and finally Odeon. It is still basically a one-screen super cinema ,with seats in the stalls and circle- the second screen is in the former cafe area and does not impede on the old auditorium. There is a good book available locally "Oxfordshire Cinemas" by Ian Meyrick if you want to know more.
Yes, the cinema has had several changes of name. It opened as the "Oxford Super" Cinema in 1924, later just plain "Super", then ABC, then Cannon, then MGM, ABC again and finally Odeon. It is still basically a one-screen super cinema ,with seats in the stalls and circle- the second screen is in the former cafe area and does not impede on the old auditorium. There is a good book available locally "Oxfordshire Cinemas" by Ian Meyrick if you want to know more. jeremyb2

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