25-29 Utting Avenue,
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Architects: Lionel A.G. Prichard
In the Anfield district of Liverpool, the Ritz Cinema was the last of the city’s cinemas to open for silent films. At a cost of £26,000, it was a venture of the Ritz Picture House Company (Liverpool) Ltd., whose directorate included Mr. and Mrs. R. L. Kenton, postmasters, of nearby 33 Utting Avenue, and Alfred Adams, who was connected with the Clubmoor Cinema.
The Ritz Cinema was situated at the junction of Utting Avenue and Bidston Road. It was constructed with frontages of rustic brick accented by panels of terracotta. A separate entrance on Bidston Road was provided for the front stalls.
The stadium-seating auditorium had a well raked floor, with curtained windows along the walls and stunning Egyptian-style murals, predominantly in brown. The proscenium curtain was pale cream and a stage and orchestra pit were used for cine-variety performances during the first year when silent films were shown.
The Ritz Cinema opened on 16th March 1929. “The Joker”, “Sailors Don’t Care” and “The Betrayal” were screened, accompanied by a full orchestra. Just over a year later, a British Thomson Houston(BTH) sound system was installed for the first ‘talkie’, on 7th April 1930, “Fox Movietone Follies of 1929”, featuring Sue Carol and Lola Lane.
Although initially a popular and attractive cinema, the Ritz Cinema suffered from competition from the major circuits and was restricted to the later showing of the leading films.
Matinees ceased in the early-1950’s. However, the situation improved soon afterwards, when the Ritz Cinema was among the independent cinemas to install CinemaScope, enabling it to show “The Robe” from 10th January 1955.
Matinees were resumed but, inexplicably, audiences quickly plummeted, leading to the Ritz Cinema being the first Anfield cinema to close. The final show, on 30th June 1957, was a double bill of “The Raid” starring Van Heflin and Anne Bancroft, and “Bomber Moon” with George Montgomery.
Initially acquired by Mr Ross, a coach tour operator, the building was for many years the Tasker DIY Store then, by 1990, the Tasker Sports Superstore. More recently, it has been home to Taskers Angling.
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