Cinema Bela Lugosi
Strada Alexandru Mocioni 5,
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Functions: Movies (First Run)
Previous Names: Cinema Dacia, Cinema Victoria
In Lugoj, in Timis County, southwestern Romania, the Hotel Dacia (which is still in business) was built in 1912. It had 50 rooms, and a hall on the ground floor that, in 1956, was converted into the 160-seat Cinema Dacia. This was accessed from a side road.
At some time, this was renamed the Cinema Victoria. That eventually became very rundown and it closed (dates not known).
In December 2008 the former cinema was officially taken over by the local authority. In December 2012, after a tender process, a €1m contract was awarded for its full renovation and modernisation.
The ‘new’ Cinema Bela Lugosi was officially inaugurated on 17th April 2014. A ribbon was cut at a grand ceremony – but no films could be shown, as the relevant contracts with distributors had not yet been signed.
Indeed, it was not until a year later, on Thursday 9th April 2015, when the first film, the science-fiction adventure “Insurgent”, starring Shailene Woodley and Theo James, was screened.
The two auditoriums are The Red Screen (81 seats) and The Blue Screen (57 seats). Both can show 3D films.
The cinema is named after the matinee idol who became famous for his portrayal, on stage and screen, of Count Dracula. Bela Lugosi was born Béla Ferenc Dezső Blaskó in Lugoj in 1882, when it was in Hungary. He took his stage surname from the town.
(Just around the corner from the cinema, at Strada Bucegi 8, there is a memorial plaque on the building that stands on the site of Lugosi’s home. That was installed in 2012, which is when, presumably, the building was reconstructed to match the elaborately decorated adjoining structure. When I first visited Lugoj, in May 2009, the building on the site of Lugosi’s home, a grocery store, was much plainer: see relevant photographs. At that time, I was unaware of the former cinema just around the corner.)
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