12 Hagley Road West,
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Reel Cinemas, UK (Official)
Operated by: Reel Cinemas, UK
Functions: Movies (First Run)
Styles: Art Deco
Previous Names: Danilo Cinema, Essoldo, Classic, Cannon, ABC, Odeon
This is a beautiful, traditional Art Deco style cinema, located in the west Birmingham suburb of Quinton. It is based on the Hagley Road several 100 yards after the Kings Highway Pub as you go towards Mucklow Hill.
The Danilo Cinema opened on 7th August 1939 with Sydney Toler in “Charlie Chan in Honolulu” and Jane Withers in “Always in Trouble”. With a total seating capacity of 1,598 in stalls and circle levels, it was the largest of the cinemas built by Mortimer Dent for his independent Danilo circuit. The company head office was based at this cinema.
The Danilo Cinema was taken over by the Essoldo Circuit on 26th August 1954, and was re-named Essoldo. It was taken over by the Classic Cinemas chain on 2nd April 1972, and was later tripled, re-opening on 26th July 1973 with “Cabaret”, “The Ten Commandments” and “The Sound of Music”. Later it was split into four screens, Screen 1 having a seating capacity of 300, Screen 2 having a seating capacity of 236, Screen 3 having a seating capacity of 232 and finally Screen 4 having a seating capacity of 121.
Taken over by the Cannon Group in 1986, it then went to ABC in 1996. In 1999 the theatre underwent a major re-furbishment program. The foyer’s Art Deco style walls were fully restored to traditional pastel green and blue shades, the general layout of the foyer has been arranged so the new glass Art Deco style ticket booths are to the left, refreshments are to the right, and the signage indicating the direction to the various screens has also been improved. The sound systems had been replaced, and larger screens have replaced the older smaller ones that many cinema-goers had complained about.
Two years later, with Odeon Cinemas Group in control, the seating and carpeting in all screens had been replaced improving both legroom and general comfort, no longer would you have to sit through a movie and feel that the base of your spine and your thighs had become very numb.
More recently in 2006, it was taken over by Reel Cinemas and the frontage of the cinema has been restored to it’s former Art Deco style glory. The window frames at the front of the cinema have been painted in a scheme of navy blue, and the signage has also been replaced with black and neon blue signage that has to be seen to be believed.
All in all, this is a very appreciative cinema. Now having had essential restoraion/refurbishment work carried out to it, this is a very commendable and highly enjoyable suitable cinema for taking the whole family to.
Screen 1 Dolby SR
Screens 2-4 Dolby Stereo ‘A’ Type.
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