The Last Picture Show: end of an era

Last Picture Show
Odeon Journey Project

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The Last Picture Show:  end of an era

In 1973, the St Albans Odeon was among the first twenty Rank cinemas to be converted into a multiplex with three screens, with Screen 1 in the circle seating 452. Screens  2 and 3 respectively seated 115 and 129, a total of 696 compared with 1728 in  the 1930s. Although more screens meant more choice, it was not a popular move with all audiences, as sound often ‘bled’ from one screen into another, with sometimes disastrous results. Later, a fourth screen was added.

Around this time, audiences became smaller as people chose to spend their evenings elsewhere – in pubs, restaurants and in front of the TV or videoplayer. On August 3 1995, the Odeon cinema closed (although financially sound) in order to encourage people to attend the multiplex at Jarman Park, Hemel Hempstead. However,  the Save Our Cinema campaign and the St Albans Civic Society were determined to keep a cinema in the city.

Films shown during the 1980s and 90s included:

The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1981)                  
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
ET (1982)                                                                  
Ghostbusters (1984)
Beverly Hills Cop (1984)                                        
The Breakfast Club (1985)
Back to the Future (1985)                                      
Pretty Woman (1990)
Ghost (1990)                                                                
My Girl (1991)
Jurassic Park (1993)                                              
Schindler’s List (1993)
Forrest Gump (1994)                                              
First Knight (1995) 


When they changed it to four screens, I didn’t like it, it was horrible. It was just like an open cinema before and then they divided it up and each cinema was so small, it was quite claustrophobic. And then you couldn’t make your mind up what film you wanted to go and see cos you’d got four choices…

Lesley Appollonio

This page was added on 13/08/2013.

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