Friday, 28 October 2016

Cinema glamour in early Hong Kong

The Alhambra Theatre, in Nathan Road, Kowloon, opened in January 1934. It wasn't the oldest cinema in Hong Kong . The Alhambra was built by Shanghainese who were used to the cosmopolitan sophistication of Shanghai. When it opened, a local newspaper described it thus "The auditorium is fan-shaped, with seats giving an excellent view of the screen from every part, while at the same time the acoustic properties of the house are beyond cavill. The tastefully decorated lobby at the main entrance in Nathan Road covers an area of 2000 square feet. Seperate exits have been provided, so that the audience leaving the building will not crash with those waiting in the lobby. The dress circle is the largest in the Colony, having a clear span of 110 feet and a depth from back to front of 52 feet. The whole of the reinforced concrete framework passed all tests in May 1932, to the satisfaction of the Building Authority. A feature of the dress circle is that entrance is provided in the centre by a stairway to the front. The architects are Messrs.T.C. Wong and Company." The first film screened weas "Gold Diggers of 1933", straight from Hollywood. 

Below a wonderful compilation of photos of cinemas in Hong Kong.  Some still survive, used as bijou arts venues. Silent shorts were screened in Hong Kong in the 1890's,   the first "building" being a Chinese opera house, which closed down in 1912.  They were also apparently shown in pop up structures, like tents at New Year Fairs, much in the same way as Chinese operas were and still are, shown in temporary structures.  The first Chinese movie was made in 1909, but is lost. The first that survives complete is the Romance of a Fruit Pedlar (1922) about which I've written here.   There's more on Chinese film , written in English, than on most sites anywhere.  

Thank you WE Channel for another wonderful video !

Original Content: Cinema glamour in early Hong Kong

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