Katya Knyazeva (avezink) wrote,
Katya Knyazeva

+1 for C. H. Gonda: Doumer Theatre

Charles Henry Gonda (wiki), who designed the largest number of movie houses in Shanghai, was also the author of the conversion of Jimmy James' old cabaret St. George, at 9 Route Doumer, into Doumer Theatre 杜美大戏院. This brings the total number of his known cinema venues in Shanghai to eleven.

C. H. Gonda's movie theatres in Shanghai

1927: Capitol Theatre 光陆大戏院 – now 146 Huqiu Road 虎丘路146号 (PastVu)
1928: Grand Theatre, on Bubbling Well Road near the Racecourse – demolished in 1931 (PastVu)
1930: Cosmopolitan Theatre 国光大戏院, on East Seward Road – 550 Dongchangzhi Road 东长治路550号; demolished in 2004 (PastVu)
1931: Cathay Theatre 国泰电影院, on Avenue Joffre – 870 Middle Huaihai Road 淮海中路870号 (PastVu)
1932: Ritz Theatre 融光大戏院 – 330 Haining Road 海宁路330号 (PastVu)
1934: another Cosmopolitan Theatre, on Boulevard des Deux Republiques – status unknown
1938: Uptown Theatre 平安电影院 – 991 West Nanjing Road 南京西路991号 (PastVu)
1939: Doumer Theatre 杜美大戏院, on Route Doumer – demolished (PastVu)
1939: Roxy Theatre 大华电影院, on Bubbling Well Road – demolished (PastVu)
1941: Queen's Theatre 皇后大戏院, on Yu Ya Ching (Tibet) Road – demolished (PastVu)
1941: Royal Theatre (Shanghai Theatre) 上海大戏院 – 1186 Middle Fuxing Road 复兴中路1186号 (PastVu)

To rebuild the cabaret into a movie theatre, Gonda used the old ballroom as a base, extended the premises away from the road and constructed an inclined floor. The use of modern stucco technology and wide spacing between the rows ensured superior aucoustic qualities, but a special point of pride was the powerful air-conditioning. There was seating for 800 persons. In a characteristic Gonda gesture, the minimalist design was done in contrasting colors and the lighting fixtures were hidden. The owners of Doumer Theatre were Karl Gumpert and Heinz Cohn.

Starting out as a second-run theatre, but aspiring to turn to first-run productions in the near future, the Doumer Theatre opened In June 1939 with the screening of Desire (1936), with Marlene Dietrich and Gary Cooper. During and after the occupation, the movie house showed many Soviet films, becoming a favorite venue for the local Russians.

Here is Rena Krasno, Strangers Always, writing about Doumer Theatre in 1943:

Here is a self-professed "Cinema-Addict" complaining about the ticket prices in 1948:

Bonus picture, from 1942:
Tags: 1930s, 1939, architects, architecture, cinema, gonda, investigation, movie, route doumer, shanghai, theatre

Posts from This Journal “gonda” Tag

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