This article first appeared in
The 70mm Newsletter
Issue 37 - February 1995
Down on the sunny south coast of England is
the seaside town of Bournemouth in the county of Dorset. Bournemouth is
famous for its over 7 miles of golden sand beaches as well as a popular
Today there are only two surviving cinemas in the town. They are both
situated on Westover Road. The former Gaumont, now a 6 screen Odeon,
although it was equipped for 70mm in what is now screen #1 much of the
projection equipment was removed some years ago. But what is some interest
is that the original 70mm Cinerama proscenium is still visible although the
actual screen size today is a smaller screen which has been built into the
Further down the same road is the MGM Cinema. Originally built as the
Westover for the UK chain cinema owners ABC (Associated British Cinemas)
opened on the 19th June 1937 with Astaire and Rodgers musical
We Dance". It seated just over 2500. In 1958 the cinema was
renamed simply ABC Bournemouth.
In 1968 saw further refurbishment when 70mm Todd-AO was installed using two
Philips DP75 projectors. The first film to be presented in 70mm was the film
"Far From The Madding Crowd" in 1968. Other films
were "2001: A Space Odyssey",
in 70mm reading:
DTS 70mm at the
Att: Manager Mr Rodger Marley
27 Westover Road
+44 01202 290 345.
The cinema closed in 1969 for twinning. ABC 1 & 2 opened on 13th June
1970 with 644 & 982 seats. In January 1973 screen #2 was twinned as ABC
2 & 3 with a seating of 587 & 223. Now a three screen cinema. Screen
#1 still retains the 70mm projection equipment although one of the Philips
DP75 was removed to make way for a Philips cake stand/platter long play
system in 1976. In 1983 a Dolby CP200 processor was installed as well as
other improvements to screen one sound system. Films like
"Raiders of the lost ark",
Jones and the temple of doom", and
and the last crusade" as well as
"Cry Freedom" were all
shown in 70mm. In 1992 the cinema was renamed MGM when all the former ABC
cinemas was sold by the Cannon group to MGM. Two years ago new JBL speakers
was installed in screen #1. Dolby Stereo was updated in screens #2 and #3.
Future improvements will include Dolby Digital sound in screen #1 in the
summer. The first demonstration of digital sound was the Bournemouth
premiere of "The Fugitive" when it ran for weeks
in digital sound.
The 70mm Film Season 1994
For May and June shown on every Wednesday was the
MGM Cinema Film Season. The programme was put together by the cinema manager
Mr Rodger Marley and Darren Payne, cinema projectionist. There was good
public responce to see the films on the big screen. The films were:
Zhivago" 4th May,
"Far and Away"
11th May, "The Last Emperor" 18th May,
of the Sun" 25th May,
"The longest Day"
6th June and "The Hunt For red October" 15th
The most popular film film was
"The Longest Day"
on June 6th D-day when Bournemouth civic dignitarys were invited to attend
the screening. To help promote
the 70mm season a display of related 70mm memorabila which included a
Century 35/70mm projector was put on display in the foyer. Information
leaflets on 70mm films generally and
all known titles made on 65mm.
Information leaflets on The International 70mm Association were also put on
MGM Bournemouth specifications
Seats: Screen #1 652 seats. 70mm Projector: Philips DP75. Lamphouse:
Peerless Magnarc Xenon 2kW lamp house. Sound processor: Dolby Stereo CP200
and 200 w per channel amps. Speakers: JBL. 70mm screen size: 48 ft x 27 ft
(15 m x 8,24 m).
Written by Mr Ben Wales. Mr Wales first began to show interest in cinema in
the early 1980's. Started to collect old home cine cameras and projectors.
Now has a collection of 30 including one portable 35mm and a Century 35/70mm
projector. For the past two years has been a part time projectionist at The
Gantry Arts Cinema in Southampton. Ambition to work full time with 70mm
In future editions of The 70mm Newsletter Mr Ben Wales will delight readers
with new stories about British 70mm cinemas. Look forward to it.