Le CAPRI Juan les pins
LE CINEMA DE NOTRE TEMPS
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The 70mm Newsletter
|Written by: Sylvian Coudène in French and translated into English by Francois Carrin.||Date: 3 March 2006|
|Devoted today to fast food and other video games theatres, Juan-les-Pins was formerly one of the most crested French Riviera seaside resorts, the rival of Saint-Tropez. The resort decline began in the seventies.|
In the eighties, the break was closing of Provencal hotel, to day in pathetic abandoned shape. In the sixties, the resort was at its height: in the Goud pinewood most of international stars were welcome at the Jazz festival from Ella Fitzgerald to Miles David.
Most of Hollywood stars were very welcome at Le Provencal: Chaplin, Gary Cooper and others, as international jet-set.
It was no rare, in these clubs, to see during a jam session (an "ox" in French) musicians as famous as Louis Armstrong, Oscar Peterson or Lionel Hampton.
Within this context, close to Cannes (European cinema capital), the opening of a new cinema in Antibes/Juan-les-Pins was obvious.
In these times (1966) owned 4 theatres: the Palmarium, the Rex, l'Antipolis and the Casino, and a a moth-eaten in Juan, the Ritz.
It was not the time of "full car" and the competition with Cannes - a dozen of theatres in this time - did not showed.
It will be evident later: today in Antibes it's only the Casino including 3 theatres, most of audience preferring to go and see a film in Cannes, 15 minutes by car.
|Further in 70mm reading:|
A Cinema of Our Time
|However, growing of car importance was watched by Capri managers; they build the theatre along the (famous) Nationale 7 - National Road number 7 - between Antibes ... and Cannes, along Juan les Pins exit. Today it would be an obvious logic but in these times the forerunners were some years ahead ! I apologize for dates errors: in this time I was a child.|
A 600 seats theatre was built with an about 400 cars space to park, in a desert location. However my memory can play a trick, but this is what I can remember: a sober grey and white building, imposing and modern architecture, with this time logo "OUR TIME CINEMA".
It was a marble entrance hall with a bar and barman. On the left, the large book office, no a "site office" as in Antibles usual one. We were welcomed by pretty in uniform usherettes (it was full different from the unpleasant old biddies in other theatres). They guided us inside the theatre, and the first time it was wonderful: a large cubic rectangle with golden wall carpet in matching tones. On the floor, 600 green QUINETTE seats (I remember it, it was written in the ads) where we delightfully seated.
A wall to wall curtain in two parts (for the ad), masking a 120 square meters screen, in these time it was very impressive for us. When the curtain opened in the front of the huge curved screen, audience was filled for admiration with ah! and oh!
In the bottom of the curtain was located a big jardiniere with exotic plants, lighted with green spotlights and just before features and during 70mm roadshows musical overtures fountains were in action.
The theatre was inaugurated with a Todd-AO 70mm festival, first screening was "Cleopatra", is these times listed as a third rate film, today a masterpiece. "Cleopatra", "West side Story", "Can Can", "My Fair Lady" and "Lawrence of Arabia" were screened during the opening month.
Re-releases of course, but in an unusual format for us. In these times most of people was smoking: the managers had built a location where audience could see the films trough a window, seated in club seats. Unfortunately, just before the closing, they built a pizzeria, wieving on the screen with a large window! It was unsuccessful.
I remember one of the owners, named André Pomares (pronounced ès - esse) and again, I have not be successful to find his trace; I think that he could have many documents, ads, stills...
"Dédé" - french nickname of André - was a true passionate person: during a festival he had cut across the surroundings on a horse ! with some riders friends, alls with typical cowboy dress. He was a real "crazy", a real innovator, with a latin lover physique, welcoming audience with a spotless haute couture dress.
During summer the Capri was successful with performances about 6.00 pm, last at midnight.
I remember very well the projectionists, Joachim and Christian : one of the best days in my life was when I have had permission to enter in the "Holy of Holies", the large projection room with 2 Cinemecannica Victoria 8. During the screening of "Doctor Dolittle", I was authorized to do a changeover myself! imagine emotion for a 12 old kid !
|Unfortunately the Capri was only oprational for 5 years!|
The reasons, according my personal opinion: 70mm films more and more rare and no new films. No selected engagements, Cannes and Antibes cinemas were chosen for first releases, and Capri owners were literally stifled, condemned to play "old " films in 1.33 ratio. Even roadshows promised to be screened on this panoramic curved screen were showed in theatres where projection quality did not stand up to comparison.
"Invaded" by bailiffs, the theatre closed in 1971. For some time, still managed by "Dédé", it was a discotheque with a scaffolding design named "Le West side" with an ultimate allusion. Dédé gave up the idea in 1972 (or some months later) and the Capri became a RIO outboards point of sale, still today.
On the French Riviera, boats are more lucky than cinema.
Despite my search, it was impossible to find again André Pomares trace. This account is to maintain memory. Without that, the Capri would be a ghost location.
|These films, played at Le Capri, have marked my memory. I beg your pardon for Anglo Saxon friends, about french titles: |
* films in 70mm if my remains is correct.
MY FAIR LADY *
WEST SIDE STORY *
CES MERVEILLEUX FOUS = THOSE MAGNIFICENT MEN... *
LE ROI DES ROIS = KING OF KINGS *
L'EXTASE ET L'AGONIE = THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY *
LAWRENCE D’ARABIE *
CAN CAN *
LA CASE DE L’ONCLE TOM *
LA NUIT DES GENERAUX = NIGHT OF THE GENERALS
LA GRANDE COURSE AUTOUR DU MONDE = THE GREAT RACE
UN MONDE FOU FOU FOU *
LA MELODIE DU BONHEUR (The sound of music !) *
LA GRANDE COURSE AUTOUR DU MONDE
LES TURBANS ROUGES(The Red Turbans) = Ken Annakin's THE LONG DUEL
BEN HUR *
LE MONDE MERVEILLEUX DES FRERES GRIMM *
L’EXTRAVAGANT DOCTEUR DOOLITLE *
PLAYTIME * ( seul film réellement projeté en exclusivité !)
ET POUR QUELQUE DOLLARS DE PLUS = FOR SOME MORE DOLLARS(A Sergio Leone western film)
LE CERVEAU = THE BRAIN
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