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Visit biografmuseet.dk about Danish cinemas


"Cleopatra" on the Curved Screen
At Gentofte Kino (Denmark), 3. September 2021

The 70mm Newsletter
Written and photographed by: Thomas Hauerslev Date: 01.01.2022
Before the evening show at the Gentofte Kino, Maria Hauerslev, is catching up about "Cleopatra" in the latest issue of "Cinema Retro" magazine.

The 1963 Todd-AO production “CLEOPATRA“ was recently presented at the Gentofte Kino, an original cinema from 1938. As part of a city-wide "Golden Days" festival, Kino's Manager Sune Lind Thomsen, had programmed a screening of the classic "Cleopatra" on Friday evening 3. September 2021 at 18:00 (6 pm). This event was the first Danish public screening in 13 years. This is a short report about this evening.

• Go to Gallery "Cleopatra" at the Gentofte Kino, 3. September 2021
• Go to "Cleopatra" Revisited
• Go to Joseph L. Mankiewicz's “CLEOPATRA“

Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz and Starring Elizabeth Taylor, Rex Harrison and Richard Burton "Cleopatra" was a sensation when it came out 29. April 1964, but played only 6 weeks at the Imperial Bio in Copenhagen (until 11. June 1964).

It is rare to be able to see a film like this in a Danish cinema. The most recent commercial run of "Cleopatra" had been 8 weeks in June 1980 in Copenhagen. The new 70mm print was shown twice in Todd-AO in 2008 at Imperial Bio, but beyond that, it has not been shown publicly - maybe except at the Cinematek.

"Cleopatra", photographed in Todd-AO is a long story, and not least a long production story, legendary for its length, expense and production problems, which is well documented in books and magazines. Being a fan of films produced in 70mm in the '60s, I like this film, and have seen it many times on DVD / BluRay, and as often as possible in a cinema. When this opportunity to see the full 4 hours and 3 minutes of "Cleopatra" at the Kino appeared, I simply HAD to attend. It's a big story to digest, and as my daughter Maria says:

"Such a long movie, you have to see it many times to understand the story, and enjoy all the details"

-, so here we go again. I bought two tickets, one for Maria and one for myself.

More in 70mm reading:

"Cleo" Gallery

Howard Terpning and Joseph L. Mankiewicz's “CLEOPATRA“

"Cleopatra" Revisited

GIFF 70, Copenhagen, Denmark

Sune L Thomsen about GIFF 7O @ the Gentofte Kino, Denmark

Cinema Retro's Coming Issues

THX Ultimate Cinema Coming to the Nordisk Film Iconic Imperial Theater in Copenhagen

Meet the Chief - Jan Niebuhr

Classics at the Royal. The largest screen in Sweden
A good audience of 138 people turned up to enjoy a 4-plus hour show of the classic Todd-AO film "Cleopatra".

The Kino is a single screen cinema, located in Gentofte. Only 30 min by public transport outside Copenhagen city centre. This is how Sune describes the Kino:

"The Kino is an cinema from 1938, located in the Gentofte municipality, just north of Copenhagen. It is an old classic single-screen cinema, 35 meters long with a a big auditorium, originally built for 564 seats. We have 13 rows and more than two meters between each row, so there is a lot of space in there. Presently we have 290 seats plus a special VIP lounge with six seats."

A classic 1-screen cinema, with teak panels, wooden display cabinets, an aquarium and foyer furniture in Danish design. Gentofte Kino can show 35mm and 70mm on an authentic and historically correct Todd-AO DP70 Projector, as well as a separate projector for 16mm film. Kino premiered the 70mm equipment with "Tenet", and subsequently in May 2021 for the GIFF 70 festival. Kino reopened 6. May 2021 after a five months of Covid closure [7. December 2020 - 5. May 2021]. All Covid restrictions in Denmark were lifted by the 14. August 2021.

The all-night event was advertised months in advance via Kino's e-Newsletters, web site and Facebook page. Expectations were high among the audience, which -  not surprisingly - turned out to be very mature. Some of whom said they'd seen the film when it first came out in 1964.

In the best tradition of cinema exhibition, Manager Sune Thomsen had appropriately decorated one of Kino's poster cabinets with an original vintage poster and color stills from "Cleopatra", produced in Todd-AO.

Film-stills on display in cinemas have largely been abandoned in Denmark. However, in the best tradition of cinema exhibition, one poster cabinet by the entrance was appropriately decorated. Vintage color stills and an original Danish A1 sized "Cleopatra" poster. Lovely to see Howard Terpning's artwork on display. An attention-getter on the street and an example of the level of detail and commitment which Sune displays at the Kino.

To add to the authenticity, I had brought the original Danish A4 sized souvenir program and a mini poster for "Cleoptra".

The ticket price was DKK 150,00, which included a glass of wine, or a bottle of water as you preferred. It was a sunny afternoon, and people were still enjoying a glass of wine in the cafe next door to the Kino. The foyer was buzzing before 18:00, with people chatting before going to their seats. Projectionist Jan Niebuhr met us in the bar, and Swedish guest, Opera singer (retired) Sebastian Rosacker came over by train from Malmø. "I Love it. Vintage arrangement!", he said, and continued

Since the Gentofte Kino re-opened I’ve wanted to go for a visit. Finally a great and rare opportunity appeared. The theater is truly beautiful, with a nice foyer and a comfortable auditorium with plenty of space for your legs. And it has a red curtain. "Cleopatra" was nothing but a dream to see on the big screen. Gentofte Kino is the place to show and see films like that. I arrived early and enjoyed a cup of coffee in the foyer and of course we all mingled in the intermission. What an atmosphere! I can’t wait for the screening of "Doctor Zhivago". Thank you Sune Lind Thomsen, Jan Niebuhr, Thomas Hauerslev and all of you that made this great evening a dream come true.

Friend of 70mm and "Doctor Zhivago" aficionado Sebastian Rosacker (left) came all the way from Sweden to see "Cleopatra". Next to Sebastian is Maria Hauerslev and Henning Sprogøe with the mini poster.

Another friend of film and cinema in Copenhagen, Actor/Director Henning Sprogøe also met us in the foyer. It was literally our first "Friend of Cinema" reunion in 18 months. All Covid restrictions had been lifted only two weeks earlier on 14. August. Maria, Henning and myself found our reserved seats on the third row from the screen. I prefer to sit close to the screen to get a good field of view, and to make the screen look BIG compared to the TV at home. Third row sounds close, but it isn't really, since every second row had been taken out 40+ years ago.

Newly appointed mayor of Gentofte commune Michael Fenger welcomed the audience, and officially opened the Golden Days festival. Sune followed up with a few words about the evening, followed by the films dramatic overture by composer Alex North. House lights were dimmed, the curtains silently opened, and then off to Egypt we went. "Cleopatra" was shown digitally, with Danish subtitles. A nice picture, and very sharp, no details left unseen on the big CinemaScope-sized screen.

The evening began at 18:00, with introduction and advertising. The feature started around 18:22, and continued until the Intermission at around 20:19. Time to stretch your legs at the in-cinema bar, or foyer bar as you preferred. Audience wandered around for a snack until 30 min later when the intermission concluded. Entr'acte by Mr North, and back to the drama in Egypt. Show ended close to 23:00, short of an hour before midnight.

It was a lovely evening in the company of Elizabeth Taylor, Rex Harrison and Richard Burton in all their Todd-AO spectacle and drama. A vintage auditorium from 1938, a curved CinemaScope screen, a Bordeaux-red curtain, an in-cinema bar, good ambiance in the foyer and the poster display. A show long to be remembered. Truly an authentic all-evening cinema experience, which was enjoyed by 138 guests. Sune was also pleased by the big turnout. What more can you wish for and what will be next? "Doctor Zhivago" in 4K, "2OO1" presented in 70mm, or even "The Sound of Music" in 4K for Christmas? Sign up for Kino's eNews, or follow on social media. Or why not go there to see for yourself?

Thomas, Thank you for the wonderful report! I loved reading it and I'm very jealous I was not there with you! Thanks,

Lee Pfeiffer
Cinema Retro


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Updated 07-01-23