• chris scott

    Gosh! Things have progressed somewhat since i last looked into this farce. Disappointing to see it’s still not getting anywhere though 🙁

  • Jonathan Melville

    Where to start with Odeon memories? Firstly it’s hard to forget how impressive the place was in its day. Before we had Fountainpark or any Omni’s, the Odeon was my first choice of cinema and I spent many a happy hour there. It was an impressive place to visit and there’s not much in the city now to compare to the size of the screen and auditorium.

    My earliest memory is probably going to watch Return of the Jedi with my cousin in 1983 – I was only seven and those were the days when queuing around the block to see a film meant just that.

    Over the years those visits racked up, but standout moments include going to see Die Hard with a Vengeance in 1995 only to discover the screening clashed with a celebration of Sir Sean Connery’s birthday, complete with red carpet. Sean wasn’t there himself, but his brother took his place. That was also the year I went to watch Braveheart on a cold Sunday afternoon, after the buzz had died down and there was hardly anyone in the place.

    I also remember taking a half day from work to attend the Entrapment premiere in 1999. The arrival of Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta Jones in the city was big news and, armed with my trusty disposable camera, I stood on a closed South Clerk Street with the crowds to see Big Tam come home. Upstairs from the cinema, some students held a portable CD player and kept playing the James Bond theme everytime a limo pulled up.

    Sadly, for the most part it was celebrities such as Aly McCoist who turned up first, each one getting the Bond treatment as the car door opened, only for the music to stop when it was revealed who they were. Finally Sean did arrive – much to the delight of those students – and spent time shaking hands with his fans. After vanishing inside it was Catherine Zeta Jones and Michae Douglas’ turn to arrive. They gave a cursory glance and a wave to the crowd and vanished inside, only to have Sir Sean appear moments later, having grabbed Zeta Jones by the hand, to wave to the assembled throng once again. Good man.

    Unless the memory cheats I also won a ticket to a preview of Die Another Day at the cinema, though that’s maybe not worth boasting about.

    So it’s sad to see the place lying empty now, sad that a generation of kids will miss out on the experience of spending a Saturday morning at that grand old cinema. Here’s hoping someone sees sense and takes some time, money and effort to reopen the Odeon sometime soon.

  • I too remember waiting hours to see the beautiful derriere of Zeta Jones. Am I wrong in thinking Velvet Goldmine premiered there too?

  • Tony Makos

    I only moved to Edinburgh in 97, so don’t have any childhood stories about the place, but I do fondly remember a number of EIFF Galas there, including the Velvet Goldmine and Thomas Crown Affair premieres (complete with requisite stars).

    Also, on a guiltier note, it’s where I saw The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones on the morning they were released 😉 In fact, I went back in to see TPM again the same night. It was inconceivable that you would go and see such an “important” film anywhere else in Edinburgh.

    Oh, and I saw Almost Famous in Screen 2 with the sound up far too loud. It seemed so appropriate that absolutely no one complained.

  • Ross Maclean

    As trite as it sounds my earliest cinema-going memory is at that cinema. I remember going to see a re-release of The Fox And The Hound when I was 5 or 6 and vividly remember queuing up in the rain outside beforehand.

    Just writing this now I’m remembering all the time spent in the carpeted ‘holding-pen’ foyer area up the stairs, before you reached the screens themselves. It was usually littered with a liberal dusting of popcorn.

    I have to admit I stopped going when multiplexes opened closer-by. Architecture was no match for the convenience of not having to travel to the opposite side of town for a cinema jaunt. I think my last visit there must have been shortly before it closed to see Pirates Of The Caribbean in the summer of 2003. It was only due to its proximity to a post-work watering hole that I chose to see it there.

    After it closed it was put to relatively good use in the summer of 2004 when it was used the Pod Deco venue at the Fringe. I saw a few shows there, including Richard Herring, and it was a pretty solid venue.

    Hypocritically it may not be a cinema I’m ever likely to visit very often but I would like to see it as a cinema once again, no longer a pale shadow of its former glory.

  • Gosh, I must be as old as Methuselah (well, 63!). I can vividly remember goint to the New Vic (later Odeon) to see many epics in the 1960’s and 1970’s. The one I recall with most affection was “Cleopatra”. Richard, my school pal, and I were great fans of the film, and went a few times to see it there; as well as having copies of the poster, heralds, etc. We even went as far as painting a wall of my bedroom with a reproduction of the poster on the bare plaster, before it was re-decorated (wonder if that’s still there?)

    But the cinema, as well as the films, impressed. I also went just before it closed as a single-screen cinema, and spent a morning taking photos and wandering round the vast space.

    I’m sure most Edinburgh folk will have fond memories of that majestic auditorium, with its plaster statues in the alcoves, and the “private” boxes at the rear of the stalls.

  • I remember when I was small living in Rankiellor Street just oposite the “New Vic” ( Odeon ) and going to the Saturday club every morning. Also “The Sound of Music” played in there for over 9 months, and it’s there I saw the movie over 60 times! All the main movies showed at the Odean first before going to either the Playhouse or the La Scala.
    As the cinema audiences are increasing all the time, it would be great for one of the big cinema chains to buy this building and return it to it’s former glory.

  • Neil McEwan

    The Odeon wasn’t the first place I saw film in Edinburgh but it became, alongside the ABC (now of course the Odeon) in Lothian Rd, the place where my love affair with cinema began.

    Unlike any other cinema you could tell when a film was about to start not by the house lights dimming but by the going out of the stars in the ceiling which was usually followed by the cheering, whistling and stamping of small feet.

    It’s from the Odeon that I exited out into Clerk Street blinking in the sun and battled my way down the bridges with my lightsaber after seeing the original Star Wars trilogy. It was from the Odeon that I flew after seeing Christopher Reeve battle Gene Hackman in Superman and its where I first fired my Walther PPK after seeing Roger Moore as Bond.

    I’ve seen the best of films and the worst of films there but it never once failed to feel like a dream palace and a place of escape from the humdrum world around me.

    The solution to its current state seems obvious – perhaps too obvious – and that is to encourage the Filmhouse to move it’s operation over to the venue after all the Odeon was created for the sole purpose of showing films whereas the FH has had to uncomfortably squeeze itself for 32 years into what is after all an old Unitarian church.

    So lets lets save one local institution by pushing for another – the centre for the most interesting films and film related events in town – to work out of a truely suitable venue.

  • Andy Simmonds

    Would not it just be wonderful if the building could be fully restored to it’s original state, that including the removal of the modifications for 70mm that reasoned the need for all that hideous curtain and pelmet which covered over the original proscenium. Hopefully our devolved parliment and all the good politicians who debate there will lend a hand to make this happen, sooner rather than later.
    If it does re-open as a cinema/theatre then give it back it’s original name also ‘New Victoria’ not Odeon who closed, sold and abandoned it.