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What Others Say
            The Editor sought further comment
          from others with a particular interest in
          Regent theatres.
            The respondents were Mr. Gavin
          Drummond (Toowoomba) a former
          producer of live theatre in regional
          Queensland, Dr Ross Thorne (Sydney),
          Architect and Social Architectural
          Researcher and the author of the
          definitive study on theatre design in
          Australia, Mr. Les Tod (Sydney), a
          respected writer for Kino and Dress
          Circle magazines, Mr. Ian Williams
          (Melbourne), a former Assistant
          Manager at the Regent Collins Street
          and cinema historian, and Mr. John
          Thiele (Adelaide), known to many
          CATHS members for his own Regent,
          which includes items from South Yarra
          and Adelaide. Here is a summary of
          their opinions:
            Brian Pearson’s article alluded to
          Cedric Ballantyne's opportunity to fine-
          tune the ideas he first used at South
          Yarra before giving them ultimate
          expression in the Regent, Adelaide.
            Ross Thorne was interested in the
          relationship between architect and
          client for these theatres, a relationship
          which accepted, or perhaps demanded
          a duplication of style at different
            Identical design and livery for petrol
          and fast food outlets is the current way
          of making services instantly
          recognizable to potential customers. Dr
          Thorne queried whether the similarities
          in design seen in the Regents of South
          Yarra, Ballarat, Sydney and Adelaide
          were early examples of the same    Top: Compare this foyer at the Regent, South Yarra with the image page 13.
          thinking, or mere cost saving. Once a  Above: The stage of the Regent, Ballarat, almost indistinguishable from South Yarra,
          mould was made the more patterns   was refined for Sydney and Adelaide. Images: BPC
          poured the cheaper the product.
                                             commission. Did he make a conscious  Ian Williams supported this view.
            Few picture-goers of the 1920s
                                             decision not to use the Adelaide format,  He noted that within the Hoyts
          would know of the repetition, since
                                             or did the client make it clear that a  organization the Melbourne theatre was
          interstate travel was rare by today's
                                             new, American model was wanted?   considered the flagship, and in its
          standards. Dr Thorne singled out the
                                               Dr Thorne concluded, ‘The Regents  proportions and fittings deserves the
          extraordinary similarities between the
                                             of Brisbane and Melbourne were the  accolade Regent of Regents. Although
          lobbies of the Regents of Melbourne
                                             richest of the Hoyts capital city flagship  foyer to auditorium is a composite of
          and Brisbane, even though these
                                             theatres. The auditorium of Melbourne  two designs, their integration is perfect.
          buildings were the work of different,
                                             was the grandest in its almost    The inspiration for the interior is well
          and proud men.  In other
                                             monumental design; Brisbane not quite  known, but Ian wrote that the entrance
          circumstances such copying would be
                                             so, but it was extremely impressive,  foyer is derived from the United
          the subject of a law-suit. If there was
                                             particularly for the exceptional paint  Artists Theatre, Los Angeles, a fact
          professional rivalry, it remained
                                             technique - a slightly irridescent  perhaps not so well known.
          subterranean while the work for J.C.
                                             bronzed finish.                      In all comparisons, personal
          Williamson/Hoyts proceeded. Only
                                               Overall, the complete building on  preference trumps any rules. Brian
          hitherto undiscovered correspondence
                                             Collins Street - a sandwich of two  Pearson was unimpressed by the marble
          would reveal the true situation.
                                             theatres - is unique, and possibly the  staircase, in the Regent, Brisbane,yet
            Ross Thorne also pondered the
                                             most important picture theatre ever  Gavin Drummond saw its scale and
          artistic pressure placed on Ballantyne
                                             constructed in Australia.’        positioning as superior to the
          when he accepted the Melbourne
                                                                                       CINEMARECORD 2006 17
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