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The success of proprietors Barry
                                                                               and Anthea Mc Lachlan confirms that
                                                                               front of house personality and industry
                                                                               savvy are the essentials to survival on
                                                                               the small scale.
                                                                                  Barry’s solution to convert the
                                                                               screen dimensions from letter-box to
                                                                               Academy ratio is to slide, by hand, a
                                                                               sheet of black cardboard away from the
                                                                               top of the screen! In a bio-box worthy
          Civic, Invercargill from the upper circle. Shakespeare’s image and words grace the
                                                                               of Peter Sellars, two Ernemann II
          centre of the proscenium. Image: Jim Barrand.
                                                                               projectors with Ashcraft lamp-houses
          performing arts; or on the west coast as                             and carbon arcs work on. Sound is
          post-modern. Some examples:                                          delivered through a 2A3-valve
          Metro Cinema, Dunedin
            Located in former exit space and                                   Dorothy Browns, Arrowtown and
          anterooms of the Dunedin Town Hall,                                  Cinema Paradiso, Wanaka.
          the Metro enjoys by default the prestige                                Worlds apart in appearance, these
          exterior of an MGM flagship theatre                                  single screens share an important
          from that company's palmy days.                                      characteristic: cinemas with attitude.
            Proprietor John Wilson has fitted                                  With shops at street level, DBs takes up
          out the 55-seat auditorium with                                      the second floor of a contemporary
          comfortable high-back seats in stadium                               two-storey building clad in corrugated
          style. In a city with two multiplexes,                               iron. The foyer includes a wine bar and
          audience loyalty is critical to success.                             a snug bookshop. The auditorium,
          Such loyalty has to be earned, and                                   which seats 42 people in Gold Class
          judging by our time with him -which                                  comfort, has walls and cathedral ceiling
          included a special evening show - this                               swathed in pink brocades. In an up-
          proprietor has the personal touch and                                market tourist town, the admission
          program judgement to survive.                                        price matched the effect: feminine and
          Geraldine Cinema, Geraldine
                                                                                  Calum MacLeod, born story- teller
            Writing in ‘The Australian’,
                                                                               from the Aran Isles, with his NZ-born
          newspaper, journalist Susan Kurasara
                                                                               wife, are proprietors of Cinema
          made the point that ‘tourist towns need
                                                                               Paradiso (80 seats). Calum would take
          enterprises with high eccentricity value
                                                                               no offence to read that his enterprise is
          and great reputations.’ On this basis she
                                                                               op-shop retro. A conversion from an
          nominated Dorothy Browns and
                                                                               electrical workshop, the MacLeod
          Cinema Paradiso, both in NZ as two
                                                                               creation is a swipe at much of the
          of her favourite cinemas. (See later.)
                                                                               pretentiousness of show business.
          She didn’t mention Geraldine Cinema,
          but it fits her criteria.
            A former town hall and library, this
          cinema seats 290 in a town with a
          permanent population of 2,500. It is our
          nomination for the Antipodes version of
          The Smallest Show On Earth.
            Films started here in 1927. With
          four rows of balcony seats, a simple  Metro, Dunedin. From top: You wish!
          proscenium and curtains, the interior  The entrance is actually a side door.
          looks the part.                   The cosy auditorium. Images: Mel Elliott.  Dorothy Browns

                                                                                       CINEMARECORD 2006     9
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