Barclay Theatre, Melbourne: Official Opening

Barclay Theatre, Melbourne: Official Opening
Cinesound Movietone Productions
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A Cinesound Review newsreel from 1958 showing guests arriving at the official reopening of the Barclay Theatre in Russell Street, Melbourne.

Screening is the Melbourne premiere of The Ten Commandments (Cecil B DeMille, USA, 1956), with proceeds going to the Yooralla Society of Victoria which supports people with disabilities (and is still in operation).

The President of the Society, Mrs Leo Curtis, welcomes guests in the foyer. Sir Dallas Brooks, the Governor of Victoria, performs the official opening ceremony.

The newsreel narrator stresses the importance of seeing 'a big film in a big theatre', a comment on the threat posed to cinemas in the 1950s by television (and not much different from the modern rhetoric of cinema associations when talking about 21st century streaming services).

The Barclay Theatre was built in 1908 as a live theatre. It was converted to a cinema in the early 1940s, reverted to live theatre and then returned to screening films. 

It was demolished in 1976; the last film that screened was One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (Miloš Forman, USA, 1975). The Greater Union Russell Cinemas opened on the site in 1978 but was itself demolished in 2014 for a hotel.

This footage appears in Cinesound Review No. 1416.

Notes by Stephen Groenewegen