Remember Me     Forgot Login?   Sign up  

Share this article

image1289369 phoenixcinemawikicommons 640069The auditorium in the Phoenix Cinema (Source: Wikicommons)

imageDevotees of a historic and unique north London cinema have launched an online petition aimed at persuading the trust that owns it to abandon a plan to transfer its running to a national chain.

The Phoenix in East Finchley is one of the country's oldest continuously running cinemas and has never been part of any chain of cinemas.  However, the Phoenix Cinema Trust recently announced that marketing, programming and ticketing activities are to be transferred to Curzon Cinemas later this year.  A Save the Phoenix campaigning group has been formed, complaining that there was no consultation with staff or regular customers, and suggesting that there are better options to retain the cinema's unique character.

The small picture house in High Road East Finchley opened in 1912 as the East Finchley Picturedrome, later becoming the Coliseum and then the Rex.  It was still the Rex when I was living in East Finchley in the early 1970s.  At the time it was unusual because instead of showing an "A" film and "B" film, as was the normal practice at the time, anyone buying a ticket to the continuous performances would get to see two "A" films.  For instance, being a student of Russian I naturally took the opportunity to visit the Rex to see One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. As an added bonus I got an unplanned introduction to Woody Allen - Take the Money and Run - providing the required antidote to the gloomy picture of life in the Gulag.

Certainly, it's not really fair to dismiss Curzon as just another national chain.  It too has a distinguished history of showing carefully selected films that might otherwise go unwatched.  But the survival of the Phoenix is to a large extent thanks to the devotion to keeping its unique qualities shown by both staff and regular customers and their voice should definitely be heard.  If there are alternatives to the Curzon route to keep this north London treasure, I think they should be explored thoroughly.

Log in to comment

See also...

  • 07 September 2018
"Intimate" destruction?

St Monica's Large Hall aka the Intimate Theatre There may soon be one fewer historic building in Palmers Green following news this week of plans to demolish the Intimate Theatre and replace it with a new...

  • 29 July 2018
Talkies Short of the Month

"Hi - I am Surayya ,  one of Talkies' volunteers. I will be bringing you a short film on this website each month. "Please let us know what you think of this month's film, and watch this space to see what...