9 X 12 inches, 194 pages
180 b&w photographs
Montreal Movie Palaces
Great Theatres of the Golden Era 1884 - 1938
Includes contemporary photographs by Brian Merrett and Julie Greto
Archives of Canadian Art (& Design)
THERE HAS NEVER BEEN ANOTHER THEATRE-BUILDING BOOM like the one occasioned by the explosive success of the movies in the 1910s and 1920s. In Montreal alone, dozens of new theatres were built, not plain shoeboxes like modern cinemas, but huge and ornate halls with great domes glowing on distant ceilings and dizzying decorative schemes on the walls. They were dream palaces, where ordinary people (for the mere price of a ticket) could sit amidst splendour and watch great dramas and romances unreel on the silver screen.
This is the story of Montreal's movie palaces, as great and ornate as any on the continent, of the businessmen and architects and craftsmen who built them, the masses who flocked to them, of the glory days they knew in their glamourous reign and the hard times they faced with the rise of TV.
Dane Lanken spent twenty years studying Montreal's movie palaces, interviewing the people who were there, searching for rare and previously unpublished archival photographs, and commissioning new viewswhile the theatres still stoodfrom leading architectural photographers Brian Merrett and Julie Greto. The result is a comprehensive and richly illustrated social, artistic, architectural and corporate history of an exuberant and little known era in Montreal's history.
Dane Lanken was born in Montreal in 1945. He worked at the Montreal Gazette as a film critic and feature writer from 1967 to 1977, and thereafter as a freelance journalist, most regularly for Canadian Geographic magazine. He and his wife Anna McGarrigle live near Alexandria, Ontario.