If you read a real estate listing that contains the words ‘charming and nostalgic’ it would probably be wise to consider passing on it 😉 Happily, this is not the case with the Princess Theatre in Edmonton. Located on Whyte Avenue in the historic Old Strathcona district, this old dame of cinema first opened way back on March 8th, 1915.
Heralded as the largest stage in western Canada, Edmontonians of the day enjoyed vaudeville musicals and stage shows. Back then, one of these dapper ushers might have shown you to your seat, isn’t that charming?
By 1916, they quit booking live acts in favour of the cinema side of the business. Patrons arriving in 1929, were enjoying the modern new ‘talkies’. They were all the rage and thus The Princess underwent the first of many renovations.
Flash forward a mere 83 years and we arrived tonight for the 6:50 showing of ‘Hitchcock’ starring the amazing Anthony Hopkins with the delightful Helen Mirren (did you see her in ‘The Queen”?) Then there’s the gorgeous Scarlett Johansson. Really, how could you not be gorgeous with the name ‘Scarlett’ ?
The theatre lobby promo was a fun shower prop. You could climb in to make your own promo. I thought of being more dramatic, but there wasn’t enough room with all the puffy clothing we wear here (as not to perish in the cold) 😀
It’s fun going to a theatre with a balcony, unfortunately it was full up, so we sat up close and personal on the main floor.
The frescos above the screen are very pretty. They’re painted in the Maxfield Parrish style, who I just love.
While times have changed, the Princess has hung on. Through wars, building booms and busts, the advent of television, video and now cable and Netflix. The repertoire of films showing here, typically don’t run at the multiplex. I’ve seen so many great performances here, La Vie En Rose, A Room With A View and Little Miss Sunshine come to mind. The treats are ‘regular size’ and affordable, what could be better than that? Like the sign says, “now’s the perfect time for popcorn”.
PS, I give ‘Hitchcock’ 3.5 stars out of 5 but here’s what they said on Rotten Tomatoes.
Black & White Photo’s via Wikimedia Commons