Before smartphones the only glow in a cinema emanated from the silver screen and the ushers’ torches, and the only loud noises from the auditorium speakers – and occasionally some over-zealous teenagers in the back row. Oh, we hear you sigh, for a return to the good old days of cinema.
If you happen to be in the Surry Hills area of Sydney, you’re in luck, because the Golden Age Cinema and Bar has just opened in Paramount House. The famous studio’s late Deco gem has been lovingly restored by the creative team from Right Angle Studio, and there are even some improvements to the original Golden Age. Back when Paramount House was built in 1940, leading men were available in either Rugged or Dashing and distressed damsels only knew how to swoon, but the cinema’s program today includes art-house movies, modern classics from the late 20th Century and some critically acclaimed new releases. It’s not all progress though – on Tuesdays you can see a Golden Age film for the same price of the ticket in the film’s year of release.
The theatre was used to screen films for World War Two service personnel and Australian cinema owners during peacetime, and many of the original features have been retained, such as the wood panelling which is integral to the acoustics of the 60-seat auditorium. Next door the bar is an elegant place for a pre- or post-film drink, and not a pick’n’mix scoop to be seen. After a visit to The Golden Age, your standard multiplex is going to seem like a dreadfully soul-sucking experience.