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• To record the history of the large format movies and the 70mm cinemas as remembered by the people who worked with the films. Both during making and during running the films in projection rooms and as the audience, looking at the curved screen., a unique internet based magazine, with articles about 70mm cinemas, 70mm people, 70mm films, 70mm sound, 70mm film credits, 70mm history and 70mm technology. Readers and fans of 70mm are always welcome to contribute.

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70mm in Lyon, France

The 70mm Newsletter
Written and photographed in part by: Jean Noel Durand Bourat. This article is mostly based on my personal memories as very little literature exists on the subject; I hope some readers will be able to provide further information and corrections wherever needed.Date: 03.03.2018
Lyon, France is known as the birth-place of the Cinematograph and of its inventors the Lumiere Brothers who also developed a 75mm camera and projector to be used for large-hall film exhibition at the 1900 World Fair in Paris. Lyon used to have up 7 venues with 70mm capability.

• Le Comoedia (Open as a 9 plex cinema showing art-house movies)
• Le Star (now a furniture store)
• La Scala (closed and vacant)
• Le Festival (now a home-cinema show- room and private auditorium)
• Le Tivoli (now a store)
• Le Cinéjournal (now a fashion store)
More in 70mm reading:

The Palais Des Congres

Closure of a 70mm theatre in Lyon, France

70mm Cinema and Film in France

Internet link:


Le Comoedia was destroyed by war action in 1945. Rebuilt as a modern cinema in the 1950s it was pefectly adapted to the implementation of Todd AO and was the first to be in Lyon and one of the first in France. The conversion proved a tremendous success story I have already told on this site. I just want to add that it is now a thriving art-house multiplex recently extended with 3 state of the art auditoria. The 9 screens are digital but the 3 largest have retained 35 mm Simplex Millenium projectors. The 2 giant screens inherited from the 70 mm era have survived, one of them has been widened to the scope ratio by removing the tabs. It's a pity no 70 mm projector has been reinstated.


Le Star was built in 1957 in premises that were hardly suitable for cinema showing. Attendances failed to meet expectations and various attempts were made at attracting more spectators. One of them was a 70mm conversion which also proved a failure probably because the geometry of the place made it impossible to extend the size of a screen that was too small even for 35 mm. Only one or two films had short runs in 70 mm and I am sorry to say I do not have the titles in mind..


La Scala was a former music hall which was totally rebuilt as a lavish magnificent cinema in the middle 50s. It featured 2 balconies and was provided with excellent stereophonic sound including Perspecta. The Cinemascope screen was large but far from being from wall-to-wall. When 2 of the 3 Simplex XL projectors were replaced by 2 DP 70s in the 60s the screen was not extended, probably the reason why « Is Paris Burning ? », the one and only 70 mm release, wasn't even advertised as such.


Le Festival was a comparatively small cinema with a long and narrow auditorium whose width was approximately 6 metres, far from the ideal place to install 70mm. Yet "Krakatoa East of Java" and "Custer of the West" premiered there advertised as Super Cinerama and projected with Victoria 10 projectors on a postcard sized screen. How strange!


Le Cinéjournal opened in 1936 as a news theater. In 1956 the cinema was totally remodelled to accommodate a wall-to-wall 10 metre wide Cinemascope screen. The side walls and ceiling were fitted wth special acoustic materials with built-in concealed surround speakers. The booth was provided with a pair of XL Simplex projectors featuring magnetic sound readers connected to an Altec Lansing 4 track valve amplifier. Such a sound system delivered an amazing stereophonic sound enhanced by the perfect acoustics of the room. A brand new Hertner AC/DC converter allowed to boost the Peerless arc lamphouses to the 50 amps required by the lavish Walker Silverscreen. Special non reflecting mobile masking with automatic stops for the various aspect ratios gave the illusion that pictures widened or narrowed progressively, a unique feature in Lyon.

In the sixties 70 mm was considered and the screen size was increased in height, up to the ceiling, to reach the 2,20 70mm aspect ratio. But the DP 70s had to wait in their crate until the triplexing of the cinema in 1976. One was in booth 1 serving the upper auditorium that had retained the original stereophonic sound system with 4 tracks only. The 2nd machine served the lower left auditorium. The full benefit of the DP 70 was utilized only twice for re-runs of « Around the World in 80 Days » in Todd-AO and of « 55 Days at Peking » in Super Technirama 70. Athough only with 4 channels, this sound was just extraordinary. The mag reader was also used for a pair of 35 mm stereophonic releases: « Saturday Night Fever » and « Shock of the Titans »(1st version).


Le Tivoli was one of the oldest cinemas in Lyon dating back to the Silent era. When it was deeply remodelled in the middle sixties the idea was to rival the Comoedia . And it did in terms of wall-to wall 70 mm screen size and 6 track stereophonic sound. Moreover the decoration had a touch of luxury. The only problem was that not a single 70mm first run was held. There were only a few revivals in Super Technirama 70 namely « El Cid » and « Lafayette » which had both only been released in 35 mm before. To complete the list I should add « The Longest Day » and the original « Star Wars Trilogy » but these films had premiered in 70mm either at the Comoedia ot the Palais des Congres. The scarcity of the 70 mm showings was all the more regrettable that both vision and sound were just amazing.
It is to be noted that the booth had originally retained an antiquated Gaumont projector to the side of the brand new DP 70s. When the cinema was 4-plexed the original auditorium retained its giant screen and pair of DP 70s. But the need for automation led to the implementation of 2 Victoria 8 «rock and roll» projectors. As a result their 70mm neighbours only ran in special occasions when mag sound was needed..

More Pictures

The Tivoli
The Comoedia
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Updated 03-03-18