The Electric Cinema at Station Street in Birmingham is an apt venue for any classic film, but it proved to be the ideal venue for the recent screening of G.W. Pabst’s silent 1929 classic Pandora’s Box. It is the oldest working cinema in the country.
Highly recommended by many national publications and by film critic Mark Kermode, The Electric Cinema has indeed a reputation to live up to.
It has been given a variety of different names over the years but reverted to its original name The Electric Cinema in 1993.
It is a delightful place. The external architecture of this rather small theatre is a classical style, white exterior with art deco, that was typical of the period.
As soon as you enter, you are jettisoned back in time by about a century. Judging from the old monochrome photographs, the current internal structure looks almost identical to the original picture-house. Even the traditional box office window located by the right of the entrance is still there.
The young staff are friendly and seem proud of the theatre. The cinema itself looks atmospheric, with its darkly lit red lighting which compliments the luxurious ruby-coloured seating. Even the organ box is still present, or at least the pretence of one because it is covered by a dark brown cabinet.
There are more expensive seats at the back, each seat cleverly named after various film icons such as Keaton, Valentino, Harlow and Laurel.
The full house compromised of members from all age groups, each one gazing at their programmes with devoted interest and not a single iPhone in sight.
With the perfect setting, a devoted crowd and an iconic star (Louise Brooks), a night at the oldest cinema in the country proves it can be the perfect place for devotees of silent cinema.