Great news today that The Astor cinema in St Kilda has been saved by white knight Ralph Taranto, who plans to restore and preserve the wonderful Art Deco theatre.
The Astor is the last single-screen picture palace left in Melbourne, and one of the few in the southern hemisphere. It is without question the best venue for seeing big films. The atmosphere in the 1936 auditorium, size of the screen and the quality of projection are unique. The Astor has the most advanced projection, with the only 70mm film projector in Melbourne and a Barco 4K 32B digital projector – the 4K means four times the resolution of the industry accepted standard of 2K (4096 x 2160 pixels versus 2048 x 1556).
There is a unique thrill in experiencing the gigantic screen which is three-to-four storeys high, surrounded by the 1930s architecture. This is especially true when the movie itself is a spectacle. Big films like Lawrence of Arabia, 2001: A Space Odyssey, or The Good, the Bad and the Ugly can be seen as they were intended to be seen, in a grand communal space, with the image so large you are immersed in it.
Lawrence of Arabia, dir. David Lean, 1963
2001: A Space Odyssey, dir. Stanley Kubrick, 1968
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, dir. Sergio Leone, 1966