What has stood as one of Melbourne’s premiere old cinema houses is having its final curtain call in 2015.
Devastated patrons of the Astor Theatre have made a public outcry over the closing of the Astor Theatre set for next year.
The heritage listed building on the corner of Dandenong road and Chapel Street in St Kilda has boasted Fine films and atmosphere since 1936, showcasing independent films, movie doubles and singsongs alike in their handpicked screenings.
Assistant projectionist Jock Blakey in an interview with the Herald Sun says that there will be a huge hole in Melbourne cinema culture after the Astor’s closing.
“It will leave a hole for Melbourne cinema-goers.
“From a purely personal perspective, I work here because I love the place.” he said.
The Loss of the Astor Theatre has not only saddened Melburnians, its closing has stirred international news, with fans from around the world voicing their opinions on social media.
“The heritage listed art deco Astor Theatre, is my favourite single screen independent cinema left in Melbourne. Very sad at the idea that the run of The Astor as we know it, is more than likely over” She said.
Tim Egan has also voiced his opinions on Facebook.
“This is pretty devastating news to wake up to. To many of us in the film industry or among Melbourne’s film loving community, it [the Astor,] was the place we first fell in love with going to the movies. Will leave a horrible hole when it goes and Melbourne culture will be the poorer in its absence,” he said.
The Astor has been under fire for over a year, with empty promises from St Michael’s Grammar school to rejuvenate the old girl and its selling to “White Knight” the then 88-year-old George Taranto, who bought the building for “the passion, the love,” is now ending it due to “disagreements.“
When asked if he would continue the cinemas long legacy Taranto, In an interview with Sydney morning Herald in 2012 stated “Oh God yes. I wouldn’t buy it otherwise,” however has made no such comment about the state of the Astor this time round.
The Friends of the Astor group hold onto the hope that the new owners of the theatre will continue its legacy.
“Whilst we are disappointed by this development, FOTAA remain optimistic that we will be able to work with all parties to find a way of securing the future of the Astor in its current form.”
The Astor will be laid to rest in April next year, and is currently running its second last calendar.