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The Savoy Cinema Murders
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About this creation
The Savoy Cinema was built in 1927. Finished in just eleven months the building was part of a surge of interest in the Hollywood moving pictures that were being exported to Britain.

The cinema was completed in January 1927. The first owners were Martha and Frederick Studlar. The couple had met after World War One and after showing an interest in the films from Hollywood bought and operated the Savoy.

However a series of events at the Savoy led to it, along with Mornington Asylum, being placed in the book 'A History of Crime and its Buildings'.

Reviews are appreciated.



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   The Savoy Cinema - 1927. The building is typical art-deco design incorporating a brilliant white finish and silver highlights. Designed by W.R. Glen it was completed in eleven months



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   The foyer of the cinema was cramped when one compares it with the designs of Radio City in New York. However it was two stories high and incorporated large beam lights that were found in many art-deco structures



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   The entrance to the auditorium. The Savoy opened in 1927 with only one main theatre. Like many similar buildings the stage could show movies and live shows



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   The auditorium. Encompassing the same design as the foyer the theatre had a typical 1920s feel. The tiled floor (also seen in the lobby) extended into the theatre



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   The entrance to the theatre. The screen can be seen on the right (the photo is relatively dark). One of the beam lights can be seen above the doorway



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   March 1927 - Martha and Frederick Studlar pose outside the Savoy cinema just one week before the cinema opened to the public.



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   Frederick Studlar. Studlar had served as a soldier in World War One and despite suffering from shell-shock had carved out a career for himself in London during the 1920s.



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   His wife, Martha Studlar, had also worked as a nurse in France during the war. They had met at a London theatre in 1922 and were married by 1923.



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   The Savoy was one of the purpose-built super-cinemas and incorporated state of the art features including new projection machines and air-conditioning systems.



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   The film that the Savoy opened with in March 1927 was the Fritz Lang classic 'Metropolis'. Due to unfortunate circumstances this is the only film that the Savoy would show



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   March 19th 1927 - Opening Day. Crowds queue around the street corner when the Savoy cinema opens for the first time. Martha and Frederick are pleased at the opening night sales hoping that the success would continue



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   The lobby of the cinema is packed with people as tickets are bought for the screening of Metropolis



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   People form a crowd around the entrance to the auditorium as the screening time draws nearer



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   By 8pm the film has started playing and a packed auditorium shows a promising future for the cinema



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   Above the crowd who are watching the film and debating whether they are 'thinkers' or 'workers' is the projection room.



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   Alan Bramley is the projectionist who is operating the machine. The projection room becomes warm after a while but with no ventilation Alan has to cope with the heat



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   Through one of the viewing windows Alan can view the entire auditorium. The camera can be seen at the left



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   Just as Metropolis is coming to an end and just after Alan has attached the final reel the door to the projection room opens. With the noise of the machines Alan hears nothing as the gunman aims for his head and shoots.



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   The gun-shot was heard by a few members of the audience who thought it was on the screen. As the film draws to a close people begin to leave the auditorium. Outside in the foyer another crowd of people are waiting to see the film



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   The auditorium is full for the next showing but the film has not started yet. As the time progresses Martha goes up to the projection room and finds Alan murdered on the floor. Clearing out the theatre she calls the police.



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   With no clues about the execution-style murder the press resorts to printing sensationalist headlines which offer little clues. The police are equally in the dark for no one worked with Alan and the cinema was busy during the evening.



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   Two days after Alan's murder the Savoy opens again but to a much smaller crowd. Something terrible had happened at the Savoy - something terrible could happen again. The first screening of Metropolis after the murder sees an almost deserted theatre



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   The new projectionist, Steven Cook, keeps the door to the projection room locked and is on constant vigilance. Martha and Frederick have installed a telephone to the ticket office to ensure that Steven feels secure



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   A week after Alan's murder Martha is walking to the Savoy. With her husband ill she has to prepare for a busy night alone in the cinema. Ticket sales have improved and as the Christmas season approaches Martha is busy preparing for the show



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   As she walks closer to the cinema a gunman creeps out of the corner and follows her down the street. Just yards from the entrance to the cinema the killer pulls the trigger...



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   ...killing Martha instantly. Her screams attract the attention of a crowd of people in the cinema foyer who rush outside - but it was too late



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   The second murder at the cinema drew even more attention by the press. What was of concern is that nobody saw who committed the crime and the police have no clues



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   The second murder has a dual effect. Frederick, too distraught to come into the cinema, kills himself the following month and the attendance at the cinema dwindles



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   A day after the murder just one person turns up at the cinema



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   The next day nobody turns up



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   Even the projectionist, Steven, abandons his job. With no audience and no-one willing to buy the building it is...



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   ...boarded up. Just one month ago the Savoy was playing to a crowded audience. The double murder which still to this day is unsolved has meant that the building became unpopular with audiences. It was viewed as a dangerous place



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   The building survived World War II and in the twenty-first century still remains closed. Apart from the traffic lights and signs that surround the front of the building it has not changed since the 1920s



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   This spot is where Martha was murdered. Odeon Cinemas recently showed an interest in the abandoned theatre but it has remained empty since 1927



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   In some ways this is an advantage to art-deco enthusiasts. All of the original equipment survives



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   as does the auditorium itself.



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   Yet the building remains empty. An uncertain future for the scene of a crime that in 2006 remains unsolved



Comments

 I like it 
  February 19, 2006
totally awersome.
 I like it 
  February 19, 2006
you guys just don't get it.... yes it is black and white but I would also love to see it color. exxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxccccelent
 I like it 
  February 19, 2006
cool. nicely proportioned. just a question, are the figs all deathly white because the pictures are black and white? are they black and white?
  February 19, 2006
pretty good
 
By R H
Add to my favorite builders


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Added February 19, 2006
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