For once, some really good news from Frankfurt's cinema landscape! A few weeks ago we had to tell you that the ELDORADO, Frankfurt's oldest cinema, will close. The Jäger family, who also run the E-Kinos at the Hauptwache, had operated the cinema as tenants since 1974. Now, with a heavy heart, it was decided to abandon the ELDORADO. But the hope remained that the house would be preserved as a cinema. And this is now indeed the case: The Arthouse Cinemas Frankfurt, the Cinema and the Harmonie, managed by Christopher Bausch, have taken the ELDORADO into their association. A long-term contract has been signed with the Bißwanger family, who have always been committed to preserving the cinema.
While the Cinema's large auditorium is being spruced up for what they hope will soon be a reopening - as we reported to you HERE - now nothing stands in the way of the comeback of the ELDORADO. As soon as the pandemic situation allows it, current arthouse flicks will run over the screen here again. The cinema is to keep its name, by the way, and no major renovations are planned for the time being.
It's nice that there are people like Christopher Bausch and also the Bißwanger family who are so committed to preserving cinema culture. Especially in the near future, when the cinemas are finally allowed to reopen and show films, they will play an important role as a place of culture and meeting for many people. That there is now this positive news so soon after the sad news about the closure is more than a relief for all Frankfurt people who love cinema!
We will keep you posted on when it will start again in the Arthouse cinemas!
Update: In the meantime, Ina Hartwig, head of the department of culture, has also commented on the preservation of the KInos: "With the takeover, one of the most beautiful and oldest Frankfurt cinemas in the city center will be preserved and revived. The Eldorado has a long tradition and is closely linked to the history of this city. This tradition will now be continued and the best possible successor found for the cinema. Since 2016, Christopher Bausch has taken over arthouse cinemas in Frankfurt, cleverly modernized them with great attention to detail and thus created spaces for exchange, where people want to linger long after their visit to the cinema and which enrich the cultural life of the city," said Hartwig.
The importance of preserving the ELDORADO for Frankfurt's cinema landscape is shown by a brief look at the history of the building: in 1912, the cinema was opened under the name "Scala-Lichtspiele" at Schäfergasse 29 by Emil Radke of the Aktiengesellschaft für Kinematographie und Filmverleih, Strasbourg. At that time, it was one of four cinemas opened in the same year, along with the "Tonbildtheater", the "Drexel-Lichtspiele" and the "U.T. auf der Zeil", a vaudeville theatre on the Konstablerwache that had been converted into a distinguished cinema. In the 1920s, "Scala-Lichtspiele" was one of ten favourite inner-city cinemas of Sigfried Krakauer, who at the time wrote film reviews for the Frankfurter Zeitung.
After the war, cinema operations were slow to restart. On September 21, 1947, the cinema opened its doors with the American adventure film Two Years Before the Mast (In Chains Around Cape Horn, 1946). A long queue formed in front of the cinema. Framed by ruined building fronts and mountains of rubble, people waited to be admitted to the star-studded 1942 comedy "Woman of the Year" (Die Frau von der spricht), which opened in Germany in October 1947. The current owners of the cinema, the Bißwanger family, had run the cinema themselves for many years until it was taken over by the long-established Jäger Filmtheater-Betrieben in 1974 and given the name Eldorado.
Now, under Christopher Bausch and the Arthouse KInos Frankfurt, a new chapter in the history of cinema is being opened. We are also very happy about this!