General Works and Overviews
Works on Individual Directors
Guillermo del Toro
Amid a theatre-building boom, a permit is granted to the Suburban Amusement Co. to construct a purpose-built cinema at the corner of Howard Park and Roncesvalles.
Concerned about the perceived corruptible influence of moving pictures on children, the Toronto Board of Education protests the cinema’s construction. A letter is sent to the police commissioner “protesting strongly against the establishment of a moving picture show in the vicinity of Howard Park School.” Stronger heads prevail and The Revue Theatre opens.
The “theatorium” includes a small stage with a movable screen, and is used as both a playhouse and a cinema. Its original address is 320 Roncesvalles Avenue.
Proceeds from various screenings are donated to the war effort.
Jacob Smith, owner since 1912, operates the Revue as a first run cinema where people comes to see the latest films.
As businesses are closed on Sundays, various religious congregations use the cinema as a place of worship and Sunday schools throughout the ‘20s and ‘30s.
Joining the ranks of many Toronto theatres, the Revue converts to sound and talking pictures.
The Revue remains highly popular during the Great Depression in the 1930’s. The Revue provided affordable entertainment to escape the grim economic times.
An extensive Art Deco re-construction courtesy of architects Kaplan & Sprachman. The cinema now features a marquee and 543 seats. A gala opening takes place in September.
During the Second World War until 1945, films attempt to lift the people’s morale. Children visiting the Revue were given, as a part of a government program, a glass of milk to help alleviate the effect of rations.
Let’s all go to the lobby! Two rows are removed from the back of the theatre to make way for a concession stand, several years after they’d become common-place in Toronto theatres.
Per the Globe & Mail: A bandit pushed a gun through the box office wicket. Mrs. Frederica Jarosz, the cashier, screamed and the man fled with the manager and two ushers in pursuit. They lost him after a chase of several blocks.
Through the 1960s, German films are shown regularly throughout the decade to serve west-end Toronto’s growing German-speaking population.
Managed by Paul Ennis in the 1970s, the Revue is known as a premier art-house in the city regularly showing the works of Fellini and Bergman and showcasing new filmmakers like Werner Herzog.
Renamed to the Revue Cinema, it becomes an independently-run art house and repertory theatre.
The Revue joins the city-wide Festival Cinemas chain and operates as a repertory and second run cinema. The chain is owned by Etobicoke resident, accountant and film buff Peter McQuillan.
The wooden seats are finally replaced with the current seats. A total of 238 seats were installed.
The Revue closes after the fall of the Festival Cinemas chain and the death of building owner Peter McQuillan. The Revue Film Society is formed in order to preserve the cinema.
The Toronto Preservation Board provides historic designation to the Revue’s façade. They acknowledge the presence of classical Edwardian details typical of the World War One era.
After years of neglect, a heavy snow buildup was key to the collapse of the Revue’s marquee onto the street in February. Thankfully, nobody is hurt.
The Revue Film Society, busy with fundraising efforts to re-open the cinema, preserves portions of the marquee. Except for the loss of its marquee, the facade of the theatre remains unchanged since it was constructed.
The cinema reopens as a not-for-profit, community-driven cinema in October, with a gala screening of Some Like It Hot.
As exhibition formats convert from 35mm film to digital, the Revue Film Society is recipient of a Trillium Grant to assist in the purchase of digital projection technology just in time to celebrate turning 100 years old!
The cinema makes a push towards more community-focused, event-driven screenings and is awarded a second Trillium Grant in order to renovate the lobby and interior, restoring much of the building’s Edwardian and Art Deco charm.
The Revue celebrates 10 years as a nonprofit cultural community organization.
Tthe Revue Film Society works with several charities, not-for-profit organizations and neighborhood schools, helping to raise funds or bring awareness to various social causes. It hosted a fundraiser for the Kids Up Front organization with the film On The Way to School. Months later, over one hundred students from Howard Park Public School attended a film history seminar, followed by a silent Charlie Chaplin screening with live piano accompaniment.
There’s a sense of irony attached to the Revue’s current educational and fundraising mandate, since a nearby school nearly kept it from opening in 1912.