Sanllehy, the cinema swallowed by speculation

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The disappeared Sanllehy cinema, built by architect José Rodríguez Lloveras in the interior of a building at Avenida Virgen de Montserrat, 46, next to Plaza Sanllehy, stood on the lot owned by the brothers Óscar and Armando Martí Vicente, who they also managed the old Monterrey cinema on Calle Castillejos in the area.

The brothers needed an architect with proven experience to carry out the project, since the premises being inside the block at the back of the building would require an architectural solution.

Rodríguez Lloveras was an architect experienced in the construction of entertainment venues, since in his history was the construction of the old Comedia theater (later cinema) and the missing Calderón theater and Cristina, Waldorf and Jaime I cinemas.

In 1928 he designed the mountain side of the current Plaça Francesc Macià and in 1935 the Ferrer Cajigal building, built in the same area of ​​the square.

He collaborated with other architects, both foreign and Spanish, among whom were Joanes and W. Krüger, Puig i Cadafalch and Adolfo Florensa.

His last job as an architect was in the province of Girona, designing the super urbanization of Empuriabrava in the town of Castelló d’Empúries.

The first problem Rodríguez Lloveras encountered for the Sanllehy cinema was the order to limit the height of the buildings.

However, after some procedures, he used the simplest operation to carry out the project and not exceed the maximum height allowed, which was 5.5 meters on the outside. And, since it was built inside the block, the ground where the cinema would be founded could be lowered to gain the necessary centimeters to not exceed the height required by the municipal authorities.

Once the necessary centimeters had been lowered and after adapting the entrance area to the premises with some steps, the construction of the new cinema began.

The reduction only meant that spectators entered through Avenida de la Virgen de Montserrat at street level and at the end of the hallway they would have to go down some steps to enter the cinema lobby.

In the lobby there were on the sides two staircases that went up to the amphitheater and the engine room, the spectator entrance doors to the stalls with a capacity of 750 spectators, as well as display cases with photos of the scenes from the projections. on poster and future.

There was no shortage of services for both sexes in this space, the cafeteria where you could have a soft drink or buy small sweets to enjoy while watching the movie.

In the amphitheater there were the same entrance doors, the services and a capacity of 281 seats that gave a total capacity of 1,031 spectators.

Like all cinemas of the time, it had a series of disagreements with the municipal inspectors, sometimes due to real defects in terms of the lack or poor placement of emergency lights or fire extinguishers and other times because the inspectors expected a tip to pass with note the inspection.

It was inaugurated on the night of Saturday, October 5, 1957 with the screening of the film We Believe in Love. Before, there was the obligatory screening of the weekly NO-DO, which gave exhaustive information on Francisco Franco’s adventures around the peninsula making visits.

Due to its location in the neighborhood and the quality of the programming, it quickly became one of the most popular cinemas in Guinardó.

On the occasion of the 43rd day of savings carried out by the Pension Fund for Old Age and Savings of Catalonia and the Balearic Islands (currently La Caixa), a children’s festival was held at the cinema on October 31, 1967 to encourage savings.

The real estate speculation that the area suffered conditioned its continuity, since the plots, due to their size, were conducive to the construction of housing blocks. And they were coveted by real estate companies. This and the development of Plaza Sanllehy did the rest.

So 16 years after its opening, in October 1973, the Sanllehy cinema had to close its doors to build an apartment building.