The blog of photographer Kim Ayres

Dumfries Odeon Cinema Sucks

I first visited Dumfries Odeon Cinema nearly 25 years ago, and it felt tatty, run-down and in desperate need of refurbishment or, preferably, demolishing and a better one built.

25 years on, and it still hasn’t been refurbished or replaced.

The seats are grotty, small and uncomfortable; the sound quality is frequently poor; and, in the case of the last in the series of Harry Potter films I went to see with my son last night, the picture was out of focus on the top half of the screen. And I’m not even going to mention the archaic toilets… *shudder*

The film itself was fine – if you’ve enjoyed the other Harry Potter movies, there’s no reason you wouldn’t enjoy this one – but the viewing experience was lousy. And watching it in 3D didn’t make it any less out of focus on the top half of the screen.

Each time I go to the Dumfries Odeon I swear I’ll never go back, but time passes and eventually I figure it can’t quite be as bad as I remember it, or feel that any right-thinking business must have made improvements by now. But I’m always disappointed.

Before we moved to this area, 6 years ago, we lived up in the Central Belt of Scotland. The nearest cinema was the Allan Park in Stirling, but that wasn’t much of an improvement on Dumfries, so we used to regularly go down to Cineworld in Falkirk – a 12 screen multiplex with large, comfy seats, huge screens, great sound and toilets where you didn’t feel you needed to be scrubbed clean with a wire brush after using them. We used to go there at least 2 or 3 times a month.

Dumfries Odeon gets visited no more than once a year.

Unfortunately there isn’t a great deal of choice. There is the Robert Burns Theatre, which has a small screen, cramped seats and doesn’t sell popcorn. Or you have to go further afield to Annan, which from Castle Douglas is over 30 miles away and still isn’t that wonderful.

Basically, there isn’t a really good cinema less than 1½ to 2 hours drive away. So these days we mostly wait until the DVD has come out before we see any new-ish films.

Pity the DVD and video rental shop in Castle Douglas closed down over a year ago...


hope said...

That's awful!

Our town is too small for a theater but there's one 20 miles away. Unfortunately it's one of those multi-plex deals, meaning it put the other 3 theaters of my youth out of business.

I just can't adjust to surround sound...too loud! Although considering what you went through, I might've been tempted to go up to the projection box and pound on the door until someone got the film to run right!

Anonymous said...

Although I don't have that problem here in the states, even in my secluded place, I still wait for the DVD. I love movies but am patient enough to wait nowadays.

Sandy's witterings said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sandy's witterings said...

Kim, I have been to the Odeon a couple of times in the last few years and I completely agree with you - it is tatty and very uncomfortable. I used to go there as a boy in the 70s and I'm damned if I can see any difference.
Funnily enough, I was at the pictures tonight seeing Harry Potter too, only I went in the other direction to Newton Stewart where they have a nice comfortable wee cinema right in the middle of the High Street. It can't be much, if any, further to go there than to Dumfries for you - I recommend it.
Annan's got a nice, but small, 2 screen picture house too, but that is a bit of a trek from CD

Anonymous said...

They finally tore down the old Pitt Theater in the town where I grew up. It was still there in the late 1980s and in horrible condition. Now the townsfolk have to drive to Roanoke Rapids about 20 miles away or Petersburg about 40 miles away or Richmond about 60 miles away. I have my DVD player and Netflix...(and I no longer can eat popcorn because of the crowns in my mouth) so I go to the occasional film with son, DIL and g'kids and feel life is good! Do hope there's a solution for you!

Pat said...

Being of the cinema generation I really miss it these days.
A 60 mile round trip for our very good multiplex - the other side of Taunton - isn't something we do too often. DVDs just aren't the same.
I get through a lot of books:)
Fortuitously Harry Potter doesn't grab me.

Mimi and Tilly said...

That's grim! I feel bad wanting to share that my cinematic experience of the final Harry Potter film last week was superb, but it was. Saying that, I still prefer to watch the dved in the comfort of my own home curled up under a blanket with a mound of sweets and a cat. :)

P said...

It's ironic that such an old cinema has not yet been refurbished whilst keeps buying new cinemas and reneweing London ones, shows you where the focus is... but then I am suspect to complain, being, as it were, an ex-employee recently dismissed!
I am however well placed and well informed on the company's activities and plans for the future. The bad news is, I'm afraid to say, that I haven't heard anything about the Odeon at Dumfries

Kim Ayres said...

Hope - all the theatres of my youth were closed down or converted into Bingo halls before I'd even left my youth. I don't remember them being as bad as Dumfries Odeon, but perhaps I've now got used to better quality and can't go back

Allen - what I'd really like is a huge TV to watch the DVDs on, but I had to fight to get the 32" screen we do have (see HDTV

Sandy - I've had several people say that Newton Stewart's a good wee cinema now, so I think I'll have to give it a try.

Theanne & Baron - I'm hoping that Cineworld will eventually set up in Dumfries. I did send them an email suggesting it shortly after we moved here, but I didn't hear back

Pat - 60 miles is a long way round, especially in the West Country where the roads are packed solid with slow traffic

Emma - don't feel bad! I'm glad other people haven't had to suffer :)

P - Here's your opportunity - use your contacts in the industry and spearhead the cinematic revival in Dumfries - we even have a small film industry in this area. You could create your own job :)

neena maiya (guyana gyal) said...

We have no cinemas...they were all filled with bugs, roaches.

If we had good cinema, I'd live there
:-D It's such a great way to escape, unwind.

Kim Ayres said...

Guyana_Gyal - a good cinema is a wonderful thing - and greatly missed when no longer available

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