A trip to the big city isn’t complete without a visit to one of it’s great movie palaces. 1920’s movie palace architecture is an amazing part of the fabric of design. It is hard to think of another type of architecture where fantasty and a theme can be carried out so successfully and so appropriately. The 1920’s were the boom time for this type of building, and two of Chicago’s best are featured here.
The Oriental Theatre was built in 1926 using every possible motif the architects could find from buildings in India. It was restored to its present splendor in the late 1990’s. Marble covers the walls in the lobby, ceilings are plastered with grotesque designs in deep detail, and fantastic Indianesque chandeliers sparkle. No photos were allowed inside the theatre, but it was even more spectacular.
The Cadillac Palace was built in 1926. Its inspiration came directly from the palaces of Fontainbleau and Versailles. Breche violet and white marbles cover the walls. Ceilings are intricately painted, and crystal is dripping from every chandelier. The lobby features a complex series of arches. Detailed brass ornamentation is everywhere. Most theatres were stripped of their brass work during World War II when the government confiscated it to be melted down for ammunition. The management at the Cadillac painted all the brasswork white, which camouflaged it as being iron, and it was spared. This was forgotten until the theatre was restored in 1999. It is a beautiful movie palace.