Film+Art Deco= Tuschinski

After establishing movie theatre success in Rotterdam, the film enthusiast and entrepreneur Abraham Tuschinski set his sights on Amsterdam. In 1921 he built this art deco masterpiece which still operates on Regulierbreestraat, near Rembrandtplein. According to the ‘behind the scenes’ tour guide at the Tuschinski (attended in September 2012), he transformed this area from the ‘Devil’s corner’ of Amsterdam which had criminals lurking in its narrow alleyways, into the perfect location for a cinema and theatre experience equidistant from the shops on one side and the restaurants/bars on the other – do some shopping, watch a movie, go out afterwards – a great combination to ensure regular cinema visitors.

During this tour, we were also told a variety of stories regarding Tuschinski’s cut-throat approach to running a business including working his staff hard, evicting  the poor who lived in the houses which were to be transformed into the Tuschinski, arguing with architects and at one point threatening a fellow cinema owner with a gun to give up a movie they were fighting over for the premiere night….the historical accuracy of these reports are hard to establish, however they construct a picture of a determined man seeking to create the very best film experience – affordable for all classes. He was an innovative and strategic designer, developing elements to his theatre such as new air conditioning techniques and the idea that you could have an equally good cinematic experience from any seat in the house (particularly the Grote Zaal). He also has his eye on the market of cinema viewers, tapping into the ‘mothers market’ coming up with marketing schemes such as printing TT (Tuschinski Theater) on any nappy used in the creche, to be returned to the theater – ensuring that the mothers come back to the building and will be tempted to watch the next film.

Aside from this interesting backstory and purpose as a location of film exhibition, our job is to explore the building itself and its representation in films. These pictures demonstrate the elaborate design work of both the exterior and interior, which make this building a wonderful visual spectacle  – a ready made film set.

Imacon Color Scanner

Pathe Tuschinski: Contemporary Exterior


Pathe Tuschinski: Interior – main foyer

Information source: Tuschinski ‘behind the scenes tour’, September 2012 – Faculty of Arts. Image source: Google images

Youtube finds:

Clip of Tuschinski Theater 25 years (1946) : Staff party – Images of the arrival of guests for the gala performance due to the 25th anniversary on October 28, 1946.

Advertising report (1930): Report of the huge crowds during the ticket for a performance of the German opera singer Richard Tauber in the Tuschinski theater in Amsterdam.

Advertising Film around the annual issuance of Passepartouts the Tuschinski cinema in Amsterdam. (1936) Also show shot of Munt Tower

There are several other films of this variety – reports on famous visits or royal visits or anniversary events. From this link you can access many more. However these are all voiced in Dutch which makes the actual content/representation constructed difficult to interpret.

Fiction Film scene listed by Ivo:

Als twee druppels water/ The Spitting Image (Fons Rademakers 1963):
54.35-57.30 Tuschinski Theater



2 thoughts on “Film+Art Deco= Tuschinski

  1. The Tuschinski Theatre and the surrounding area are also used in contemporary Dutch cinema. For example, the film Loft uses the corridor to the Grote Zaal and the basement where the toilets are as a set for a party. Even though it is pretended not to be Tuschinski at all, the distinct interior gives it away immediately. Through this course we’re gonna try to find as much examples as possible in which the Rembrandtplein Area is used as a film location.

  2. On the iPad you’ll also get a clip from De Heineken-ontvoering (Maarten Treurniet 2011) in which the protagonist leaves the cinema after seeing Scarface with Al Pacino.

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