METRO COLLINS STREET ’73

Although no longer run by MGM, the Metro Collins Street was still the main Melbourne outlet for the studio’s product, albeit only the handful of features being produced by the company as it toppled into bankruptcy and irrelevance.

Yet the MGM product screened at the venue was actually reasonably decent in 1973, including the only new releases at the Metro to gain any sort of traction – the Fleischer-Heston dystopian nightmare “Soylent Green” (9 weeks) and Maggie Smith doing her Maggie Smith thing in “Travels With My Aunt” (8 weeks).

Peckinpah’s “Pat Garrett And Billy The Kid” held out for 3 weeks in its hacked apart version whilst the US domestic hit “Walking Tall” vanished after a week (if ever a film was made for the drive in and NOT the crumbling picture palace it was this one. Oddities from MGM such as “Wicked, Wicked” and “Kansas City Bomber” came and went as did “They Only Kill Their Masters” which, like much of the company’s product of the time, had the appearance of a made-for-television thriller.

Disney features still figured prominently in the schedule, with the umpteenth re-release of “Peter Pan” nabbing the Christmas crowds. Yet the latter half of the year witnessed the Metro diving headlong into a near-grind policy with a slew of British Empire Films releases, including several notable double features with directors such as Cy Endfield, Robert Fuest, Derek Ford and Terence Young lost in the sludge of what was now Greater Union’s dumping ¬†ground.

Among the later releases – for a single week mind you – was a rare Paramount feature tossed away with no care or thought. “The Friends Of Eddie Coyle” was among the finest neo-noirs made and certainly one of the best films of 1973. By the time Melbourne filmgoers knew of its existence they would be waiting for it to turn up on Channel 9. Which is where it found a happy home in the midnight to dawn slot for many years.

WEEK BEGINNINGFEATURESUPPORTSPECIALADMATNOTE
4/1/73PinocchioFONoneAs Greater Union
11/1/73PinocchioFONoneAs Greater Union
18/1/73PinocchioFONoneAs Greater Union
25/1/73PinocchioFONoneAs Greater Union
1/2/73Kansas City BomberFONoneAs Greater Union
8/2/73They Only Kill Their MastersThe RavineNoneAs Greater Union
15/2/73They Only Kill Their MastersThe RavineNoneAs Greater Union
22/2/73Travels With My AuntFONoneAs Greater Union
1/3/73Travels With My AuntFONoneAs Greater Union
8/3/73Travels With My AuntFONoneAs Greater Union
15/3/73Travels With My AuntFONoneAs Greater Union
22/3/73Travels With My AuntFONoneAs Greater Union
29/3/73Travels With My AuntFONoneAs Greater Union
5/4/73Travels With My AuntFONoneAs Greater Union
12/4/73Travels With My AuntFONoneAs Greater Union
19/4/73The Wild CountryFONoneAs Greater Union
25/4/73Elvis On TourFONoneAs Greater Union
3/5/73Elvis On TourFONoneAs Greater Union
10/5/73My Dog The ThiefKing Of The GrizzliesNoneAs Greater Union
17/5/73My Dog The ThiefKing Of The GrizzliesNoneAs Greater Union
24/5/73My Dog The ThiefKing Of The GrizzliesNoneAs Greater Union
31/5/73SlitherFONoneAs Greater Union
7/6/73SlitherBlow-UpNoneAs Greater Union
14/6/73The Lolly Madonna WarFONoneAs Greater Union
21/6/73The Lolly Madonna WarSweden: Heaven And HellNoneAs Greater Union
28/6/73Up The FrontThat's Your FuneralNoneAs Greater Union
5/7/73Up The FrontThat's Your FuneralNoneAs Greater Union
12/7/73Soylent GreenFONoneAs Greater Union
19/7/73Soylent GreenFONoneAs Greater Union
26/7/73Soylent GreenFONoneAs Greater Union
2/8/73Soylent GreenFONoneAs Greater Union
9/8/73Soylent GreenFONoneAs Greater Union
16/8/73Soylent GreenFONoneAs Greater Union
23/8/73Soylent GreenFONoneAs Greater Union
30/8/73Soylent GreenFONoneAs Greater Union
6/9/73Soylent GreenFONoneAs Greater Union
13/9/73Wicked, WickedThe Rum RunnersNoneAs Greater Union
20/9/73Pat Garrett And Billy The KidFONoneAs Greater Union
27/9/73Pat Garrett And Billy The KidFONoneAs Greater Union
4/10/73Pat Garrett And Billy The KidFONoneAs Greater Union
11/10/73Walking TallFONoneAs Greater Union
18/10/73Boot HillFONoneAs Greater Union
25/10/73Boot HillFONoneAs Greater Union
1/11/73The Friends Of Eddie CoyleFONoneAs Greater Union
8/11/73Tower Of EvilCastle Of The Living DeadNoneAs Greater Union
15/11/73The Wife SwappersGames That Lovers PlayNoneAs Greater Union
22/11/73The Wife SwappersGames That Lovers PlayNoneAs Greater Union
29/11/73The Dirt GangUniversal SoldierNoneAs Greater Union
6/12/73Cold SweatFONoneAs Greater Union
13/12/73ThreesomeAnd Soon The DarknessNoneAs Greater Union
20/12/73Peter PanFONoneAs Greater Union
26/12/73Peter PanFONoneAs Greater Union
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2 Responses to METRO COLLINS STREET ’73

  1. Shane says:

    I loved the Metro. While at it’s end, it was still a luxury cinema visit…something from the past where the opulence was still evident (similar to The Forum). The ticket box was often staffed by a wonderful lady with a distinctively huge hair-do. She was truly a lovely woman. She worked a lot at The Odeon as well.

    Apart from laughing at Wicked, Wicked’s black humour, finding Tower Of Evil a “strong” horror movie (!) and not knowing who Joanna Lumley was when she walked naked across the screen in Games That Lovers Play, I think the hihlight of ’73 at the Metro was discovering And Soon The Darkness…extarordiany.

    It was a support feature and I knew nothing about it……planned to give it 20 minutes and run. I couldn’t leave….a HUGE audince scream errupted when the body fell out near the end.

    Melbourne was so lucky to have the opulence of the Metro cinema in which to watch wonderful exploitation…..though such a trend climaxed for me when seeing a cheap skin flick double at the extrordinary State Theatre in Sydney in 1975.

  2. Brian says:

    I always thought it was curious during this era at the Metro Collins Street that it would have in its ads ‘Not Open Sunday’ — to me as a kid, this meant that not even the theatre’s managers had any hope for what movie was playing in the theatre — usually the only GU theatre open on Sundays were the Bercy, Odeon and (most times) the Forum — the Metro would be open Sundays if thee was a big Disney attraction playing, but for the MGM pictures or the grindhouse features, no way.