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Odeon cinema in Harrogate, showing the logo used from mid 1990s

Oscar Deutsch (1893-1941) was the founder of the Odeon Cinemas chain in the United Kingdom.

Deutsch was born in Birmingham, England, the son of a successful Hungarian Jewish[1] scrap metal merchant. After attending King Edward VI Five Ways, he opened his first cinema in nearby Brierley Hill, Dudley in 1928. By 1933 he had 26 Odeons and "Odeon" had started to become a household word, used interchangeably with "cinema" in some parts of the UK until after World War II.

By 1937 there were 250 Odeons, including the flagship cinema in Leicester Square, London, making Odeon one of the three major circuits in the UK. Odeon cinemas were considered more comfortable and respectable for middle-class filmgoers than those of the two other circuits, Associated British Cinemas (ABC) and Gaumont-British Cinemas.

After Deutsch died of cancer in 1941, his widow sold the Odeon chain to J. Arthur Rank and it became part of the Rank Organisation, who also bought, but managed separately, Gaumont-British Cinemas.


Origin of "Odeon"

The original Odeons were the popular amphitheatres of ancient Greece. The name Odeon had been appropriated by cinemas in France and Italy in the 1920s, but Deutsch made it his own in the UK. His publicity team claimed Odeon stood for "Oscar Deutsch Entertains Our Nation".[2]

See also

Further reading

  • Eyles, Allen Odeon Cinemas - Oscar Deutsch Entertains Our Nation London: British Film Institute 2001 ISBN 0-85170-813-7


  1. ^ "Variety Club - Jewish Chronicle colour supplement "350 years"". The Jewish Chronicle. 2006-12-15. pp. 28–29. 
  2. ^ "From bargain-bin store to bingo hall, the sad fate of the Odeon popcorn palaces". The Daily Mail. 12 May 2009. Retrieved 16 May 2009. 

External links



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