Original Debut: Unveiled in 1932 by Hungarian architect L. E. Hudec (responsible for more than 60 Shanghai landmarks), Grand Cinema had Art Deco flourishes, a glistening three-tiered roof shaped like a water lily, and—unfortunately for the warm-blooded—no inner cooling system. Despite its showing of first-rate American films, audiences couldn’t bear the heat until 1941, when central air-conditioning was installed.
Now Showing: Grand Cinema reopened just after 2009’s Chinese New Year with a smattering of renovations—most notably a new garden-topped roof, where patrons can pull up a chair at the terrace café with a bird’s-eye view of the People’s Square (a green-swathed space that’s a welcome break from the charcoal-gray city skyline). Not a bad place to discuss the latest blockbuster.
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