ICONS OF OLD SAIGON: THE CASINO DE SAIGON

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Founded by French businessman Léopold Bernard, the Casino de Saigon was the city’s earliest cinema

 

Bernard set up the Société Anonyme pour l’exploitation des cinémas Léopold Bernard in around 1910 and proceeded to build a chain of cinema-entertainment halls in Saigon (the Casino de Saigon), Mỹ Tho (the Casino de Mytho), Cần Thơ (the Casino de Cantho) and Bến Tre (the Casino de Bentre). Each auditorium was equipped for both stage and screen presentations and offered a varied program of “cinema, theater, concerts and other attractions.”

 

 

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French businessman Léopold Bernard, founder of the Casino de Saigon

 

The original Casino de Saigon building stood at 30 boulevards Bonnard (Lê Lợi), but it was subsequently expanded into number 28, the larger adjacent building on the corner of rue Pellerin (Pasteur). The original building was then remodeled to become the Casino’s restaurant-café, known after 1915 as the “Brasserie des Sports” and managed by one of Bernard’s business partners, Daniel Courrèges.

 

 

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The original Casino de Saigon building at 30 boulevard Bonnard

 

 

 

Apart from its regular program of film screenings, the Casino de Saigon was billed as a venue for “European theater” and hosted frequent performances by visiting French drama groups. It also became a popular venue for amateur boxing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Casino de Saigon later expanded into 28 boulevard Bonnard next door

 

Following the death of Bernard Léopold on 31 July 1918, the management of the Société Anonyme pour l’exploitation des cinémas Léopold Bernard was taken over by his brother-in-law, Constant René Blot. The company remained in family ownership until the end of the colonial era.

 

 

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After 1915 the original Casino de Saigon building was known as the “Brasserie des sports” and managed by one of Bernard’s business partners, Daniel Courrèges

 

After the departure of the French, the Société Anonyme pour l’exploitation des cinémas Léopold Bernard was acquired by a local businessman. The original Casino buildings were sold, and in the late 1950s, a larger and more modern Casino Cinema was built just round the corner at 59 Pasteur.

 

 

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After 1955 the Casino Cinema was rebuilt just round the corner at 59 Pasteur

 

 

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After the Casino Cinema was relocated to 59 Pasteur, the original Casino de Saigon buildings were redeveloped

 

 

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In 1998 the Casino Cinema at 59 Pasteur was converted into the Saigon Drama Theatre (Sân khấu Kịch Sài Gòn). It was closed several years ago and today the new Liberty Central Hotel stands on the site

 

After 1975, the Casino Cinema at 59 Pasteur was renamed the Vinh Quang Cinema and in 1998 it was converted into the Saigon Drama Theatre (Sân khấu Kịch Sài Gòn). It was closed several years ago and today the new Liberty Central Hotel stands on the site.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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