Davos' cinema history

Davos and the silver screen

Davos has a rich tradition of cinema going back to the century before last. From 1897 onwards a number of cinemas provided entertainment, a tradition that is carried on today by the Arkaden Cinema, the Open Air cinema in the Kurpark and by Hollywood director and honorary citizen of Davos Marc Foster.

The history of Davos cinema began in 1897 when the first moving pictures were shown in the former assembly rooms. Some three years later, the Hotel Belvédère showed short films, like "Aladdin's Magic Lamp", "Reception of the King in Berne" or the "Panorama of the Paris World Exhibition" and in 1906 the first moving pictures were shown on the screen in Davos of local sporting activities, like skiing, curling and ice hockey.

The old “Select” cinema, which was demolished in 1991 after 79 years of service. (Image: documentation library, Davos)
Four cinemas by 1912

Until 1910, films are sporadically screened at hotels across Davos. But in 1911, three cinematographic establishments open simultaneously – two in Davos Platz and one in Davos Dorf. “Kino Arkaden” exists to this very day – back then, it was known as “Studio Palace” and was one of the most modern small cinemas in Switzerland. In 1912, a fourth cinema opens: “Select” – the first cinema with its very own steam heating.

Davos on screen in "the avenger of Davos"

In the 1920s Davos cinemas were showing the world's best film productions. And Davos even got its own silent movie: in 1924 "Zurich-Gotthard Film" shot the melodramatic winter film "The Avenger of Davos" in which all different kinds of sports were shown and in which many local people were involved. The adventure and romantic film is shown at the 1924 Winter Olympics, is a great success and goes on to be shown in many European countries and even in the Soviet Union.

Into Davos hospitals with a mobile cinema

Talking films arrived in the 1920s and a new cinema is opened in Davos in 1933: the Cinéma Vox, seating 350, became the "most modern talkie movie theatre there is". Uniquely a "Hospital cinema" is launched in 1937. This "mobile cinema" consisted of heavy equipment weighing some 380 kg and a 2.2 x 3 metre screen. In the 1940s it was used to visit over 20 hospitals which held monthly film screenings.

Trailer:
The Avenger of Davos
Davos’ cinema history is being continued

Over the years, most cinemas in Davos have disappeared. But the long success story of Davos cinemas is still continuing, despite TV, DVD and internet: in 2005, the “Open Air Kino Davos” opened in Kurpark. In 2010, the cinema “Arkaden” was one of the first in Switzerland to install 3D-technology. And with the honorary citizen Marc Forster, Davos even has its very own man in Hollywood who directed James Bond. In addition, Klosters has the so-called “Kulturschuppen”, a small cinema with an exquisite programme.

Marc Forster

High speed pursuits, wild exchanges of fire or tales of flying children: Hollywood director and honorary citizen of Davos Marc Forster brings all of his stories to the cinema screen. The creator of the James Bond film "A Quantum of Solace" grew up in Davos and set the cornerstones for his career at an early stage in his childhood.

Forster was born in Neu-Ulm and grew up in Davos. He was an entirely normal child and teenager with dreams. Until he turned 21 . From then on he learned to bring his dreams alive. After graduating at the start of the 1990s, Forster moved to New York and studied at the renowned Tisch School of the Arts. In 1995 he produced his first Film "Loungers" on a low budget, and with it he won the public's prize at the Slamdance Film Festival. His next film received the highest accolade from Hollywood. Actress Halle Berry won the Oscar for her role in Forster's film "Monster’s Ball", his second cinematic success «Finding Neverland» received seven Oscar nominations and won the Oscar for the best film score.

Success followed success and yet Forster remained modest – and connected with Davos. He has always held Davos close to his heart, as he enthused at the celebration of his honorary citizenship. During his childhood, Forster spent much time in the Mattawaldforest. There he discovered many ideas and inspirations. He thanks his homeland for a great deal of his creativity. Not least because he always felt at home in the Landwasser valley. Marc Forster's success story is therefore like the Rhine - with its origins in the Grisons mountains.

A propos: James Bond Feeling in Davos Klosters

Even if Marc Forster did not film any James Bond scenes in Davos Klosters - it is still very easy to feel like the British agent 007 up here. A few tips:

  • Spend a night in a truly grand hotel such as the Steigenberger Belvédère.
  • Wear a smoking jacket under your ski suit.
  • Visit Casino Davos for a round of Black Jack. 
  • Drink a Martini at the Piano Bar in the Hotel Europe – shaken, not stirred. 
  • Dine in the Chesa Grischuna in Klosters. 
  • And check out Klosters' Dancing Casa Antica for any potential Bond girls.      
Book hotel or apartment now!
 
Persons
Arrival
Depart