As historian Megan Feeney explains, mid-20th century Havana may not only have had more movie theatre seats per capita than any major city in the hemisphere, it also had some of the most elaborate movie palaces anywhere. The greatest of them all might have been the Blanquita, which Feeney discusses in detail here. Opened by Senator Alfredo Hornedo in 1949 in the Havana suburb of Miramar, the Blanquita was billed as “the world’s largest and most modern theater,” seating nearly 7,000 patrons in air-conditioned comfort and equipped with the latest film projection technology. Little wonder that, following the revolution, the theatre was rechristened the Karl Marx.
Megan Feeney holds a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Minnesota and is the author of the forthcoming Hollywood in Havana: U.S. Cinema and Revolutionary Nationalism in Cuba Before 1959.