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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Film Handlers' Forum   » Revival theatres: any left in the USA? (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Revival theatres: any left in the USA?
Jeff Joseph
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 131
From: Palmdale, CA, USA
Registered: Jun 2000

 - posted 07-12-2004 11:06 PM      Profile for Jeff Joseph   Author's Homepage   Email Jeff Joseph   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Are there any "classic" revival theatres left in the United States? I only know of one (I'll get to that in a bit). You know the kind I mean....back in the 1970s, every major city and college town had them. By "classic", I mean:

1. A single screen, not a multiplex.
2. For profit, not associated with a foundation, school, museum, or other non-profit entity.
3. Runs mostly double or triple bills, which change every few days.
4. Runs mostly old movies, the kind you have to book from the studio's "classics" department.
5. Open 7 days a week.

I've lived in Los Angeles most of my life. At times, we had over half a dozen of these theatres going at the same time: The NuArt, Vagabond, Tiffany, Encore, Fox Venice, New Beverly, and others.

There is only one that still is in business as a revival house in Los Angeles: The New Beverly on Melrose. It's been doing revival since 1978.

So: Are there any other classic revival theatres in the United States?

I've asked several folks this question in the last few days. The theatres that get mentioned as classic revival theatres...really aren't. The Film Forum in NYC, for example, does frequently run old movies. But it's a multiplex. The Egyptian in Hollywood is part of a non-profit, the American Cinematheque. And so on.

Has the classic revival house really come to an end? Is the Beverly in Los Angeles the last one still alive?



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Edward Jurich
Master Film Handler

Posts: 305
From: Las Vegas USA
Registered: Jul 2003

 - posted 07-12-2004 11:30 PM      Profile for Edward Jurich   Email Edward Jurich   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The Englewood in Indepence, Mo, a 1949 single screen ran classic films up until last fall. It is currently running first run because people stopped coming to see the classics.

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Steve Kraus
Film God

Posts: 4008
From: Chicago, IL, USA
Registered: May 2000

 - posted 07-13-2004 12:35 AM      Profile for Steve Kraus     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I take it the Silent Movie Theatre doesn't run at all times.

I see you are careful to say mostly old movies because otherwise even the New Beverly doesn't qualify.

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Jeff Joseph
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 131
From: Palmdale, CA, USA
Registered: Jun 2000

 - posted 07-13-2004 01:05 AM      Profile for Jeff Joseph   Author's Homepage   Email Jeff Joseph   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Steve: That's true, but I think it was true in the 1970s as well. The NuArt's schedule would sometimes have a current art house film, for example.


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Bill Enos
Film God

Posts: 2081
From: Richmond, Virginia, USA
Registered: Apr 2000

 - posted 07-13-2004 01:25 AM      Profile for Bill Enos   Email Bill Enos   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I believe the the theatre I work at fills the bill. The Byrd Theatre, Richmond Va. opened Dec. 24, 1928It has been open continuously ever since. Privately owned an operated it shows mostly sub run with a sprinkling of older and artsy fare with an occasional silent accompanied by the Wurlitzer. The Wurlitzer is also played every Saturday before both evening shows as well as other special occasions. We are open 365 days a year. It is also home to the Virginia Commonwealth University French Film Festival which is the largest exclusively French Festival in the U.S. The theatre is not a restoration, it is almost completely original. Check the pix

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William Hooper
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1879
From: Mobile, AL USA
Registered: Jun 99

 - posted 07-13-2004 01:39 AM      Profile for William Hooper   Author's Homepage   Email William Hooper   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I think it's disappeared because of the deterioration of the 'brand'. Almost every city has a university, library, college &/or senior center, etc. advertising & running an "art film" or classic film series of one per week or month, which is just showing a DVD via video projection. The folks who go to one don't go back, & then continued exposure to the advertising along with the association of the 'show' disinclines folks from going to them. When historic houses that ran 35mm run video, they absolutely torpedo their own attendance. Only non-profits can afford to do this, because it's about PR, appearances, & grants, not attendance.

The local library (like in several other cities) has a "film series" of a weekly movie advertised in the library, in the paper, etc. which is basically just buying a DVD, showing it as part of the "film series", then putting it on the shelf for rental. Attendance at the shows just puts it all in the category of them being able to pay lip service to "providing exposure to films in a film series", & be able to look like & delude themselves into thinking they're doing something 'cultural'.

Locally (and in most other cities), the classic films 'brand' has been sabotaged beyond repair. Ya want ta bust the library, arts council, college, & PO their friends & lackeys at the paper & TV? They'd then demonize you as someone vicious who just wants to hurt a group that's running 'films' for people who want to see them. It would then be very difficult to successfully promote showing classics theatrically on 35mm.

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David Kilderry
Master Film Handler

Posts: 355
From: Melbourne Australia
Registered: Sep 1999

 - posted 07-13-2004 06:32 AM      Profile for David Kilderry   Author's Homepage   Email David Kilderry   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
It is the same here in Australia, the only one I know of is the Astor, St Kilda here in Melbourne. It runs classic old doubles, revivals and 2nd run. Last night I saw the new 70mm print of It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. I had only even seen faded prints of this film, it looked alive last night. This is the print that ran in Hollywood and it is sharp and clear, the DTS sound excellent.

I noticed things I had never noticed before, Ethel Mermans BRIGHT coloured dress and even many dents and scatches on the cars. The Imperial has a deep gash on the side and the taxis are covered in scratches. Eddie Adams looks better than ever and you can see Silvester sweating. None of these I had noticed before. I bought my Super 8mm condensation new 20 years ago, and even it was faded then! The TV copies and mine on tape are also faded.

Can't wait to see the full version in the future. The Astor does do an excellent job of re-presenting classic how they should be seen.

Last night, Monday, only 40 people sat in the 1,000 seat plus Astor. I am certain DVD has had an impact as have the restored and revived films themselves. Once they are restored theatrically, guess where they go next...........DVD.

As a cinema chain here used to say "Lets go OUT to see a movie"

David Kilderry

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Gordon McLeod
Film God

Posts: 9415
From: Toronto Ontario Canada
Registered: Jun 99

 - posted 07-13-2004 10:49 AM      Profile for Gordon McLeod   Email Gordon McLeod   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Fwstival cinemas in toronto is a revue reperatory operation consisting of
the fox the kingsway the revue the royal the music hall the paradise Also in town is the Bloor cinema
In Ottawa is the Bytowne
In Guelph is the Bookshelf

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Eric Hooper
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 530
From: Fort Worth, TX, USA
Registered: May 2003

 - posted 07-13-2004 01:08 PM      Profile for Eric Hooper   Email Eric Hooper   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Auctions By The Bay in Alameda, CA.

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Carl Martin
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1384
From: Oakland, CA, USA
Registered: Feb 2002

 - posted 07-14-2004 03:29 AM      Profile for Carl Martin   Author's Homepage   Email Carl Martin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
unfortunately, abtb is only 3 nights a week. as the name suggests, it's prime function is as an auction house. i've seen some nice stuff there, but they're in the middle of nowhere!

here's a recent article from the berkeley daily planet:
Death of Fine Arts Cinema Ends a Legendary Tradition

The Fine Arts Cinema is officially dead, and Patrick Kennedy, the owner of the massive apartment and commercial complex rising on its former site, doesn’t hold out much hope for a new theater on the site—spelling the end of repertory cinema in the city t hat first raised it to an art form.

“We’re advertising the space, and we’ll see what happens,” said Kennedy, “but there doesn’t seem to be much demand for single-screen theaters these days.”

Kennedy said Keith Arnold, the theater’s last operator, had no tified him that he’s given up on reopening the Fine Arts Cinema in the building that bears its name.

For serious cineastes—as the more erudite movie buffs often style themselves—a nondescript little theater at 2451 Shattuck Ave. was the Mother Church, th e creation of the founder of repertory cinema and the intended showplace of America’s premiere film critic.


“It makes me angry,” said Elliot Cohen, a longtime habitue of the Fine Arts. “We lost an important cultural amenity.

there's some notable historical information in the article, but also some inaccuracies.

in 2001 (i think) berkeley also lost the uc theater.


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Ky Boyd
Hey I'm #23

Posts: 314
From: Santa Rosa, CA, USA
Registered: Jun 99

 - posted 07-14-2004 08:30 PM      Profile for Ky Boyd   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
In the San Francisco Bay Area:

The Castro theatre in San Francisco
The Roxie in SF
The Red Vic in SF
all three of which are commercial operations.

The Stanford Theatre in Palo Alto - all classics all the time!, a personal project of David Packard, though it might be owned by his foundation.

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Tony Ratcliff
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 216
From: Madison, IN, USA
Registered: Mar 2002

 - posted 07-15-2004 12:52 AM      Profile for Tony Ratcliff   Email Tony Ratcliff   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
At my theatre, the Ohio Theatre, Madison, Indiana, we show classics 3 - 4 times per year. We run them for a full week.
We get local businesses to sponsor the cost, then show them for free admission. Works out great.

This year we have:
"Some Came Running" Labor Day week
"House Of Wax 3-D" Halloween week (the original, that is)
"It's A Wonderful Life" Thanksgiving week
"White Christmas" Mid December week

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Eric Hooper
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 530
From: Fort Worth, TX, USA
Registered: May 2003

 - posted 07-15-2004 05:25 PM      Profile for Eric Hooper   Email Eric Hooper   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Ky Boyd
The Stanford Theatre in Palo Alto
Ahh yes, The Stanford Theatre. Forgot about that one. Saw the original Around The World In 80 Days there a few weeks back. Cute, but everyone at the theatre seemed to think they can talk during the movie like watching a DVD at home because it's an old movie.... Maybe it was just the snotty stuck up neighborhood. [Big Grin]

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Mark Lippert
Film Handler

Posts: 10
From: Milwaukee, WI, the birthplace of people from Milwaukee, WI.
Registered: Jul 2004

 - posted 07-26-2004 11:00 PM      Profile for Mark Lippert   Author's Homepage   Email Mark Lippert   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The theater I work at - the Times Cinema in Milwaukee - fits the criteria pretty closely. They've been showing classics and independents since 1996. The current schedule is a little heavy on independents right now, but you're welcome to take a peek at

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Dan Lyons
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 698
From: Seal Beach, CA
Registered: Sep 2002

 - posted 07-27-2004 12:52 AM      Profile for Dan Lyons   Email Dan Lyons   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Great looking theatre Mark.

Would it be possible for you to take some pics for the pic warehouse?

What type of equipment do you run? Changeover, platter, or both? I want the details [Wink]


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