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Brattle Hall. The theatre entrance is at the bottom of the stairs on the left
|Address||40 Brattle Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
The Brattle Theatre is a repertory movie theater located in Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts in the United States of America. The theatre is a small movie house with one screen. It is one of the few remaining movie theaters, if not the only one, that use a rear-projection system; the projector is located behind the screen rather than behind the audience.
The Brattle Theatre mainly screens a mixture of foreign, independent, and classic films, and began showing repertory and foreign films in February 1953. Despite the rapid disappearance of American arthouse theaters, the Brattle has managed to maintain a loyal base of moviegoers while remaining independently operated.
The theatre was started by the Cambridge Social Union, cofounded in January 1871 by the Reverend Samuel Longfellow, brother of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. In 1889, the union purchased the lot on Brattle Street for $9,000, and hired the Cambridge architectural firm headed by Alexander Wadsworth Longfellow, Jr. to draft plans for Brattle Hall. The gala opening occurred on January 27, 1890.
Starting in the late 1950s, the Brattle started a tradition of screening Humphrey Bogart films during the week of final exams at Harvard University. Films such as Casablanca and The Maltese Falcon were watched again and again and the "Bogie Cult" at the Brattle was formed. It was not uncommon for fans to attend these movies in costume and recite the dialogue word for word. Even to this day, there is always a packed crowd to see a Bogart film, such as the traditional Valentine's Day showing of Casablanca.
The Brattle today
Today, the Brattle is operated as a non-profit and is run by the Brattle Film Foundation. It is currently the only independent cinema operated in the city of Cambridge. The Brattle continues to screen an eclectic mix of foreign, arthouse, and "recent rave" films. Ongoing events include, but are not limited to, the Schlock Around the Clock series, the Bugs Bunny Film Festival, the Art House Auction, the Oscar Party, and the Watch-a-thon. Starting in October 2005, the Brattle announced its largest fundraising mission in its 55-year history. The goal was to raise $500,000 over the next two years to pay down past rent and to solidify its outreach and community programs.
On February 16, 2008, the Brattle Theatre celebrated its 55th anniversary as a movie theater in Harvard Square.