New Beverly Cinema
Kill Bill at the New Beverly.
|Address||7165 Beverly Boulevard|
|Location||Los Angeles, California 90036 |
The 300-seat New Beverly Cinema was designed by architects John P. Edwards and Warren Frazier Overpeck and opened in 1929, apparently as a candy store. Over the years, its name and purpose has changed several times.
Once it became a theater, it hosted vaudeville acts such as Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, Jackie Gleason, Phil Silvers, and others. Later, the theater was converted into a nightclub called Slapsy Maxie's, named after the boxer and film actor Maxie Rosenbloom.
In the late 1950s, the space was converted into a movie theater, with several incarnations, including the New Yorker Theater, the Europa (specializing in foreign films), the Eros (pornographic films), and finally the Beverly Cinema.
Sherman Torgan ownership
The Eros closed in September 1977 and changed management months later. On May 5, 1978, the New Beverly Cinema debuted a new programming format with a double feature of A Streetcar Named Desire and Last Tango in Paris. This double-feature format continues to this day.
The theater's then new owner, Sherman Torgan, noted, "I've always felt that this neighborhood, which is middle class and predominantly Jewish, should have a theater that is responsive to the community. It wasn't right that a porno theater was here. People in the area have come by and written letters offering congratulations on the changeover."
Since that time, the theater has run a continuous series of double features, comprising modern and classic films in a wide variety of genres. It is the last continuous repertory revival house in Los Angeles. Most other American cities and towns closed their last remaining repertory cinemas in the 1980s and 1990s.
Torgan did all of the programming for the theater throughout these years, with the assistance of his son Michael. In 2002, the theater became the permanent venue of the Grindhouse Film Festival, a monthly event programmed by film memorabilia vendors and cult film experts Eric Caidin and Brian J. Quinn. In March 2007, filmmaker Quentin Tarantino curated a month of double and triple bills from his personal collection to promote the release of Grindhouse.
Quentin Tarantino ownership
In December 2007, to save the property from redevelopment, Tarantino bought the building that houses the New Beverly Cinema, effectively making him the theater's landlord. The Hollywood Reporter reported that Tarantino would allow the Torgan family to continue operating the theater, while making programming suggestions from time to time. Tarantino was quoted as saying, "As long as I'm alive, and as long as I'm rich, the New Beverly will be there, showing double features in 35mm."
From December 2007 until September 2014, The New Beverly was managed full-time by Michael Torgan, Sherman's son. Tarantino facilitated Torgan's renovation of the theater, which included replacing all the lighting fixtures and seats, while Torgan himself funded the installation of a digital film projector for occasional use.
The theater's usual double-feature programming was suspended in December 2012 for an extended run of Tarantino's own Django Unchained, projected in 35mm.
In September 2014, seven years after acquiring the theater, Tarantino announced he would be taking over full programming duties for the New Beverly. The cinema would continue to show double features, now exclusively in 35mm (or 16mm, depending on print availability), with some films coming from Tarantino's private collection. In October, Tarantino's new programming began with a double feature of Paul Mazursky films: Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969) and Blume in Love (1973).
In addition to the daily double features, midnight screenings are programmed on Fridays and Saturdays. "Kiddee matinees" take place on weekend afternoons, and admission includes a small popcorn. Features are usually preceded by a curated collection of vintage cartoons, shorts, and trailers.
In January 2016, the double-feature programming was suspended again, this time for a month-long run of the 35mm "roadshow version" of Tarantino's latest film, The Hateful Eight. In February, the double-feature format resumed, with each double feature that month consisting of The Hateful Eight and a film that influenced its production.
On December 26, 2017, the New Beverly announced that, starting in January 2018, they would be "closed for part of 2018 for a variety of exciting upgrades and enhancements." On November 8, 2018, they announced that they would be reopening on December 1 of that year.
In popular culture
- A poster for the New Beverly's July 1993 screening schedule is visible in the background of the fourth episode of the sitcom Saved by the Bell: The College Years.
- In the 1996 comedy Swingers, as Trent implores Mike to head out with him to Vegas, a screening schedule for the New Beverly appears prominently on the side of Mike's refrigerator.
- Comedian Patton Oswalt's 2015 memoir, Silver Screen Fiend, focuses on his obsessive patronage of the New Beverly, where he watched 720 films from 1995–1999, seeking "magical assistance" from classic films to guide his own career.
- Los Angeles Times November 27, 1963.
- Sakamoto, Ed (May 5, 1978). "Theater Returns to Respectability". Los Angeles Times. p. H18.
- Woo, Elaine (2015-05-24). "Eric Caidin dies at 62; movie memorabilia maven, grindhouse connoisseur". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2017-03-12.
- "Tarantino's Grindhouse Festival Announced - ComingSoon.net". ComingSoon.net. 2007-02-28. Retrieved 2017-03-12.
- Rourke, Mary (July 21, 2007). "Sherman Torgan, 63; turned an L.A. adult movie house into a haven for classic and indie films". Los Angeles Times. p. B10. Retrieved September 7, 2014.
- Lewinski, John Scott (February 18, 2010). "Quentin Tarantino saves L.A. theater". Reuters. The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 16, 2012.
- "New Bev History". www.thenewbev.com. Retrieved March 28, 2018.
- "Of Silver Screens and Family Dreams: Michael Torgan and the New Beverly Cinema". Sinaphile. September 15, 2014. Retrieved March 28, 2018.
- Yamato, Jen (September 7, 2014). "Quentin Tarantino's New Beverly Promises Double Features, Vintage Trailers, Tarantino Films & NO Digital. Ever". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 7, 2014.
- Wade, Kim (2015-02-11). "Patton Oswalt talks addiction in latest work at Savannah Book Festival". Do Savannah, arts and entertainment news for the Creative Coast. Retrieved 2017-03-12.