In the early 90’s, the New Beverly Cinema was one of the few art house theaters playing classic movies on 35mm film. 25 years later it can safely be said that the New Beverly Cinema is the ONLY theater in Los Angeles screening analog 35mm film prints on an exclusive basis.
Sherman Torgan is a man who loved movies. He owned and ran the New Beverly Cinema for 29 years before suddenly passing away in 2007 of a heart attack while riding his bicycle in Santa Monica.
Sherman was a friend of Lawrence Tierney’s and Larry was a frequent visitor to the theater. On an almost nightly basis Larry would sit in the back seats of the theater, eating free snacks and popcorn, and sometimes falling asleep to classic movies such as Key Largo and Citizen Kane. When it would get to be closing time, Michael Torgan, Sherman’s son, would give Larry a ride home.
After the release of Reservoir Dogs, Sherman made sure to screen the film on a weekly basis at midnight on Saturday nights, helping the film become the sleeper cult hit it has become today.
Quentin Tarantino, a frequent visitor to the New Beverly Cinema long before his career rocketed to success, would later become a patron of the venue, buying the real estate and helping Sherman cover skyrocketing costs of operation when the theater looked like it would close.
Now 2015, Quentin Tarantino has recently become the exclusive owner of the New Beverly Cinema. And Quentin and his team have injected the cinema house with new vigor, spending considerably on renovations, and promising never to play a digitally screened movie again.
“As long as I’m alive, and as long as I’m rich, the New Beverly will be there, showing double features in 35mm.” – Q.T.
That’s right folks. In the world of digital downloads and screaming fast bandwidth, the New Beverly Cinema screens ONLY high quality 35mm film prints (with the occasional 16mm film when a 35mm print is not available).
Last month, in late March 2015, the New Beverly Cinema screened a classic double feature of Tarantino films on 35mm.
Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction back together at last, on 35mm film, in Los Angeles. It was two super cool nights with many super cool people.
And in that dark theater, on the big screen, Lawrence Tierney once again haunted Hollywood. Like a ghost from our past, a gravelly echo filled the room.
“Let’s go to work.”
Thanks to Quentin Tarantino, a tradition of film still continues in Hollywood. And the legend of one of Hollywood’s greatest art house theaters, and one of it’s most notorious film stars, lives on to this day.
If you missed this screening keep an eye out for future screenings at the New Beverly Cinema website. If you don’t live in Los Angeles, you can get a DVD copy of either movie (plus all the cool extras) from Amazon.