And Tarantino’s still in charge, working with managers Torgan, Jules McLean and Brian Quinn, even as he continues shooting “The Hateful Eight,” which just left Colorado to finish filming in L.A.
The theater first opened back in 1978 with a double feature of “A Streetcar Named Desire” and “Last Tango in Paris.” 35mm-collector and passionate advocate Tarantino quickly lined up a slate including films from his own collection, the late Paul Mazursky (“Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice”) and the late Robin Williams (“The Best of Times”), as well as a double bill of Luc Besson’s “The Professional” and Tarantino’s own “Pulp Fiction,” both 20 years old last October.
Back in August, Tarantino told LA Weekly: “I want the New Beverly to be a bastion for 35 millimeter films. I want it to stand for something. When you see a film on the New Beverly calendar, you don’t have to ask whether it’s going to be shown in DCP [Digital Cinema Projection] or in 35 millimeter. You know it’s playing in 35 because it’s the New Beverly.”
He also talked to KCRW about his goals for the theater.
Was Tarantino’s decision realistic? American Cinematheque director Barbara Smith told me, “Digital is honestly the only way you can possibly stay in business at this point.”
At the Toronto International Film Festival, I asked Martin Scorsese what he thought of Tarantino’s radical position: “It’s just a last stand,” he said. “However, I grew up with film. I love film, celluloid, and I shot ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ on film. The problem is that technology is going by, but it doesn’t mean we can’t use the old one if we keep the labs going for awhile. Because one of the most important things about celluloid is that it’s the best medium for preservation.”
Well, it looks like Tarantino is making his $8 35 mm double features work with LA audiences. One of his producers, Coco Francini, reached out to tell me that he’s been able to move beyond his own collection–which accounts for about 50 % of the programming– to pull amazing prints of films people had not seen in a long time from the Paramount and Warner Bros. archives, among others. He programs 90% of the films shown at the New Beverly, enjoying taking breaks from filming to figure out which films go together, she said. Getting art to go with the prints can be a challenge, however.
Among the breakout hits at the New Beverly are not surprisingly, Tarantino’s own films, plus a Paul Thomas Anderson-attended screening of “Inherent Vice,” various midnight bookings like doc “Hands on a Hard Body” and an Eli Roth Halloween all nighter, and such classics as “Singin’ in the Rain,” “Boogie Nights” and “Trainspotting.” As always, book movies from Woody Allen (“Annie Hall” and “Purple Rose of Cairo”) or Alfred Hitchcock (“Saboteur” and “Strangers on a Train”) and audiences will come.
Coming up” a celebration of Orson Welles’ centennial May 6-9 including a tribute, movies by him, about him and starring him, and a May series of Sunday and Monday 60s sex comedies. The late great Verna Lisi may be involved.