Quentin Tarantino saves L.A. theater
Filmmaker now serving as landlord of New Beverly Cinema
By John Scott Lewinski
Feb 18, 2010, 11:00 PM ET
Of those rooting for Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds” on Oscar night, the Torgan family might be cheering the loudest.
As the proprietors of the New Beverly Cinema, the Torgans operate one of Los Angeles’ last havens for classic movies. And, as of recently, Tarantino is their landlord.
The New Beverly has been the Torgan family business since 1978. But if not for the intervention of the director with the encyclopedic knowledge of film, it would be just another chain franchise.
“It was going to be turned into a Super Cuts,” Tarantino said. “I’d been coming to the New Beverly ever since I was old enough to drive there from the South Bay — since about 1982. So, I couldn’t let that happen.”
Built in 1929 as a first-run moviehouse, the Torgan family moved into the property and turned it into a 200-seat venue for classic, independent and foreign films. One glance at a recent New Beverly schedule leaves no doubt about what attracted Tarantino to the place — John Wayne’s “True Grit” one night, Lars Von Trier’s “Antichrist” later that week. The “New Bev” hosts animation events, celebrity-programd fests and a bimonthly, exploitation-fueled Grindhouse.