News Article

News Article

Quentin Tarantino: Writer, Producer, Director...Landlord?

When I moved to L.A. just over a year ago, there were only a handful of places I really wanted to live near. One of which was the New Beverly Cinema. New Beverly is hands down THE place to go for repertory cinema in L.A.. Sure there are other venues that show classic films in and around the Los Angeles area, but nobody does it like New Bev. The entire experience of going to the New Bev from the $8 double features to the so-cheap-you-could-hardly-refuse concessions is like a trip back in time. And the folks that work there are not only passionate about cinema, they're also super cool. Times have been tough for the New Bev and the Torgan family that owns it. When Sherman Torgan passed away, the family took over the struggling cinema and now thanks to Quentin Tarantino, the New Bev will be here for years to come, because he just bought the place.

According to The Hollywood Reporter Tarantino had heard the theater was in financial trouble and got in touch with Sherman Torgan to see how much money he needed a month to keep up the theater. "The answer was about $5,000," Tarantino said. "So, I just started paying him that per month. I considered it a contribution to cinema."

But when Sherman passed away in 2007, the landlord was quick to react, "Within a week of my father's death, the landlord had a buyer bidding for the theater space," said Michael Torgan, Sherman's son. "Fortunately, I found a copy of our original lease, and it said that the family had the right of first refusal if we could find another buyer."

After months of haggling, Tarantino was successful in his buyout and now owns the space outright.

Although Tarantino will make programming suggestions from time to time, he pretty much let's the Torgan's run the theater how they see fit.

Recently theater regulars have seen new lights and seats put in. According to Tarantino, "As long as I'm alive, and as long as I'm rich, the New Beverly will be there, showing double features in 35mm."

When I think about some of the movies I've seen at the New Bev, I get all giddy. Weird Science and Blazing Saddles top the non-genre stuff. But when it comes to horror, I've had the pleasure of seeing films like Halloween 2 (1981), Dread, Dario Argento's Inferno (with musician Keith Emmerson in attendance),  An American Werewolf in London  and an Evil Dead, Evil Dead 2, Army of Darkness triple feature to name a few.

Tonight and tomorrow director Jason Reitman is presenting a double feature of Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Election (with promised special guests) and this Saturday at Midnight, Shock Till You Drop is hosting a screening of the 1984 killer pig flick Razorback with director Russell Mulcahy in attendance. How can you refuse?

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