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It all started with a line extending down Beverly Boulevard, some people dressed as hippies and others sporting assorted Quentin Tarantino works’ shirts.
The throng of people were waiting to see the Monday night sold-out showing of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood at the New Beverly Cinema, the iconic Los Angeles theater that is one of 3,659 spots across the country showing the ninth film by the Oscar-winning Tarantino, which opened over the weekend.
The allure of this particular venue (7165 Beverly Blvd.) is that Tarantino is the owner — so seeing the Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie starrer about 1969 Hollywood and the Manson Family is a unique experience for a number of reasons. (Worth noting: All July showings at the New Beverly sold out instantly when they went on sale.)
Outside, beyond the classic marquee, there are multiple posters for and relating to the film, including what appears to be the prop poster used in Once Upon a Time for The Wrecking Crew, the film starring Sharon Tate, played by Robbie. Portions of the 1968 Dean Martin spy comedy are featured in Tarantino’s film. The New Beverly itself also makes a cameo.
— Ryan Parker (@TheRyanParker) July 30, 2019
Inside the lobby, there are additional advertisement cards for The Wrecking Crew that also appear to have been used in the movie. Behind the snack counter, two original Hopalong Cassidy cups, personally owned by Tarantino and featured in Rick Dalton’s home (DiCaprio), are on display.
In the theater itself, there are two more prop posters from Dalton’s home showcasing his work in spaghetti Westerns.
As for the film (which has an 84 percent freshness rating among critics on Rotten Tomatoes), the format is 35mm, which is nice, but there are a number of theaters that also have that feature in L.A. However, the preshow presentation at New Beverly makes it special, especially when one of the pic’s actresses is in the room, which was the case Monday night with Rachel Redleaf (who plays Mama Cass) in attendance.
The audience is treated to an extended cut of a Bounty Law segment (the fictitious TV show starring Dalton) that showed it was sponsored by the Tarantino-created Red Apple cigarettes and Hostess Twinkies. Then, there are multiple full-length trailers for films mentioned in Once Upon a Time, such as Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby (1968), Joe Namath’s C.C. and Company (1970) and, of course, The Wrecking Crew.
Oscar-winning Shape of Water director Guillermo del Toro previously saw Once Upon a Time at Tarantino’s theater and had some thoughts.
“To me, watching Once Upon A Time in Hollywood at the New Beverly, was a beautiful experience. Beautifully crafted and poignant. Chokefull of yearning. A tale of a time that probably never was, but still feels like a memory,” he said via Twitter.
The New Beverly Cinema building, which underwent renovation last year, dates back to the 1920s. The late Sherman Torgan bought the theater in 1978. In December 2007, Tarantino bought the building to save the property from redevelopment.
“It was going to be turned into a Super Cuts,” the filmmaker said at the time. “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.”
Tarantino does the vast majority of the monthly programming at the New Beverly; many of the 35mm and 16mm prints shown are from his private collection. It was noted by staff before the Once Upon a Time in Hollywood showing Monday night that “his hands touched this print.”
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