This is the next entry in a Theatre… a Movie… and a Time, a series that was begun here. Since he was the impetus for the TMT series, something I’ve milked shamelessly, I owe the blogger and writer otherwise known as Colonel Mortimer a lot. I also must directly credit him for giving me a chance at this particular year old memory. For without his heads-up post from last February, who knows if I’d have had the chance to purchase tickets to see something here in my hometown that hadn’t been seen, outside a coastal town in France, except by a handful.
“Revenge is a dish best served cold” ~ Old Klingon proverb.
The New Beverly Cinema:
March 28, 2011: before the release of KILL BILL Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 in Fall of 2003 and the Spring of 2004, respectively, it was long known by fans of Quentin Tarantino that there was another version out there. The cut, which attained almost whispered cult status, became known to as “The Whole Bloody Affair” (by QT himself and the press). It premiered and was shown only once at the Cannes Film Festival back in 2003, with French sub-titles, at that. This “version integral” print, as the filmmaker originally intended it, was over 3½ hours in runtime (not including the intermission). Splitting it into two films certainly made the studio and distributors happy as they could milk the proceeds from two QT movies instead of one upon its U.S. run. Fans could only hold on for the long-rumored release of this version to Blu-ray/DVD… which we’re still waiting upon, btw.
Enter the New Beverly Cinema. For years, this lovingly maintained and intimate movie theater (just 300 seats) has been the place to catch classic and genre cinema of all kinds in the City of the Angels. Plus, the venue regularly projects on 35mm film. That it eventually came under the ownership of the same filmmaker and rescued it for local film fans (as the number of closures and demolitions of beautiful old movie palaces in L.A. over time attests) proved a godsend. As the Colonel wrote last year, before he became a proud new papa, on the key ‘cinema event’ of 2011:
“… writer-director (and New Beverly theatre savior) Quentin Tarantino takes over programming for the entire month of March.”
And with that, QT scheduled the U.S. première of Kill Bill: The Whole Bloody Affair for the end of the month. It ran for over a week, sold out, as additional screenings were added to meet the demand. I, along with my long-time friend, golf- and occasional movie-partner, obtained tickets for the Monday evening showing (the first weekend’s tickets were gone the first minute they were available online). I left work at the end of the day and drove down the street to find parking and get into line for that night’s filled-to-the-gills-with-movie-fans 7:30 PM screening. Turned out to be one of the best movie experiences… ever.