Quentin Tarantino's New Beverly will take you back to the golden age of cinema, writes David Skipwith.
Los Angeles is paradise for movie-loving holidaymakers and while the major Hollywood studios offer in-depth tours fit for the whole family, serious film buffs can now get their celluloid fix at Quentin Tarantino's revitalised repertory cinema.
Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood in Burbank takes fans on a two-hour tram and walking exploration of iconic backlots, sound stages, and exhibitions showcasing props and costumes from the DC Universe and the Harry Potter films.
One of the best studio tours on offer, the Warner Bros. experience differs from the Universal Studios theme park — there are no rides and the focus is on providing an insight and education on the film- and television-making process and how the magic of Hollywood comes to screens.
The Warner Bros. tour varies from day to day depending on what areas of the backlot are being used but generally includes a visit to a talk show set, and a sitcom set, taking takes you past the sound stages used for The Ellen DeGeneres Show and instantly recognisable locations used in shows such as Friends and Pretty Little Liars.
The tour concludes with a self-guided visit to Stage 48: Script to Screen, an interactive sound stage that highlights the key phases of production: screenwriting, set design, visual effects and post production.
Many tourists will come to LA looking to tick off the big attractions and pass on the opportunity to take in a film during their overseas holiday, but hardcore cinephiles should certainly include the Tarantino-owned New Beverly Cinema as a must-visit destination.
Almost five years ago, the two-time Oscar winner blamed the rise of digital projection for "the death of cinema" but has since underlined his commitment to 35mm and 16mm film by resurrecting the New Beverly.
Located on Beverly Boulevard, the historic building first opened in 1929 and went through various incarnations as a vaudeville house, candy factory, Jewish community centre, celebrity nightclub and adult theatre, before the late Sherman Torgan transformed it into the New Beverly in 1978.
Having frequented the cinema as a patron since 1982, Tarantino spent a decade forking out more than $7300 a month to help Torgan keep developers at bay, before he eventually bought it outright in 2007. Seven years later the director of Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction appointed himself chief curator of the monthly schedule while committing to preserving the 228-seat theatre solely for film projection, with many of the prints coming from his private collection.
"As long as I'm alive and as long as I'm rich," Tarantino says on the theatre's website, "the New Bev will be showing double features in 35mm."
A visit to the New Beverly — which reopened in December after almost a year of renovations — is a journey back to the golden age of cinema, with throwback ticket prices sitting at around $14 or less, even for double features.
After queuing outside (pre-order tickets online but get there early to secure a good seat and enjoy the camaraderie among movie fans) the lobby showcases large-format posters, often from Italy or France, while old Looney Tunes cartoons and vintage trailers are shown before each screening.
Throughout February, the New Beverly is paying tribute to Burt Reynolds with a selection of his films on offer including his screen debut Angel Baby, Smokey and the Bandit and Boogie Nights. The Godfather Part II, Purple Rain, and Jaws are among other classics on show.
Kids can enjoy weekend matinees while loyal fans can catch one of Tarantino's films, which screen each Friday at midnight (Pulp Fiction is running this month) — you might even spot him among the reserved seats in the back row.
Tip for young players — while collecting your popcorn at the concession stand, ask the staff to source you a packet of frozen Junior Mints from the freezer — to ensure you get the full New Beverly experience.
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