Castro Theatre

429 Castro Street,
San Francisco, CA 94114

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Showing 101 - 125 of 134 comments

jackeboy on September 8, 2005 at 5:15 pm

Speaking of Anita, there is one big difference that I have noticed. Since she is no longer the programmer the quality of the prints has gone way down. A few weeks ago I saw Dragonslayer there and the print was awful. This week I saw Ice Station Zebra, and it may have been the worst quality print I have seen at the Catro in the 20 years I have been going there.This is a film that shows often on TV in an excellent print, so I know there are better available prints then the one the Castro showed this week. Anita’s connections used to assure us the best print available. I guess the new programmer does not have these kind of connections

claudew on September 2, 2005 at 7:04 pm

If anything there have been more gay movies at the Castro since Anita’s firing. Admittedly my tastes are a little more mainstream, but I find myself going to the Castro more since she’s been gone.

Unfortunately Landmark tends to get the best gay independent films and they usually put them at the Lumiere on Polk St. There would have much bigger and livelier audiences if they played the Castro.

VincentParisi on August 31, 2005 at 4:59 am

A piano is far preferable to some of the bad instrumental accompaniments I’ve heard which seem designed to totally destroy the mood of so many silent films. Especially when you see silents on DVD or TCM. The soundtracks are guaranteed to be abysmal making the films unwatchable.
I wish we had a place like the Castro in New York.

Kiddman on July 23, 2005 at 5:32 pm

They used a PIANO when they have a magificent THEATRE ORGAN (one of the finest, I might add) right there? What the heck are they THINKING???

jackeboy on July 23, 2005 at 2:14 pm

Thank you Gerald, so much for the I before e rule huh?

jackeboy on July 23, 2005 at 2:14 pm

Thank you Gerald, so much for the I before e rule huh?

jackeboy on July 22, 2005 at 6:06 pm

Last week I had the opportunity to see Valentino in THE SHIEK at the Castro with a pianist providing a live score. What a great night at the movies. Even the hipper then thou crowd was captivated by the experience. After a few initial giggles at the unfamiliar acting style, the audience beacame drawn into the story and the experience. Coming up at at the Castro is a week of Harold Lloyd. The Shiek was preceded by Wings, and the Silent Film Festival. Though there may not be enough Silents for everyone’s taste [including mine] the art of the Silent Film is alive at the Castro.

Coate on July 22, 2005 at 5:15 pm

The Castro is hosting a 70mm festival August 1-11.

Aug. 1 … Vertigo
Aug. 2 … 2001: A Space Odyssey
Aug. 3 … Lawrence Of Arabia
Aug. 4 … The Bridge On The River Kwai
Aug. 5 … Apocalypse Now
Aug. 6 … The Road Warrior
Aug. 7 … Ghostbusters
Aug. 8 … Dragonslayer
Aug. 9 … Tommy
Aug. 10 … Edward Scissorhands
Aug. 11 … Hello, Dolly!

moviesmovies on July 19, 2005 at 3:42 am

Saw Portuguese films here during a film fest.

gsmurph on May 1, 2005 at 10:42 am

I’m as downhearted about the Castro as most everyone else, but let’s not cut off our nose to spite our (or their) face(s). If someone were to move all the festivals and the former Castro programming elsewhere, the Strand would be a po-o-o-o-or substitute—-how about the New Mission, the Harding, or the former Cine Latino instead? No sense replacing an architectural diamond (which was a big part of the Castro’s appeal with many festivalgoers all these years) with a lump of coal a fraction of the diamond’s size. (Of course, that’s assuming such a thing could be carried out.)

Kiddman on May 1, 2005 at 9:21 am

Just looked at the “coming attractions” at the Castro website. Blech!

Even when I lived in the Bay Area, I rarely went to the Castro for a movie. It was fairly far away from me, and “art” films rarely interest me. VERY occasionally, there’d be a silent movie or organ concert, and THOSE I went to!

The Wurlitzer is wonderful, one of the most beautiful-sounding anywhere. The acoustics in the Castro are TERRIFIC for the organ!

Because I happen to personally know the people involved with that theatre organ, I was lucky enough to be able to make a few early-morning visits for impromptu mini-concerts. Those were truly special experiences that I will never forget.

How come such a wonderful 20’s movie palace as this, equipped with one of the world’s finest theatre organs, so rarely shows silent movies? Even back when I still lived in the Bay Area, silents were almost never shown, averaging maybe twice a year or so.

On those rare occasions, they drew large audiences. My favorite haunt since I moved to Oregon, the Elsinore Theatre in Salem, hosts maybe 20 silent-movie programs a year and THEY tend to draw large audiences, too. I think there’s an audience for this form of movie entertainment, and it’s largely untapped.

I can understand that silents are sometimes hard to acquire, and you have to pay an organist, etc., but come ON! These movie palaces are DESIGNED for the “flickers”! Let’s use them for their intended purposes already! Occasional silents are a great addition to a movie palace’s schedule.

scotch on January 13, 2005 at 11:59 am

Actually I would like to change my statement on the Roxie… though not quite as impressive as thier calendar days, they are still a significant addition of the SF film landscape.

RobertR on January 13, 2005 at 11:41 am

Someone should reopen the Strand and bring back the former Castro programmer and move all the festivals there.

scotch on January 13, 2005 at 9:34 am

For those interested there was a boycot of the musicals recently shown at the Castro (why so few people showed for Meet me in St. Louis maybe) but everyone is still encouraged to patronize the festivals that play there, such as the upcoming Berlin and Beyond. However customers who disagree with the current situation are encouraged to not patronize the snack bar, as those proceeds go only to the castro and not to the festivals that screen there.

The recent calendar is not awful in terms of selection, but by no means exciting, and whoever wrote the blurbs is not very educated about film, and clearly did it very quickly. They seem to be playing everything for camp and no substance. Its some of the worse film writing ive come across in a SF movie house calendar. I will be curious to see what the SF film festival does… granted they seem to be going in another, yet just as anoying direction from their past. Mel Nobikov (sp) is turning in his grave…

If the castro goes south, the san franciso film scene will be officially moot… The Roxie is a shadow of its former self, the Four Star is closing, and the Red Vic is just not the same caliber. The Balboa seems to be the only theatre trying to do something. I hope they can keep it up.

FoxFan on January 12, 2005 at 3:59 pm

I recently went to see MEET ME IN ST LOUIS at THE CASTRO – and the house was almost empty! Never in all my years has this occured for a Judy Garland picture. The owners better ‘get with the program '
or sell/lease the movie palace to someone who truly cares for its audience and survival.

br91975 on December 23, 2004 at 8:54 pm

There are obviously some great, clued-in business owners but, more often than not, it’s the day-to-day staff of a business who’s far more aware of what the public wants and responds to, but unfortunately they’re not the ones with the capital and the resultant clout and, inevitably, the staff (and the customers) suffer. Hopefully, with the current outcry, the Nasser family will catch on before long…

stevenj on December 21, 2004 at 2:31 pm

Seems like it would be economic suicide to change the programming to the point that people would stop going. The Nassers have owned the theatre for decades, and I doubt they want to see it close due to a lack of patronage. I wonder if they are considering twinning or triplexing which was kicked around in the late 70’s or early 80’s. The theatre is a national historical landmark but don’t know it that protects the interior as well as the facade. There was a noisy demonstration in front of the theatre Saturday (18th)over the firing of Anita Monga and the hiring on an LA programmer who obviously doesn’t know the local film scene (according to an interview with him in a recent SF Chronicle column by Ruthe Stein – “The Movie Insider”). Time will tell whether his programming will bring movigoers into the Castro or whether it was the wrong employment decision. The “Film Noir” series that has been so popular at the Castro has pulled out and will be at the Balboa.

RobertR on December 16, 2004 at 2:24 pm

Count this and Cinema 1-2-3 as goners.

tropicalidotcom on December 16, 2004 at 1:58 pm

The NEW official website of The Castro Theatre is located here:

And the new calendar is online! Check it out!

gorkipk on December 4, 2004 at 8:43 pm

I have been going to the Castro off and on for 30 years…mainly off due to distance.

Its hard to believe the Nasser family getting uptight at this late date about Gay content.

20 years ago the theatre was showing all this German crap by Fassbinder and some wierdo who kept was taking his taxi to the toilet in the middle of Berlin. Remember?

The Castro should do Gay Lite and downplay the politics. A re-release of “La Cage…” or retrospect of Gay actors and director films would have more mass appeal than that hardcore stuff. Speaking of that what happened to Beau Geste, a little porno theatre around the corner? I saw Gordon Grant there making a personal appearance.

Eric on November 24, 2004 at 7:54 pm

Nassers: Tsk Tsk Tsk….

Look for the Castro to be a Walgreens, Gap, or Crunch Gym within a year!

RobertR on November 4, 2004 at 10:20 am

They should move all of this to the Roxie or that little porno theatre which I cant remember the name of. That would be a good way to restore it.

br91975 on November 4, 2004 at 9:45 am

The official web site of the Castro:

Shade on November 4, 2004 at 9:42 am

The original article can be found on here:
View link


Wednesday, November 3, 2004 (SF Chronicle)
Castro Theatre in turmoil over sudden sacking
Ruthe Stein, Chronicle Senior Movie Writer

The manager of the Castro Theatre quit Tuesday — the latest of several
staffing shake-ups to cause concern about the future of the venerable
movie palace, mecca to film lovers in the Bay Area.
Stacey Wisnia, who has managed the Castro for more than four years and
worked there for eight, said she resigned in part to protest the abrupt
firing last week of the theater’s long-time programmer, Anita Monga.
“I really am upset about how they fired Anita, who is definitely one of
the most highly regarded programmers in the country,” Wisnia said. “It
makes me worry about the direction the theater is heading in."
During her 16 years as the Castro’s director of programming, Monga
developed a national reputation for her eclectic scheduling, mixing
first-run features with classics and the offbeat. Her final schedule for
the theater includes the original "The Manchurian Candidate,” a tribute to
cinematographer James Wong Howe, a week’s worth of “Godzilla” movies and
“Tarnation,” a new documentary about a young man’s relationship with his
mentally ill mother.
Monga said Castro owner Ted Nasser summoned her to the theater last
Tuesday to tell her “I would immediately have no contact with the theater.
I can’t even begin to think what is in their minds,” she said, referring
to the Nasser family. The Nassers built the Castro and have owned it since
1922, but took over active management only in 2001. They have installed
new seats and made other improvements.
Stacks of letters have been sent protesting Monga’s dismissal and
expressing concern for the quality of the films the theater will now show.
Although Monga said she was “shocked” by her dismissal, this outpouring of
support “has been so moving to me” and confirmed her belief in the
Castro’s significance. “It is a San Francisco treasure and I worry about
it now.” Assistant manager Christian Bruno, who recently e-mailed almost
everyone in the film community to complain about turmoil at the theater,
also has been fired. Office manager Kelly Rausch resigned Friday in
Nasser isn’t saying much about what’s transpired. “As an employer, it is
not my habit to speak about staffing changes,” he said Monday.
But his wife, Karen Nasser, went out of her way to assure local theater
patrons that there would be no major changes at the Castro.
“No thought has been given to exhibiting films like the multiplexes show,
” she said. “The Castro has shown unique films, hosted film festivals and
special events for many, many years. We expect and look forward to
continue to work with each and every one of the film festivals and special
"Karen is hankering for the job (of film programmer) because she thinks
is glamorous and easy,” said Elliot Lavine, an independent distributor who
used to program films at the Roxie. “She has no idea of what goes into it,
and Ted wouldn’t know a good movie from an ashtray."
It is believed that the Nassers would like to screen more family fare.
Karen Nasser recently initiated Sunday morning children’s films such as
"National Velvet” and “Cheaper by the Dozen."
"I think they would like to see less of things like ‘Tarnation,’ ” said
Marcus Hu, owner of Strand, an independent distributor whose films often
play the Castro. Wisnia said the Nassers have “complained about the gay
content of some of the films.” When a double bill of “Proteus” and
“Superstar in a Housedress,” both gay-themed, did not do well at the box
office “it seemed to set them (the Nassers) off in a way.” According to
Wisnia, they also were unhappy with a Bruce Weber photo on a recent
program cover showing men with their shirts off and their arms around each
Insiders say the Nassers have been furiously calling festival heads to
assure them the welcome mat is still out at the Castro. But at least one
festival curator, Eddie Muller, who puts on the popular San Francisco Film
Noir Festival at the Castro in January, may go elsewhere.
“I have no intention of doing it without Anita, and I am seriously
considering an alternative venue because of this development,” Muller
Gary Meyer, founder of Landmark Theatres who now operates the Balboa,
predicts that there may be more defections. “The Castro is very expensive
to rent, and you don’t want to go to a place where the staff and the
environment are not right for what you are doing,” Meyer said. Other
options for film festivals include the Palace of Fine Arts and the Herbst
However, Meyer doubts that the San Francisco International Lesbian & Gay
Film Festival would consider a move because the Castro is in the heart of
the gay community. “They want to be at the corner of Main and Main."
E-mail Ruthe Stein at