Brentwood Twins

2524 Wilshire Boulevard,
Santa Monica, CA 90403

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LarryDickman
LarryDickman on January 30, 2011 at 4:41 pm

My first visit to the Brentwood Twins was in the fall of ’70, for the mind-frying double bill of “Trog” (wacky missing link madness with Joan Crawford) and Hammer Films’ “Taste the Blood of Dracula.” This was to be the first of many visits to this no-frills but family-friendly neighborhood twin, where if I recall correctly Screen I (to the left as you entered) was the smaller house. As was common in the early ‘70s, local movie houses sometimes offered the same grindhouse fare found in urban markets, and the Brentwood was no exception. Over the next seven years or so the venue hosted such psychotronic classics as the British terror anthology “Tales that Witness Madness,” the Stella Stevens horror-comedy “Arnold,” the cult cannibal shocker “The Folks at Red Wolf Inn,” Piper Laurie as “Ruby,” Hammer’s “Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter” with “Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell,” William Castle’s “Bug,” the Borgnine/Shatner/Travolta glop-fest “The Devil’s Rain” (paired with Hammer’s “The Devil’s Bride”; give that booker a cigar!), “Straw Dogs,” “Breakheart Pass,” “Death Wish,” “Freebie and the Bean,” Ron Leibman and Beau Bridges in the forgotten “Your Three Minutes Are Up,” the Burton/Taylor/Bridges oddity “Hammersmith is Out,” Peter Sellars’ hospital laff-riot “Where Does It Hurt?,” Omar Sharif in “The Mysterious Island of Captain Nemo,” “Billy Jack” and the unforgettable “Mandingo.” Mainstream hits with repeat bookings included “The Poseidon Adventure,” “The Hot Rock,” “Chinatown,” and “Jeremiah Johnson.” I was spellbound by two great French thrillers when the theatre entered its art house/revival phase in ’77 and showed Clouzot’s “The Wages of Fear” with “Diabolique.” I believe the prints were 16mm, but I was terrified nonetheless. In either late ’81 or early ’82, it seemed that someone at the theatre was eager to support the area’s up and coming acting talent: when “Taps” played, below the title the marquee read ‘Sean Penn as Dwyer’. What corporate multiplex these days would give that kind of shout-out? My last visit was in ’88, for a near-empty screening of “The Untouchables.” Before long the Brentwood’s doors shut for good, closing another chapter in friendly neighborhood moviegoing…

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on August 23, 2009 at 5:38 pm

Here is a profile that was in the LA Times, also in October 1977:

BRENTWOOD I & II 2524 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica 829-3366

Three months ago, proprietor Gene Rosenthal began showing older-often classic-films on one of his screens to complement the current commercial fare on the other. The result has been attendance from a cross-section of the community-senior citizens to youngsters-all drawn by programming that varies from science fiction to nostalgia.

The bill changes twice weekly and focuses on “in-depth classics”, that is older films, rather then on the more current alternative movies shown at some of the other theaters. A recent Brentwood attraction was “My Man Godfrey” and “His Girl Friday”. There were also a few days of Harold Lloyd films. The theater was a bowling alley when Rosenthal took it over eight years ago.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on August 4, 2009 at 10:28 pm

Here is an October 1977 ad from the LA Times:
http://tinyurl.com/m4hapv

William
William on July 28, 2009 at 7:06 am

You forgot the Monica Twin.

mweston
mweston on July 28, 2009 at 1:37 am

I was the Projectionist at this theater for several years during the 80s. It wasn’t anything fancy, but it wasn’t a bad theater, and it did some good business as I remember. The staff was non present because there was a lot of partying in that place! The theater had Cinemechanica projectors, pretty good projectors in my opinion. Cinema 1 had a V-18 tower projector (13,000 ft reel), 2 had two V8 projectors (6 thousand foot reels, changeovers.) Back in the day the only theaters in Santa Monica were the Brentwood Twins, Wilshire Twins and the Aero. Both the Aero and the Brentwood twins were 2nd run, the Wilshire first run.

Damon Packard
Damon Packard on March 2, 2009 at 1:25 am

ahh the Brentwood Twins, i lived right around the corner from the theater back in ‘82-83 and used to sneak in every night. I spent most of my life in this theater during those years watching “Blade Runner, The Thing, Empire Strikes Back (re-release) and everything else that played there those years over and over for weeks/months. It was the easiest theater to sneak into as the exit doors were always slightly ajar with generally few people inside. Cheap, run down, sticky floors, and the employees/floor staff were completely non present. I vividly remember during a late afternoon showing of "Sword and the Sorcerer” (which i also saw there a couple dozen times) a drug-connection friend of a friend i was with came thru the always-open exit doors right in the middle of the film, stood in the middle of the screen and started yelling out my friends name “Marc Maaarc..!!” Luckily there were only 2 or 3 other people in the theatre but it was quite embarrassing. Those were crazy days. Many memories of this theater.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on March 19, 2008 at 8:22 pm

Looks like the status on this one should have been changed to closed/demolished a while ago. I will be around there tomorrow, but the posts from two years ago don’t leave much doubt.

William
William on July 6, 2006 at 6:28 am

The El Miro/Cine Latino closed around October 1987. So it must have been sometime in 1988. It was an independent theatre before Cineplex took over operations.

turnkey
turnkey on July 6, 2006 at 6:02 am

William,
do you know approximately what year this was? I left the westside in the late 80s and when I came back in the mid 90s I don’t recall the theater being there…just trying to figure out the exact date. It’s too bad an independent owner didn’t take over. That area could use a cool theater.

William
William on July 5, 2006 at 2:04 pm

Cineplex operated the theatre till they opened their new 4 screen theatre on the Santa Monica Mall on the location of the former El Miro Theatre.

turnkey
turnkey on July 5, 2006 at 1:02 pm

I live a block away from where this theater used to be. Yes, it was a second-run, second-rate theater in every manner possible. They would show second-run films, but, since they were in a nice section of town, charge first-run prices! I recall the manager telling the audience about what a great guy he was to hire the handicapped, and I thought that was a cool thing to do (hire them, not brag about it) but the theater itself was not that impressive.

William
William on April 13, 2005 at 7:51 am

Yes, The original building was torn down to make way for this multi story office building now.

DonSolosan
DonSolosan on January 19, 2005 at 10:31 pm

Oh, and another thing: the address on the building now is 2530 Wilshire, not 2524. This also leads me to believe they tore down the original building.

DonSolosan
DonSolosan on January 19, 2005 at 10:28 pm

I took a stroll down to this address yesterday. There’s a newish building standing there, offices upstairs, retail below. I’ve lived here since 94, and that’s all I remember ever being on that corner. I think the original building was demolished.

If anyone can confirm, you may want to change the status.

BradE41
BradE41 on December 20, 2004 at 5:40 pm

The Brentwood twins had the most uncomfortable seats ever in any movie theatre. I frequented it alot when I was a teenager. In the 70’s they showed 2nd run films in double features. Later when Cineplex Odeon ran it they went 1st run (one Feature only) features. The Brentwood twins were noted for hiring the handicapped and recieved good press about it.