Brattle Theatre

40 Brattle Street,
Cambridge, MA 02138

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DavidSimpson
DavidSimpson on August 18, 2012 at 2:30 pm

On a visit in July 2012 I was told the Brattle used to be a lecture theatre for Harvard University, becoming a full-time cinema in 1950. It has 235 seats and, unusually, uses rear projection, with two 35mm projectors on changeover. The programming is extremely imaginative; the staff very welcoming. A lovely cinema!

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on April 18, 2011 at 9:31 pm

What an interesting life he seems to have led. Here’s an excerpt from the NY Times obituary:

Cyrus I. Harvey, a quirky entrepreneur who created two significant brands in disparate fields â€" Janus Films, a distributor of movies by international directors like Bergman, Fellini and Kurosawa, and Crabtree & Evelyn, the purveyor of aromatic soaps and botanicals â€" died Thursday in Dayville, Conn. He was 85 and lived in Woodstock, Conn.

Janus Films, founded in 1956, grew from his part ownership of the Brattle Theater in Cambridge, Mass., which he and a partner, the actor Bryant Haliday, had transformed from a live-theater venue to a movie house that showed the art films Mr. Harvey had grown to love as a Fulbright scholar in Paris.

“Instead of spending two years at the Sorbonne, he spent two years at the cinémathèque,” his wife said.

Mr. Harvey and Mr. Haliday showed Janus films at the Brattle and at the 55th Street Playhouse in New York. They had named the company for a Roman god usually depicted with two heads facing in different directions.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on April 10, 2011 at 2:38 pm

The musical “Godspell”, produced by Moonbox Productions, was on stage at the Brattle this weekend. The reviewer in today’s Boston Sunday Herald gives it high marks, except for the theater itself. Although the Brattle was originally a live theater, he implies that it’s not suitable for live productions today.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on January 9, 2011 at 7:48 am

Fortunately, the Brattle was open and selling concessions as usual the following night when I saw The Princess Bride. Film nearly filled the theatre for a 9:30 show, too.

MrDJDude
MrDJDude on January 9, 2011 at 4:18 am

Wow, I just saw this story – guy smashed the concession stand at the Brattle. Why? Because Sound Of Music was out of focus for five minutes. I can only assume he was denied a refund or something, but that’s still a poor reason to destroy property.

Silicon Sam
Silicon Sam on January 9, 2011 at 4:18 am

Man goes crazy at the Brattel over an out of focus showing of The Sound Of Music:

L I N K

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on June 22, 2009 at 1:53 am

As of June 10, the Brattle Theatre now sells beer from Cambridge Brewing Company. They will soon begin selling wine as well.

MPol
MPol on January 2, 2009 at 4:55 pm

Just out of curiosity, what kind of a group is “Department of Eagles”? I’ve never heard of them before.

The Brattle Theatre—yes..another great old theatre. We need it to stay open..forever and ever.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on January 2, 2009 at 1:57 pm

There are occasional and infrequent live performances at the Brattle. On Jan. 18 there will be a concert by “Department of Eagles”.

theauteur
theauteur on December 27, 2008 at 11:32 pm

When I saw Once Upon a Time in the West here, it was one of the best memories of going to the movies. Seeing that 35mm print was like seeing the film for the first time as if it just came out. I love the Brattle, and would love to get a job there some day, even doing concession.

Does anyone know anything about Boston’s Projectionist Union?

I would love to get in contact with them about getting a job, if able to.

The theater I work for in NH just closed down, but I would love to get a job at another great theater. Check out the Ioka Theater in Exeter, NH. It is a forgotton gem hidden in the small town of Exeter, NH.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on September 30, 2008 at 2:43 pm

I have a program for the old Boston Opera House on Huntington Ave. for the week of December 24, 1951. The attraction on stage was a touring production of the great musical of the 1920s “The Student Prince” by Sigmund Romberg. Near the back of the program is an ad for the Brattle Theatre Company, Harvard Sq.,Cambridge. “Two Comedies for the Holidays!”— “A Phoenix Too Frequent” by Christopher Fry and “The Long Christmas Dinner” by Thornton Wilder. The plays were on stage thru New Year’s Eve. I don’t know if these were 2 full-length plays presented on alternate nights, or if they were 2 short plays presented on the same program.

MPol
MPol on July 9, 2008 at 2:50 am

I also might add that I’m glad that the Brattle Theatre was renovated. The chairs are far more comfortable, and, even though some chairs were taken out of the theatre when it received a facelift, so to speak, it’s well worth it, imo.

MPol
MPol on July 9, 2008 at 2:49 am

The Brattle Theatre, which is also a wonderful repertory arts movie house, is another movie house that I enjoy freqenting when there’s a good older classic film playing. I’ve seen some James Bond movies there, as well as Easy Rider, Gimme Shelter & Monterey Pops as a double feature, Raging Bull, Night at the Opera, Yellow Submarine, Georgy Girl, Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner, and, not withstanding afew others, last but not least, I’ve seen several screenings of my alltiime favorite film, West Side Story at the Brattle. Just this past may, when the 90th Anniversary of United Artists Films series arrived, they showed both an afternoon and an evening screening of West Side Story. Since WSS is a hard film for me to resist, I attended both screenings. Since the Brattle Theatre and the Somerville Theatre are the only two theatres in this area left that have balconies, I always love sitting on the balcony when I view the film West Side Story.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on February 27, 2008 at 4:09 pm

I saw a wonderful revival showing of Ingmar Bergman’s Monika here a few weeks ago in a magnificent restored 35mm print. This is the Brattle at its best!

anomie666
anomie666 on February 27, 2008 at 3:50 pm

On February 16th, the Brattle celebrated its 55th anniversary as a movie theater!

anomie666
anomie666 on February 22, 2008 at 8:27 pm

There is a great way to help the brattle, just by searching! Check out this link:

http://www.goodsearch.com/?charityid=812588

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on January 14, 2008 at 3:18 am

The Brattle Theatre is “back from the brink,” according to this Boston Globe article.

nkwoodward
nkwoodward on December 11, 2007 at 12:00 pm

They replaced their theater seats in 2001. I was one of the fans of the theater who lined up to cart away a row of the old “flip up” seats. I took a row of five seats home with me. The seats are 90% covered in duct tape, but the backs and the hardware all work fine. They replaced the seats with modern metal & plastic seats, which are only a moderate improvement on the old ones.

hkbf23
hkbf23 on October 4, 2007 at 8:42 am

i have a long,long history with the Brattle. I went regularly as a student in the 70’s, and I still go to this day, now with my daughter, who is as much a cinefreak as I ever was! A great thing to pass along to your children. Sometimes I think I can see the ghost of the student I was lounging in one of the seats in the fifth row where I always sat. Long live the Brattle, in whatever incarnation.

Ian
Ian on March 18, 2007 at 2:10 am

Exterior photo here:–

View link

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on August 18, 2006 at 9:00 pm

From an invitation to a Brattle Theatre donor appreciation screening that I attended yesterday:

“The Brattle has recently acquired films from the famed Off-The-Wall
collection. Off-The-Wall Cinema screened rare footage from rock groups like
the Rolling Stones, silent films, short subjects and classic animated
shorts. From its inception in 1976 to finally closing ten years later,
Off-The-Wall Cinema primarily made its home in Central Square, Cambridge.
Many folks, including Brattle Creative Director Ned Hinkle, have fond
memories of these screenings.

The Brattle Film Foundation is thrilled to add these wonderful shorts and
rarities to our collection."

The entire collection is in 16mm, and had sat in various people’s basements for at least a decade before the Brattle acquired it.

At yesterday’s screening, the Brattle showed these films (and maybe a few others that I don’t remember):

  • A Datsun TV commercial starring Salvador Dali
  • An equally strange Levi’s commercial from the 1960s or early 70s
  • a Faith Hubley animated short. I think it was Windy Day, from 1967
  • a Louis Armstrong concert performance short subject
  • a Popeye vs. Sindbad cartoon
  • Three Pathé newsreels from 1964, featuring the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and the Dave Clark Five

At the back of the theatre, the Brattle displayed a few signs, advetisements, and newspaper articles from Off the Wall. I had forgotten that Off The Wall had one last run in 1994-95, showing films on Monday nights at the Middle East Upstairs in Central Square. A Boston Globe article from 1994, celebrating Off The Wall’s 20th anniversary, said that Off The Wall started on Friday, December 13, 1974.

As part of Harvard Square Oktoberfest, the Brattle will have a free screening of Off The Wall films on Sunday, October 8, from noon to 2:30 pm.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on February 27, 2006 at 8:00 am

Brattle Hall is shown on this 1916 map. It is near the top right corner of the map, the rightmost building on the south side of Brattle Street.

Both it and the Brattle House next door are shown as owned by the “Camb. Social Union”. It appears that the buildings were connected at that time; they no longer are. The Brattle House now belongs to the Cambridge Center for Adult Education.

anomie666
anomie666 on January 11, 2006 at 7:20 pm

Just a quick update on the plight of the Brattle and the fundraising drive. The Brattle was able to raise $200,000 by the end of 2005, and while that is only half of the goal, they were able to negotiate an extension of the lease until 2007.

The Brattle is not out of the woods yet, they desperately need to raise the additional $300,000 within this year. Please check out the Brattle webpage (listed above) to donate money to the cause and to check out the current fundraising events.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on December 8, 2005 at 12:02 pm

When I first became aware of the Brattle Theatre around 1950, it was a live playhouse. Then it went over to films and by the end of the 1950s it was a well-established feature in the Harvard Square area. It’s most unfortunate that it has come upon hard times.