Somerville Theatre

55 Davis Square,
Somerville, MA 02144

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Somerville Theatre

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Opened on May 11, 1914, with 1,100 seats, this neighborhood movie palace was home to plays, opera, and vaudeville before going movies-only. Ray Bolger danced here live, and Busby Berkeley directed plays here.

The non-theater part of the building housed an old ballroom, that, along with some storefronts, was demolished in the 1980’s to make way for four smaller screens to complement the big original theater, which has a huge balcony, screen, and a lot of style. By 2012, a 31-seat micro screen had been added.

Many concerts happen here, in addition to the current slate of movies. Since September 2016 it has hosted the annual 70mm & Widescreen Festival. This is a well-maintained and well-loved theater.

Contributed by Andy Blesser, Loewlife

Recent comments (view all 154 comments)

DavidSimpson on August 18, 2012 at 12:08 pm

This is a lovely, exceptionally well-run cinema. In addition to the lovely main auditorium it now (in July 2012) has five screens: Screen 2 – 129 seats, Screen 3 – 194 seats, Screen 4 – 120 seats, Screen 5 – 186 seats and a new screen, called the “Micro”, with 31 seats. In a nice, quirky touch, the ‘Museum of Bad Art’ is housed beneath the original circle!

IanJudge on December 23, 2012 at 12:35 pm

We have added digital projection to our screens; however we have retained 35mm film projection alongside the digital projectors in houses 3 and 4, and of course in the main theater as well, which can now present 35mm, 70mm, and now digital content. While we would have preferred to remain with film alone, it is clear that the film studios are not supporting that format. However we do intend to book film when available and certainly for classics series, etc.

RogerA on July 21, 2013 at 4:10 pm

I was given a tour and demonstration of the main theater and was quite impressed. A pair of Todd-AO projectors restored back to factory specs. A chiller pump kept the gates cool to the touch. My host didn’t run any 70mm as the 70mm sound hadn’t been hooked up yet but the Todd-AO speed switch worked. The 35mm picture and optical sound from those projectors was the best I have seen in a long time. There was no question that the picture was bright enough and of course sharp. Sound was excellent. Of course they can run every aspect ratio known to cinema making this a prime venue to view a film presentation. Boston is fortunate to have this theater, I hope people appreciate it.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on April 20, 2014 at 10:23 am

The Boston Sunday Herald of April 20, 2014 has a long feature article by Jed Gottlieb “Classic Cinema” about the 100th birthday of the Somerville Theatre in May. There is a nice color photo of a vintage car passing the theater entrance while Manager Ian Judge changes letters on the marquee from a stepladder. There is a classic film festival going on there now. On the theater’s birthday, May 11, there will be a show consisting of “The Wizard of Oz”, plus classic short subjects, plus live music and 3 acts of vaudeville. (Where in this day and age does one book vaude acts?)

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on May 12, 2014 at 9:41 am

Last night’s celebration was wonderful — and had 6 acts of vaudeville, plus a live orchestra, plus 2 cartoons (one with Mickey Mouse) before the main feature.

da_Bunnyman on May 27, 2014 at 10:14 am

I attended the same showing of Wizard of Oz on May 11 mentioned by Ron Newman.Really a wonderful night of fun with people in costume, some in formal wear. Inside the theater they had vendors going up and down the aisles selling popcorn, candy and drinks between acts. Place was packed too, 600+ attendance. Looks better each time I go there as the restorations still go on. To show how diverse their booking policy is, besides Oz in the big house there were current blockbusters in the other houses and a special showing of the original Godzilla (Gojira, subtitled) also going on.

veyoung52 on October 21, 2015 at 7:09 pm

Anybody have any idea of the expected image size of the reported anamorphic 70mm presentation of “Hateful 8” beginning Christmas? I’m assuming the a.ratio will be spot on. Thanks

morganfitzp on March 26, 2016 at 9:10 am

I worked here in the early 90s when we had lots of concerts and big Bollywood film events that filled all 900 seats on the weekends. This was around the time when the Somerville shifted from showing rep, foreign, and art films to showing second-run movies for $1. There was an all-staff walkout around 93 or 94, and it was sometime after that when the owners added the additional screens next door. I’ve seen Davis Square change a lot, but the Somerville Theatre was always a prominent fixture.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on March 26, 2016 at 1:09 pm

These days it’s first-run Hollywood with some foreign or art films, and various film festivals. And lots of concerts. Second-run doesn’t really exist around here anymore.

HowardBHaas on September 6, 2017 at 5:47 am

September 20 thru Oct 1, 2nd annual 70mm & Widescreen Festival including films that were filmed in 65mm & shown in 70mm: The Agony and the Ecstasy on 9-20, Lawrence of Arabia 9-21 & 9-23, Cleopatra 9-28. 2001: A Space Odyssey 10-1. Other films, too.

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