West End Cinema

75 Causeway Street,
Boston, MA 02114

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Lancaster Theater / West End Cinema

Viewing: Photo | Street View

An old steeply-balconied theatre that became re-incarnated as an art house in the 1960’s, showing mostly new foreign films as well as revivals. It was located right near Boston Garden and North Station.

Contributed by Gerald A. DeLuca

Recent comments (view all 49 comments)

rivest266
rivest266 on May 12, 2013 at 7:19 am

Also posted the Lancaster opening ad from February 18th, 1917.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 12, 2013 at 2:28 pm

Linkrot repair: A brief item about the opening of E.M. Loew’s West End Cinema appeared in Boxoffice of November 11, 1963 (lower right). The architect for the remodeling of the old Lancaster Theatre into the West End Cinema was William Riseman.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on May 12, 2013 at 3:29 pm

Why did they choose to rename the theatre ‘West End’ in 1963, years after the West End neighborhood was totally destroyed?

IanJudge
IanJudge on May 12, 2013 at 4:44 pm

But remember it was replaced in the 60’s by a modern futuristic (at the time) new development, a shining “new” Boston rising from the old. I am sure in anticipation of the new upscale West End, the dumpy neighborhood Lancaster was “modernized” and reprogrammed to fit this new vision of the city.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on May 12, 2013 at 4:47 pm

True, but the name ‘West End’ was erased from the city’s geography. The new shining development wanted nothing to do with the name West End, preferring ‘Charles River Park’.

IanJudge
IanJudge on May 12, 2013 at 5:02 pm

Perhaps there were trademark issues?

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on May 13, 2013 at 11:26 am

The area was stilled referred to as the “West End” after the widespread demolition and the construction of Charles River Park by the people who used to live there (patrons of the Lancaster) and others familiar with the area. Needless to say, plans to bulldoze the area created a firestorm back circa-1959 among the residents, who had no say in the matter. Caused a lot of lingering bitterness. For someone like E.M.Loew who had ties to the older Boston, it would have been natural to call the theater the “West End”. He also at the time of opening was under the impression that the elevated trolley structure in front of the new facade of the theater was to be shortly demolished, but that didn’t happen for a long while.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on May 13, 2013 at 11:32 am

That didn’t happen until 2004, by which time this theatre was long gone ;–(

westendmuseum
westendmuseum on January 18, 2014 at 7:52 pm

http://www.flickr.com/photos/thewestendmuseum/12023255213/lightbox/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/thewestendmuseum/12023803046/lightbox/

thomasljoseph
thomasljoseph on June 15, 2016 at 11:21 am

The Lancaster and Bowdoin Square were our neighborhood theaters in Boston’s West End. I never heard the Lancaster referred to as anything but the Lanci. The Lanci arrived in 1917, a year after my father got off the boat from Albania. He often mentioned that I wouldn’t believe the SRO crowds on Sundays. My sister has spoken of the neighborhood talent shows that were held there in the late 40’s and early 50’s. As a small boy, I recall seeing “Five Fingers” there, as well as “Red Mountain” and “He ran all the way.” It closed in the early 1950’s and re-opened in ‘53 with a cinema scope screen. The re-opening was a big day for the neighborhood. It was a Sunday and the place was jammed. The movie was “How to Marry a Millionaire,” and unaccompanied children had to sit in the balcony (I know because I was asked by a uniformed usher). My family became regulars again. In 1956, urban renewal forced us out of the area. With “The Best Things in Life are Free,” I bid farewell to the Lanci and the woman in the ticket booth.

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