Paris Cinema

841 Boylston Street,
Boston, MA 02215

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The Paris Cinema Goes Ape

Viewing: Photo | Street View

A popular first run art house across from Prudential Center from its opening on February 6, 1964 and up to the 1990’s. At a certain point as a single screen theatre it could not effectively compete with the Boston area multiplexes and was closed in 1993, and gutted.

Contributed by Gerald A. DeLuca

Recent comments (view all 42 comments)

DennisJOBrien
DennisJOBrien on January 28, 2007 at 6:37 am

I pleasantly remember seeing “The Graduate” at the Paris sometime in late 1967 or early 1968. The audience loved the film. I got the impression that the height of the auditorium was relatively low and I believe there was no balcony. Yet, the screen was a good size width-wise and the sound system seemed decent. It was a perfect location in the Back Bay, with huge pedestrian traffic going by it all day and night. Having the Prudential Center across the street was an asset. If a cinema like that cannot succeed in today’s market, it tells you that either the quality of the films has gone down or that Hollywood is catering more to a youth audience — and I firmly believe that both instances are true. I am now 55 years old, and I remember the days when you could see beautifully photographed movies in 70mm on big screens. The smaller cinemas and 35mm formats of today are big steps down in quality.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on January 28, 2007 at 9:26 am

Dennis, it is true that the Paris had no balcony but it did have a rear section that was stadium seating, if I recall correctly. I do not believe the Paris had 70mm capability, though I could be corrected on that. 35mm has long been the standard for theatrical exhibition from its commercial use in the early 20th Century up until now. The phrase “35mm formats of today” doesn’t make sense.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on January 28, 2007 at 9:32 am

I think I misread the intent of your comment, which was that 35mm is used pretty much exclusively today to the exclusion of 70mm presentations, and in shoebox cinemas.

nkwoodward
nkwoodward on December 11, 2007 at 4:36 pm

I saw one of Woody Allen’s mid-1990s movies there. I think it was Manhattan Murder Mystery.

Archie1959
Archie1959 on January 14, 2008 at 1:39 am

The Charles, The 57 and The Cheri were the auditoriums that I remember having 70 mm capacity. Charles was The Deer Hunter & The Rose. 57 was The Doors and The Exorcist. Cheri was Edward Scissorhands. Paris I remember for being the cinema for Woody Allen movies and the Last Temtation of Christ. The latter film had protesters that were saying the our father and hail mary prayers in a protest circle. One person told me I was going to the place below because I was vewing the film

mark edmunds
mark edmunds on April 30, 2008 at 7:59 pm

I also viewed “The Graduate” in 67' it was a Sack theatre with large picture windows showing the lobby to those on the street, very nice blue carpeting and of course the ‘new age’ formica candy counter, I’m partial to glass block, all in all I liked the theatre as with any single screen house!

pmont
pmont on August 25, 2008 at 5:45 am

According to a Globe article discussing its imminent closing, this theatre had 600 seats

poclair
poclair on October 19, 2010 at 5:52 pm

Member the “star trek” wall at the Paris? It was a thick, enlarged mesh of bony ovals. Not jagged but molded and smooth. I don’t what art movement to align it with (suburban wet bar rococo?) but it definitely came from the late 60’s/early 70’s. It was behind the snack counter. I’d love a photo!!!

Nataloff
Nataloff on November 1, 2012 at 4:37 am

The Paris was not a Sack theatre when it enjoyed its heyday in the late 60s and early 70s. It was four-walled by Joseph E. Levine of Embassy Pictures, which became Avco-Embassy during the lease, to show “The Graduate,” “The Producers” and “The Lion in Winter” because Levine was still having a blood feud with Ben Sack over Sack’s 1965 exhibition of Levine’s release, “Darling,” and no way was Joe gonna let Ben make any money off him. The feud was finally settled when Sack booked “The Night Porter” from Joe in 1974. I know this because I handled the PR for them, God forgive me.

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