Paris Cinema

841 Boylston Street,
Boston, MA 02215

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Nataloff
Nataloff on October 31, 2012 at 6:37 pm

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.

poclair
poclair on October 19, 2010 at 6:52 am

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!!!

pmont
pmont on August 24, 2008 at 6:45 pm

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

mark edmunds
mark edmunds on April 30, 2008 at 8:59 am

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!

Archie1959
Archie1959 on January 13, 2008 at 3:39 pm

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

nkwoodward
nkwoodward on December 11, 2007 at 6:36 am

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

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on January 27, 2007 at 11:32 pm

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.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on January 27, 2007 at 11:26 pm

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.

DennisJOBrien
DennisJOBrien on January 27, 2007 at 8:37 pm

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.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on June 26, 2005 at 3:16 am

Assuming King’s dates are mostly correct, one thing I found striking was that new theatre construction in central Boston suddenly stopped with the Paramount in 1932, and didn’t get going again until the mid-1960s with the Paris, Charles, and Cheri.

During that three-decade interval, the only new movie theatres that opened were a few newsreel houses carved out of existing buildings between 1936 and 1940 (South Station, Telepix, the second Old South).

The first Kenmore may have been an exception, but I don’t know much about it and King mentions it only briefly; in any event, it was on the far fringe of the city center.

ErikH
ErikH on June 25, 2005 at 11:37 pm

The appendix of King’s book states that the Paris was “demolished about 2000.” The theater was closed in early 1993 and was quickly replaced by a Walgreens.

I would add a caveat to Ron’s above comment. The Paris was the last newly built theater that opened as a single screen and wasn’t subsequently subdivided OR had additional screens added. The large auditorium at the Charles, which opened in either 1966 or 1967 according to King (the text and the appendix provide different opening dates) was never subdivided; the second and third Charles screens were separate from the large auditorium.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on June 19, 2005 at 2:13 pm

According to Donald C. King’s new book The Theatres of Boston: A Stage and Screen History, the Paris opened on February 6, 1964.

King calls it “Boston’s last new single-screen motion picture theatre”, but I think he means to say that it was the last newly-built theatre that opened as a single screen and was never subsequently subdivided.

MagicLantern
MagicLantern on February 13, 2005 at 5:08 pm

There’s a few shots of this theatre showing “Deep Throat” in the very recent “Inside Deep Throat” documentary.

br91975
br91975 on February 13, 2005 at 4:56 pm

A leap to judgement on your part, Ron; I was only asking where ‘Deep Throat’ had its premiere engagement in Boston – thanks for the info, though…

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on February 13, 2005 at 12:12 pm

I believe you are confusing the Paris with the ‘Pru Cinema’, a block further down Boylston Street. It played Deep Throat for years in the 1970s.

br91975
br91975 on February 13, 2005 at 7:38 am

Did ‘Deep Throat’ have its Boston premiere engagement at the Paris?

jzcarvalho
jzcarvalho on February 13, 2005 at 6:37 am

I remember the Paris had a long run double feature: deep throat/ devil in miss jones

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on February 8, 2005 at 12:18 pm

From a Boston Herald article published on July 7, 1992:

“The Paris Theater’s claim to fame is that it has hosted the Boston premiere of every Woody Allen movie since 1975, when the Sack chain bought the Paris from an adult-entertainment film operator.”

bunnyman
bunnyman on February 8, 2005 at 9:37 am

Snuff is a prime example of the theatre owners saying “pickets sell tickets.” A horrible horror film that was considered unreleasable until someone tacked on a fake ending making it look like a snuff type film. The producers of it arranged for their own pickets/protests in NYC to generate controversy & publicity. And a lot of the public bought it. Wonder if the Boston protesters were real?

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on February 8, 2005 at 8:57 am

I also recall Sack showing Snuff at one of their houses, probably the Saxon. They took a lot of heat for that one, which got them picketed — deservedly, in my opinion.

On the Saxon page I already posted a comment about their showing of Caligula, which resulted in a vice squad raid and a court case.

IanJudge
IanJudge on February 8, 2005 at 8:42 am

Speaking of the Saxon – that right there is an example of a Sack owned house that ran porn. There is a great picture of the Saxon in the “Citi-scapes of Boston” photo book by the guys who do the ‘then and now’ photos in the Globe magazine. Advertised on the marquee: “Terri Hall in ‘Gums’ rated XXX”.

Clearly they weren’t hiding it!

bunnyman
bunnyman on February 8, 2005 at 8:38 am

I’m not sure who owned it during its softcore days. May have been pre-Sack.

Also to answer WHY theatres close without advance word is because the company does not want any bad publicity and any theatre closing always brings out folks who loved the house. Just look at the few good comments on Copley Place after it closed. If the property is being sold the fans may try to block the theatre being torn down. Perhaps even try to get it landmark status. The last thing a movie company wants is a landmark because ANY changes in the place have to be approved by a commission.
Sack resisted having the Saxon given landmark status for years because they wanted to sell it, not restore it.

David Wodeyla
David Wodeyla on February 7, 2005 at 11:07 am

I think it was a Sack theatre in 1967 when I saw “The Graduate” there.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on February 7, 2005 at 10:47 am

I thought Sack bought this in the late 1970s — did they really run it as a soft-porn operation?