Cinema 733

733 Boylston Street,
Boston, MA 02116

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A hole-in-the-wall sharing its street address with two popular jazz nightclubs (Paul’s Mall and the Jazz Workshop), the Cinema 733 was known for its calendar of ever-changing double features.

They flooded the city with monthly calendars that simply listed the names of films, dates, and times, with no descriptions. They assumed that you had already heard of the films but had missed them in their first or second runs, or just wanted to see them again.

Each double feature would play for a day or two, then be replaced by another one. The films were usually recent Hollywood or art-house hits, interspersed with occasional older films such as a Marx Brothers festival.

After the 733 closed in the late 1970s, the same owners put out similar schedules for first the Harvard Square Theater and then the Janus Cinema.

Contributed by Ron Newman

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

scottfavareille
scottfavareille on November 19, 2004 at 4:04 pm

Was this the first revival house in Boston?

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on November 19, 2004 at 4:11 pm

The Brattle Theatre surely predates it, but that’s across the river in Cambridge. The other Boston revival houses I remember from the 1970s were the Park Square and Kenmore Square, both owned by Justin Freed. I don’t know which of these three theaters came first.

The 733’s programming was considerably more mainstream than the other revival theaters.

br91975
br91975 on November 21, 2004 at 1:13 am

Part of a Pizzeria Uno location currently occupies the former Cinema 733 space.

Borisbadenov
Borisbadenov on January 3, 2005 at 6:45 pm

I always thought that the downfall of 733 was the fact that you could buy refreshments at the drugstore next door and bring them into the theater without paying the theater prices.

jam
jam on January 5, 2005 at 6:53 pm

My best friend and I would sip on a couple of scorpion bowls at Tiki Ports(?) and run across Boylston St. to view Jaggar in “Performance.” Performed this ritual many, many times. Stayed late one night and caught “Clockwork Orange” – sure opened up our innocent minds…. Then we’d go over to NE Music City and buy an album for $5.00. Memories…..

ecosgrove
ecosgrove on April 18, 2005 at 4:11 pm

I worked at the Cinema 733 in the summer of 1975. (Common phoned-in question: What time is the midnight show?) One of the best summers of my life. Randy wanted to teach me how to be a projectionist—or so he said! Double features for 99 cents: Bergman, Fellini, Bertolucci, etc. I got such an education there! (and not just in the booth)

sweetmel
sweetmel on May 20, 2012 at 1:01 am

Oh Wow! I remember this and the Orson Wells in cambridge. I wish we had small theatres like these again.I remember seeing Marx Brothers triple features there and in cambridge.

dickneeds111
dickneeds111 on May 26, 2012 at 2:23 pm

We do have small theatres like this. They are called Multi union Cinemas in every Mall across the country but they don’t book like the Orson Welles. The Brattle., The Janus or the Cinema 733 did.

da_Bunnyman
da_Bunnyman on August 25, 2013 at 11:56 pm

Place had a very odd layout. You entered from the back and on your right were rows of 8-12 seats. These went from very back to close to the screen. Near front were 4-6 rows of seats set at an angle off to the left. These rows had maybe 5-6 seats in them. Bathroom was near these rows and I recall it was tiny and had an old coin-op after shave/cologne dispenser. (like the womens version seen here http://playingintheworldgame.wordpress.com/2013/02/07/coin-operated-perfume-dispenser-1952/ )

I wish someone was around who knew the story of this place. I mean was it designed from the start as a cinema or was there just some room left over after the the 2 clubs were designed.

migceb
migceb on September 27, 2013 at 5:50 pm

Here’s a link to an article with a photo that was taken on Cinema 733’s last night (circa 1978): http://www.boston.com/blogs/yourtown/boston/dirty-old-boston/2013/09/pauls_mall_the_jazz_workshop_1.html

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