Theatre of Magic
It’s 8 p.m. on a Sunday, and I’m sitting with hundreds of people waiting to see a young Harrison Ford break some skulls. A guy with a whip and a group of girls who look just like Greta Garbo breeze past me down the aisle in sync to a live organ version of the Raiders of the Lost Ark theme song. People are turned around in their seats, talking, laughing, scarfing down popcorn. No one’s scanning Facebook or uncomfortably sitting through endless Coke ads – we’re all sinking into our comfy plush red chairs, excitedly awaiting the lights to go down and the curtains to draw at one of the last grand movie palaces in the country.
You won’t get this experience at a giganto-plex or on your computer screen. Some might call it nostalgia, but watch a film here and you’ll get it: This is the way a movie is intended to be viewed, the way a director intends his or her film to be experienced. In 2007, the filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson showed an advanced screening here of his film There Will Be Blood. When asked why he chose the Castro, he said he wanted to screen it in the best theater in America. "I cannot tell you," Anderson said as he got up on stage, "what it means to be here to see all these people out on a Monday night to see our film that we're so proud of. This is how it should be done, in a theater like this, on film, it's just a thrill!"
At its core, the Castro Theatre is a community – a place for strangers to come together and share an experience. And whether it’s an Oscar-winning film, a Little Mermaid sing-along, or short films made on cell phones, one thing is certain – you’re going to have a great time at the movies.
So the next time you head over on a rainy day, a “sick” day, or on a date, the history and facts below should come in handy.
Got nothing to do late night? Check out the theater’s regular screenings of some of the coolest films you’ve never heard of at Midnites for Maniacs, hosted by Jesse Hawthorne Ficks. And be sure to stay updated on all the Castro’s great events.
Find out more about the film festivals and books mentioned above on the following websites: