Westwood’s vintage theaters

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After Westwood’s National closed in 2008 and the Festival in 2009, without my ever having been there, I decided to catch movies at the Bruin and Village theaters, Westwood’s two other vintage single-screen theaters, just in case. (There’s also the Crest, where I saw “The Pursuit of Happyness” in 2006.) The Bruin and Village are now owned by the Regency chain, which vows to keep them going.

Early this year I saw “Invictus” (the Clint Eastwood rugby movie) at the Bruin (948 Broxton Ave.), and on Sunday I saw the latest Harry Potter movie at the Village (1036 Broxton), which is directly across the street. It’s rare that my tastes, the mainstream fare at these theaters and my schedule all align.

The Bruin is nice enough, especially the wraparound marquee, but the Village is beautiful, and much larger than it seems from the exterior. I sat in the balcony. It was a pleasant spot from which to try to remember what happened in the last Potter movie and who all these Weasley family members were.

Cinema Treasures has pages on the history of the 1,300-seat Village, which opened in 1931 as a Fox theater (the same year as Pomona’s), and the 700-seat Bruin, which opened in 1937.

Westwood also has the Regent, which from the exterior looks like a bland ’60s theater (it opened in 1966) and hence less interesting, but I’ll probably end up going there sometime too.

For you public transit buffs, I took Metrolink ($17 from Claremont) and availed myself of its free-transfer policy to ride the Purple Line subway to Wilshire/Western and then to ride the Metro Rapid 720 to Wilshire/Westwood, and then to repeat those steps on my way back to Union Station. The free transfers saved me the cost of a $6 transit day pass and public transit saved me from a $5 or $6 parking fee. Plus I could read the newspaper and part of a novel.

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  • John Clifford

    Another note of interest for locals is that the seats in the Mezzanine of the Pomona Fox, those extra wide leather ones, actually came from the Bruin Theater, as they were both being remodeled at the same time. I believe it was a 1947 remodel, but I don’t have my info handy.

    [It's a small world (to coin a phrase). -- DA]

  • shirley wofford

    These theater marquees are beautiful, and should always be preserved. When I went back to my hometown in WY last year, I saw they had replaced the flashing neon theater marquee with a flat sign. I was livid — even the people running the hometown museum don’t know what happened to it. It is a crime, to do away with those old things of yesteryear, in favor of the flat nothingness of today.

    Regarding the transportion by Metrolink, Purple Line and bus: My neighbor and I visted the Getty museum by the same route a few years ago. I think that we spent more time on the transportation, than we actually spent at the museum. But, the bottom line was — we saw the Getty. Who in their right mind wants to drive there and deal with the traffic and parking — not me, anyway.

    I am hoping that the transportation gurus will not make any changes regarding the post-Rose Parade float displays this year (like the Fair people did with the Metrolink this year). I had always wanted to view the floats after the parade, and did it last year. I took the Metrolink to Union Station and then the Gold Line to the end of the line in Pasadena, where a bus then transported us to the float showing area. All connecting transportation was free with my Metrolink ticket, except the entrance fee of $7 to the float area.

    A very tiring day, but a way to have the experience without driving and dealing with the parking situation in Pasadena.

    Sorry your round-trip Metrolink ticket is so high, David. On the upside, you are young, and don’t need a senior ticket. My senior round-trip ticket now costs $8.50, which was the regular flex schedule price about ten years ago.

    [I'll survive, especially since I take the train only once or twice per month. As always, thanks for your comments on transit and theaters, Shirley. -- DA]

  • Ronald Scott

    After UCLA won the 1996 Basketball Championship…a student climbed onto that Fox sign you took a picture of. Pretty crazy huh?

    [Whoa. -- DA]

  • shirley wofford

    I meant to ask you what you thought of “Invictus.” I saw it earlier at the Claremont Laemmle and thought it was very good. It taught me about rugby. I thought that soccer and football were pretty rough games, but rugby is absolutely vicious. I hope it never catches on here.

    [I liked but didn't love the movie. I had no previous knowledge of rugby either! -- DA]

  • Ted

    Nice spire, the Inland Empire needs more of these not connected to a church. Good column Sunday maybe we’ll get a picture next time if we’re good.