There was nothing quiet about Friday night’s grand reopening of the Silent Movie Theater. Instead, guests loudly cheered the return of the only cinema in the U.S. dedicated to non-talkies.
“As a life-long lover of silent films I was here during my first visit to L.A., 30 years ago I had to be here tonight,” said vet film critic Leonard Maltin. “I’m delighted it’s back.”
Classic film thesp Marsha Hunt (1940’s “Pride and Prejudice”) agreed, “These pictures are timeless and, yes, they’re old-fashioned, but youngsters need to learn about the past and know where today’s movies came from.”
Shutting down in 1997 after the murder of its owner, Laurence Austin, the Silent Movie Theater is now back in business in Los Angeles’ Fairfax district after extensive renovations led by the theater’s new owner, Charlie Lustman.
“I am blown away that it’s finally open,” admitted Lustman. “But there’s really no time to rest now. I have to get ready for next week’s films; the business is just beginning.”
VIP attendee David Raksin, who co-wrote the score of Charlie Chaplin’s “Modern Times,” had only kind words for the theater’s new chief. “(Lustman) is very brave to do this and I hope he gets all the support he needs.
“Charlie (Chaplin) would be delighted (about the theater’s re-opening); what else could he be?,” laughed Raksin.