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Bruin Theatre

948 Broxton Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90024
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Opened: December 21, 1937. It's right across the street from the Fox Westwood/Village Theatre. Photo: Bill Counter - 2007

Phone: 310-208-8998    Website: www.regencymovies.com | Bruin & Village on Facebook |

Architect: S. Charles Lee



A rendering of the unnamed theatre from the S. Charles Lee office. It's on Calisphere from the UCLA S. Charles Lee Papers Collection. With any of these UCLA items you can go to Calisphere and click through to much larger views on the UCLA Library website.



The first floor plan. It's on Calisphere from the UCLA S. Charles Lee Papers Collection. UCLA also has a smaller detail just showing the theatre.



A sheet of the plans showing various interior details. It's on Calisphere from the UCLA S. Charles Lee Papers Collection.

Seating: 876 at opening, currently 670 -- all on one floor.

Screen size: Currently it's 50' wide, out in front of the original proscenium. There's about 8' of depth behind the screen but really no stage to speak of -- this was designed strictly as a film house.

Status: Still a major first run venue. For years it was operated by Mann Theatres but became a part of the Regency Theatres circuit in 2010 along with the Fox Westwood/Village Theatre across the street. Mann had declined to renew their leases.  Regency stepped up and kept the theatres in operation. Manager Obet Maldonado does a terrific job caring for the two buildings.

The L.A. Times ran a story about the transition: "2 Historic Westwood Theaters Saved From Possible Closure" in April 2010.

The Bruin in the Movies: Veteran projectionist Mike Schleigel notes that we see some the Bruin Theatre's exterior and lobby in John Frankenheimer's "The Young Stranger" (RKO/Universal, 1957). It stars James MacArthur as a 16 year old son of a wealthy movie producer who gets into a scuffle with the Bruin manager. He's unable to convince his father he was acting in self defense. Kim Hunter and James Daly are his parents.

Lots of the Bruin is seen in Hall Bartlett's "The Caretakers" (United Artists, 1963). Bruce Kimmel comments: "We get great exterior shots of Polly Bergen walking up to the theater and buying a ticket, then great lobby shots as she enters the theater, and best of all, great auditorium shots when she goes beserk and runs up in front of the screen. Amusingly, I saw a sneak preview of 'The Caretakers' AT the Bruin – it was quite odd to be sitting in the auditorium watching Miss Bergen go berserk in the same auditorium!" 



This 1965 view looking down on the Bruin from the tower of the Fox Westwood is part of a minute and a half home movie clip on You Tube featuring Robert Redford at the Fox. It was shot by Roddy McDowell.



We get a shot of Richard Gere at the Bruin's entrance in Paul Schrader's "American Gigolo" (Paramount, 1980). Thanks to Yuri on the site Movie Tourist for the screenshot. See the Historic L.A. Theatres In Movies post for views of the Fox Westwood and the Egyptian from the film.



The theatre went back to 1969 for Quentin Tarantino's epic "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" (Sony, 2019). He shot scenes in front of nearby businesses and inside the theatre during a screening of "The Wrecking Crew," a film in which Sharon Tate appeared. Other theatres used for the film include the Cinerama Dome, the Vogue, Ritz/Pussycat and Grauman's Chinese. For more photos see the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post about theatres used for the film.  

The Bruin Theatre on video: See the short video "Insiders Peek #4: Village, Bruin, Crest" on the LAHTF YouTube channel.



The entrance of the Bruin. Photo: Bill Counter - 2007



A peek into the lobby. Photo: Bill Counter - 2007



The view back out toward the entrance. Photo: Don Solosan- Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation - 2010. Thanks, Don!

The LAHTF is actively involved in the study and preservation of the vintage theatres in the L.A. area. The group frequently supports events and offers tours of various historic theatres. www.lahtf.org | LAHTF on Facebook



Looking back from deeper in the lobby. The stairs at left go up to the booth and restrooms. At the right note a bit of the colonial revival detailing that Lee liked to mix into his moderne designs. Photo: Don Solosan - LAHTF - 2010



A 2010 shot of a doorway leading into the auditorium by contributor Senorsock on the Cinema Treasures page about the Bruin.



Looking toward the inner lobby in 1937. The auditorium is off to the left. It's a Luckhaus Studio photo on Calisphere from the UCLA S. Charles Lee Papers Collection. Yes, that's a bear in the carpet design.



S. Charles Lee's design for the bear carpet. The plan is on Calisphere from the UCLA S. Charles Lee Papers Collection.



S. Charles Lee's sign pointing us upstairs. Photo: Don Solosan- LAHTF - 2010



A lovely stained glass window upstairs. Photo: Don Solosan - LAHTF - 2010



The view toward the screen. Photo: Don Solosan - LAHTF - 2010. Originally there were stenciled designs on the side walls done with black light paint.



The aisle-level auditorium vista. Sorry, no vintage end standards to look at. Photo: Don Solosan - LAHTF - 2010. Thanks for all your great photos, Don!



Manager Obet Maldonado talks about the theatre to visitors on a tour for the 2017 Theatre Historical Society Conclave. Thanks to John Hough and Mark Mulhall for the photo. Visit their ever-growing website OrnateTheatres.com for terrific collections of photos they've taken of many Los Angeles area theatres as well as others around the country.



A look to the rear of the house. Photo: John Hough and Mark Mulhall - OrnateTheatres.com 



Looking behind the auditorium curtains at a 2010 LAHTF "all-about" tour of the theatre. The photo by Senorsock appears on Cinema Treasures.



Backstage at the Bruin. We're looking up at the original proscenium. The current screen is mounted out in front. Photo: Bill Counter - 2017

In the booth:


The Bruin was equipped for 70mm in 1978 with two of the Norelco DP70 projectors from the Carthay Circle that had been installed there for the run of "Around the World in 80 Days" in 1956.

Thanks to Thomas Hauerslev for the 1994 view with both Norelco machines still in place. The xenon lamps at the time were by LP Associates. The photo appears on the DP70s in California page of the wonderful site In70mm.com. It's the place to visit for information about 70mm projector history, news of 70mm festivals and more.



The equipment rack right inside the booth door. Photo: Bill Counter - 2017 



A 2017 look across the booth. It's a Christie digital unit on the left along with one remaining Norelco and a Christie platter beyond. Thanks to John Hough and Mark Mulhall of OrnateTheatres.com for the photo.



A closer look at the Norelco -- now with a Strong lamp. Thanks to John Hough and Mark Mulhall of OrnateTheatres.com for the 2017 photo.



A view across the platter toward the one remaining Norelco. The event attracting all the booth tourists was the 2017 Theatre Historical Society Conclave. Photo: Bill Counter


A few more exterior views: 


A 1938 view of the Bruin running "Bringing Up Baby" and "Big Broadcast of 1938." Thanks to Jon Haimowitz for the post on the Facebook page Vintage Los Angeles. "Baby" was a February release.



A 1938 photo in the wonderful Bruce Torrence Hollywood Photograph Collection. Have a spare afternoon for some fun? Browse the other 250 or so theatre photos in the Torrence collection.

They're running Lloyd Bacon's "Boy Meets Girl" with James Cagney, Marie Wilson and Pat O'Brien along with "Mother Carey's Chickens" with Ruby Keeler. Both films were July releases. The photo also appears in the Los Angeles Public Library collection and in the AMPAS Tom B'hend and Preston Kaufmann Collection where it's credited as being from Marc Wanamaker.



A look at the facade of the Bruin in 1943. Evidently they were shooting some footage for backgrounds. Thanks to Ken McIntyre for posting the shot on the Photos of Los Angeles Facebook page.



The December 30, 1947 premiere of Hitchcock's "The Paradine Case" at both the Bruin and Fox Westwood Village. No more milk glass letters. The Life photo appeared on the Regency Village and Bruin Facebook page. Check out their Bruin Theatre Vintage Photos set on the page.



The 1948 premiere of "The Adventures of Casanova" at the Bruin in a photo from the Regency Village and Bruin Facebook page. The shot also appears on the Photos of Los Angeles Facebook page.



A 1952 look at the theatre from Richard Wojcik collection on the Facebook page Vintage Los Angeles.



A 1955 premiere, presumably at the Fox Westwood. The Bruin has Frank Capra's "Here Comes The Groom" with Jane Wyman and Bing Crosby," a September release. It's a Ralph Morris photo in the Los Angeles Public Library collection.



A 1956 photo of the Bruin from the collection of Bruce Kimmel on Photos of Los Angeles. On the marquee: Alec Guiness in "Ladykillers. The AMPAS Tom B'hend and Preston Kaufmann Collection also has a version of the shot.



Thanks to Bruce Kimmel for this 1965 photo of the Bruin playing Woody Allen's "What's New Pussycat?," a June release. It's on Photos of Los Angeles where Bruce notes that between the Bruin and the Vogue he saw the film 20 times in a row.



A wonderful 1987 look toward the Village and Bruin Theatres from the Richard Wojcik collection. It was a post of his on Vintage Los Angeles.



The Bruin in July 1995. It's a photo from the Richard Wojcik collection on Vintage Los Angeles. Thanks, Richard!



A view of the two theatres from the website of Behr Browers Architects. It's on a Mann Theatre Westwood page where they discuss a 12 plex that Mann was planning c.2001 that would have incorporated the Village and Bruin Theatres as well as adding more screens.



Thanks to Behr Browers Architects for this lovely 2001 photo. It's on a Bruin Theatre page where they note that their firm did renovations and technical upgrades for Mann Theatres. The firm did many projects for Mann including the 2001 restoration work at the Chinese.



A 2005 shot showing off the Bruin Theatre's neon. Thanks to Oleg S. for his photo on Flickr.



A 2009 view. Thanks to Ken McIntyre for his photo.



The theatre in 2010. Photo: Bill Counter



Thanks to Paul Wright for this 2017 photo, a post on the Facebook page Photos of Los Angeles.

More information: See the Bruin pages on Cinema Treasures and Cinema Tour. Check out the Bruin Theatre Vintage Photos set on the Regency Theatres Facebook page.

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