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The Castro Theatre is a popular San Franciscomarker movie palace which became San Francisco Historic Landmark #100 in September 1976. Located at 429 Castro Street, in the Castromarker district, it was built in 1922 with a Spanish Colonial Baroque façade that pays homage — in its great arched central window surmounted by a scrolling pediment framing a niche — to the recently rebuilt basilica of Mission Doloresmarker nearby. Its designer, Timothy L. Pflueger, also designed Oaklandmarker's Paramount Theatermarker and other movie theaters in California in that period.


The original Castro Theatre located at 479 Castro Street
The Castro Theatre originally opened at 479 Castro Street in 1910. It was subsequently remodeled into a retail store (currently occupied by Cliff's Variety, since 1971) in the mid 1920s after the larger Castro Theater was built at 429 Castro Street, its current location, only a few doors up from the original theatre.

The New Castro Theatre opened on 22 June 1922 for an invitation-only screening, with local luminaries such as Mayor James "Sunny Jim" Rolph in attendance, of the Paramount Pictures release Across the Continent (1922), starring Wallace Reid. The new Castro Theater opened the following day to the general public.


The Nasser brothers, who built the theater and still own it, also owned several movie houses in the San Francisco area. The interior is luxurious and ornate, with subtly convex and concave walls and ceiling and a dramatic "Mighty Wurlitzer" pipe organ that is played before films and events. The large neon "Castro" sign, visible from much of the city, is emblematic of both the theatre and the Castro District.
The extravagant interior ceiling and chandelier of the Castro Theatre, as it appears in the darkened movie hall.
Today, the Castro Theatre hosts repertory movies, film festivals, and special events, including gay and multicultural focus, such as the San Francisco International Film Festival, Frameline: the SF International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, Noir City: The Film Noir Festival, the SF International Asian American Film Festival, the SF International South Asian Film Festival, Berlin and Beyond: German Film Festival, the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, SF Indiefest, the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, Midnites for Maniacs, and the Shock It To Me! Classic Horror Film Festival. In recent years, the Castro has been the site for gala tributes to many legendary Hollywood stars including Tony Curtis, Ann-Margret,Debbie Reynolds, Jane Russell, and Sandra Dee - many of the events produced by local impressario Marc Huestis.

In January 2008, for the filming of the Gus Van Sant biopic Milk, restorations were made to the neon on the theater's marquee and blade sign, and the facade was repainted.

The theater can project modern digital formats such as DVD with 5.1 Dolby sound and can accurately reproduce the classic silent film experience by projecting custom frame rates anywhere between 12 and 30 frames per second, including the ability to speed up or slow down during a film. The Castro is capable of showing 70 mm films and is one of four theaters in the world that can show a 70 mm film with separate DTS soundtrack,

The Castro Theatre is located on Castro Street near the intersection of Market and 17th Streets, across from the Castro Street Station on the Muni Metro subway.

See also

External links


  1. Wiegand, David: "Marc Huestis grew up wanting to be either and actor or president. Now the filmmaker and camp impresario is using his showmanship to promote peace" , San Francisco Chronicle, July 16, 2003[1]
  2. SF Bay Guardian. Johnny Ray Huston. Coming soon?: A shake-up at the Castro Theatre brings change – and perhaps big trouble – for movie lovers in San Francisco.
  3. Scott E. Norwood. US 70mm-capable Theatre Listing
  4. Thomas Hauerslev. What is DTS 70mm?

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