Central Square Cinema to Shut Down

Famous for `King of Hearts' Run

The Central Square Cinema, famous for its record-setting five-year run of the movie "King of Hearts," will close April 1 when the building's current lease expires.

The theater, opened in 1969, features classic Hollywood film revivals, independent first-run movies such as the recent "Northern Lights," and occasional horror flicks.

The 1967 film "King of Hearts" starring Alan Bates, directed by Philippe deBroca, began its run in 1971 as a "fluke," assistant theater manager David C. Skinner said Sunday. The film began as a co-feature in the double-screen theater, only to skyrocket to a five-year engagement that became a Cambridge classic.

Joseph W. St. George, a film programmer, Sunday said he attributes part of the movie's success to "being anti-war when Nixon was invading Cambodia." He added, "It was absurd, beautiful and warm-hearted. It didn't offend your sensibility. It didn't make you think."

Fun and Profit

The cinema, which includes two theaters, reserves one theater for first-run movies and experimental films, and the other for movies with wide appeal.

The "liberal intellectualism" of Cambridge supports the innovative schedule of the theater, Skinner said. "Harvard has set the tone for the non-natives of Cambridge," he added.

Death in the Family

Patrons have constantly expressed "regret, sadness, frustration and even anger" at the cinema's closing, Skinner said.

The Brattle Theater, under the same management as the Central Square Cinema, is planning to add a marquee and refurbish its balcony because it is taking over some of the cinema's programming schedule, Skinner said.

Sari Abuljubein, owner of the cinema, was unavailable for comment yesterday.