Cecil B. DeMille’s newly restored 1934 film, “Cleopatra,” will premiere Mon., May 1 at The Chinese Theater on Hollywood Blvd.
The event — hosted by Hollywood Heritage, the TCL Chinese Theater and Universal Pictures — celebrates the 90th anniversary of the opening of the theater — one of the nation’s most iconic landmarks. It also kicks off National Historic Preservation Month.
DeMille’s version of the Cleopatra story with Claudette Colbert as the legendary siren of the Nile was a critical and financial success for Paramount. In addition, the film received several Academy Award nominations and also won the Best Cinematography award. The film is noted for its extensive Art Deco-inspired sets.
The Chinese Theater, designed by architects Meyer and Holler, was built in 1927 for legendary promoter Sid Grauman and was the second of his movie palaces on Hollywood Blvd. The first was the Egyptian Theater.
The exterior of the Theater is meant to resemble a giant, red pagoda. The design features a dragon across the façade, with two Ming Dynasty guardian lions (“heavenly dogs”) guarding the main entrance, plus silhouettes of tiny dragons along the sides of the copper roof.
The Chinese Theater hosted the 1944, 1945 and 1946 Academy Awards ceremonies; they are now held at the adjacent Dolby Theatre, formerly known as the Kodak Theatre. There are nearly 200 Hollywood celebrity handprints, footprints, and autographs in the concrete of the theater’s forecourt.
The theater is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument. For nine decades, the owners of the theater have shown remarkable stewardship of the historic features while carefully updating the theater experience to IMAX, according to Christy McAvoy of Historic Resources Group. For information about sponsorship opportunities and tickets, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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