Alhambra Theatre

2330 Polk Street,
San Francisco, CA 94109

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m00se1111 on May 14, 2023 at 1:48 pm

YouTube video showing the inside of the Alhambra in it’s current life as a Crunch Fitness location

jwmovies on September 22, 2022 at 3:36 am

I saw the SF premieres of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (The reopening of a single screen and met Stan Winston annd Dennis Muren to boot!) and The Silence of the Lambs with my younger brother (World Premiere BTW!) Excellent theater! The acoustics were astounding! The concession stand awas tiny but who cares? The entire auditorium was bathed in emerald colors of various shades I kid you not! I remembered this one like the back of my hand! RIP old Al! You were one of the greatest cinemas in America! 😇😔

DavidZornig on April 27, 2019 at 9:12 pm

Alahambra is the first one pictured.

terrywade on August 12, 2018 at 9:47 pm

The Alhambra when It was a single cinema had one of the largest curved CinemaScope® screens in San Francisco with curtains. Everyone was so shocked when the Blumenfelds put a wall in.

rivest266 on August 12, 2018 at 5:47 pm

This reopened as a twin cinema on July 24th, 1974. Ad in the photo section.

CStefanic on March 21, 2018 at 2:11 pm

How’s the progress with this theatre? Anybody know?

jordanlage on July 3, 2016 at 9:07 am

I remember being excited to see Altman’s “Buffalo Bill & the Indians, or Sitting Bull’s history Lesson” there in 1976 in one of the twin auditoriums. In fact, I was so stoked to see Paul Newman and Harvey Keitel in a film together, I endured two back-to-back showings. Pretty dull. Today, you won’t find many film buffs mentioning “Buffalo Bill” in the same breath as MASH, Nashville, The Player, Short Cuts, or Gosford Park. I was 13 in 1976 and in love with the movies was my excuse. Would have loved to have seen a good film there when it converted back to single screen.

RSM3853 on October 29, 2015 at 9:09 am

My research shows the Alhambra reopening as a twin during the week of July 24, 1974. “The Groove Tube” was featured in one auditorium (Alhambra I) and “Jeremiah Johnson” in the other (Alhambra II). Prior to this, the last first run opening I have found is “Man on a Swing” during the week of March 6, 1974, so I am guessing that the construction for twinning took place during the spring and early summer of 1974.

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin on February 22, 2014 at 9:31 am

In June 1926 the Rudolph Wurlitzer company shipped a pipe organ to the Alhambra in San Francisco. It was Wurlitzer’s opus 1364, a style “D,” 2 manuals, 6 ranks in a single chamber: an unusually small organ for a theatre of this size and quality. It was removed around 1960 and supposedly still exists in a private residence.

Mikeyisirish on August 5, 2012 at 6:33 pm

A few July 2012 photos can be seen here, here, here and here.

CSWalczak on November 26, 2011 at 3:46 pm

An article about the Alhambra and its current use as a gym:

swrdo on May 13, 2011 at 12:42 am

Such a shame that those who have shot off their mouths about the misuse and abuse of this grand theater by Crunch haven’t, apparently, taken the time to actually go see the superb job that Crunch has accomplished. By both restoring and preserving much of the Alhambra they have done us all a great service. Better that they have used it to accomplish a good than to let it die of dust and destruction. Get a life and go see for yourselves before you take pot shots over something you haven’t taken time to actually observe.

CSWalczak on March 24, 2011 at 8:34 pm

For a while after the 1988 restoration to a single screen house, Disney used the Alhambra as its showcase theater in San Francisco when its new films were released, although I do not think the studio had a hand in the restoration as was the case of the El Capitain in Hollywood.

William on March 24, 2011 at 6:48 pm

Most of the Roadshow films played Coronet, Alexandria, Golden Gate / Penthouse, UA, Orpheum, Parkside Theatres during that era. Those houses were equipped with full 70MM booths. The Fox Theatre opened “The Robe” for a long engagement. The St. Francis Theatre might have had a roadshow run. The Alhambra Theatre got 70MM much later.

bigjoe59 on March 24, 2011 at 1:58 pm

since this theater is a decent size does anyone know if it
was ever used by the studios to present films on an exclusive
roadshow basis in the period 1955-1972?

TLSLOEWS on February 18, 2010 at 5:39 pm

Very nice looking theatre.

iatse311 on May 6, 2009 at 3:53 pm

View link

spent a long weekend in SF checked out a bunch of old theaters…considering how many have been demolished or are rotting away in a building for 30+ years (newark) it is fine by me to be able to wander around a theater for free even if it currently has a new purpose (like the stanley in jersey city) missing in all of the previous pictures on this site is a good view of the beautiful interior dome…enjoy…too bad i didnt get any other good ones

kencmcintyre on March 6, 2009 at 10:15 pm

Here is part of a lawsuit from the early 1980s. Plaintiff lost.

On March 24, 1979, Jocelyn Vargas attended a movie, “Boulevard Nights,” at the Alhambra Theatre on Polk Street in San Francisco. After leaving the theater, as she and her friends were walking down the street to catch a bus, she was shot by someone who, it is alleged, was a “member of the general public prone to violence … who had been attracted to said Alhambra Theatre by the showing of said violent movie … .” Through her mother, as guardian, she has sued various defendants, including petitioners, who are alleged to be the producers of the movie. Her mother, alleging damage for medical treatment and loss of services, is also a plaintiff. Their complaint, as relevant here, is that petitioners “knew, or should have known, that said movie was a violent movie and would attract certain members of the public to view said movie who were prone to violence and who carried weapons … [and] would, or were likely to cause grave bodily injury upon other members of the general public at or near the showing of said movie,” but that petitioners “negligently failed to warn” Jocelyn of these facts, and “negligently failed to take sufficient steps to protect patrons,” such as herself, “at and near said Alhambra Theatre.” In a second cause of action, plaintiffs allege in addition that petitioners “willfully allowed the showing of said movie to the general public, knowing and thereby impliedly representing to members of the general public … that said movie could be viewed in safety,” that they “intended that patrons, such as Jocelyn Vargas, should rely on their representations,” and she did so rely, to her detriment.

jokirb on January 3, 2008 at 11:18 pm

Continued: In addition to painting wonderful huge posters of the old silent stars and the new talkies these artists had to be excellent lettering men. All the posters were hand lettered with the stars names, the movie title, the co-stars, the directors, etc. This was a special talent my dad had.

jokirb on December 16, 2007 at 12:18 pm

My father Elmer Thomas Davis worked for the Alhambra Theater in the late 20’s . At that time all the first run theaters had one or more full time artists that produced beautiful posters of the upcoming attractions. They also created other lobby displays appropriate for the movie of the day. My father was a talented artist and worked for a number of theaters in this capacity in San Francisco, Sacramento, and Cleveland in the thirties. He was known as a lobby display man (per the union). I wonder what happened to all these wonderful posters that were made during this time?

Simon Overton
Simon Overton on August 14, 2007 at 9:04 pm

In the late 1990’s, while I was a doorman at the CASTRO, my son Richard worked the Concession Stand at the ALHAMBRA until the theater closed for good.
He, like everyone else before him, really loved the whole atmosphere of being there as worker or movie-goer.
Yes, now it’s full of sweaty jocks but at least this historic registered movie palace has been saved… until the next bunch of money-hungry clowns enter the scene with a demolition attitude.

vintagedepartmentstore on May 15, 2007 at 6:29 pm

i’ve been planning for years to catch a movie at the Alhambra, only to see it, on the news, invaded by a horde of narcissistic healthnuts jumping around like a bunch of monkeys on meth. where is st. francis, patron saint of san francisco and the disadvantaged- which in this case are the vintage movie houses that are being robbed, raped and pillaged by ruthless real estate interests aided and abetted by an insensitve, ignorant gaggle of myopic philistines hellbent on destroying our precious cultural legacy. the 1906 earthquake did less damage to sf than the current mob of selfserving culture vultures.

EdGemont on December 13, 2006 at 4:50 am

I lived in the Frisco Bay area from 1971 to 1978 after moving out there from Chicago and I attended this theatre. Kinda reminds me of the great movie palaces of Chicago, Los Angeles and New York.