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Cinema Under The Stars Offers Perfect Setting For Outdoor Movies

This Week Audrey, Peter, And Noir… Oh My!

Ray Milland and Charles Laughton star in the film noir,

Credit: Paramount

Above: Ray Milland and Charles Laughton star in the film noir, "The Big Clock," screening this Thursday and Friday at Cinema Under the Stars.

KPBS film critic Beth Accomando suggests Cinema Under the Stars as an alternate movie going venue.


Cinema Under the Stars

4040 Goldfinch St, San Diego, 92103

(619) 295-4221

General admission: $15

Members: $14

With summer in full swing you may not want to waste a balmy night inside a darkened theater. So how about spending an evening under the stars with Audrey Hepburn and Peter O’Toole?

Nestled in Mission Hills, Cinema Under the Stars has been offering a charming alternate movie venue for almost a decade. The cozy outdoor cinema has mix of zero gravity lounge chairs and cabana seating for 60 people plus top-of-the-line digital projection.

Doug Yeagley launched his first outdoor cinema, called Garden Cinema, in the space adjacent to his Tops Salon in 1991. The venue seated 200 people and movies were shown on 16mm film. But Yeagley lost the lease to a portion of the space and shut it down in 2000. In 2005, he re-opened the outdoor arena as Tops Presents Cinema Under the Stars. It’s still located next to Yeagley’s Mission Hills hair salon, but now it’s a more intimate venue and the 16mm projectors have been replaced by a digital projection system.

Yeagley and programmer Ralph DeLauro have a passion for film, but come to it from different perspectives and that insures diverse programming. Yeagley tends to book crowd pleasers and Hollywood classics like the upcoming "How to Steal a Million," starring Audrey Hepburn and Peter O'Toole in a tale about love, art, forgery and crime.

This 1966 comedy is even more delightful under a gorgeous night sky. But DeLauro makes sure that less familiar fare also gets attention, like this rare noir treat, "The Big Clock," starring Ray Milland as a man framed for murder.

Cinema Under the Stars is a celebration of not just great movies, but also of the movie-going experience as a community event. DeLauro introduces each film and strikes a gong (a la Rank Films but not quite so big) to announce the start of the evening. Films run Thursday through Sunday throughout the summer, including some Hitchcock classics and Bogie in the deliciously dark "In A Lonely Place."

Check out my video visit to Cinema Under the Stars last year.

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