Movie House of Worship: Lexington’s Historic Kentucky Theatre

By  · Published on November 4th, 2012

“Movie House of Worship” is a regular feature spotlighting our favorite movie theaters around the world, those that are like temples of cinema catering to the most religious-like film geeks. This week, guest submitter Shannon Scott shares one of her favorite historic theaters. Her comments are those quoted. If you’d like to suggest or submit a place you regularly worship at the altar of cinema, please email our weekend editor.

Name: The Kentucky Theatre

Location: 214 E. Main Street, Lexington, KY

Opened: October 4, 1922. The first program was a parody of The Sheik, a newsreel and the Norma Talmadge romance The Eternal Flame.

No. of screens: 2

Current first run titles: The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Robot and Frank.

Repertory programming: Throughout the year, the theater schedules special screenings of repertory titles. This year has seen new prints of Ghostbusters, The Leopard and Carousel and rare prints of Charade, The Manchurian Candidate and Johnny Guitar. A month ago, for the 90th anniversary, they featured a screening of Wings with live organ accompaniment of a new original score. Also, they do Rocky Horror Picture Show midnights on most weekends.

Special Events: Besides the regular repertory events, the theater also hosts the annual Rosa Goddard International Film Festival, which is a program of classic international films (this year was Band of Outsiders, Diva, Knife in the Water and Weekend). And every tuesday evening they host a live taping of The Woodsongs Old Time Radio Hour.

Why I worship here: “Recently celebrating its 90th Birthday, The Kentucky Theatre is a downtown Lexington landmark. The Kentucky Theatre books a variety of the best independent, foreign and classic films in the area and is the only alternative to the multiplex. It is a fine, old, historic theatre that is a little worn around the edges. Friends of the Kentucky Theatre just launched a one million dollar fundraising campaign for badly needed renovations and upgrades to the facilities and to convert the projection equipment to digital.”

Why you should worship here: “To see current independent, foreign-language and art movies as well as classic Hollywood cinema.”

Recent screening of note: Beasts of the Southern Wild

Devotion to the concessions: “I am a purist, so I know they have popcorn. I am not too sure about what else is available.”

Last word: “In addition to movies, The Kentucky Theatre also has concerts and other performances. The Woodsongs Old Time Radio Hour tapes its show with a live audience at The Kentucky Theatre. The Kentucky Theatre is a local tradition and a treasure worth supporting.”

Shannon Scott has been a life-long film buff. She loves all things cinema, in particular French film festivals and seeing classic movies on the big screen. Although she never attended film school, she took every film class available (a total of two) while completing her degree at Georgia Tech.

Once again, if you’d like to suggest or submit a place you regularly worship at the altar of cinema, please email our weekend editor.

Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.