4061 Adams Avenue, San Diego
Number of Screens:
$8.50 General Admission
Type of Movies Shown: Foreign Film
s / Old Movies
Owned By: Landmark Theatres
The Ken is one of the oldest theaters still operating in San Diego. It was originally built in 1946 and was purchased by the Landmark Theatres chain in 1978. It's one of the four Landmark theaters in San Diego, and generally acts as the place Landmark puts the older or more obscure movies it shows in San Diego.
The Movies: The Ken features a mix of foreign films and revival films. If there's a new print of Fritz Lang's "Metropolis" (1927), for example, The Ken is the place you're most likely to catch a showing of it in San Diego. It's also where you're most likely to find any of the more obscure foriegn films playing in current release in the United States.
Atmosphere & Aesthetics: It was built in 1946, so you shouldn't be be expecting a new theater. It's just the one screen and it features some of the most uncomfortable seats I've ever sat on at a movie theater. I saw "Ben Hur" (1959) there once and... well, I'm amazed I managed to make it all the way through the 212-minute running time. Okay, so I overstate this a little bit. The seats aren't intolerable, just annoying.
There is one particularly cool thing about The Ken, though. It has an old-fashioned reel-to-reel carbon arc projector which you can hear running while you watch your picture show. This definitely sets up the proper atmosphere for watching those restored classics The Ken shows so often. If you enjoy the idea of watching old movies the way people in 1946 did, you'll probably get a kick out of The Ken.
Other Information: The theater hosts the annual "OUTFEST", which is San Diego's gay and lesbian film festival. They also do weird things sometimes, such as show Monty Python movies while throwing Spam at the audience. All in all, a unique theater.