Review: Long live the arthouse — ‘Only in Theaters’ celebrates the legacy of Laemmle Theaters with ‘A Touch of Class,’ a documentary about MOM’s Laemmle Classic.
‘Only in Theaters’ captures the Laemmle classics, or those films of the company at the height of its influence
It was a special moment when Bob Rafelson told his family he was leaving for a job at The Mondo Company, as he headed for the East Coast after more than a decade at Warner Bros. He had left his beloved theater district, a place he had worked in and with for the past four decades, to join the company that brought him his start, MOM Theatres, and at which his work had been a crucial influence on the company’s business and the way it operated.
The day Rafelson left Warner Bros. to become general manager for MOM was his 35th wedding anniversary. His last day with his ex-wife, MOM co-founder and co-owner Barbara (Babs) Rafelson, was July, so Rafelson’s two kids, Will and Sophie, and their spouses — and the couple’s daughter-in-law, a producer for MOM — would be at the theater to get him off the road and into retirement.
And that’s how I came to be the assistant director on ‘Only in theaters,’ which brings to life all the Laemmle classics in a docu-film about MOM’s Laemmle Classic and their legacy to the company. Like Rafelson, this film is also a love letter to a place that he left and that he, his family and this community of MOM fans won’t soon forget. For a little while, anyway.
Only in theaters, which began filming in May of this year, is the last documentary I will be on. With the company’s impending retirement of the four original MOM theaters and a re-opening of only one of them as a new cinema, I am only on the film because I had been invited by MOM co-founder Barbara Rafelson to assist as an assistant director. She felt that I would be capable of handling the film, and so she agreed