The Automat – Opens June 3
Director: Lisa Hurwitz Run Time: 79 min. Rating: Unrated Release Year: 2022
Tagline: Once upon a nickel, before fast food, one American restaurant empire was unstoppable. Experience the untold story of THE AUTOMAT, a documentary film directed by Lisa Hurwitz and starring Mel Brooks.
Synopsis: THE AUTOMAT recounts the lost history of the iconic restaurant chain Horn & Hardart, which served affordable-priced quality food to millions of New Yorkers and Philadelphians for more than a century. Found by Joseph Horn and Frank Hardart in 1888, it revolutionized the nation’s restaurant scene with comfortable interiors, quality food, and state of the art technology for the early 20th century. The chain welcomed those who had been ignored, including immigrants, the working-class, Black people, and women, all of whom were often not welcome in restaurants. Horn & Hardart’s technology captured the public’s imagination like nothing else in 1900’s— the customer put nickels into slots and little windows opened to reveal the customer’s pick, be it a slice of pie, macaroni and cheese, or a Salisbury steak. The gleaming glass and stainless-steel windows looked “sanitary” and like nothing else in existence.THE AUTOMAT illustrates how the company both served the public with great food and at the same time treated its employees with fairness and integrity. Featuring commentary from Mel Brooks, Elliot Gould, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
“An engrossing tale of commercial expansion, industrial innovation and cultural harmony….” – Wesley Morris, The New York Times
“THE AUTOMAT taps into so many resonant aspects of what America used to be that to watch it is to be drawn into an enchanting and wistfully profound time-tripping reverie.” – Owen Gleiberman. Variety
“As compact and enticing as those windowed compartments that once dispensed tasty food for mere nickels…THE AUTOMAT takes an affectionate — and affecting — look at the famed Horn & Hardart restaurant chain and its singular place in dining history.” – Gary Goldstein, The Los Angeles Times
Friday June 3, 2022: 7:15PM
Sunday June 5, 2022: 1:00, 5:10
Monday June 6, 2022: 3:10, 7:20
Tuesday June 7, 2022: 1:00, 5:10
Wednesday June 8, 2022: 3:10, 7:20
Thursday June 9, 2022: 1:00, 5:10
Ticket Prices: $12 Regular / $10 Students & Seniors / $9 Members