Biograph Theater

2433 N. Lincoln Avenue,
Chicago, IL 60657

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Showing 26 - 50 of 126 comments

balabankatz on October 23, 2009 at 7:46 pm

Larry Edwards loved this theater. He reopened it in the mid 70’s and ran it til the late 80’s. He brought back great art film exhibition to Chicago and did very well with it. Competition from the Fine Arts theaters and CO opening mega-theaters in the area led him to sellout to CO. Larry’s wife petitioned for the historical site status after the remodeling in the 70’s. Some history was fabricated at that point i.e. the gold painted un-upholstered chair and its location. There was NEVER a balcony and the Ritz / Roxy (small screens built with proceeds from RHPS). Where in the dance school above the store fronts, NEVER part of the Biograph theater.

efriedmann on August 21, 2009 at 9:14 am

I have to admit, I had never heard of this theater until I saw the film, PUBLIC ENEMIES, this summer.

john69 on July 28, 2009 at 11:51 pm

I remember it was late 1981 and I was perfoming on stage in the preshow during touch me somebody told me dont put his hands on my crotch but on my chest like normal but of course I didnt listen and I got kicked out of the biograph Ah sweet memories

Bruce C.
Bruce C. on July 27, 2009 at 11:23 am

The Paramount in Aurora was not used as the interior of the Biograph. They never mentioned what theatre Dillinger was supposed to be in when he was in the Paramount. I believe they used the Portage Theatre (in Chicago) for the interior shots of the Biograph. At least it looked like the Portage to me.

Hey John, I was a regular at the Biograph for RHPS but not until the early 1980s. You were before my time.

john69 on July 23, 2009 at 12:14 am

I went to rocky horror from 79-81 and im wondering if anybody out there went at that time too at the biograph my name is john u I had some great times back then please let me know if you remember me I was just wondering if anybody does remember those days

moviebuff82 on July 11, 2009 at 11:35 am

Me too…From watching the scene, the theater looks authentic.

CSWalczak on June 30, 2009 at 10:25 am

I saw a clip from “Public Enemies” last night; there’s a scene shot in the interior of the Aurora Paramount which may be standing in for the interior of the Biograph.

DavidZornig on June 21, 2009 at 8:12 pm

Wow, that pic must be from last week. Depp & crew were just here for the premiere at the AMC theatres down on Illinois Street. WGN’s Dean Richards interviewed Depp the day of. I didn’t realize they did another promotional stint actually at the Biograph.
I didn’t think the renovated Biograph?Victory Gardens space included provisions for showing films.

DavidZornig on April 12, 2009 at 6:33 am

FYI. Trailers for “Public Enemies” are now starting to appear. Brief glimpses of the Biograph’s 1934 transformation from their time shooting here, are in edited into some of them.
Since everyone pretty much knows the story ends there, they are likely using the Biograph footage sparingly for the promos. Just the right amount of tease. Having witnessed some of the Biograph/street scene build-out, I can’t wait to see how it transfers to film.

cyn1223 on February 20, 2009 at 8:08 pm

Does anyone have info on the rose dish set they gave away for dish night?

MKuecker on October 20, 2008 at 1:28 pm

I just saw pictures of the new Victory Garden Theatre. I can’t believe it. I’m not sure if I should laugh or cry.

DavidZornig on August 15, 2008 at 9:29 pm

My mom grew up in the Biograph’s neighborhood. We drove by recently during the “Public Enemies” 1934 street recreation, and she bolted from my car to take pictures for her brothers. She said it was exact down to the street car tracks laid down the middle of Lincoln. She then remembered as a child in the `40’s, that on the Dillenger anniversaries, someone would loosely paint footsteps of where Dillinger ran from the Biograph and down the alley, where he met his demise. Neighborhood kids would run the same path while playing.

Which triggered my memory that up until 1980-something, the theater itself had one seat painted silver inside. Supposedly where Dillinger sat.
I’m pretty sure it was still painted when I saw “Tucker” there in 1988.
My last film to enjoy at the Biograph was “The Nightmare Before Christmas”.
A freebie a friend had gotten passes too. NBC’s local critic Norman Mark sat in a previously taped off seat in front of us.
I asked him if Dillinger sat there, and got my smile for the day.

P.S. The Three Penny Cinema across the street from the Biograph, was already closed down prior to the recent filming. A vintage, prop hotel sign was hung off the front.

Broan on May 16, 2008 at 2:12 pm

View link Has a nice view of the temporary facades

Broan on May 12, 2008 at 10:43 am

Supposedly filming for “Public Enemies” will happen on the 20th. So far, scenes have been shot at the Pittsfield Building, Clark and Newport, Union Station, a church at 2259 S Damen, 18th & Throop, 106th & Torrence, 35th & King (Probably the Bronzeville Cultural Center)

More historic Dillinger sites: View link

Broan on May 9, 2008 at 12:22 am

That should read a false front facade. The other two nearby buildings are getting them too, and they are temporary, unfortunately.

Broan on May 7, 2008 at 6:59 pm

Currently, the recently built building two doors down (home to a Qdoba) from the Biograph is receiving a false floor facade, presumably for the John Dillinger biopic starring Johnny Depp. It looks quite faithful to the actual grocery store that used to be there, and I hope they keep it up as it looks a lot better with it. Ironically, this may mean the insignificant grocery two doors away from the Biograph will have a more historically accurate appearance than the Biograph itself. It’s a shame the interior wasn’t restored for other scenes…

In other news, the debt Victory Gardens incurred in the extravagant Biograph work has forced it to sell its longtime home down the street. In another irony, the sale includes a covenant that it remain a theater for 25 years; the Victory Gardens, then, will be preserved in the way the Biograph wasn’t.

Broan on September 10, 2007 at 7:09 am

The cornice has recently been repainted to match the terra cotta and the old lighting sockets in it were covered over, so it’s unlikely we’ll ever see that lighting function again. I’m not sure if the color is historically accurate or not.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on June 18, 2007 at 5:24 pm

The building looks great. Very uplifting. Every time I drive through that intersection it catches my eye.

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on March 8, 2007 at 5:05 pm

This link will take you directly to the Biograph however, I recommend using the link in the above post to check out many good pictures of Chicago Cinemas. Just keep clicking on “next set” after you view each set of photos.

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on March 8, 2007 at 5:01 pm

The Biograph was extensively modernized by Cineplex-Odeon (refer to my above post. For additional views of the auditoriums in the post C-O era, click on here and then find the set that has the Biograph.

All of the Cineplex-Odeon details are present. Look at the carpet, the zig-zag patterns on the wall (Cinemark Fan would enjoy that, he’s asked me if several former C-Os had that pattern). It was true that a lot of historic details were lost. But it was an attempt by C-O to modernize its theatres and it didn’t look too bad (or more accurately it didn’t look as bad as some “modernizations”) Cineplex-Odeon entered the Chicago Market with good intentions, however the company really over-extended itself.

GrandMogul on February 8, 2007 at 8:01 am

Ad for the Biograph, Chicago Tribune, Friday, July 22, 1960 (theatre section):

BIOGRAPH, 26th anniversary of Dillinger’s killing in front of the Biograph! See it now at this theatre where it happened! James Stewart “The FBI Story” plus Myron Healy as John Dillinger in “Guns Don’t Argue” Open 1:30 Cool!

GrandMogul on February 7, 2007 at 11:55 am

The Dillinger police shoot-out was not the only one that took place in, or near, a Chicago movie theatre, as the following news item explains:

Chicago Daily News, Thursday, August 18, 1955, p. 5, c. 9:


The biggest—and bloodiest—manhunts in Chicago history have always been staged in the tracking down of cop killers. The search for Richard Carpenter recalls other names: John Dillinger, Martin J. Durkin, Gus Amedeo. The search for Durkin ended in his capture. The hunts for Dillinger and Amedeo ended with their deaths.

The bloodiest of manhunts was staged for the notorious Dillinger. Sixteen men lost their lives in the months he was being sought. Several of the dead were policemen, jail guards and an Ohio sheriff. Others were hoodlums and Dillinger himself. Dillinger was shot down by FBI men July 22, 1934, as he left the Biograph theater, 2433 Lincoln. This is three miles from the Biltmore theater, where policeman Clarence Kerr staged a gunfight Wednesday night with Carpenter.

Gus Amedeo was shot 13 times last Oct. 29 by police who had searched the city for the cop killer. He died in a gun duel at Clark and Berwyn, where police intercepted him, a few minutes after he left a movie at the Calo theater, 5401 Clark. Amedeo was wanted for the slaying of Detective Charles Annerino, who tried to arrest the killer in a saloon.

The hunt in 1925 for Durkin, slayer of federal agent Edwin C. Shanahan and once indicted for the slaying of Police Sgt. Harry Gray, was staged by hundreds of police and FBI men. It led from Chicago to Hollywood and back to St. Louis, where Durkin was captured and sent to prison.

Please see under Calo and Biltmore theatres for information concerning the Carpenter and Amedeo shoot-outs.