Uptown Theater

3426 Connecticut Avenue NW,
Washington, DC 20008

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bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on August 5, 2014 at 5:16 pm

to Coate-

many many thanks for your detailed list. it was quite kind of you. since you appear to be quite well versed on the subject a two part question.

*during the prime roadshow era(Oct. 1955-Dec.1972) Manhattan had 7 large 1st run venues that the studios used for roadshow engagements-Criterion, Loew’s State, RKO Palace, Demille ,Warner, Rivoli and the Loew’s Captiol. while it would be nice to have as detailed a list per the Uptown for all of D.C.’s roadshow houses that’s asking a bit much so could you at least name what other D.C. houses were used by the studios for roadshow runs.thanks.

*I’m not saying it was Oscar material or one of the best large scale action epics but Circus World’s 3 week roadshow rum seems inordinately short. I don’t know how long its roadshow run at the Warner Cinerama was but it was way longer than 3 weeks. you would figure with all the pre-lease hype for CW and whatever advance sales were in place before opening night what’s up. again I’m not saying it was Oscar material or one of the great large scale action epics but there were a number of roadshow epics in New York that got a mixed critical response but still ran for 15-20 weeks.
so what’s with CW’s 3 week D.C. roadshow run?

Coate
Coate on August 4, 2014 at 1:13 pm

bigjoe59… Here’s my work-in-progress listing of the time period you’re asking about. The roadshow bookings are in bold.

1956-11-01 … OKLAHOMA! <23 weeks> 70mm

1957-04-08 … AROUND THE WORLD IN EIGHTY DAYS <51> 70mm

1958-04-01 … SOUTH PACIFIC <32> 70mm
1958-11-12 … THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA <6>
1958-12-23 … SOUTH PACIFIC <8> 70mm

1959-02-18 … SLEEPING BEAUTY <11> 70mm
1959-05-06 … SAYONARA <2>
1959-05-19 … THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK <5> stereo
1959-06-24 … AUNTIE MAME <1>
1959-07-02 … THE BIG CIRCUS <5>
1959-08-07 … THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK <1> stereo
1959-08-14 … INDISCREET <9>
1959-10-14 … PORGY AND BESS <12> 70mm

1960-01-06 … PILLOW TALK <1>
1960-01-14 … BELOVED INFIDEL <1>
1960-01-21 … A SUMMER PLACE <1>
1960-01-28 … THE LAST ANGRY MAN <1>
1960-02-04 … LIBEL <1>
1960-02-11 … ANATOMY OF A MURDER <1>
1960-02-19 … NEVER SO FEW <1>
1960-02-26 … LI’L ABNER <1>
1960-03-03 … ROOM AT THE TOP <1>
1960-03-10 … SOME LIKE IT HOT <1>
1960-03-17 … ON THE BEACH <1>
1960-03-24 … THE MOUSE THAT ROARED <1>
1960-03-31 … OPERATION PETTICOAT <2>
1960-04-13 … THE SHAGGY DOG <4 days>
1960-04-17 … DAMN YANKEES <3 days>
1960-04-20 … BELL BOOK AND CANDLE <2 days>
1960-04-22 … THE BRAMBLE BUSH <1>
1960-04-28 … WHO WAS THAT LADY? <1>
1960-05-06 … THE SWORD AND THE CROSS <1>
1960-05-13 … WILD STRAWBERRIES <2>
1960-05-25 … CAN-CAN <19> 70mm
1960-10-06 … SUNRISE AT CAMPOBELLO <8>
1960-12-01 … EMBEZZLED HEAVEN <3>
1960-12-23 … THE ALAMO <8> 70mm

1961-02-20 … EXODUS <18> 70mm
1961-06-28 … SPARTACUS moveover from Warner <11 (35)> 70mm
1961-09-15 … FANNY <6>
1961-10-25 … UPSTAIRS AND DOWNSTAIRS <1>
1961-11-03 … CAROUSEL <2> stereo
1961-11-14 … WEST SIDE STORY <42> 70mm

1962-09-04 … theater closed <9>
1962-11-07 … THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF THE BROTHERS GRIMM <18> Cinerama

1963-03-14 … HOW THE WEST WAS WON <44> Cinerama

1964-02-19 … IT’S A MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD <36> “Cinerama”
1964-10-28 … CIRCUS WORLD <3> “Cinerama”
1964-11-20 … LILI <5>
1964-12-25 … FATHER GOOSE <10>

1965-03-10 … THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD <19> “Cinerama”
1965-07-20 … THE HALLELUJAH TRAIL <9> “Cinerama”
1965-09-22 … MEDITERRANEAN HOLIDAY <6> “Cinerama”
1965-11-03 … THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY <18> 70mm

1966-03-09 … BATTLE OF THE BULGE <15> “Cinerama”
1966-06-23 … KHARTOUM <13> “Cinerama”
1966-09-21 … JOHN F. KENNEDY: YEARS OF LIGHTNING, DAY OF DRUMS <5>
1966-10-26 … THE BIBLE: IN THE BEGINNING… <29> 70mm

1967-05-24 … GRAND PRIX <21> “Cinerama”
1967-10-19 … FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD <14> 70mm

1968-01-26 … LOVE MATES <3>
1968-02-16 … GRAND SLAM <2>
1968-03-01 … DOCTOR ZHIVAGO <5>
1968-04-02 … 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY <52> “Cinerama”

1969-04-02 … ICE STATION ZEBRA <12> “Cinerama”
1969-06-25 … SWEET CHARITY <13> 70mm
1969-09-24 … A MAN AND A WOMAN / BELLE DE JOUR <1>
1969-10-01 … JOURNEY TO THE FAR SIDE OF THE SUN <1>
1969-10-10 … CAN HEIRONYMUS MERKIN EVER FORGET… <1>
1969-10-17 … DOCTOR ZHIVAGO <1>
1969-10-22 … THE MADWOMAN OF CHAILLOT <4>
1969-11-19 … DON’T DRINK THE WATER <5>
1969-12-24 … MARRY ME! MARRY ME! <2>

1970-01-07 … TRILOGY <?>
1970-??–?? … GONE WITH THE WIND <?> 70mm
1970-02-08 … MAROONED <10> 70mm
1970-04-22 … 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY <5> 70mm
1970-05-27 … HELLO, DOLLY! moveover from Warner <17 (40)> 70mm
1970-09-24 … TORA! TORA! TORA! <20> 70mm

1971-02-10 … THE LAST VALLEY <2> 70mm
1971-02-24 … MY FAIR LADY <6> 70mm
1971-04-07 … WATERLOO <7> 70mm
1971-05-26 … RED SKY AT MORNING <2>
1971-06-09 … DR. NO / FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE <3>
1971-06-30 … MURPHY’S WAR <3>
1971-07-21 … EVEL KNIEVEL <5>
1971-08-25 … GONE WITH THE WIND <4> 70mm
1971-09-22 … WINDJAMMER <2>
1971-10-06 … AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS / WEST SIDE STORY <5> 70mm
1971-11-10 … FIDDLER ON THE ROOF <57> 70mm

1972-12-13 … MAN OF LA MANCHA <18> 70mm

1973-04-18 … 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY <8> 70mm
1973-06-13 … FIDDLER ON THE ROOF <2> 70mm
1973-06-27 … JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR <14> stereo
1973-10-03 … THIS IS CINERAMA <6> 70mm

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on April 11, 2014 at 4:16 pm

Hello From NYC-

I was under the assumption that the Uptown was a 1st run venue from the get go. but I read it was actually built as a grand neighborhood theater and
only became a 1st run venue with the advent of the modern roadshow era in the fall of 1955. so is there a way of finding a list of all the roadshow films that played the Uptown?

Giles
Giles on April 10, 2014 at 10:02 pm

I can’t tell if it was a shoddy 3D presentation or what, but the non-3D presentation of ‘Monuments Men’ looked fantastic here at the Uptown. ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ though, today, was another matter entirely. The image seemed too dark at times, like not enough light was being thrown on the screen. Secondly, for a 2.35 film, the image on the sides were somehow slightly cropped, as well as the top looking a tad too cramped in a couple of scenes. This wasn’t the case for the 2.35 AR of ‘Monuments Men’ so I’m sure why this was happening at today’s screening – for the most part I was underwhelmed (thankfully the movie itself was a blast and negated the negative technical flaws). AMC I seriously doubt would do this, but the Uptown could be a top notch theater if they upgraded to feature Dolby Atmos sound – if the Dolby theater and the El Capitan (which has balconies) can be outfitted as such, the Uptown could also be upgraded. Since the screen is on the tall side – the extra height channels and the reinstallation of the left/center, right/center channels of sound could provide better pinpointing of sound on such a large screen … anyhow that’s just a pipe dream in my mind.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on January 6, 2014 at 9:42 am

Mike, a week ago, I enjoyed American Hustle here. Of course, you can google for the film listings. There are often 3 D films showcased here.

Mikeoaklandpark
Mikeoaklandpark on January 6, 2014 at 9:36 am

Are films still being shown here?

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on May 23, 2013 at 3:59 pm

Uptown is currently showing new Star Trek Into the Darkness movies, in 2D & 3D showings. Last I asked, late 2011, the curtain motor had broke & the company wasn’t repairing it.

Mikeoaklandpark
Mikeoaklandpark on May 23, 2013 at 3:19 pm

Does AMC still use the curtains at this theater? LAst i looked they only had one show a day.Not a good sign.

DC
DC on May 21, 2013 at 8:17 pm

This theater holds so many memories for me. The premiere’s of many great films including 2001:A Space Odyssey, On A Clear Day You Can See Forever, and Fiddler On the Roof, all in the 1960’s. The mother of my school mate at the time was a child herself during WWII in Japan, and some of the scenes in Fiddler reminded her of wartime in Japan bringing tears to her eyes as the lights came up at intermission.

In the 1980’s and 90’s I also saw the restored re-release of Rear Window here and Vertigo. Spartacus was also shown here with Jean Simmons in attendance.

terrystephen
terrystephen on December 9, 2012 at 5:52 pm

Hello, fans of The Uptown! Some years ago I took a snapshot of The Uptown, and I’ve turned that snapshot into a painting. To view, go to Facebook.com/ArtByTerryStephen

JodarMovieFan
JodarMovieFan on September 15, 2012 at 9:47 am

Classic films, including 70mm always looks better on bigger screen venues like here, unless its a true 70mm film..filmed in 65mm and NOT a blow up. I remember seeing many 70mm films here, almost all blow ups and wondering why there was so much grain. Grain is one of those detractions that hinder the best theatrical experiences. On the other hand, the saving grace was the six-track stereo sound track that envelopes and draws you into the movie. Even some of the worst movies I’ve ever seen were decent theatrical ‘experiences’ because of the immersive sound and picture.

Raiders would’ve been nice to see again on the Uptown’s bigger screen. Unfortunately, I had to miss it this time around. A one week run is too short.

Giles
Giles on September 14, 2012 at 12:11 pm

or let Cinemark run it and let them do their great Thursday ‘Classic Series’ film showcase.

Giles
Giles on September 14, 2012 at 12:06 pm

but even AMC’s non-booking of say the one off ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ screening on the 4th of October or even the Indiana Jones marathon (tomorrow) convey’s that AMC doesn’t care or want to make the effort to present alternate programming on a screen that needs (and deserves) it. Honestly, I kind of wish AMC would wipe it’s hands of the theater and let someone like the folk over at the Avalon take over and book films like the Castro does.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on September 14, 2012 at 11:36 am

As far as AMC running this theater into the ground – I think it is more likely that chains, regardless of whether it is a big one such as AMC or a smaller one such as Clearview, simply have unimaginative business models that do not really allow for a cost-effective operation of large single screen theaters, which, admittedly, is a challenge.

A blockbuster-type film, even several weeks into its run, probably fills a larger percentage of the house than many of the films that are typically released during this time of the year. AMC’s reduction of showings to one-a-day seems to me similar to Clearview’s closing down the Ziegfeld in NYC when no big event film is available. However, even single-screen houses with imaginative and varied programming, such San Francisco’s Castro Theater, have taken to closing the theater on days such as Mondays and Tuesdays because the audience just is not there.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on September 14, 2012 at 11:15 am

I have heard that “Trouble with the Curve” is probably opening here, in a week.

Giles
Giles on September 14, 2012 at 9:59 am

is AMC purposefully running this theater into the ground – ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ is STILL here, but screenings have been reduced to one screening a day – sad, sad, sad. They could have easily booked the DCP of ‘Raiders’ or ‘Finding Nemo 3D', something? … ??

Robert L. Bradley
Robert L. Bradley on August 30, 2012 at 12:46 pm

I, too, have only been to the Uptown once. That was in 1963 or 1964 to see “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.” I thought it was going to be in 3-projector Cinerama, and was disappointed to find out it wasn’t.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on August 28, 2012 at 4:02 pm

Hello From NYC-

i have only been to the Uptown once. it was April of 1963 and i was on a family vacation during which we took in a showing of “How The West Was Won”.

now i discovered Cinema Treasures the last week of January 2011. so i decided to create a project for myself. said project was simple. using CT i was wondering how many of the grand old movie theaters/palaces built in the 1913-1941 heyday of such building were still single screen and still operating as 1st run theaters since the day they opened. after much browsing of CT of all the grand old movie theaters/palaces built in the U.S. in the 1913-1941 period i could find only 2 count ‘em 2 still single screen and were still operating as 1st run theaters since the day they opened. one is the Uptown and the other is Grauman’s Chinese in Hollywood. certainly an accomplishment.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on August 18, 2012 at 7:33 am

I keep notes of what I see, and my notes are 70mm for Raiders. Somebody may wish to check the Washington Post ad.

Giles
Giles on August 18, 2012 at 12:00 am

much thanks sguttag on that little tidbit of news regarding ‘The Master’

sguttag
sguttag on August 17, 2012 at 11:32 pm

I really don’t remember Raiders being in 70mm for the anniversary at the Uptown (note, I ran it in 70mm on the original release in 1981 at the KB Cinema and then in 1982 in 70mm at the KB MacArthur…it was the movie that closed the MacA as a single.

I too wish that the Uptown remained a show place and retained its 70mm projectors…it would be my preferred place to watch big-screen movies…but with how the Uptown is being run…what would be the point?

Note, the AFI/Silver will likely run the new 70mm movie that just premiered in Chicago called The Master

SG

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on August 17, 2012 at 7:17 pm

I meant the Northeast region, not coast, and checking the AFI page, I see that you, JodarMovieFan, are aware of the 70mm series at the Silver.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on August 17, 2012 at 7:14 pm

JodarMovieFan, yes, 2001 was last 70mm for me too at the Uptown, and yes, no more equipment but digital. You are presumably aware that the AFI Silver now has a 70mm festival with 13 titles? Though I agree they belong on the mega sized Uptown screen, it is still neat they are there. I am not sure that there’s any other theater showing 70mm in all of the Northeast coast of the USA.

Giles
Giles on August 17, 2012 at 7:12 pm

writing a physical letter to corporate may not get you an answer, I’ve never got one, but the alternate ways to vent one’s frustration with AMC and specifically the Uptown is via AMC’s facebook page and/or AMC’s website which has an email option under ‘contact us’

and yes, sadly the 70mm projector is gone … :(

JodarMovieFan
JodarMovieFan on August 17, 2012 at 7:03 pm

Amen to that Howard and Giles. I sometimes get jealous at reading the programming at Hollywood’s Cinerama Dome when they have one of their retro festivals. Then I have to remind myself that that theater is in the movie capital and they have ready access to the prints and people who can make things happen.

Howard, I think 2001 was the last 70mm movie I saw at the Uptown for its 40th anniversary. I remember taking my friend there for a different movie experience. He kept asking me what kind of movie it was and I had to tell him it will be unlike anything he has seen before and will probably not see anything like it again. At the time, we saw the movie K-Pax prior and it was one of those movies that provoked discussion on its meaning. I told him there was that similarity in the thought provoking nature but 2001 was heavy on visuals that were ahead of its time and is considered one of the greatest films of all time by some.

Unfortunately, he did not share my opinion and thought it was the worst thing he had ever seen. The movie was too long and that if he had edited it, it would have lasted 30 minutes. Our ensuing argument got no where and would make for an interesting movie on its own, along the likes of My Dinner With Andre. I blame his sentiment on the post MTV generation and how today’s movies seem to be edited with something happening every 120 frames or so. I call it Gen Y ADD.

We have a running joke between us in that every time he takes me to a movie I do not like that I have to pay for, he will have to sit through 2001, again. :)

The last time I wrote to AMC was to complain about a bad experience at their Magic Johnson Theater in Landover, MD. At that time, there was no contact AMC or email. You had to write to their headquarters in KS or someplace. I wrote and got no response. I suppose writing now may not make a difference or not.

I had thought they took out their 70mm projectors based on an earlier post. So..70mm anything is not going to happen. Given the size of the screen, perhaps IMAX-lite would be? As much as I like the Silver Theater, their tiny screen, in comparison to the Uptown’s, doesn’t do much for me and of the 70mm presentations I have seen, they have not been anything that was truly memorable.