Showing 1 - 25 of 67 comments
“Patton” played its first-run engagement at the Apex from March of 1970 to July of 1970.
The list of the films posted in these comments that played at the Capitol theater omitted the film “Key Witness” which opened on Saturday, October 20, 1960 and played until Wednesday, October 19th. “Ruby” opened the next day. Back in those days not all movies opened in on Wednesday, some opened on Thursday, or Friday, or even Saturday. At the Dupont and the MacArthur some films opened on Tuesdays, but not always. There are no listing for the films that played at those two theaters posted in the comments under those theaters.
I made a mistake. I should have said the Metropolitan played “Brothers Grimm”, and not the Ambassador.
I made a mistake in my comment on June 10th. The correct title of the film is JOHN GOLDFARB PLEASE COME HOME.
In 1963 when the Ambassador ran “Brothers Grimm” the Uptown theater was the only D.C. theater equipped to show 3-Strip (3 camera, 3 projector) Cinerama. It was running “How the West Was Won” which continued there until January of 1964 when it closed for approximately six weeks. During that time the 3-strip Cinerama equipment was removed and replaced with the 70mm projection system that had been there before. I don’t know if the Metropolitan had any 70mm projection sysem for “Cheyenne Autumn”, but I doubt it.
The Sylvan closed on July 22, 1965 with the double bill of “Dr. No” and “From Russia, With Love”.
The Park opened on April 20, 1951 with “I’d Climb the Highest Mountain”.
The Park closed on January 28, 1962 with a double bill of “The Hustler” and “The Guns of Navarone”.
Hello Ontario Theater lovers
I made a mistake in my comment back in 2009. “Becket” and “Mary Poppins” were not shown at the Ontario on a reserve seat basis, even though they were shown that way in other theaters around the country.
The Oxen Hill opened on 4/6/66 with THE TROUBLE WITH ANGELS, starring Rosilind Russell and Hayley Mills. The film opened at this theater and several others as a first-run engagement. It was not shown in any downtown D.C. theater.
The Marlow opened on 11/1/63 with THE THRILL OF IT ALL, starring Doris Day and James Garner. This film had previously played for over 11 weeks at the Dupont!
I saw “Heat” there on March 17, 1997. That’s the one with DeNiro, and Pacino.
I only saw a handful of films at the Town: TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD,
HOMBRE, THE DIRTY DOZEN, AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS, and CHITTY, CHITTY, BANG, BANG.
After the 1968 riots it became unsafe to park on the streets in the area. I started college in 1969, and confided my downtown theater going to Keiths and the Palace.
I saw my first movie at RKO Keith’s sometime betwen April 14th and April 27th of 1954. The film was the re-issue of PINOCCHIO (1940).
Other films I saw at Keith’s were:
SAMSON AND DELILAH/ULYSSES (re-issuses) (on 10/31/59) BIDMAN OF ALCATRAZ (7/62)(with my then girlfriend Peggy Harris), TARAS BULBA, KINGS OF THE SUN, THE PINK PANTHER, FROM RUSSIA, WITH LOVE (5/23/64), GOLDFINGER, HELP!, THUNDERBALL, BOY DID I GET A WRONG NUMBER, RETURN OF THE SEVEN, HOW TO SUCEED IN BUINESS, THE ALAMO (1967 re-release), FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE, EIGHT ON THE LAM, YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE, IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT (9/2/67), HOUR OF THE GUN, THE SCALPHUNTERS, THE DEVIL’S BRIGADE, YOURS MINE AND HOURS, THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR, WEST SIDE STORY (re-release), GUNS OF THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN, MIDNIGHT COWBOY (with my friend Joyce Khosrofian), COTTON COMES TO HARLEM, CANNON FOR CORDOVA, and DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER on 1/16/72) (with University of Maryland classmate Jamie Drago) (the last film I saw in D.C. before I left for California).
Most of these films I saw were at Saturday matinees beause the admissions were cheaper.
James Bond aficionados will probably noticed that I did not see DR. NO or ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE at Keith’s. I saw DR. NO at Warner theater in West Chester, PA on 6/22/63. Didn’t think I’d like George Lazenby as James Bond, so I skipped it.
I think RichJ meant to say that the riots were in ‘68, not in '66, which rlvjr mentioned in his remarks on September 30, 2005.
HIGH NOON opened in New York City on July 24, 1952, but did not make it to D.C. until 12/31/52. According to an article I read in the “Washington Post” by their film critic Richard L. Coe, the film was held back because of protests by the American Legion.
HIGH NOON opened simultanously at the Dupont, where it played for 16 weeks, and the Playhouse, where it played for 6 weeks.
FUNNY GIRL, the last picture to have a road show engagement at the Ontario opened on October 23, 1968 and played there until March 4, 1969 (19 weeks). It was moved over to the Cinema on March 5, 1969 where it played for another 34 weeks!
In October of 1962 THE LONGEST DAY debuted at the Ontario on a reserve seat basis, and stayed there for 18 weeks until the arrival of LAWRENCE OF ARABIA in February of 1963. LAWRENCE was also shown on a reserve seat basis, and it remained at the Ontario for 34 weeks, making it the longest-running film ever to play there up to that time. Upon concluding its run at the Ontario, THE LONGEST DAY was immediately moved over to the Apex where it continued for another 13 weeks.
On Christmas Day of 1963 TOM JONES opened and stayed for twenty-eight weeks, making it the second longest-running film at the theater up until that time.
TOM JONES was followed in July of 1964 with BECKET, which ran on a reserved seat basis for fifteen weeks. With that film the Ontario entered the same arena as the Uptown and the Warner, both of which exhibited the road show engagements of most of the super-colossal epics and the super-spectacular musicals that were released between 1955 and 1971.
From July of 1964 until July of 1968 the Ontario played back-to-back road show engagements of eight films. In addition to BECKET, those films were: MARY POPPINS (16 weeks), THE SOUND OF MUSIC (97 weeks!), THE SAND PEBBLES (29 weeks), THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE (20 weeks), THE HAPPIEST MILLIONAIRE (8 weeks), HALF A SIXPENCE (8 weeks), and the six and half hour Russian version of WAR AND PEACE (Parts I and II) (12 weeks).
In October 1957 RAINTREE COUNTY became the first film that the Ontario showed on a reserve seat basis, but it would not be the last. It played there for 8 weeks before closing on Christmas Eve of 1957. On January 30, 1958, RAINTREE COUNTY opened an exclusive engagement at the Columbia, where it played for an additional 10 weeks.
Unlike other lateral moves where a film was shifted from its original location to another one that was part of the same theater chain, the Columbia and the Ontario were owned by different companies. The Columbia belonged to Loews, and the Ontario was a K-B theater.
OTHER ONTARIO TRIVIA:
After leaving the Ontario, ROOM AT THE TOP moved over to the MacArthur, and continued its exclusive D.C. engagement there for another seven weeks.
Four Doris Day films played at the Ontario between 1956 and 1960: THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH (9 weeks), TEACHER’S PET (3 weeks), PILLOW TALK (10 weeks), and MIDNIGHT LACE (8 weeks).
THE NAKED EDGE, Gary Cooper’s last film, opened at the Ontario approximately two months after his death.
THE SOUND OF MUSIC reigns as the Ontario’s longevity champ by playing there for an astounding ninety-seven weeks! This almost ties the record set by THIS IS CINERAMA, which ran for a little over 98 weeks at the Warner from November 6, 1953 to September 27, 1955. No other films that played in D.C. during the 1950’s and 1960’s even came close to matching their long-running engagements, and I doubt if any other films did at any time before them, or at any time after 1972.
A little bit of Ontario trivia: MARY POPPINS and THE SOUND OF MUSIC, which played back-to-back, both starred Julie Andrews. THE SOUND OF MUSIC and THE SAND PEBBLES, which also played back- to-back, were both directed by Robert Wise.
Also for you trivia buffs, a trifecta of Julie Andrews' films played in D.C. in early March of 1965. THE AMERICANIZATION OF EMILY finished its run at the Trans-Lux on March 9, 1965, and opened locally the very next day! MARY POPPINS ended its run at the Ontario on March 16, 1965, and THE SOUND OF MUSIC opened there the next day. So, within one week you could have gorged yourself on Ms. Andrews' first three movies!
Four Audrey Hepburn films played at the Ontario, all with great success: SABRINA (8 weeks in late 1954), FUNNY FACE (8 weeks in April and May of 1957), LOVE IN THE AFTERNOON (9 weeks in July and August of 1957), and BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S (11 weeks at the end in 1961).
Ironically, three of Ms. Hepburn’s first five films played at the Ontario (SABRINA, FUNNY FACE, and LOVE IN THE AFTERNOON). The other two, ROMAN HOLIDAY and WAR AND PEACE, played at the Playhouse and the Capitol respectively.
The top ten longest running films at the Ontario were:
JULIUS CAESAR, with Marlon Brando and James Mason, was released in June of 1953 and played in other major cities before coming to the Dupont on February 3, 1954.
The first movie I saw at the Ontario was THE SOUND OF MUSIC sometime in mid-July of 1966 when I was nineteen. I saw HALF A SIXPENCE and FUNNY GIRL both in 1968, but the movie I went back to see again and again was THE SAND PEBBLES. Four times in all between January and August of 1967.
Steve McQueen was, and is, one of my favorite actors, and I made every effort to see every film that he was in, but for this one I went a little overboard. I first caught THE SAND PEBBLES on Saturday afternoon, January 28, 1967, just four days after it had opened. Three weeks later I went back to see it again because I had read in “Variety” that Robert Wise was going to cut the film by a half an hour.
I loved this movie and abhorred the idea that it had to be cut for any reason. So, I vowed to catch it again before that happened. Fortunately, the cuts had not yet been made, and I was relieved. However, when I went back a few weeks later for a third viewing, a full half hour of footage had indeed been removed. I could even spot the sections where things were missing. I was devastated. Still, I went back again for a fourth time before it closed in late August. I was completely bowled over by McQueen’s performance. It’s one of the best examples of naturalistic acting I have ever seen.
Other films that also suffered the fate of being cut to reduce their running times included: THE ALAMO, SPARTACUS, IT’S A MAD WORLD, and even LAWRENCE OF ARABIA! Today, you can buy a VHS version of THE ALAMO in its original full-length version, but that version is not available on DVD. SPARTACUS and LAWRENCE OF ARABIA have been restored to their original glory on their DVD versions. I’m not sure about IT’S A MAD WORLD.