Bellevue Cinema 4

260 Bellevue Avenue,
Upper Montclair, NJ 07043

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Bellevue Cinema 5

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Bellevue Theatre opened in 1923 in a former horse stable. The building is in a Tudor style, as is most of that section of town. United Artists triplexed the theatre in the 1980’s, and an independent operator converted it into a quad, destroying all original design. Clearview took over in the 1990’s. In June 2013, Bow-Tie Cinemas took over, as it took most of Clearview’s locations.

Contributed by Joe Masher

Recent comments (view all 41 comments)

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on December 27, 2010 at 10:58 am

Thanks Alex great info.

pbubny on December 27, 2010 at 7:05 pm

A delayed response to Barry M’s question of more than two years ago: yes, due to the Bellevue’s location near the Upper Montclair train station and a commuter line running about one hundred feet away, outside noise was an issue even in the single-screen halcyon days. I noticed it, albeit intermittently, from my first trip there (a “Sound Of Music” revival when I was about 13). Reminds me of the old Astor Plaza near Times Square (now the Nokia Theatre, a live venue), where the sounds of the subway trains below the auditorium made their presence felt.

joesavana on January 29, 2013 at 8:57 pm

I saw the ‘Sound Of Music’ at the Belleview during its Todd AO 70mm roadshow engagement in 1965. WOW!! I was 16 then and whenever I could scrape up enough money, I’d see it again and again. It must have played there almost 2 years. The Belleview had a humongous screen, very high and very wide. The bottom of the screen began at the stage and the top went almost to the high ceiling. There was a big beautiful blue curtain. Tickets were sold at the box office and seating prices varied. Music from the ‘Sound Of Music’ would be playing as people were being seated. The lights dimmed slowly and as the 20th Century Fox logo appeared, the big curtain opened, from the side as I recall. I can only describe the feeling I got during the scene of the helicopter approach to Julie Andrews before the ‘song on the hill’ as the closest thing to heaven.. chills running up my spine. The Belleview had great audio and a beautiful screen image. In those days the projection was illuminated by arc lamp and the image popped off the screen, unlike the dull theater images of today. The ‘Sound Of Music’ had an intermission, and the curtain closed when the word ‘intermission’ was on the screen. You never saw a ‘bare’ screen at the Belleview, the curtain always hid it until the movie started. When the intermission was almost over, the lights would flash to warn patrons that the film was about to start. It’s true that the Belleview was right next to the Montclair train station and a passing train was quite noisy. Still, the Belleview had class that has not existed in movie theaters for many years. It was a sad day when the Belleview was divided up into a multiplex. It is barely a shell of what is used to be.

BarryM on May 10, 2013 at 12:43 pm

Great description of THE SOUND OF MUSIC experience, JOESAVANA. And thanks, PBUBNY for answering my question from years back about the Bellevue noise problem. Sorry I only got to see this cinema in its cut-up state.

RHETT52 on December 27, 2013 at 9:11 am

It was a grand palace back in the day. Now it’s a shoebox. Will never go there again

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 13, 2014 at 6:05 pm

John H. Phillips, architect of the Bellevue Theatre, also designed the original building of the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida.

moviebuff82 on May 17, 2015 at 10:31 am

I always liked the exterior of the place.

hdtv267 on May 17, 2015 at 11:38 am

that’s nice. Again, just posting for the sake of posting.

BobFurmanek on October 13, 2015 at 12:37 pm

I’ve just uploaded a two page article from September 1923 in the photos section.

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