Uptown Theater

3426 Connecticut Avenue NW,
Washington, DC 20008

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bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on August 29, 2016 at 10:42 pm

Hello-

to patryan6019 thanks for your take posted on Jan.14 about the souvenir program for “Krakatoa……”. it must have been odd for patrons to buy a program the first two pages of which describe the “new” Cinerama yet the film they’re about to watch isn’t “in Cinerama”.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on August 28, 2016 at 11:28 pm

Coate, the 1991 film festival didn’t conclude with Dr Zhivago. On Oct 12, I saw West Side Story in 70mm. My notes of films before West Side Story (and after Dr Zhivago) are Amadeus, GWTW, Lawrence of Arabia, and though my notes don’t indicate whether 70mm or not, probably. My notes after West Side Story are For the Boys, again my notes no indicate format.

Giles
Giles on May 29, 2016 at 4:35 pm

thanks Coate posting the 1991 70mm fest – I remember seeing ‘Ben-Hur’ and ‘Alien’ – the latter in particular since my first time I saw the movie was on a small 13 inch TV (in no way to see or experience it) – the 70mm version was far and out the best way to see and hear it – the airduct scene I was digging my fingers into the arm rests.

Coate
Coate on May 29, 2016 at 5:53 am

[off topic]

Paging patryan6019…. Did KHARTOUM play “in Cinerama” roadshow runs in Birmingham, Chattanooga and Providence? Answer here, or email me, please (michaelcoate[at]thedigitalbits[dot]com).

Giles
Giles on May 25, 2016 at 9:09 pm

^ sad

I think the theater you are thinking of JodarMovieFan is Portland’s Hollywood Theater

sguttag
sguttag on May 25, 2016 at 6:20 am

The Norelco projectors came out much earlier for Cinerama. They went to the Cinema 7 theatre in Bailey’s Crossroads when it opened. There they remained until the Apex Annapolis Harbor opened when one moved there. When the Cinema 7 closed, the second moved to be a parts machine. For the DCinema conversion, they were trashed (thrown in the dumpster).

JodarMovieFan
JodarMovieFan on May 25, 2016 at 5:07 am

Upon movie showtime searching this evening, I had noticed that showtimes at this theater were not posted on the AMC website. I had initially feared that the theater may have closed and no one knew about it. Googling revealed that they are showing the latest Captain America.

In the google search, I noticed a Wiki page on the Uptown where it states the Norelco 35/70mm projector was taken out in ‘10 when Tron Legacy came out. Going through the posts, I saw the discussion thread that took place but didn’t see where the venue’s old Norelco projectors went to? Does anyone know? I was thinking maybe the Portland OR theater that had 70mm capability installed a few years ago, but forgot the name of it. :P

Coate
Coate on April 24, 2016 at 9:32 pm

The 70mm Festival that ran here during 1991 included….

1991-07-19 … 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1 week)
1991-07-26 … 2010 (1)
1991-08-02 … BLADE RUNNER (1) (test-screening version)
1991-08-09 … BEN-HUR (1)
1991-08-16 … THE SOUND OF MUSIC (1)
1991-08-23 … THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI (1)
1991-08-30 … ALIEN (1)
1991-09-06 … DAYS OF HEAVEN (1)
1991-09-13 … CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND (1) (”The Special Edition”)
1991-09-20 … FANTASIA (1)
1991-09-27 … DOCTOR ZHIVAGO (1)

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on January 28, 2016 at 7:23 pm

Back open today, with Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on January 27, 2016 at 7:38 pm

Thanks, if the federal government closed today, I understand better. Yesterday, at least, AMC Mazza Gallerie was open, but that’s in a mall.

Chris1982
Chris1982 on January 27, 2016 at 7:37 pm

Howard, I have relatives outside of Washington DC and not all of the streets are cleared yet. They got 18 inches of snow and the area was not all been cleared yet. They were not prepared for that much snows. They even moved electric repair trucks from as far away as Missouri. Even the Federal Government was closed today. 91/27/16

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on January 27, 2016 at 12:58 pm

AMC website still asserts Uptown closed due to the snow storm. Why still closed?

veyoung52
veyoung52 on January 15, 2016 at 10:27 pm

What does “Krakatoa…” have to do with this discussion of “Cinerama’s Russian Adventure”? And what is the city/theatre mentioned in the January 14 post?

patryan6019
patryan6019 on January 15, 2016 at 5:13 am

Java only played one reserved seat engagement — in Hollywood. All others, including NY, played as many as 4 performances a day at reduced prices. This was both the first and last time this occurred, as there were no more pictures released in the process. And why wouldn’t they sell the program in any theatre to make money, since the first credit is “Cinerama Presents”. There were no “truth in souvenir program” laws that I know of.

Coate
Coate on January 14, 2016 at 6:58 pm

My unaccounted for engagements of “Russian Adventure” are Akron (Falls), Birmingham (Eastwood Mall), Chattanooga (Brainerd), Jacksonville (5 Points), Louisville (Showcase), Norfolk (Rosna), and Providence (Cinerama). Is the “unique” engagement you’re referring to, patryan6019, one of these?

patryan6019
patryan6019 on January 14, 2016 at 9:36 am

Not on the Russian Adventure list is an engagement totally unique in that this never happened in any other city or theatre. The picture ran for 5 weeks. The theatre then closed for 46 days so that it could be upgraded from a temporary installation into permanent Super Cinerama (You all know the difference,don’t you). RA then resumed for an additional 17 days. Anyone know the city and theatre?

veyoung52
veyoung52 on January 13, 2016 at 7:26 pm

And, I might add that the “Variety” review out of Chicago stated positively that the initial American engagement at the McVickers (a Cinerama house since 1962) was the only one in the States to utilize a 3-projector Cinerama protocol for this release; the following dates would all be via 70mm. It never played the Philadelphia market in any format, however.

Coate
Coate on January 13, 2016 at 5:58 pm

bigjoe59….

Regarding “Russian Adventure,” I find nothing odd about my claim of that film not playing Washington, DC since it was essentially a “filler” release. Washington, DC wasn’t the only Cinerama market in which it did not play. (I’m assuming, of course, I researched the matter thoroughly and that it did in fact not play in DC.) I’ve found that at least two dozen markets that ran Cinerama-branded releases did NOT play “Russian Adventure.”

If you’re curious, here are the North American markets that DID play “Russian Adventure”:

I should note that at least a couple bookings might be missing from my listing in its current state. Providence played it, for sure, and possibly a couple others not cited, but, as previously stated, several markets clearly did not play it, so don’t be alarmed by how short the list is compared to other Cinerama releases.

1966-03-29 … Chicago, IL — McVickers (11 weeks)
1966-03-30 … Denver, CO — International 70 (5)
1966-03-31 … San Francisco, CA — Golden Gate (7)
1966-03-31 … Toronto, ON — Glendale (10)

1966-04-01 … Atlanta, GA — Georgia Cinerama (6)
1966-04-01 … Detroit, MI — Music Hall (12)
1966-04-01 … St. Louis, MO — Martin Cinerama (12)
1966-04-01 … Seattle, WA — Martin Cinerama (13)
1966-04-06 … Nashville, TN — Crescent (12)
1966-04-09 … Milwaukee, WI — Southgate (10)
1966-04-13 … New York, NY — Warner (13)
1966-04-26 … Pittsburgh, PA — Warner (6)
1966-04-27 … Cincinnati, OH — Capitol (5)
1966-04-27 … Toledo, OH — Showcase 1 (4)
1966-04-29 … New Orleans, LA — Martin Cinerama (8)

1966-05-03 … Los Angeles, CA — Warner Hollywood (13)
1966-05-11 … San Diego, CA — Center (6)

1966-08-17 … Dallas, TX — Capri (1)
1966-08-24 … Portland, OR — Hollywood (4)

1966-09-21 … Kansas City, MO — Empire (7)
1966-09-21 … Salt Lake City, UT — Villa (4)
1966-09-28 … Boston, MA — Boston (7)

1966-11-02 … Minneapolis (St. Louis Park), MN — Cooper (7)
1966-11-02 … Montreal, QC — Imperial (29)

1967-01-18 … Columbus, OH — Grand (4)
1967-01-25 … Wichita, KS — Uptown (5)

1967-02-08 … Newark (Montclair), NJ — Clairidge (6)

1967-09-20 … Hartford, CT — Cinerama (6)

1968-10-23 … Fresno, CA — Warnor (6)


bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on January 10, 2016 at 10:50 pm

to Coate-

a belated HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! and you are to be
commended for your list of this theater’s 80s
bookings.

an item or two-

1.i read the article you suggested and I did indeed have my question answered. but your additions to the list were just as interesting. for instance you said you could find no info that Russian Adventure ever opened in D.C. period let alone presented in Cinerama. I find that odd since it opened in NYC at the Warner in in Cinerama on a reserved seat engagement.

2.i have often wondered why some films that opened on reserved seat engagements were presented “in Cinerama” in some cities and in plain 70MM in others. for instance Krakatoa-East Of Java played the Warner on a reserved seat engagement and was presented “in Cinerama”. yet the reserved seat runs in D.C. and San Francisco were in plain 70mm. did they have a separate souvenir program for those runs? the one I bought at the Warner had its first two pages devoted to the new Cinerama. which you couldn’t sell in a theater where its not being presented “in Cinerama”.

3.also you are again to be commended for you detailed listings of engagements which brings me yet again to “Circus World”. as I am sure you will agree a big budget highly promoted film that turns out not to be bad just not up to all the expectations is the same film in no matter what city it plays in which was the case with Circus World. so I am still trying to understand how CW’s reserved seat run in NYC lasted 13 weeks and in other cities 14, 15 or even 18 weeks yet the D.C. run at the Uptown lasted only 3 weeks. I still don’t get it.

JodarMovieFan
JodarMovieFan on January 9, 2016 at 5:03 pm

Michel, I always enjoy your lists. I spent a day at the local library going over some of the old ads and made copies to post online but now I’ve lost my folder. I hope to do that again one of these days.

As this venue was the premier place to see movies in the 80s, I’ve seen most of the first run 70mm films here in the 80s. I wasn’t into the classics, except sci-fi, until I was a little older. Looking at the chronological order of the Uptown’s 70mm shows, it seems my first 70mm was Star Trek II. The list doesn’t reflect it but it played just one week prior to Gandhi’s opening. I saw it 2x. I remember dropping my Mom off to her nursing job at Sibley Hospital then high tailing through DC. By about 6:40 pm or so, you’re more or less safe to park for free on the street as rush hour is about over. During the full house shows, you could park in the residential areas but had to walk some but its still free. I don’t think you can do that today with the use of vehicle stickers.

Superman III was a disappointment presentation wise. I do not recall anything positively memorable as the story was lame and the attempt at lightening it up didn’t work, with probably the only exception being the opening scene where Clark does that comedic walk avoiding several disasters in what looked like one take.

Ghostbusters in 70mm is memorable for me with that shot of the homely looking librarian that turns ghostly. It was the combination of the visual fx transition, the shhh and some low bass rumble that scared me and the audience gasp/scream..then laughter as the Ghostbuster crew dashes out of the library.

Dune is memorable for me as the presentation perfectly fits the visual quality of its high budget production. The Arrakis desert and the shreiking sounds of the sandworms. Oh..the thumpers..that low beating drum sound effect that attracts those sandworms, you could really feel its power through the Uptown’s sound system. I was curious if you would enjoy it as much sitting in the balcony but at that time, I wanted to get my $ worth sitting close to the front of that huge curved screen.

The Return of the Jedi reissue I’ve mentioned before. The size of the screen made my enjoyment of the film even better especially during those first person shots such as the speed bike chase on the Endor moon. The sound wasn’t as good as the MacArthur’s only because my memory of the Emperor’s use of force lightning didn’t have the sizzle and sparking sound it had. Perhaps the print had degraded a little soundwise or the Uptown’s sound muffles the soundtrack some.

I forgot about Manhunter. This was directed by Michael Mann, who did the Miami Vice show on NBC, which was very popular, audibly and visually stylistic back in the day. The show was one of the first to broadcast in stereo..that was a big thing then. My only memory of this were the lush colors captured on film. Then there was the scene of the guy that got killed in a burning wheelchair and the sound effects of the fire and whoosh as it goes by you.

The Last Emperor was another visually beautiful film to look at. Nothing great audio wise that I can recall. I think this was my first movie to see women kissing..it was Pu Yi’s wife and the female pilot that talked like Trixie from the old Speed Racer cartoons..remember that?

Willow was enjoyable for me. The most memorable sound effect for me were the two headed dragons. When they’d shoot fire, there was the sound coming directly in front of you but when there were those shots of the side and the fire breath goes directional, the sound seems to go behind you either to the right or the left and then in back. It had some decent fx..I think one of the first CGI morphing effects, from the different animals to the old, but good witch. One last thing..Val Kilmer’s yellow teeth. I recall reading something to the effect of him being in character all the time but did that include him not brushing his teeth? Ugh.

The Roger Rabbit movie I believe may have been the first time in the balcony. This may have been because they were the only seats. But for some reason, I’m thinking Manhunter was because I didn’t want to see the movie but my friend kept badgering me to see it but I agreed only if it was here in 70mm. If I was going to see something I didn’t want to see, the logic of going would be to see it in the best presentation possible..70mm. Make sense?

Anyway, there wasn’t anything memorable by way of wow..cool effects or soundtrack. I’m thinking now being older that that was the intention. The integration of the animated and real world had to be seamless, which makes everything in the movie more believable. And it is. Thinking back now..I think the introduction of the Jessica Rabbit character and the way she sings that song and the way they animated or lit up her dress with the sparkling sequins. That was very well done. They weren’t sparkling in a cartoony way, but like it was a real dress with sparkling sequins. Those touches elevate the movie to be more special than it would have been.

Born on the 4th of July. I’ve written about this before. We were in a group, I chose the seats very close to that giant, curved screen. The cinematography was that hand held, jerky, real time style. Bad decision. I got motion sick at the end. This was Tom Cruise’s first real dramatic performance and he did well. I can still visualize him as that Kovic or Kovaks character whirling around in the wheelchair, drunk and telling his Mom how he can’t feel anything below his waist..can’t even masturbate. Mom screams in shock and tells him not to talk like that.. it plays all the more powerfully on the huge screen. I suppose its true what they say about size does matter..watching the movies. :)

Looking at all the movies in chronological order, I’m beginning to second guess myself as to when I saw 2001 in 70mm here for the first time. I know there was a very special engagement and a ‘virgin’ print. It may have been in the 90s.

Sorry for the long post, I should have put an intermission after the Return of the Jedi experience. :)

Giles
Giles on January 9, 2016 at 12:56 am

oh sorry Coate – I remember seeing ‘Quest for Fire’, was very impressionable for a young age.

I had no idea that ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’ was here, since I distinctly remember seeing it over at 4000 Wisconsin Ave.

I remember the ads for ‘The Last Emperor’ – it played at Jenifer? The Post ads definitely were touting 70mm at the Uptown for that release.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on January 8, 2016 at 11:22 pm

I can comment because I lived there 1985 to 88 & visited thereafter. Saw at the Uptown: Silverado, Out of Africa, Manhunter, the Name of the Rose (a favorite of mine there), The Mission, the 3 Vietnam War movies- all flat, Platoon being the best, Kubrick’s 2nd best, No Way Out, Princess Bride, Cry Freedom, Mississippi Burning, Lawrence of Arabia (one of my favorite film screenings ever!), Field of Dreams, Back to the Future Part II, and Born on the Fourth of July (and on same day “Glory” at KB Cinema in 70mm 6 track). As “The Last Emperor” opened at the Jennifer, I saw it there, not knowing it would move to the Uptown. If only I had been there one week earlier, I could’ve seen Apocalypse Now according to your list! The Redux version at NYC Astor Plaza was another of my favorite film screenings ever, but at the Uptown would’ve been even better! And I still haven’t seen The Sand Pebbles, which would’ve been great to have seen there, too. Coates, happy now?

Coate
Coate on January 8, 2016 at 10:37 pm

Can’t you guys at least comment on the recently-posted 1980s listing before asking new questions??!! <sigh…>

Anyway, bigjoe59… Scroll up to the right margin of this page and find the section News About This Theater. Find the link to the 2008 “Remembering Cinerama (Part V)” story and there you’ll find your answer.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on January 8, 2016 at 9:28 pm

Hello-

I’m from NYC and the only time I’ve ever been in the Uptown was Easter vacation 1963 when my parents took my brother and I to D.C. for a trip. we saw How The West Was Won during its roadshow engagement in Cinerama. now what other movie theater in D.C. was converted to show Cinerama aside from the Uptown and does it still exist?

Giles
Giles on January 8, 2016 at 1:45 am

as a teen in the late 80’s I started to keep the Movie Section of the Weekend part of the Post – they unfortunately got chucked… [sad face] So how would I research this? got any tips – I know that the Martin Luther King Jr. branch of the DC library used to keep the Post on microfilm – do they still do that?